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Your SMB Guide to Local Holiday SEO and Attracting More Customers

A holiday market with stalls on either side. Illustrative holiday elements are on the top and botton of the image

We are officially in the home stretch of 2023. If you haven't put a game plan together for your holiday marketing strategy, it's time to hustle. You have just a few short weeks to prepare your site with holiday SEO to be ready for the increase of traffic that comes in the last month or two of the year. And preparing now means more time to optimize your website, put other strategies in motion, and plan out a strong strategy to promote your company across multiple marketing platforms.

When we talk about being "at the right place, at the right time" in marketing, the holiday season is the perfect example. Remember, around 66% of holiday shoppers last year said they'd rather click through a website than stroll through a store. Big shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, and Christmas are more like shopping marathons online. A strong SEO foundation now not only helps you rake in holiday sales but also sets the stage for a profitable new year.

So let's dive into some holiday SEO and marketing tips you can start using right away. This will ensure your business is not just set for the holiday rush, but also well-poised for growth in the months to come.


Why SEO is Important for Local Business

If you own a local business, SEO will be your go-to tool for making sure you pop up in local searches. Let’s say someone in your town searches “best coffee near me,” you’ll want your coffee shop to be what they find first.

As more people go online for their searches, especially for "near me" inquiries, having strong SEO means your business is front and center when locals are looking.

a flowchat titled "Your Quick Guide to Local SEO"

According to Google, mobile searches for "near me" have skyrocketed by over 500% year-over-year since 2015. So, if someone's asking, "Where can I buy this near me?", SEO will help your website be there to answer.

Many local businesses we work with report seeing a 20-30% increase in sales during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year. This boost makes it even more crucial for small businesses to optimize their websites and be easily found through search engines.

Local SEO Strategies for the Holidays

Want to be the go-to business for holiday shoppers? Then your SEO game needs to be on point. From picking the right seasonal keywords to speeding up your website and using eye-catching images, these steps just aren’t about looks. They’re key for climbing search rankings and getting seen by more potential customers this holiday season.

Update Your Keywords

Want to catch holiday shoppers? Start with season keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner can point you to phrases that get lots of searches this time of year. Think “holiday gifts,” Christmas deals,” and “New Year’s Sales” to mix into whatever your business may be. These keywords and phrases will be used in your product or service pages, as headers on your homepage, in FAQs, or as blogs. Here are some ideas:

  1. Write a set of blogs using popular searches and include your product or services. A keyword like “best local handmade gifts near me” could be turned into a blog of your top 10 best handmade items.

  2. Create a page around popular searches to highlight your service. Use a keyword like " holiday home makeover services near me" to write a piece that shares holiday home decorating tips. Wrap it up by introducing your "Holiday Home Makeover Consultation" as the easy way to get a festive home.

Make Your Website Faster

No one likes a slow website, especially when there is holiday shopping to be done. Even a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% conversion loss. Faster websites create a better user experience and can also boost your search engine rankings.

Tips to make your website speedier:

  • Optimize your images: Bigger files slow down your site

  • Minimize unnecessary code: Extra code can bog down your site, so get rid of any unnecessary plugins

  • Prioritize above-the-fold content: Make sure the top part of your site loads first, so users can start browsing while the rest finishes up

  • Upgrade your hosting: Think of this as moving to a faster lane on the internet highway

Use High-Quality Images

When shopping online, customers want as close to a "try-before-you-buy" experience as possible. High-quality images offer just that, capturing both the look and feel of a product. This helps customers really understand what owning that product would be like.

It’s not just about standard product shots though. Different types of images offer a fuller experience. Clear pictures on a white background are essential for detail, but lifestyle photos provide context, helping customers visualize the product in their own lives. Close-up shots accentuate texture and quality, instilling even more customer confidence.

An infographic showing the difference between a lifestyle inage and product-only image of a fridge and candle

High-quality images also help tell your brand story. Take some behind-the-scenes shots of you and your team. These pictures add a personal touch and let customers see who they're buying from. That can make the shopping experience feel more personal and authentic.

Social Media Holiday Selling Tips for Local Businesses

Shoppers aren’t only scouring Google for good deals, they’re also scrolling through social media looking for gifts, deals, and inspiration. A strong social media presence can do more than just ramp up holiday sales; it can also improve your search engine rankings. According to Neal Schaffer, brand discovery from online sources comes through social media 52% of the time.

If Google notices your social media traffic increasing, this signals to them the legitimacy of your brand and that customers find your website worth visiting.

Here’s how to make sure your social media strategies aren’t just engaging, but also help your business climb search engine rankings:

  1. Use Holiday Hashtags: Tags like # HolidayGifts or # LocalHolidayDeals not only increase your visibility on social media, but also create more pathways for people to find your site.

  2. Partner with Local Influencers: Local influencer partnerships not only reach the right people but can also lead to valuable backlinks if the influencer links to your site.

  3. Post Gift Guides: Gift guides can be repurposed into blog posts, creating more searchable content that drives traffic to your site.

  4. Highlight In-Store Events: Promoting in-store events through social media can draw traffic both to your physical location and your website, improving local SEO.

How to do Local Holiday SEO Research

Recognizing that SEO efforts take time to bear fruit is key to preparing your holiday strategy. If you already have a high-traffic website with good rankings, some minor tweaks might be all you need for the holiday rush. But if you're in the process of improving your SEO and rankings, it’s likely you’ll have to start with less competitive keywords and invest in key descriptions and blogs to prep for the holidays.

The key is starting sooner than later because all SEO efforts can take time to see success. Search volume around holiday-specific keywords increases the closer you get to November and December.

A quote from Kristine P - Zoek SEO Expert about starting your holiday planning early

The foundation of SEO is targeted keywords. But did you realize that some keywords are easier to rank for than others? For example, something like “best tech deals near me” in somewhere heavily populated or has a lot of competition will be very hard to rank for quickly versus in a more rural area with very few options. That's why it's critical to understand what you already rank for compared to your competitors. Tools like Semrush, Spyfu, or Google Keyword Planner can help you gauge keyword difficulty.

Another holiday-specific tip is to focus on local keywords. While shopping has largely moved online, people still prefer buying local, especially during the holidays. Keywords like “winter boots near me” or “gift ideas for teens in Houston'' can direct specific, local searches to your site. Especially as Christmas, Hannukah, and other holidays get closer, people head to stores to make sure they get their gifts in time.

Additionally, it will help to search to see what your competitors rank for. See what works for them, and you can either see opportunities they might be missing that you can take advantage of, or replicate their success and actually overtake them in the rankings.

So how do you know if your SEO strategy is working? There are various tools for this, but Google Analytics is a good place to start. A rise in traffic to your holiday content as December approaches is a good sign. But the ultimate test of your strategy's effectiveness is an increase in sales. By starting early with your holiday SEO efforts, you’ll have a wealth of content to promote when the actual holiday season rolls around.

Your Quick Holiday Checklist

Holiday SEO Checklist of all the items in this blog

Key Takeaways

Making sure your website shows up in local searches is essential, especially when the holidays roll around. As more people are looking for festive deals and gift ideas, a faster and well-optimized website packed with the right seasonal keywords is your ticket to capturing their attention. This draws more customers to your site and even to your physical store if you have one.

Next, think about the content you're putting out there. From engaging blog posts to attention-grabbing social media posts, it's all about resonating with the holiday spirit. When you hit the right note, you'll find it does more than just get likes and shares. It can lead to higher sales, setting the stage for a successful holiday season.

Lastly, don't fly blind. Tracking your results is crucial. Whether it's monitoring clicks, tracking sales, or seeing which posts get the most engagement, this data gives you invaluable insights. It's not just about understanding what's working now, but it also sets you up for success beyond the holiday season. It's the gift of knowledge that keeps on giving, helping you fine-tune your strategies all year round. And if you're looking for more tips, check out our post on how to keep your sales high even after the holidays here.


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