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Tips for a Successful SEO Christmas

by Jorja Winfield | 23.12.2015
And so this is Christmas . . . and what can you do to optimise your site for the next festive season?

With around 90 per cent of people doing at least some of their Christmas shopping online, it is important for webmasters to ensure their site is prepared for the busy festive season.
For many it may be too late this year, but here are a few simple steps you should put into place in the lead up to Christmas 2016 to ensure your site brings in the traffic, and has the ability to handle it!

Here’s your one-stop SEO Christmas checklist:

Identify & Fix Crawl Issues: To make sure Google has the best chance at crawling and indexing your Christmas pages and site as a whole, do a site crawl to find out if any of your pages have 404 errors that may need redirecting. By redirecting 404 error pages you are saving your Google crawl allowance on crawling and indexing pages that don’t exist. You are also preventing users getting annoyed and bouncing to a competitors site by being presented with pages that don’t exist.

Update your sitemap.xml file: If you have added some festive pages, it is important to update your sitemap.xml file to include these so they can be crawled and indexed, as well as remove any unnecessary pages.

Optimise your Meta Data: Don’t say bah humbug to Meta data, it’s as important to your site as Rudolph is to Santa. Meta data is used to describe a pages content, so to make sure your pages rank well for your keywords whether they be for products or seasonally specific pages, ensure each page has optimised title tags, Meta descriptions and H1’s.

Do a page speed test: To make sure your site is as speedy as Dasher, we recommend using Google Page Speed Insights to run a page speed test. Doing so will identify any issues that are slowing your site down that need resolving. By taking simple measures such as compressing images, combining static assets and eliminating render blocking JavaScript and CSS, you can improve the speed of your site and give your server the ability to handle the influx of requests over the festive season.

Optimise Images: Shopping on the internet for most is very much a visual process, so Google Image searches are often a user’s first port to call for their Christmas shopping. For this reason, it is important that your products are easily found in image search results. So don’t be a scrooge, put some effort into optimising your product images with descriptive alt tags. Describe the product and what category it’s from. For example, if you were optimising an image for a red leather corner sofa your alt tag should look like this alt=“Red Leather Corner Sofa”.

Keep festive pages: Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle and start deleting festive pages. Yes, the Christmas spirit has left the building, but your Christmas pages need not. These pages retain link equity year after year, so you can retain this link equity with a 301 redirect to your latest Christmas pages (whereas with a 404 page error the link equity is lost). Using this strategy also demonstrates to Google that you keep a well-maintained site with fresh content.

Timing: You don’t need to start planning for next Christmas on the 1st of January like Santa does, but don’t ho ho hold around until it’s too late for the changes to make an impact on your sites visibility. The best time to begin planning and optimising your site for the Christmas period is around August – September so Google has enough time to crawl and index any changes or added Christmas pages.

Make sure you have a plan to see what issues you faced this year and want to avoid next year. Don’t make it onto Googles naughty list, check your site optimisation and performance regularly and schedule into your company calendar to start planning and optimising your site for Christmas and you’ll be jingling all the way to top of the search engine results.

There you have it, some SEO Christmas tips from us that we hope you find successful in the New Year. So, from all of us here at Tug, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!