Making a list and checking it twice – Your Christmas 2019 SEO checklist

Dec 13, 2019 by
Making a list and checking it twice – Your Christmas 2019 SEO checklist

To say seasonal SEO is a ‘hot topic’ would be perhaps giving it too much credence, but it’s certainly a topic that’s highly debated amongst marketing professionals. Some argue that seasons are fleeting and that the time and effort it takes for optimisation is simply not worth it, because, by the time everything is working perfectly, the season changes and you’re back to square one.

There is, however, another school of thought that posits you don’t need to invest 100% of your effort into seasonally specific work but should still keep one toe in the pool, so to speak.

That’s very much the angle we’ll be taking here – espousing the practice of keeping on top of your Christmas SEO instead of letting it devour your entire December. So, without further ado, here’s our official Christmas SEO checklist.

Festive content

Loath as you might be to do it, try to ensure there is festive content on your site from the end of November onwards at least. Logic dictates that there will be more searches for Christmas keywords in the weeks leading up to the big day so make the most of it while you can. That being said, never resort to cheap and gimmicky content that doesn’t make sense in the context of your site. Google and your readers will see right through it. This piece right here is a perfect example of placing relevant, festive-themed content that actually has a place and a purpose.

Cleaning up

High bounce rates are the death of SEO and nothing causes a bounce faster than outdated or duplicated content. You want visitors to your site focused on the freshest, most relevant and engaging stuff, not the guff. So, make sure you’ve gone through your site with a fine tooth-comb, removing any content that might make visitors bounce.

Update your business hours

Over Christmas, many businesses decide to take a few days off or alter their opening hours to reflect the chaos of the season. But how will the public know you’re open until midnight every night leading up to Christmas if your online business hours still say noon to 10? Your Google My Business listing is the first thing a customer will see when they search for your business so make sure your business hours are up to date.

Tis the season for offers

Google Posts are remarkably convenient for promoting festive offers and is particularly useful for local businesses looking to stand out. These posts last for a week and can be quite powerful tools as long as you remember to track engagement.

Case the competition

For retailers specifically, it’s incredibly important to keep one eye on the competition. Larger retailers like Amazon and John Lewis will have created entire product categories dedicated to specific search queries and whilst this might be beyond the capabilities of a smaller business, you could still take a leaf out of the big boy book and create a specific “Christmas” product page, for example.

Don’t forget those seasonal keywords

Finally, yes we know it’s cheesy, but particularly for retail brands, there is great wisdom in the genius of the crowd. At least ink this case. Of course, the most popular keywords will often change from year to year but there are certain words and phrases that will always mean SEO gold in December – “secret Santa gifts” and “Christmas gifts for parents” are two bonafide classics, for example. As ever though, don’t go overboard or it will be abundantly obvious and you’ll be left with nothing but coal in your stocking on Christmas morning!

Everything else

Of course, all of the other SEO optimisation tricks you have been using throughout the year shouldn’t be forgotten just because it’s Christmas. So don’t neglect the fundamentals either! Make sure your site is stable, mobile-friendly, and that your server can cope with the potential influx of Christmas traffic. And that’s just for starters.

So, you know how to prepare but when should you start optimising your SEO for Christmas? As soon as possible. A study by AHrefs found that for the 5% of newly published pages ranking in the top ten within 12 months, it takes them at least two months to get there. So, if you can, start thinking about Christmas in summer. It might seem counterproductive but the results will be jingle bells to your ears.