In recent years, the word ‘drop shipping’ has become increasingly prominent in business articles, especially in the retail sector and amongst online sellers. For those who are scratching their heads, wondering what it’s all about – this article is for you.
With competition high for online sales over Christmas, making sure your landing and product pages are optimised for search engines to crawl efficiently becomes even more important.
SEO best practice drives organic web traffic for ecommerce businesses all year round, and at Christmas takes on an even greater role.
To help make your product pages have an impact in festive search results, we’ve looked at ways and your business can do to adapt your SEO strategy to maximise your ecommerce sales.
Carry out an SEO AuditFirst and foremost, if you haven’t already, find out what is working for your online store and what isn’t.
Start with seeing which products and content did well last year, and which of your products do well generally.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a free, quick and clear way to see your best performing web pages, landing pages where people enter your website, keywords, click-through rates, and backlinks.
Seeing which pages are underperforming will show you where you need to improve content or look into technical issues.
Using Google’s tools can also help flag broken links (pages that can’t be found or accessed), and Ahrefs has a broken link checker too.
Paid tools such as Screaming Frog, Moz, Semrush, and Ubersuggest can all also provide additional invaluable insight.
There are also other checks you can carry out without using SEO audit tools.
A quick win to boost your website’s domain and webpage authority on relevant keywords is to identify content for updates such as articles and blog posts.
By increasing word counts, updating titles and subheadings, and improving out-of-date content, your website can receive a boost to the relevant search terms.
Adding Christmas keywordsOnce you’ve completed your audit, you can get started on updating your web pages and product descriptions.
If your product listings, category pages, and landing pages don’t contain the keywords people are searching for, then they’re not going to be seen.
You’ll need to start with some research.
Decide which keywords you want to rank for on the different pages on your website and think about how relevant they are, search volumes they receive, and how difficult it is to rank for them.
Do your Christmas keywords researchHaving a mix of body keywords (2 or 3 words) and long-tail keywords (4 or more words) is an effective approach.
It’s important to bear in mind that shorter terms are far more competitive and harder to convert, while longer phrases receive less traffic but are more likely to convert.
‘Christmas gifts’ would be a highly competitive search term, and ‘Christmas gifts for under £25’ a less competitive higher conversion long-tail keyword search.
By using the Google Keyword Planner in your Google Ads account, you can get an idea of search term traffic, suggestions, and competitiveness without having to pay.
For example, a body keyword search term like ‘Christmas gifts’ gets huge traffic but competition is high.
Whereas a long-tail keyword gets lower traffic. Google suggests related search terms for you, which helps you choose keywords you could focus on.
(It’s important to remember that in Keyword Planner competition refers to paid advertising, and not organic, although it does give you an idea of how popular the search term is likely to be.)
You can also see related long-tail keyword search terms if you scroll to the bottom of the Google search page. In this example we’ve used ‘Christmas gifts for under £25’ again.
Stick to keyword best practice
The keywords that are best for you to use will differ depending on the pages they appear and the user intent of the search.
For your product pages, visitors will likely have greater buying intent because they’ve landed on that page either through a specific search or through your website.
To boost your search result visibility for your product pages, you can use your usual SEO keyword placement best practice alongside writing powerful product descriptions.
Use user intent keywordsUsing festive user intent keywords that suit your different landing, category and product pages are key to boosting Christmas traffic.
According to Semrush, and much of the SEO community, user intent keywords fall into four main categories:
- Transactional intent – search queries with a strong intention to purchase, with words like buy, deals, discount, top 10, etc. For instance, ‘Where to buy to Christmas jumpers’
- Informational intent – search terms looking for information, not explicitly transaction related starting with words like what, how, tips, ideas, compare, etc. For example, ‘What are the best Secret Santa gifts for men?’
- Navigational intent – searches that navigate to specific websites, content, and brands alongside words like cost of or reviews
- Commercial intent – words used for PPC strategies
Create Christmas landing pagesSeasonal landing pages featuring SEO-optimised keywords are a great way to create festive content targeting Christmas searches that directs users where you want them to go with a targeted call to action (CTA).
Although Christmas isn’t far away this year, search engines take time to index landing pages.
Making Christmas landing pages live as early, then optimising and promoting the page builds page authority over time and makes it more likely your page will appear higher in search result rankings.
Promote Christmas content and build linksCreating Christmas content that your audience can engage and identify with is far more likely to attract social shares and backlinks.
Your festive content should complement your products, provide inspirational gift ideas, and cater for your customers’ needs.
Crafting blog content such as gift guides, and featuring in influential external blogs with a link to one of your landing pages are great ways to incorporate and fill gaps in Christmas keywords, and build internal and external links.
In addition, building your content into your social media campaigns supports customer engagement.
If you have blogs and landing pages that performed well last year, optimising and updating them for this year is a quick-win.
Beware of cannibalising keywordsYour ecommerce store will have a wide range of products and pages, so it’s important that your web pages aren’t competing with each other for the same keywords in search results.
Keyword cannibalisation when two or more pages rank for the same search terms. You can spot this when you do your SEO audit if you notice pages aren’t receiving as much traffic as you would expect and more than one page is showing as having the same keywords focus.
To detect competing pages, you can search for your domain name plus a product you have on your website. For instance, thousandsofChristmaspresents.co.uk + Christmas decorations.
If a blog post from 4 years ago shows in results and not a recently added product, then you’ll need to adjust keywords or tweak you website structure and add internal links to a landing page that you want to appear in search results.
Having a spreadsheet of all your website pages with the keyword aligned with each page can help you avoid competing search terms.
Check your canonical tagsIf you have a product that comes in different colours and sizes, product pages that have similar information, or duplicate product categories then you may need to add canonical tags to let search engines know which page is the ‘master’ and should appear in search results.
For instance, you may have two product categories with these URLs:
A search engine wouldn’t know which page to show in results, and might consider them as duplicate content.
Canonical tags are an easy way to avoid being penalised by search engines for duplicate content and most CMS have plugins that make it easy to simply copy and paste the URL you want to make the ‘master’ page.
Seasonal SEO isn’t just for ChristmasHaving an SEO strategy is vital for your ecommerce business all year round, and integrating busy sales periods should be part of it.
With other key spells throughout the year such as Mother’s Day, Easter and Black Friday, building events into your SEO strategy and calendar can help you maximise sales.
If you have FX requirements, we can help you maximise your returns and protect your profit. Get in touch with our team on [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 7847 9400.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.