A successful holiday season is a process that starts far in advance for SEOs. This week Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, walks us through the five steps to executing a successful holiday campaign.
In today’s episode, Tyson walks us through how to launch and optimize your holiday campaigns.
- When to launch your holiday content
- How to stage your content launches for max impact
- How to re-use existing content for this years holidays
GUESTS & RESOURCES:
- Schedule your free Digital Diagnostic
- Tyson Stockton: Twitter // LinkedIn
- Benjamin Shapiro: Bio // Podcast Network // Twitter // LinkedIn
Benjamin: Welcome to Holiday Seasonality Week on the Voices of Search Podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro. This week, we’re going to publish an episode every day covering the topic of how you can get ready for the holidays. Joining us again for Holiday Seasonality Week is Tyson Stockton who is Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. So far this week, we’ve talked about doing your holiday seasonality research, how to build out an effective roadmap that gets buy in from your team, and actually producing holiday specific content that’s going to perform. Today, we’re going to talk about launching your holiday campaigns.
But before we hear from Tyson, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses, monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions. We’re happy to invite you, our loyal podcast listeners, to an upcoming AMA webinar workshop where Tyson Stockton, our Director of Services, will be answering all of your questions about seasonality. Come prepared with your website, your data, and any questions you have related to optimizing your content for the holiday season. Tyson will answer your questions on our webinar in real time. To join our seasonal AMA Webinar, go to searchmetrics.com/webinar.
Okay. Here’s the fourth installment of Holiday Seasonality Week with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. Tyson, happy Thursday. We’re getting close to the end of talking about the holiday season. Welcome back to the Voices of Search Podcast.
Tyson: Thank you, Ben. I’m excited to finally get the work and the content live to the site now.
Benjamin: Everything that we’ve talked about is ready to go. This is the the apex, right? We’re talking about launch today. For those of you who haven’t listened, we’re doing Holiday Seasonality Week and we’ve talked about how to do your keyword research, how to build your roadmap strategy, get buy in from your executive team, from the cross functional partners. Then yesterday we talked about doing your content production and when and how you should focus on things that are actionable, that you can get launched and control first, and then work around your cross functional partner schedule. Today, we’re gonna talk about our launch.
Let’s make the assumption here that we have our ducks in a row, we’ve got executive buy in, we’ve been working on developing our content for months and months. When’s the day we want to press the big red button? When do we actually start thinking about pushing our content live?
Tyson: Yeah, so I mean the first thing is you want these pages. I mean in an ideal world, you’re reusing the URLs from last year. You’ve already built up maybe back links to those pages. You already have some page authority there. That’s going to be your best case. If it’s a net new brand new page, you want to get it live as early as possible, even if it is just kind of a Black Friday coming November 2019. That’s going to be kind of your first step is get the pages out as soon as possible and then start having those iterations of updating graphics and creative assets, having your different launches of content on the page, and then also having that kind of timeline or those iterations of linking.
I’d say starting off, you definitely want your pages to be live kind of the October timeline. You know? If it is new, it’s live, it’s there. You’re starting to refresh the content, adding some additional links beginning of November. You’re getting a final push on maybe a final creative swap on the weekend going into the events. You start ratcheting up those homepage links maybe the day before. You have these different touch points, and you’re going to have more of those touch points in the weeks and days going into it. Maybe you have a cadence of every week a different element is kind of being added, and then maybe the three days right before Black Friday, you’re having a couple kind of roll outs, whether it’s linking from the homepage to actually revealing what the sale and the offer is on the page.
Then once the event’s actually there, kind of in that, you also want to be then working with your other kind of marketing channels to make sure that you’re all pointing towards the same pages. I think that’s like a real key that you wanna make sure, and ideally since you started these conversations so early, the team that’s responsible for pushing out the mailers is already familiar with your page and they’re using the same one for their mailer blast. You also want to be doing this for like any paid ads or the things that are going around that you’re working with. Affiliates, making sure that they’re pointing to the same SEO landing page for these different Black Friday events.
I think that’s more in the actual rollout and in the moment. Something that you want to be kind of focusing on.
Benjamin: Launch isn’t a one day event. The strategy here is that you’re launching your pages early. Letting Google understand that they are there. Interpret that there’s some content, that you’re prioritizing them because you’re adding content to them regularly. There’s a couple of different steps to launch other than just pushing a page live, right? There is the navigation that’s going to be changing. There’s updating the content, and then there is this whole idea of making sure that all of your external linking is pointing towards this. Launch is really a longer period than it is just a press page, publish, and sit back and evaluate, right?
Tyson: Yeah. I mean I think something too is your job’s not done once the page goes live. Like you still have ability to ratchet up signals, add maybe content to the page. There’s still going to be some elements that you’re going to be responsive of. But you set the timeline so far out, you’ve had all your kind of internal winning people over that you should… The goal is that you’re going to face less kind of resistance in those efforts, but you are going to expect to have some of those changes that are going to happen during the event, right before the event. It is still obviously a key time and for some websites they could be up to 80% of the annual revenue will within a month or two.
It is something that I would expect not to take the time off for. You want to be around. You want to help kind of advocate and support those, the different iterations. But I wouldn’t view it as like, okay, it’s launched. It’s lives. I moved on. I’m already working on something else.
Benjamin: Talk to me about some of the technical optimizations that you can make. You’re launching your pages and you know they’re holiday specific. Is there anything you can do from a technical perspective that helps Google interpret the pages, help them contextualize that they are seasonally focused, that they’re about the holidays? What are the signals? It’s not like there is a language tag or something that you can put in, like this is English versus Spanish versus French. You don’t get to mark that this is a holiday page in the code. How do you give Google a signal that this is something that you want to heavy up in the holiday season?
Tyson: Yeah. I think especially like the last part of that question is not going to be that different than what you do with the other pages on your site. You’re going to be looking at things like, you know, the title of your page, like are you using the most popular kind of keywords in that title, do you have content that’s speaking to what the page is about and speaking to all of the related topics to that kind of parent topic if you will. All of those are pretty standard kind of SEO best practices, but then it’s also looking at the links, like what are the anchor text of the links that are pointing to that? Are they saying Black Friday sale and then pointing to the Black Friday sale page, or is it just sale and pointing to the Black Friday sale page?
It’s specific and kind of using the rule of thumb for like adding a link in, what’s the context of the sentence, the anchor tags and the landing page. The closer that you can make those aligned, the more clear the signal of what the page is about is going to be easier for a search engine to interpret. Obviously with the kind of evolving understanding of content, the actual written copy on the page is going to be something that Google is going to be able to pick up on.
I think you’re not really going to change your strategy of making sure that a search engine or Google understands the intent of the page, but something else kind of earlier in the question as far as site performance or technical aspects, that is something that going into the launch phase you want to make sure are you still competitive on things like site speed. This can be something that can be a much harder implementation task and especially when…
If we kind of went back a few conversations, that’s something that you want to have scoped out in the beginning and understanding not just how your page performance is, but how the competing pages are. What I mean by this is Google is using Lighthouse and the performance kind of KPI when in that in evaluating how a website’s speed is. If you’re at let’s say 20, but then your benchmarks, your competitors for that same page write a 60, there’s a huge opportunity. You increase your performance by improving those site performance features. If you’re at a 40 and your competitors are on 45, well, that’s not really… Even though you’re not at a hundred, it’s a relative number.
Understanding where the actual competition sits is going to be key in understanding how viable or how much impact you can get out of that specific initiative. But that would be one that I would say is like earlier stages of the launch and ideally much earlier before November is going to be the ideal time for those kind of bigger rock initiatives. Then the other thing that I would touch on from a technical standpoint is if there are different versions of this URL that exist. Maybe you had different versions that can article back to one. Making sure that you’re cleaning up all of those links to not be pointing to a 301 that didn’t point to this page.
Or if you changed the actual URL, that you’re making sure that all those old links or the old page actually has a 301 to past that you know authority onto your current page. Those are going to be one of the technical things that you want to button up prior to the actual kind of weeks before the event is making sure that any of that legacy page authority is funneled into these actual live stages that you’re pointing to for this holiday season.
Benjamin: Any last words on how to manage the launch when you’re getting your content up and running? Like we mentioned, it’s a rolling process, getting your content out there. You’re getting your pages out there. You’re getting your content published. You’re making sure that all of your links are set and your site speed is up to par with your competitors, if not better. What’s the last tip of advice for making sure that the launching of your content is going to be successful?
Tyson: Yeah. I think the tip that I’d have for this is actually going to kind of tie back to some of the creepiest steps in the sense of I’d recommend documenting this and having almost like a dashboard of progress similar to how some people will go about like an HTPS migration. Sure. It’s not going to be nearly as complex as a migration, but with a migration, you have dependencies on different teams. Having an understanding of what’s actually been completed and what still needs to be completed before launch is going to be kind of the best practice here.
It’s not only like, okay, we had maybe three iterations of content planned, having it at any given point where you can report to the organization, “Hey, have our total roadmap for this holiday season, we’re at 35% completion. We’re still waiting on X, Y, and Z deliverables from these other partners,” and treating it kind of more similar to how you treat a larger kind of more development heavy project and playing almost like a project manager role where you’re keeping other teams accountable. You’re providing the transparency of progress, what still needs to be completed, and that’s going to help kind of manage expectations.
But then in some cases, it’s going to put pressure on other kind of stakeholders and partners to make sure that they’re delivering and following through on their part that you’re reliant upon.
Benjamin: I think that’s great advice in the sense of launches, not just about publishing your pages, right? As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a rolling process. You’re launching. You’re putting content on the pages. You’re managing your linking structure, but it’s also about keeping your team up to date with the progress of all of your holiday efforts. Having that dashboard, understanding a sense of how much of the work that you thought you were going to be doing has been completed, and giving people an understanding that once launched data is done, the project and the work is not done, there’s still a fair amount to do, is going to do nothing but help you gain the resources and the time that you need to optimize the content.
That’s what we’re going to be talking about in tomorrow’s episode. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. If you’re interested in contacting Tyson, you can find the link to his Linkedin profile in our show notes. You can send him a tweet. His handle is Tyson_Stockton, T-Y-S-O-N underscore S-T-O-C-K-T-O-N. If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you can send me a tweet @BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.
If you’re interested in joining our upcoming holiday AMA where Tyson Stockton will walk you through how to solve your holiday seasonality problems, go to searchmetrics.com/webinar. If you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed tomorrow morning to discuss how to evaluate and optimize your holiday campaigns. Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the Apple iTunes store or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Okay. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.