When entering such a busy time, your website must perform to the best of its ability to cope with the additional user demand.
As well as being optimised to provide the best user experiences, the site needs to be as competitive as possible against Google Shopping and major marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
While your paid and social channels may get a lot of attention, a strong SEO strategy can also yield results.
For most businesses, organic traffic makes up a substantial part of the digital customer portfolio.
Let’s take a look at how you can increase sales through SEO.
Review Your Technical SEO Fundamentals
Monitoring your website for technical issues is a standard, especially when there are so many APIs and monitoring tools available, but giving your website a once over ahead of a major sales period makes sense.
Handling out of stock products
SEO is tied to user experience and out of stock, or no longer stocked products, can harm the domain as a whole.
Some methods can be implemented to satisfy SEO requirements but can lead to poor user experiences.
And likewise, there are methods that can be good for user experiences but detrimental to SEO.
I have gone into greater detail on handling out of stock products for both users and Google in a previous article.
Be prepared for agile campaign delivery
When thinking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Boxing Day, and the January Sales, it’s important to not become too blinkered to potential opportunities and threats from competitors.
Many websites have started releasing offers earlier, as well as creating season-long deals and flash sales.
So, if you’re selling similar products to your competitors, and they show their hands earlier than expected, you must have the agility to follow suit, or risk losing out on key sales.
Having a stable deals section of the website alongside all-year-round agnostic URLs can contribute towards this.
Adding the year to the URL has long been done by eCommerce and brochure websites, and has previously provided some small ranking benefit.
That said, in December 2018, John Mueller publicly said that he, “wouldn’t worry about keywords or words in a URL. In many cases, URLs aren’t seen by users anyway.”
Personally, I agree. Having a static URL such as the below will provide strong enough signals to tell Google it’s a page for the relevant year, without it being in the URL:
You will need to ensure that you optimise the below:
- Year in the text
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Internal linking
If you fail to do the above, each year you will have to chop and change URLs, implement redirects, and update internal links for what isn’t a large amount of benefit.
Making sure your website loads fast is a staple of good site performance, but during a key business period, when your competition is also promoting deals to attract the same heightened customers, having a fast loadout could be the difference between a sale and a bounce.
Slow site speeds, especially on mobile, have long been warned against with statistics such as “40% of users will abandon a site that takes more than two seconds to load.”
Common areas where I see e-commerce websites fall down on speed are around images and the caching of assets.
This area is often overlooked by those in marketing and is often viewed as the responsibility of IT and infrastructure teams, but testing your website ahead of peak periods is important.
In a report put together by Internet Vista, looking at the 100 top eCommerce websites in France and Belgium, the organisation found that there was a combined downtime of 15,716 minutes — the equivalent of 11 days.
Among the worst sites for uptime during the month were fashion brand H&M, who had 14 hours & 16 minutes of downtime, and Wehkamp, who saw almost 20 hours of downtime.
Ahead of peak periods, testing your servers for abnormally high traffic levels and using a load balancer could prove vital when assessing not only traffic but also revenue performance.
If you want to know a little more on how you could prepare for January Sales, get in touch via our contact page.
Alternatively, check out our eCommerce SEO services.