Five SEM Tips To Increase Holiday Traffic

Want to get more prospects to your site to increase holiday traffic and seasonal sales? Here are five easy tips to tune up search marketing activities, Website visibility and seasonal e-mailings for better returns on your time and marketing investment.

1. Use holiday keywords at the Website

  • Rewrite introduction copy on a main landing page to include holiday keywords: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, gifts, giving, presents, spirit of the season.
  • Write headlines for inside pages of the website that include at least one holiday keyword and one keyword unique to your product category. For example: “Give a gift of warmth this season with these insulated parkas.”

2. Use a one-in-20 keyword rule of thumb
For every 20 words of text in your site’s headlines, copy and product descriptions, aim for one holiday or seasonal keyword. (Search engine spiders index Web pages and are programmed to monitor keyword density; this helps the spider bot determine if the page is relevant and useful to a buyer’s or seller’s search request.)

  • Keywords should appear naturally, in context. Repeating holiday or product keywords out of context on a web page is a signal to spider bots that a site is keyword stuffing—to bump up its results page rankings. Keyword stuffing or overuse (keyword densities higher than 5%) may result in search engine penalties, including removal from the engine’s index.
  • Use words in your links to other product pages on the site (anchor text) as keyword placement opportunities. If a buyer comes to your electronics site by searching on “cameras,” make sure your links to other pages of the site (pages that feature specific camera models or brands or prices) use keywords in the hyperlinked text.
  • So instead of “Click here for more cameras,” try “See new Canon cameras in your price range.

3. Use hot product lists as keywords

  • If you’re an authorized reseller of licensed merchandise, list best-known brands in your headers, Web page copy and pay-per-click text ads. A sample search-advertising headline: “Kid Approved Disney Wear” or “Authentic Harley Gear.”
  • Compare notes with industry leaders in your product category. For example, if you sell toys direct to retail customers, check for a list of this holiday season’s hottest toys at a site like Toy ’R ’ Us. Toys ’R ’ Us identified toy trends for 2008 and sorted them into categories, such as $avvy Savers, Music My Way, Earth Friendly Fun, Curious Kids and Animatronics.

4. Time e-mailings to audience

  • E-mail promotions or e-newsletters reach holiday buyers if they are timed to match the target audience’s preferred open times. E-mail marketing research found at least 80% of all e-mails are opened between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., with the majority (nearly tow-thirds) being opened and read from Tuesday to Thursday. But open-and-read rates are different for business customers (during work hours, work week) than for teen/tween-aged targets (after the school day ends).
  • Online advertising is timed through “day parting.” Whether you work through an agency or manage your own search and display ad accounts, you can designate days of the week or time of day that ad campaigns will be served.
  • For example, pay-per-click ads to highly mobile chain-store buyers reach more receptive prospects if they’re served right after close of business hours, when targets are out of meetings or are in downtime mode on business travel. Online ads targeting maternity and baby customers are better flighted during midday hours.

5. Position holiday guarantees and incentives up front

  • If you can guarantee shipment before Dec. 21 (Hanukkah) or Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve, a Wednesday this year), that delivery guarantee should be highlighted in e-mail subject lines, in Website headlines and in paid ad keyword buys.
  • Use incentive keywords in website landing pages and pay-per-click search ads. For example: “Free shipping any order over (X amount)” or “No cost to ship orders made by Dec. XX.

Jason A. Prescott is CEO of JP Communications, a network of wholesale vertical search communities