Holiday Planning for SEO & PPC

Before getting caught up in the Fall pumpkin-spice-everything season, make time to plan ahead for the holiday shopping season. Consider all facets of offline and online marketing and begin planning early!

For the sake of this article, let’s focus on two important aspects of online marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).

Holidays & Search Engines

During the holiday season, many buyers begin their shopping quest online via a search engine:

  • In 2016, 8 in 10 holiday shoppers were influenced by online sources before purchasing.
  • Approximately 70% of people start with Google when using retail sites and apps on mobile (source: Google).

Search engines are the most influential media source during the holidays.

Where does your website rank in search engines?

There’s essentially two places to rank in the search engine:

  1. Organic search listings
  2. Paid search listings

Organic Search Listings & the Holidays

Unfortunately, ranking high in the organic search results for important keywords does not happen overnight.  It often takes several months (and sometimes years) to build authority and rankings, especially in competitive markets.

If attempting to rank well organically in time for the holidays, start with keyword research:

  • Identify target keywords: Consider search terms that balance high relevancy and monthly search volume.
  • Identify current keyword rankings: Are you low on page 1, low on page 3 or not showing up at all?

After conducting keyword research to understand target keywords, current rankings and competition for the keyword or keyphrase, determine which keywords are realistic to optimize for the holidays.  If there are keywords on the cusp of page 1 and the competition is low, definitely focus on optimizing the website to increase rankings.

Also, consider long-tail keyword optimization whether it’s on the product page or potentially on a blog/article.  For example, optimize for a long-tail keyword phrase like: “best slippers for holiday gifts” or “2017 holiday gifts for working moms.”

 If the term is highly competitive and the website is nowhere to be found in organic results, it may be more beneficial to focus on paid search.

Paid Search & Holidays

Paid search is a great way to get more visibility and drive website traffic on a more immediate basis. However, it is also important to plan ahead before doing holiday PPC.

The cost per clicks tend to increase during the holiday season, so in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, ad campaigns need to be strong when the shopping season hits.

How to have a successful ad campaign for the holidays:

  1. Campaigns: Identify specific products to advertise during the holiday season.
  2. Ad Types: Experiment with different ad types: Search Ads, Shopping Ads, Mobile, Location, etc.
  3. Test: Before the ad spends increase, test different ad copy / creative to see which convert best.
  4. Optimize: Enhance landing pages with quality images, content, etc. for best Quality Scores.
  5. Budget: Analyze cost per clicks and determine budget available for each campaign.
  6. Promotion: Determine what promotions to run: free shipping, coupon codes, etc.
  7. Track: Ensure conversions are properly tracking and measure ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

By following the above steps, ad campaigns will run at their peak performance when it matters the most. On a side note: if your business does not have an in-house (experienced) PPC specialist, it is recommended to work with a Google Partner agency, especially for a holiday campaign.

For more tips on holiday PPC on Google, Click Here

2017 SEO & PPC Holiday Calendar

Key shopping dates in the 2017 holiday season include:

  • Friday, November 24: Black Friday
  • Monday, November 27: Cyber Monday
  • Saturday, December 16: Free Shipping Day
  • Friday, December 22: 2-Day Shipping Cutoff

2017 SEO & PPC Holiday Outlook

A few additional holiday stats provided by Google to consider:

  • 54% of shoppers planned to start shopping the day after Halloween
  • 2016 online retail sales on Black Friday grew by 21%
  • US Cyber Monday mobile sales are up 34%
  • 46% of shoppers say free shipping/shipping promos are deciding factors on where they shop

The holidays will be here in no time! Ensure online success this year by planning ahead. Block off time on the calendar to prepare all components of holiday marketing, especially when it comes to SEO and PPC.

For assistance in holiday planning for digital marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at We’d love to help your business increase sales this holiday season!

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