If you are like me you are probably trying to find ways to beat the heat these days. Fortunately my family and I live in a home that is close to a large lake. Plus our home has air conditioning for the days when the lake breeze isn’t enough to keep us cool.
So you may be wondering then why I say that it is time to plan for Christmas when the winter holiday is still a few months away?
Well that is because if you own a business that gets most of its annual business from those few days and weeks around Christmas, you need to ensure your website is not only ready for the increase in traffic, but is also well placed on the search engines to target searchers who will be using search engines such as Google to research and even buy their Christmas presents online.
But why the rush now?
Because even if you started working on a plan to promote your website on Google and other search engines now, it will take a few months for you to start seeing results.
Take link building for example. If you start building links for Christmas themed search phrases in August and continued until Christmas you likely wouldn’t start seeing yourself rise in the search rankings for at least a month (September). And it could take 2-3 more months after that (October or November) to hit the first page. And that is assuming you have the content right now to support such a plan.
So, let’s take a look at a typical scenario:
Let’s say that you are a website owner who realizes in late October or early November that you are missing out on potential Christmas traffic (I’m being optimistic here – most businesses don’t consider their website until December). You start researching what needs to be done and realizes it’s over your head, what with all the talk of “Pandas”, “Penguins”, Good links versus bad links, and so on.
You also have to consider your own daily routine coming up to Christmas. You have to manage Christmas stock arriving daily, interviewing and hiring staff to cover the expected Christmas rush and so on. You soon realize that you need to hire someone to do it for you, and not just anyone. That’s because you remember what happened last year: Your buddy’s kid, who said he could do it for you last year, failed miserably. This year you realize that you need to hire someone who actually knows how search engines work.
But now here we are in Mid-November. It’s really too late now to try and position your website for any phrases because it will take at least a month to get anywhere near the first page of Google. That means your website could be found for a few good search terms by mid-December but by this time most people have either done their shopping or know what they want and where they are going to get it from. You’ve missed out on all that potential research traffic and worse, potential new customers.
Keep in mind that people are much savvier with online shopping these days. Even here in Canada we are beginning to follow the American lead where one of the biggest shopping days of the year is the Friday following the American Thanksgiving holiday. Online, one of the biggest days of the year is the Monday following “Black Friday”.
That means then that your website needs to be front and center in search results by the middle of November. Remember when I said it can take 3 months to get to that search results page? Well count back 3 months from mid-November and where are you? That’s right – August.
Now you know why I’m saying to you that it is time to start planning for Christmas. Because if you have a website that you’d like to see generate some business for you – either online or offline – then NOW is the time to start that process.
Even if you start by reaching out to SEO firms now so that they can begin your needs analysis to determine your goals and then help devise an effective search engine marketing strategy it will be a step in the right direction. This is important even if you can’t sell anything online. You need to have your business found online so that people can find your store and hopefully come into it and buy whatever it was they were searching for in the first place.