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5 SEO Optimization Lessons for Retailers from 2017 Holiday Shoppers

Rieva Lesonsky

Thanksgiving weekend—including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — set new records this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF reports that more than 58 million Americans shopped only online that weekend, while more than 64 million shopped both online and in stores.

With online sales reaching new peaks, there’s a lot that online retailers can learn about SEO optimization from the holiday shopping season. Here are five lessons you can take away.

  1. SEO optimization should be the focus of your marketing efforts. Search drove the majority (41.7 percent) of online sales on Cyber Monday. In other words, search is the primary way customers find you—so SEO optimization is more important than ever.
  2. Use both paid and organic search. You can't rely on just one or the other to attract customers; both are important. Paid search drove 22.9 percent of online conversions on Cyber Monday, while organic search drove 18.8 percent. Try combining paid and organic search for the best results.
  3. Customers start shopping early, so you should start marketing early.  More than 40 percent of shoppers started holiday shopping in October, and 80 percent had started by November, The Wall Street Journal reports. With consumers researching deals well in advance, starting your marketing campaigns early can pay off for other holidays or seasons, too. For example, you can start optimizing your website and ads with Mother's Day keywords in April, or back-to-school keywords in June.
  4. Take mobile shopping and voice search into account when honing your SEO. Americans made a record $1.59 billion in purchases on smartphones on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. Some 64 percent of shopping visits and 43 percent of purchases over the Thanksgiving weekend took place on phones, Salesforce reports. As you’re researching your keywords, keep in mind that many if not most of your customers may be searching on smartphones. They may be typing in shorter search terms than they would on a desktop, or (if using voice search) using longer, more natural-language queries. If you’re not sure how to tailor your keywords for these different types of search, consider getting help from an SEO optimization expert. will analyze your options to find the best keyword phrases for the way people search for your business. Plus, you can consult directly with an SEO expert whenever you need more help.
  5. Boost SEO by getting social. More than 130 million Americans posted about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday on social media over the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, Adweek reports. Being active on social media helps boost your SEO, especially when you link to your website in your posts. The more people share your posts, the more opportunities there are for them to share that link to your website. Use keywords and hashtags related to the sales, holidays, seasons or other events you’re posting about to attract more attention.

Keeping up with the latest SEO optimization strategies can be a full-time job. If you don't have time to become an SEO expert yourself, can help.


Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. 

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