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Customer Retention. Automated

Site Optimization for the Holidays

Posted by Polly Flinch on Sep 21, 2016 3:32:35 PM
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ThinkstockPhotos-589451640.jpgAccording to a study by National Retail Federation, 56% of searches during holiday season were conducted on smart phone or tablet, meaning your website is a key component of success during the holiday season. Here are 5 easy tips to help you optimize your site this holiday season.


1. Give your product descriptions a makeover

Give your top products a little boost this holiday season with a product description makeover. Make sure your product descriptions are unique and not just pulled from the manufacturer information. Give each product your own personal spin and make sure to include keywords and long tail phrases to boost page ranking. While you may not have time to comb through your entire product catalog, make sure to review and edit your top holiday product pages with a fine toothed comb.

2. Tag product images with relevant keywords

Yes, tagging your product images is a pain, but the payoff is worth it. Make sure every product image on your site has a description that includes relevant keywords. Basically you want to make sure that you have a shot of showing up in a text based or image based search. The more visibility you gain, the more shots on goal.


3.Put Keywords in your Product URLs

When in doubt take a look at your URL string, does it make sense with the product you’re selling. If you’re just tagging every URL with a SKU number, you may want to rethink this approach. Add in keywords, and titles of the products to pull even higher rankings from your product pages. Important note: change your URL strings few and far between - this shouldn’t be an update you make every month. Bake in relevant keywords, but don’t keyword stuff your links. Here’s a great article from moz about url best practices.


4. Site Load Time

Site speed can affect you in two ways: conversions and SEO ranking. Let’s look at both of these separately:


According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, almost half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and if a site hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds, they tend to abandon it. This is the last thing you want to happen, so make sure you’ve got your site load time under control.

SEO Ranking.

I should preface this by saying that what Google seems to care about is time to first byte not simply to how long it takes for your page to fully render. Optimizing time to first byte can be a longer slog and may not make the cut for your holiday list, but if nothing else you should keep this in the back of your mind as you think through website needs for 2017.

Whether you’re looking to boost conversions, SEO ranking, or both, you can get a free speed test at https://tools.pingdom.com/, Google’s PageSpeed Insights, or WebPageTest. Note: looking for a leg up on your competition, you can do a little recon via these sites as well to see how you compare.


5. Internal Site Search & Navigation

Now that you’ve tackled the problem of site load time, the main question you need to ask yourself is, “would a first time shopper understand where to go to find the information they need?” Since you spend day in and day out looking at your site, analyzing it, and optimizing it, this question might be hard for you to answer. Here’s the good news, there’s an easy way to run a quick test to see just how user friendly your site is. Grab 10 - 20 of your friends, family, co-workers, babysitters (really anyone that doesn’t normally interact with your site). Have your test subject log on to your site and ask them to complete key tasks like finding product A and putting it in their cart, writing a review, locating the FAQ section, etc. Make sure to take notes on their reactions, and where they get stuck. This information will help you understand how other people categorize your products, particularly people who may not be as familiar with the layout or product categorization you already have in place.

Your website is the most accessible way for shoppers to interact with you so it’s imperative that they have a good experience when they’re on your site, and find you during a search in the first place. While this article just scratches the surface of site optimization, these tips and tricks should get you started for the holiday season.

Make sure to download the 2016 holiday marketing planner to stay up to date on all the must do’s this holiday season.

Topics: Holiday Marketing, Best Practices

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