As you may suspect during the run up to and during the holiday season website traffic (across the board) increases fairly dramatically. This again as you may guess is down to people looking for and buying gifts. But one question I am always faced with is how best to leverage this extra traffic, both at say Christmas and during other holidays such as Easter.
With this in mind it is clear to see why it is vital that we optimise our Google Places (and other local listings) for each season. Not many companies realise that they can either a) do this or b) it will be of use.

A Christmas DoodleThere are 5 key changes you can make to local listings to optimise them for each holiday. This as I mentioned is based around Google Places but you can do this with almost any local listing services you may use … so go on optimise your local listings.

Use Keywords and Phrases for the Season
Each holiday will have different keywords and phrases for different products. So for example if you sell clothing, in winter you may talk about waterproof jackets and have a sale on them. In spring you maybe talking about shorts or fleeces. Target your season and product, in your information mention your best sellers as gifts and sales. Re-targeting local listings for the season is easy and can give you a huge advantage over competitors.  Do this kind of thing in the Additional Information section, be both specific to the product and generic about the season.

Amend Your Description for the Season
This sounds  like the advice above and it is, only this time be more generic about seasonal gifts. “Christmas Gift Cards available” or “the perfect gift this christmas” are great little tag lines that you can easily add to a description. The more effective a tagline you can get in your description the better you will do (don’t forget you should also maybe put this in the blurb of your website too).

Imagery is Key
Whilst I go on and on about content being king, and it is, imagery as content is as they say “worth a lot more” … or a thousand words maybe. Anyway, what this means is that you need to be uploading seasons images of products in use or simply showing them off for the season / show off your sales. It is often over looked but if you search for a place in Google Maps it will show you an image next to a listing if its available! So take advantage and get selling with imagery.

Coupons are Awesome
As Ben said in a comment about setting up Google Places for success, coupons are almost never taken advantage of. Most businesses if they do use them forget they expire 30 days later, and don’t refresh them. Whilst they may not make a HUGE difference they may make some difference, they are especially useful if you are targeting a mobile audience or an audience who are looking around for something technical and will then look for the best savings. Vouchers and sales remain in someone’s mind even if they visit another website.

Get Ready Early
Remember despite it being on Google, it will need to be re-indexed and re-ranked this can take time. So do all this work a few weeks (at least 2) before you need it to kick in. When you do want it to kick in, take a look at joining it with an adwords campaign (i’m not a big fan but for short campaigns it can work). Don’t leave it until the last minute, it will mean these changes don’t make a jot of difference and your sales may suffer.

With thanks to Google for the Doodle
Written by Andy Kinsey SEO Consultant
For over ten years I have been working with all kinds of clients big and small, start ups to multi-nationals, helping them to make the most of their online assets and ensure they can grow.