Even though the end of the holiday shopping season is coming to a fast finish, there’s still time to optimize your site or PPC campaign for holiday shoppers. While it’s true that time is of the essence, during the Christmas season there will always be late shoppers. When you consider some of the shipping options offered, last minute shopping is becoming more and more possible on the WWW.
Both FedEx and UPS offer services that can next-day a delivery up until December 23rd (arriving on Christmas Eve), provided the customer is willing to pay for it. When you consider the available shipping options, and the fact that some of the busiest shopping days of the year are coming up, there are still opportunities to provide potential shoppers service.
Unfortunately, because of the time and related shipping issues, this article may not be very applicable if the buyer needs the merchandise moved internationally. However, if the commerce is being done from state to state, then there is still time for a last minute effort.
Normally, because of ground shipment schedules, the window for internet shoppers usually closes on or about the 13th of December. If you’re looking to do some last minute optimization, here are some things you should be aware of. A great place to concentrate on during the holiday season if Pay-Per-Click advertising. In an article appearing on ClickZ, Shari Thurow reinforced this by saying, “Search engine advertising offers two things natural optimization doesn't: fast turnaround time and guaranteed placement.”
Because of the time limitations, PPC advertising is probably the best area of concentration. Trying to acquire backlinks and boosting keyword weight won’t have much of an effect with the search engines that likely will be utilized (G, Y, MSN) in the shoppers’ last minute approach. However, provided your business offers something that would be considered a “hot item” or has a last-days-of-shopping-gift level of worthiness, PPC can still targeted. Not only will it increase opportunity, the data PPC campaigns yield will also give you an idea of what to concentrate on the next holiday season.
In an article by Rob Wilk that appeared in IMediaConnection.com, the holiday season was approached from an SEO point of view. The lessons in the article should be applied when there is more time on your side. However, the PPC advice is still be viable.
As with any PPC campaign, the keywords you target are what drive any success you may have. With this in mind, consider this advice offered by Rob, “Advertisers will add keywords like "Christmas gift" or "Holiday gift", etc. Be very wary of these terms. These terms get a lot of volume, but do not convert all that well -- unless you are an eBay or Amazon.com type business. For the most part, people who type in these sorts of queries are people looking for gift ideas. They are not necessarily ready to buy.”
Wilk goes on to say, “Costs-per-click WILL increase. As search volume and conversion rates increase, advertisers (the smart ones) will get a lot more aggressive in their bidding to take advantage of this prime traffic. Keep an eye on your competition in terms of what keywords they are bidding on.”
With responses to PPC advertising increasing during the Christmas holidays, this vehicle remains the best tool to get your product noticed in such short a time. Jim Banks of Web Diversity, in an interview at SearchEngineBlog.com, had these thoughts, “Time sensitivity is another biggie. Many advertisers are running time sensitive events, or promotions and SEO isn't as effective in delivering the 4 P's that any good marketer will tell you about, product, price, place, promotion. PPC is much better at delivering it. Some examples of this might be Christmas, Valentines Day...”
So make use of the keyword tracking and ranking tools available to you. Also, keep your ears open in order to keep up with what shoppers are looking for. If you offer these products/services, perhaps a temporary increase in your PPC budget could go a long way…