Enhance Your Search Rankings During the Holidays

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In hopes of turning visits into sales, either online or in-store, you want to maximize the traffic to your website. All this without jeopardizing your search rankings in the process.

Customer reviews submitted to Google affect search results. Asking customers to leave a review is one of the best things that you can do to help your search engine rankings, especially if you are a local business. Your customers should leave a review from their Google account since it will have an effect on your Google traffic. Reviews on sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Trip Advisor can help as well.

Search engines like it when you keep your site up-to-date.Updating your site’s home page every day during the holiday season can help boost search returns. These could be as small as adding a “17 days until Christmas” type of message or refreshing the page with an updated “deal” each day. If you own a restaurant, add a “featured product” or “featured appetizer” to the home page, and change it daily.

If you have a blog, adding a new post each day will also help your site’s SEO. Posts don’t have to be lengthy; a couple of paragraphs of text and a related photo will suffice. Share the post on your social media accounts and include a link, to drive traffic.

Maintain an overall online presence, which not only includes updates to your website but social media as well. Along with browsing websites, prospective customers use social media to find information. Search engines track user engagement and links to your site on social media.

While there’s technically no proven link between tweets, likes, and shares and actual search engine rankings, social media activity plays a significant role in your online visibility, which does have an effect.

link auditPerform a Quick Link Audit. Use tools such as Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools) and Majestic.com to download all of the links to your site. Review all of the anchor text of links pointing to your website from other sites — an activity that Majestic facilitates. Look for anchor text phrases that do not belong and links that aren’t relevant, given the business context.

Make a note of links that use peculiar keywords or off-topic phrases. I have seen ruthless companies use negative SEO campaigns during the holidays in an attempt to sabotage their competition. They will use off-topic or even adult keywords to create links back to competitors.

If you spot any such activity, make a list of all the links you don’t like, save it as a .txt file, and upload it to Google, requesting that those links be ignored. (This list is referred to as adisavow file. Google provides to tool to assist you in the process.)

Links that are clearly off-topic, especially those that contain adult keywords, should be removed as quickly as possible. I recommend contacting a reputable SEO firm or consultant if you need assistance. Removing these negative links will only help improve your site’s SEO.

Once the holiday season is over you will want to perform a full link audit but spotting and reacting to any negative SEO that’s being done by competitors is important and can minimize any potential losses in search traffic over the holiday period.

These steps won’t harm your site’s SEO. Instead, they will help boost your current rankings and the overall traffic you receive from organic search and social media.