In SEO we trust | 5 ways to maximise SEO performance for Q4 growth
With online retail being more competitive than ever before, it is key that retailers prepare for Q4 growth now by maximising SEO performance. For most businesses, the Q4 trading period is the most profitable time of the year with a large proportion of their time and marketing budget going into making sure that they achieve their targeted ROI.
What are the highest-priority tasks to complete and where should you be investing the time and effort in the run up to the Q4 trading period to make sure you have a great Christmas?
1.Choose & Optimise for the Right Keywords
Established brands more often than not are targeting the right keywords on their main landing pages. They understand the keywords their target market are typing to find their products and services.
However, during Q4 they will experience high peaks for keywords and these are usually around gifting terms (i.e. presents, gifts) or seasonal variants (i.e. Black Friday, Christmas, Xmas).
Targeting these terms and ranking top positions for 10 months of the year is not good enough.
It is all well and good ranking all year round for a term such as “Disney toys” but if during the Christmas period you drop to bottom of page 1 you will not see the benefits of the fruits of your labour.
A key term such as “Disney toys” increases from 1,900 search volume out of season to 6,600 during the Christmas period.
It is therefore key you do all you can to retain and rank as high for keywords such as these during this time period.
How can you judge if you are targeting the right keywords around this time? For this insight we need to check the trend of the term by using tools such as Google Trends.
2.Google Keyword Trends Analysis
Pick a keyword you have optimised your site for and put in trends to see what it shows. If we continue with the term “Disney toys” as an example, we can see the following trend from 2019:
Google Trends Graph for "Disney Toys"
From the above trend we can see that demand starts climbing around the end of October and beginning of November, peaking during the first week in December (key buying period for Christmas).
Within your industry, after you research the trends, you see that you are targeting a keyword that is in decline or flat around this time period then you need to pick new keywords and re-optimise your landing pages.
If your keyword is a trending term and you are ranking currently lower than the top 5 then this term needs further optimisation and a lot more effort with a structured marketing campaign.
3.Develop Seasonal Content
Ranking and picking the right landing page keywords is a great start, but just as important is picking the seasonal terms your site may not currently rank for. For these terms you need to decide if you have any pages currently you can use as a starting point. You need to develop a content section on the site or create a series of blog posts to target these terms.
After doing your initial keyword research from the first step, you may have found a term related to your industry, your products and the target market that you want to optimise for. However, if there is no natural place to input the keyword on site and you do not want to “crowbar” the keyword into any established page, therefore you need to create a page/area of the site to optimise the site for this keyword.
These seasonality keywords however are very high competition and often just creating a one- page blog targeting the term will not suffice (dependent on the nature of the keyword).
For example, creating a blog page targeting and hoping to rank for the term “stocking fillers” with less than 3 months to go until Christmas will not rank for many sites. There are sites built to specifically rank for this (and all variant terms of this term) so a quick one-pager without any link equity with lower searcher intent and relevance will not suffice.
However, creating a detailed and well-thought- out blog piece targeting the high-volume term “stocking fillers for her” will have more of a chance as its less competition, higher relevance and higher value to the target market.
Now if you created 10 blogs on all variants of this term (see keyword research below), increased the page link equity and interlinked them with a content hub, it would suddenly have higher site relevance. This ensures the pages rank higher for both the variant terms and the main term “stocking fillers for her”.
After these terms are identified it should be relatively easy to create a series of articles around these themes. If you don’t have time to write 8 blogs, then create a detailed guide on this theme and use the list to build out the article with relevant products that answer the searcher query at a multi-level.
How do you go about creating these blogs, content hubs and landing pages? How do you find these terms?
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As a first step, keyword research is essential and can be done in-house by using free third-party tools such as keyword.io, ubersuggest and also Google. These tools will give the basic insights required to build out a seasonality keyword set.
Still using the term “stocking fillers for her” as an example, we typed it into the free tools which came back with the following:
• Stocking fillers for her under £5
• For mum, sister, wife and gf
• Best stocking fillers for her
• Christmas/Xmas stocking fillers for her
• Luxury stocking fillers for her
4.Build Page Authority
One of the most overlooked areas is building authority to keyword targeted pages, especially newly created pages.
As essential as it is to build the authority through external links (content marketing, outreach, PR and brand collaborations), you should still be building internal links throughout the site to the highly valuable keyword targeted pages using keyword relevant anchor terms. This is very powerful when using high authority pages such as the homepage and main category landing pages that have a high authority from your external link building activity.
Question time – Is your homepage linking to your main landing pages on a specific anchor?
Most brands would say yes – all pages are able to be accessed from the homepage links in the navigation or side bar.
They would be wrong. Google tends to disregard sitewide links as contextual links in the navigation, footer and sidebar. So, if your homepage is not linking out to your main category page within the body of text on the page then your internal link structure needs work.
5.After the Event, Think Long Term for SEO
After the January sales have ended, many people will remove these new landing pages and categories from the site. This is one of the most detrimental things a brand can do. By removing the page from the site, this negates all the
good work done. A page removed from your site will be devalued in Google and dependent on how this has been done may even drop out of the index. This means the next year you will have to start all over again from scratch, which will cost you more money as a brand.
However, you still don’t want to be sending traffic to your Christmas landing pages, so the SEO friendly process is as follows:
• Straight after the event: create a sales page as traffic levels are still high and to shift extra stock bought in that hasn’t sold during the festive season
• 1 Month after – dependent on the sector and season remove from the front-end but keep in the back-end – do not noindex or redirect. Some sectors can keep the page within the navigation just with a lower visibility – i.e Christmas gifts
• Once removed from the front-end merchandise – put on deals and create a capture form (create a list to target closer to the event)
• 3 month prior to the event update and re-optimise the page
By doing the above you are making sure that the page retains its equity, visibility and value in Google to make sure that when the time comes around it can be put into the front-end of the website and have a far higher value than the previous year.
With this insight, you should be able to implement some quick wins for Q4 growth before it’s too late.
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