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Retailers in the UK and abroad often depend on Christmas season sales to help them make revenue goals for the year.  A slow holiday season can make it difficult to handle the financial pressures of the New Year.  More shoppers are looking to online deals and mobile sales for gifts and other essentials.  How do you ensure your site and business are ready?  These holiday SEO tips will help.

Last Christmas, almost half of the UK’s population increased online spending to boost the total amount to a tidy £2.8bn.  Twenty-two percent of customers used their mobile devices to shop.  These figures are significant, but so is this one:  according to Hitwise, 45 percent of online shoppers ran into website problems.  Discouraged, these customers simply move on to another site.  To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, or that you become the site people move to when they get frustrated elsewhere, employ some simple SEO techniques.

Technical tasks, like refreshing your XML sitemaps to reflect seasonal items, are essential because this is what people will be searching for.  You may also want to optimise your website images.  Add alt text and captions, remembering to include relevant and targeted keywords.  Many people, especially during the holidays, search for gifts with image searches as well as text.

Whether shoppers are using their mobile devices to find and research deals or to actually purchase items, it is important to ensure your site is optimised for mobile.  Do you have a mobile version of your site?  Is your site mobile search friendly with large buttons and easy navigation?  Are prime items displayed prominently and are others easy to get to?  All of these are important for retailers to consider, as mobile use is only going to grow this year and in coming years.

The holidays provide a great time to create fresh content.  Write about special holiday items, promote specific gifts, ask guest bloggers to review items, and provide visitors with helpful gift ideas.  Searches for things like “Gifts for Mom,” “Gifts for 5 Year Old Girls,” or “What to Get Him,” are all popular during the season as people struggle to come up with the perfect gift to put under the tree.

Offer your visitors an incentive for visiting your site.  If you sell products, you could offer free shipping.  This drives sales extremely well, and if you optimise using “free shipping,” you could see far more traffic, which would mitigate or negate the cost of shipping. It could also help establish your business as a good one to shop with every year.  You could also give holiday decorating or recipe tips in your blog, if that is relevant to your site.  These are tremendously popular with searchers who want to get ready for entertaining.

The shopping season is almost upon us.  Are you ready?

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