The holiday season is once more upon us, and there will be frenzy among consumers and buyers to complete their holiday shopping quickly. However, there will still be last-minute shoppers who will want to purchase gifts for loved ones until the eleventh hour. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas, a local business needs to up the ante to ensure they cater to their target audience during the busy holiday period when consumers dig in deep to make purchases, be it products or services.
Here are 10 valuable tips for local SEO for holidays that every local business should be aware of:
- Accurate Local Business Listings
If you have not bothered with local business listing until now, the onset of the holiday season is the perfect time to tweak and improve the listing. If you don’t, you will miss out on the holiday shoppers as they will be unable to find you.
Check old listings to correct incorrect business name, former business address and old telephone numbers. These inaccurate contact details will lead your customers away from you and/or you will not be found during a local search.
Use a tool like TribeLocal or RioLocal to create and track local citations in local business directories and citation sites. It makes the entire process of filtering local listings in directories easy, quick and efficient so that you can go about claiming, creating, verifying and correcting contact details, opening timings and location to help holiday shoppers to find you more easily.
- Get Rid of Duplicate Listings
Duplicate listings are connected to online directory. While you should ensure there are no duplicate listings of your business well before holiday season begins, there is no time like now to start this process. Just remember that you may not be holiday-ready when it comes to certain listing platforms. However, with Google, you will be ready long before the carol singers start making their rounds.
While shutting down duplicate listing should be a part of local SEO for holidays, it should be an ongoing process throughout the year. This will ensure you have control over the listing that directs prospective shoppers to your store.
- Incorporate Extended Opening Hours in Google My Business Page
Extended business hours are a must during holiday season as it will positively affect your revenues. To inform prospective shoppers of this, add the extended hours to your Google My Business listing.
Source: Small Biz Trends
Google already has a list of holidays for which it supports special hours. You can add the extended hours using a range of methods. Just make sure that you get the timings right for all your locations, if you have multiple stores. Otherwise, ensure that you follow the special timings you have selected in your GMB page. It will create a negative brand image if shoppers come to your store to find that you have shut shop for the day.
- Make Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising Holiday Centric
If you are running PPC campaigns, tweak those ads to incorporate holiday-centric keywords. If you cannot do it for a few campaigns, you may want to pause them until the holiday season is over. Make the content attractive so that people feel like clicking on the ads to find out what you have to offer.
Source: Local Surge Media
Make sure that your website also reflects the same promotions that you are promoting through PPC campaigns. This harmonizes your holiday special promotions so that the same message is going to prospective customers visiting different platforms.
- Make Sure You are Equipped to Handle Online and Offline Complaints
Holiday shopping can be stressful and you will find that Seasonal Affective Disorder can be quite widespread during this time. The crowds, jostling and pushing can frazzle shoppers, and some of them may get irritated. So, make sure you are well-prepared to handle unhappy and frustrated shoppers, who will have no qualms about heading online and writing negative reviews in a blink of an eye. And, negative reviews will not only drive away other prospective customers, but will have a profound effect on your local search engine rankings.
If you have staff, make sure they know the process of resolving complaints. Display the phone number in the store and on your website so that customers know where they can go in case they are unhappy or dissatisfied.
- Use the Power of Google Posts
You may be surprised to learn that Google Posts can be a powerful local SEO tool. It is a form of microblogging that you can use to your advantage. Without a lot of ado, you can easily highlight Cyber Monday or Black Friday deals, special holiday events in your store, your philanthropic and community outreach programs and anything else that you want prospective shoppers to know.
During the holiday season, you can use Google Posts create exciting and attractive content for shoppers. Focus on the first 100 characters as that is what will appear live on your post and make sure you upload a clear and relevant 750 x 750 sized image. This post will stay live for seven days unless it is event-specific. In which case, the post will stay live until the event gets over.
Source: Search Engine Land
- Optimize Titles and Descriptions for Search Engine
It is important to understand that titles and descriptions do not have a direct effect on search engine rankings. However, they affect click-throughs. Hence, it is important you revisit titles and descriptions for webpages and landing pages so that you can optimize them for holiday season SEO and click-through rate.
Read all titles and descriptions to incorporate holiday-centric keywords, but ensure that the content is tweaked so that it is more appealing to searchers and they feel compelled to click on the link to visit the webpage or landing page. When content is written to provide a solution, it tends to be received better than content that is nothing but a never-ending list of keywords.
When you get more clicks for a webpage, it will not only lead to more conversions, but the page will be ranked higher in search engine results as it engages visitors. So, it will be a win-win situation for you.
- Get Analytical Tracking Going
You will be running several campaigns and promotions during the holiday season. Some will perform well while others will not. But how will you figure out which one is performing or underperforming? This is where analytical tracking comes into play. You can use TribeLocal or GMB Insights to figure out how many clicks your PPC and other online campaigns are attracting and how many are getting converted.
It is necessary that you spend time tracking your campaigns so that you can tweak them to make them more effective. Also, analyzing your campaigns will allow you to come up with new marketing and promoting campaigns after the hullabaloo of the festive season settles down. Come New Year, you will be armed with the right local SEO and marketing strategies to drive your local business to greater heights.
- Make Empathy a Part of Your Local SEO
Holiday season is the time when people look back at the year and think about the tragedies and life-altering situations that have occurred in their lives or in other people’s lives. These events will be playing on people’s minds and they will be trying to do something special to bring cheer into lives of those who are less fortunate.
Use this opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the society and community you operate in. Make sure that you inform shoppers through different media, online and offline, that you will be donating a certain percentage of the proceeds to relief work or communities that are affected by natural and man-made disasters. This will not only help people feel good about shopping at your store, but it will also help boost sales as everyone likes to contribute to a good cause, especially during the holidays.
- Optimize Your Content
Don’t let Santa be the only person to check their list. You too should create a list of all your webpages and landing pages so that you can review content on these pages and check their existing rankings in search engines.
Read through the content carefully to ensure they are properly optimized to attract organic traffic. Check out pages that are currently ranked low so that you can optimize them and improve content to help them rank higher in SERPs by making them more clickable and relevant to prospective shoppers. This is a good time to add a long-tail keyword to your content here and there.
The Bottom Line
Holiday season presents a unique opportunity to improve your local SEO and attract shoppers to your store. This is the season where you don’t have to focus on massive link building endeavors, as you will not have adequate time to reap results. However, you should use these local search engine optimization tips as a last-minute solution, just like the last-minute shopper, who knows that they should have started holiday shopping earlier but didn’t and now they have to take what they get at a price that they may not like!
These tips for local SEO for holidays will get you quick results. Don’t expect them to propel you to the top of SERPs, though. Local SEO is an ongoing task and should be done throughout the year. But these holiday SEO tips help you rank better for keywords and long tail keywords in the local context during the holiday season.