Finally, the prime time for businesses is here — the holiday season. This year, the National Retail Federation is predicting the total holiday sales may surpass last year’s $789.4 billion. To cash in on the 2021 holiday season, you need to prepare beforehand by implementing holiday local SEO strategies.
Think about it. You have two of America’s beloved holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — and the two busiest shopping days — Black Friday and Cyber Monday — coming up in two months. If you don’t have a reliable holiday local SEO plan in place, you’ll miss out on the holiday boom as your competitors rake in big bucks.
But don’t sweat it if you’re not all set. These local SEO tips will help you optimize your website for the holiday season, so you can attract more shoppers and get the lion’s share of the holiday sales.
1. Optimize your location(s) for voice search
Voice search is quickly replacing text search as the primary way of searching the internet. In 2020, Alphametic predicted search by voice would make up 50% of all searches. This indicates more than 50% of searches in 2021 will be voice searches. As such, optimizing your location for voice search before the holiday season will enable more customers to find your online business through voice searches.
To do voice search optimization successfully, you must understand your prospective customers well. Ask yourself — who will be voice searching for the holidays, and what will they be looking for? On the whole, you’ll find these two main types of customers:
- Customers searching for restaurants near me to eat lunch or dinner when holiday shopping: they’ll be searching for restaurants by type and looking for phone numbers, directions, and hours of operation. Some of their voice searches may read “find Italian restaurants near me open now ” or “places to eat near me.” If you’re a restaurateur, optimizing these and other relevant local keywords for voice search will attract more holiday shoppers to your restaurant.
- Customers searching for types of local businesses: they’ll be looking for alternatives, especially if there’s a shortage of products available on Amazon, heavy delays in shipping for online purchases, or they’re focusing on buying local this season. So optimizing your local business listings by the correct category will be vital in ensuring your business shows up in SERPs.
How to Optimize for Voice Search:
Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business (GMB) powers all local business results in Google Assistant, accounting for 36% of the voice search market share according to a 2019 Microsoft insights report. This makes it an all-important area of local SEO and voice search. The trick is to add your holiday product offerings to your GMB listing and set holiday business hours. This way, shoppers who visit your brick-and-mortar location will find you open and get the exact holiday products they’re looking for.
Claim and optimize your Apple Maps business listing.
Considering Apple Siri commands a 36% market share for voice search, optimizing your Apple Maps listing through your Apple Maps Connect is crucial. You want to update your Apple Maps listing information to show your holiday offerings. This will boost your site’s visibility in SERPs all through the holiday season.
Claim and optimize your Bing Places business listing.
Microsoft Cortana derives its local search results from Bing Places. Bing has a 20% market share in voice search according to a 2019 Microsoft insights report, so it pays to optimize your Bing Places listing. You should update your service and product description to include your new holiday offerings. Also, update your primary and secondary categories to accommodate different holiday keywords.
Claim and optimize your Yelp business listing
The 2019 Microsoft insights report states that Yelp Business powers local search results for Amazon Alexa, which claims a 25% market share in voice search. Also, Yelp is the primary source of images and reviews for Siri, Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana. Hence, updating your Yelp listing for the holiday season is extremely important to your entire local voice search optimization campaign. You want to update the edit slideshow page so your primary images mirror the holiday spirit.
2. Add event schema to your website events
If you have online or offline events planned for your customers this holiday season, you can have them show up on the SERPs by adding schema markup. When customers search for upcoming events using general keywords such as “concerts this weekend” or “workshops near me,” your event page will appear as rich results on the SERP.
Adding event schema will boost your organic presence and generate more clicks to your website. Resultantly, you’ll have more attendees at your event, and this will be an excellent opportunity to upsell, cross-sell, and win new customers. The perfect local business marketing strategy.
3. Ask customers to submit reviews
Generally, online ratings and reviews increase during the holiday season due to the heightened holiday shopping. Positive reviews from customers will attract more holiday shoppers for small businesses.
Customer reviews, both positive and negative, provide crucial feedback you can capitalize on to improve your holiday offerings. Even if you don’t get enough elbow room to act on customers’ feedback this holiday season, it will be valuable data in subsequent holiday seasons. More so, you can pick up relevant talking points from customer reviews to inspire your FAQ or Q&A page on your local business website.
4. Update business listing photos
Your photos on GMB and Yelp are the most dominant features people see first when browsing your listing profile. Photos alone play a crucial role in convincing consumers to make a purchase from your business. Having compelling images that capture the holiday spirit accurately will elevate customer engagement and draw in more local customers.
Your profile and cover photos should speak of your holiday products. For instance, if you’re a florist, uploading a telling picture of thanksgiving bouquet flowers will appeal to shoppers searching for thanksgiving flowers. Your listing should have at least five images showing your unique product offerings for the season.
If you’re a service business, you can upload a picture of your employees clad in holiday attire. Or, you can upload a photo of your office’s interiors and exteriors furnished with holiday decor. A great boost for your local SEO efforts. The goal is to make your GMB and Yelp profile relevant and appealing to holiday shoppers.
Add products with descriptions and photos to your Google My Business page
On top of adding images of your holiday products, it’s vital to add branded descriptions of the products on your GMB page. For instance, if you’re selling Calico Critters or Li’l Woodzeez toys, referencing their brand names in your GMB description will boost search visibility. Buyers who decide to shop at a local business this season will land on your web page if they search for toys using their brand names.
Saying your toy shop is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, those who mobile search using the keyword, “Calico Critters dollhouse toys in Lancaster” will land on your web page because your GMB profile will display on top of the SERPs.
Restaurants can also add their dishes as products.
If you operate a restaurant, you can add special dishes to your GMB description as products. For instance, if you offer gluten-free dishes or vegan dishes, adding the keywords “gluten-free dishes” and “vegan dishes” to your product description will boost search visibility. Holiday shoppers searching for these special menus will find your listing faster and easier.
5. Optimize your eCommerce site to support holiday traffic
A website outage during the holiday season is a retailer’s worst nightmare. Traffic overload triggered by the sharp increase of digital shoppers in a short time frame can crash or slow your eCommerce website if its infrastructure capacity is limited.
According to an Insider Intelligence report, online sales this year are projected to account for 18.9% of the total holiday sales. It means you’ll have more customers shopping online in November and December than the rest of the year. This can lead to site downtimes if you don’t optimize your eCommerce site before the holiday season kicks in.
It’s advisable to conduct a site audit to improve speed, security, checkout load time, and mobile usability. As a result, your website will have enough capacity to process many simultaneous orders without suffering server overload.
6. Create special Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages
Normally, Black Friday and Cyber Monday searches are usually over the top during the holiday season. Though keywords may vary among individual customers, the most common high-value keywords include:
- best black friday deals
- black friday sales
- black friday online deals
- best cyber Monday deals
- cyber Monday sales
- black friday cyber Monday deals
Other keywords combine these high-value holiday keywords with the product names, location, or brand names such as:
- black friday tv deals
- black friday tv deals Walmart
- cyber Monday amazon
- black friday sales Philadelphia
Since these keywords are highly competitive, the sure-fire way of ensuring your rank high on SERPs is by creating dedicated landing pages targeting these keywords. Ideally, you should design these landing pages and upload them before the holiday season so they start driving traffic early. Also, you can update last year’s landing pages and repurpose them for the 2021 holiday season.
7. Promote your local business holiday offers on social media
Social media marketing is an effective holiday marketing strategy since many consumers use social media platforms for their holiday shopping. According to a Statista report, 28% of shoppers plan to use social media platforms to purchase or search holiday products this year.
Consequently, sharing holiday offers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest will boost your online holiday sales.
Get Your Local Businesses Found on Local Search Results
Holiday local SEO will help you win big this holiday season by boosting your local search visibility. You’ll make more headway if you apply these local SEO tips for the 2021 holiday season early because it takes some time for search engine optimization strategies to yield results. That’s why it’s wise to think ahead so that the holiday season doesn’t catch you off guard.