For eCommerce vendors, December is a time of frenzied packing, shipping and dealing with customer enquiries. It’s all about focusing on the present moment so that you can get through that endless to-do list.
Fortunately, January is upon us, which means that it’s time to come up for air – and to clean up your site so that it’s primed for success in 2016.
Here are our top tips for getting on top of things.
Usher in the New Year
Still writing 2015 on your correspondence? That’s probably not the only place last year’s date is popping up. Run a Google search for ‘site:yourwebsitename.com “2015”’ to bring up any out-of-date references on your site, and weed them out accordingly to get your SEO back up to speed. Footers and headers are common culprits.
Tip: Get your site quickly re-indexed using Screaming Frog. You can also use this service to create a custom search list of out-of-date messaging – which you can then export.
Seek out under-achievers
Use Google Analytics to determine which products converted well last year – and which didn’t hit the mark with your customers. Use the results to cut underachievers from your product list, and to redirect your efforts on those that performed well.
Do the same with your content pages, and try to determine why certain pages didn’t receive the traffic expected. See whether your pages meet content best practices standards relating to length and value – and if not, update them accordingly.
Tip: Measure traffic against results listings by connecting Screaming Frog with Google Analytics and Search Console using the API options.
Cull dead pages and fix links
Chances are that you sold out of certain products during the Christmas season. Perhaps you also ran time-limited seasonal promotions to give your sales a boost. In the aftermath of Christmas, these pages probably lead to broken links and out-of-stock error messages, undermining your SEO and frustrating your customers.
You can readily identify and remedy broken links by logging into Google Search Console and selecting Crawl > Crawl Errors. If you’re a Screaming Frog user, use the ‘Response Codes’ and ‘Client Error (4xx)’ reports. Another handy tool is Link Juice Recovery, which identifies inbound links to broken pages.
Tip: Seek out ‘island’ pages that receive traffic but that aren’t linked within your site by going to ‘GA & GSC Not Matched’ > Reports in Screaming Frog. Add internal links to boost traffic to these pages.
Freshen up your store design
Now is the perfect time to work on the design of your store. You can give it a complete overall, or make a few tweaks to freshen things up.
Not sure what you’re after, or where to start? You can try all of Kong’s themes out before you swap to a new one.
Mine your customer emails for content ideas
Customer emails are a goldmine for valuable, powerful content ideas. Posting answers to customer questions on your site is a great way to rank well for key phrases related to your store, while improving conversion rates and reducing the burden on your customer service team.
Use your competitors as inspiration
See what worked for your competition over Christmas by using tools such as Sistrix and SEMRush to highlight your competitors’ most successful keywords and landing pages. Work these into your plans for next Christmas – and leverage them further by using them to target forthcoming sales hotspots.
Start preparing for the next seasonal rush
There’s no rest for the wicked. Valentine’s Day and Easter are just around the corner, so it’s time to start preparing. Use ubersuggest.org to find relevant or seasonal keywords, and then create a list of phrases to target as you plan for the next big calendar event.
By working through the above tips, you’ll be well placed to start the year off on the right foot – and to meet your business-related New Year’s resolutions. Here’s to a successful 2016!