Is it Too Late for Holiday Search Traffic?

Here it is, the middle of December, and you're probably wondering, "Is it too late to get search engine rankings for holiday-related phrases?" Well, yes and no.

Holiday phrases like "Christmas" show up in Google's universal search results, so there still may be an opportunity to show up. However, for other competitive keyword phrases, you'd be better off targeting New Year's, or even Valentine's Day, because it takes up to a month or longer to see results if everything is done correctly.

For targeting holiday-related keyword phrases this late in the game, there still are options, though.

You can issue a press release and work on getting into the news (news results are often included in the organic search results). Or, you could also include your products in the Google Base shopping search results (shopping search results are often included in the organic search results for certain product-related keyword phrases). Another option: start a blog or continue to add posts that are related to the holiday keyword phrases you're targeting.

Press Releases

For many of the popular holiday keyword phrases, you'll see news results in Google's universal search results. If your company is doing something special for the holiday season (say, offering a holiday-related product or service), then issuing a press release and distributing it may help get it into the Google News search results, which may then show up in Google's universal search results.

When writing your press release, make sure you use your keyword phrases (the holiday phrase) in your title tag and the body copy. Include links back to your Web site and some targeted internal pages on your site.

If your press release talks about a specific holiday-related product that your company sells, link directly to the product page in your press release. Also, don't forget to include a photo or a link to a photo.

Press release distribution is key. Simply adding it to press release Web sites, such as PRWeb, may not be enough. Quite often, sending the press release directly to the media outlets (including local news outlets) can get good results.

Google Base

For many more specific holiday phrases, such as "Christmas wreath," you'll see shopping search results. Including your Web site's products in Google Base will improve the chances of your product showing up in these search results.

This can often bring quite a bit of traffic, as well as sales, directly to your product page. Your product, price, and Web site could appear in these search results.

Google Base is free. Even if you don't have an advanced CMS or shopping cart that automatically generates a feed for Google Base, you can manually generate a file using Microsoft Excel and upload it manually to Google Base. Products are usually included within about 24 hours.

Also, make sure the targeted keyword phrase is in the product's title and description, and that the product images are named appropriately.

Blog Posts

Blog posts are often included in the search results along with a time designation (e.g., 10 hours ago). The blog post will show up in the organic search results for about 24 hours before the post is treated as a regular old page on your site.

Just like a press release, you'll want to make sure you optimize it for the keyword phrase you're targeting. Again, include your keyword phrase in the title and copy of the blog post. It also seems to help if you include a link to another authoritative source about the keyword phrase you are targeting.

So, if your blog post is about "Christmas Wreaths," link to Wikipedia's "wreath" page with the link text "wreath" in the blog post. Also, it helps to publicize the blog post a bit in the social networks to get some links to the blog post.

And finally, remember that the holiday season isn't just about Christmas. There are many other holidays that bring traffic, as well.

We want to know what you think! Take the Search Engine Watch Readership Survey and help us give you more of what you want. It takes only 10 minutes, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a cool prize (see site for details).

About the author

Mark Jackson is President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, a search engine optimization company. Mark joined the interactive marketing fray in early 2000. His journey began with Lycos/Wired Digital and then AOL/Time Warner. After having witnessed the bubble burst and its lingering effects on stability on the job front (learning that working for a "large company" does not guarantee you a position, no matter your job performance), Mark established an interactive marketing agency and has cultivated it into one of the most respected search engine optimization firms in the United States.

Vizion Interactive was founded on the premise that honesty, integrity, and transparency forge the pillars that strong partnerships should be based upon. Vizion Interactive is a full service interactive marketing agency, specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing/PPC management, SEO friendly Web design/development, social media marketing, and other leading edge interactive marketing services, including being one of the first 50 beta testers of Google TV.

Mark is a board member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) and a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association (DFWIMA) and is a regular speaker at the SES and Pubcon conferences.

Mark received a BA in Journalism/Advertising from The University of Texas at Arlington in 1993 and spent several years in traditional marketing (radio, television, and print) prior to venturing into all things "Web."

Read more of Mark Jackson's columns at ClickZ.