Three surprisingly easy ways to maximise online sales this Christmas

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By Ed Bussey, founder and CEO of Primary Content specialist Quill

Last Christmas, Britain was the highest-spending nation in Europe – making December very much the season to be jolly for the UK’s retailers. British families are predicted to spend an average of £821.25 on gifts, food and drink and decorations this year, with over half (53 per cent) of this sum expected to be spent online and one in five of us (21 per cent) spending more online than last year.

Given the fierce levels of competition that retailers now face – not least from marketplace leaders like Amazon, which now claims a 55 per cent share of product searches in the US – it’s becoming all the more critical for e-commerce businesses to focus on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to generate organic traffic and revenues.

One crucial tactic online retailers can deploy to maximise organic traffic around seasonal shopping events (whether that’s Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Black Friday or Christmas) is to create optimised landing pages for valuable long-tail search terms – for example, ‘Christmas beauty gifts for her’. If regularly refreshed with high-quality, relevant content throughout the year, these pages will be indexed by Google and begin to develop authority – putting them in a good ranking position for when the event arrives and consumers start shopping around.

Here are 3 simple tips for optimising seasonal landing pages:

  1. Include convenience messages

Consumers heavily prioritise ease and convenience when shopping online. Things that were once considered perks, such as free returns and same-day shipping, are now expected as standard. Two thirds (61 per cent) of shoppers will abandon their baskets if a retailer doesn’t offer free shipping and 60 per cent of holiday shoppers are more likely to buy from retailers that provide same-day delivery.

Retailers can therefore improve their chances of converting browsers to buyers by ensuring that seasonal landing pages feature prominent messages promoting convenience proof points – these might include delivery options, returns information, finance options and price match guarantees.

2. Don’t neglect the metadata

Landing page metadata, although frequently neglected, is actually critical for demonstrating that a page is relevant – both to search engines and shoppers looking at search results. We often see retailers, large and small, failing to adequately complete or update landing page metadata, which then has a negative impact on search rankings and click-through rates. In the below example, this 2017 Black Friday landing page is still advertising ‘2016 deals’ in the meta-title:

For best performance, retailers must ensure all meta-titles and descriptions for seasonal landing pages are relevant and up-to-date, including information about the types of products available, any special offers and (importantly) the correct dates of promotions.

3. Enrich the content

When it comes to seasonal events like Christmas, consumers may not purchase items until the last minute, but they will research ideas and deals ahead of time. Retailers can capitalise on this behaviour by enriching landing pages with search-optimised content that adds genuine value to the consumer, answering their questions and inspiring them with helpful suggestions – whether that comes in the form of written articles (e.g. ‘Top 10 tech gifts for students’) or video guides.

With 67 per cent of clicks on search engines going to the top five results – and given that content quality and relevance is one of Google’s key ranking factors – making sure that landing pages are content-rich is critical to driving organic traffic and subsequent conversions.

Start planning for Christmas 2018 now

However, the most important thing to note is that building up landing page authority and ranking position doesn’t happen overnight – which is why we would urge online retailers to start thinking about their SEO strategy 12 months ahead.  They need to start optimising their pages for Christmas 2018 from January onwards. These mammoth shopping events may be seasonal, but they still require year-round attention.  The retailer winners know that.