Preparing your ecommerce SEO strategy before the holiday code freeze

A ’code freeze’ is a period of time where no new developments on a website are allowed to launch. 

For retailers this will help minimise errors or downtime during the peak shopping season. 

A recent study reveals that retailers expect a 4% increase over last year’s shopping season, projecting $965bn in sales between November and January, however digital is coming out even stronger with online sales projecting a 9% YOY increase (equivalent to $434bn). 

This means that search professionals need to position their retail sites to achieve more than the fair share of the increase by sharpening their SEO strategies prior to the lockdown.

Give priority to soon-to-be high traffic pages

Given that 90% of in-store sales are still preceded by trips to the web, make sure your store locator is programmatically optimized with relevant NAP (name, address, phone) data versus a generic ‘Store Locator’ title on each location page.

Expect a similar surge in pages that feature your credit card/financing, shipping policy/track order, and return policies. If any of this information is buried in an FAQ page, escalate it to its own URL. 

john-lewis-returns-page

Key information such as phone number and store locator need to also be represented high on the page and made clearly visible. 

Feature big sales, events, deals and gifting

Digital customers are on your site hunting for the best deals, and they expect this information to be easily found. A page should exist (and ideally never be taken down) for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday deals, and shopping guides based on personas and price. 

amazon-black-friday

Coupons, promotion codes and special offers should also be easily found, and if not, you risk this branded traffic slipping away to third party websites. 

Don’t worry if these pages haven’t been around long enough to rank. Google will give an edge to this type of content regardless of how optimized a challenger brand’s pages might be. 

Make sure digital and physical are tightly aligned 

Many buyers in your store will be searching for better pricing and availability, making product detail pages an important asset. 

Product pages should be optimized with things like model numbers, if applicable, in the title tag and HI. This will help gain visibility for model number searches and to assure customers aren’t finding your competitor in search results. 

By paying attention to these three pieces of advice now, retailers stand to benefit from this year’s expected increase in digital holiday shopping.

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