4157858997_5fe0e336f2_oWith the busiest shopping season of the year quickly approaching, business owners are running out of time to make sure their websites and SEO strategies are ready for the holiday rush. As many consumers have just finished putting away their Halloween decorations, many stores, almost magically, have been transformed into winter wonderlands virtually overnight. So how do you make sure your company’s online storefront is ready for the upcoming hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers? We at SmartLink have a few suggestions to help make sure your holiday sales are at the top of Santa’s list!

As many customers start putting their lists together and checking them twice, they are also, more than ever, checking out the opinions of others before making their last-minute purchasing decisions. Customer reviews play a major role in the success of your holiday marketing initiatives. According to research by Nielsen, 82% of people who visit review sites do so because they are intending to purchase a product or service. Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, also use review-generated data to rank businesses within their search engine results pages (SERP). The more positive reviews your business has, the higher you will appear in search rankings.

A study by Bazaar Voice highlights the importance of consumer reviews when it comes to some of the holiday’s most popular gift ideas, such as beauty products, men’s and women’s apparel, and bed and bath products. According to the study, the number of positive reviews and overall star rating can drastically affect purchasing decisions. When going from one review to fifteen reviews, and an increase in star rating from 3.5 to 4.5, sales of beauty-related items increased by 56%, men’s and women’s clothing both rose by 22%, shoe purchases grew by 30% and bed and bath related products gained 9%.

One way to help your customers with their shopping lists is to provide them with a branded holiday gift guide. Not only does this allow you to showcase certain items, but it will also draw the attention of the search engine webcrawlers. By using long, detailed and descriptive posts, the search engines will pick up on the various keywords and position you higher in the search rankings.

Speaking of keywords, try to use as many of the following popular holiday shopping-related words and phrases as possible. Some examples are: deals, doorbusters, gifts, sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, free shipping and free delivery. These types of keywords help with search engine optimization (SEO).

Often times e-commerce businesses forget about the sense of urgency shoppers have, especially around the holiday time. Just because shoppers aren’t pushing their way through crowded malls and seemingly endless checkout lines does not mean they are not in a rush. According to a study by Kissmetrics, even a one-second delay in web page load time could result in a 7% drop in conversions. To maximize your website’s conversion ratio, you need to offer your customers a speedy shopping and check-out experience online. If your page loading speed is running at peak performance, you will likely see an increase in overall sales and search engine ranking.

And finally, now that you have their attention, don’t forget to ask your customers to take a moment to leave a review. It’s the gift that keeps on giving to your business year round, and will likely play a determining role in your future search engine rankings, web traffic and ultimately sales. It is a gift, that’s in a word, is…..priceless!  To find out how to make your review monitoring and reputation management as seamless as possible, visit www.ThinkSmartRep.com or call 561-688-8156.

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