Your Search Engine Marketing Holiday Checklist

search engine marketing checklist for the holidaysx

It has begun! The holidays have arrived, and your team created a comprehensive marketing plan for the final push of Q4 (hopefully). Now that the warehouse is stocked, the site maintenance is up to date, marketing calendar planned, and emails scheduled, it is time to drive search and web traffic to your eCommerce site. By this point, you have tried and tested campaigns throughout the first 3 quarters of the year and have a good amount of data to back your holiday SEM plans. But what about campaign structure for the holidays? How will your campaigns look? Ideally you want to drive as much traffic to your site by any means necessary. Don’t give yourself too much of a scare!

Keep yourself organized by following our search engine marketing checklist of important items below.

search engine marketing checklist for the holidays

1. Comprehensive Keyword List:

In the world of eCommerce, these lists include categories, brands, products, etc. You have spent enough time throughout the first 3 quarters of this year building and testing these lists that by now you have a good idea of what keywords perform the best. There really is no shortage of keywords to use as a recommended best practice during the holidays. Remember that your marketing dollars are spent on the daily budget in which you set based on how much you are willing to spend. That being said, I suggest having a comprehensive lists for a couple of different reasons if you are working with a tighter budget.

      1. Testing – keyword performance.
      2. Ad Copy Relevance – using keywords directly in the ad copy that reflect the landing page.
      3. Program growth – start with a few keywords, expand into new ad groups, different products, and separate landing pages.

Don’t forget negative keywords! Many times, your keywords can trigger search queries that are irrelevant to your ads and landing page, but may yield a few clicks. You are paying for those clicks which generates unqualified traffic. You can find examples of this in your Keyword Details report in Google Adwords. I suggest having this research done and negative keywords implemented prior to campaign launch. If not, keep a close eye on the data you collected throughout a campaigns lifespan.

Related: Infographic: How Google AdWords Works

2. Up to Date Marketing Calendar:

Let’s be honest, retailers and merchants alike, the contents of this calendar is not always going to be set in stone months in advance. The important thing are the dates during the holidays that remain the same (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day/Week). The idea of the marketing calendar is preparation for upcoming promotions. This does not necessarily mean the offer, or the promotional content, but rather the planning and implementation or how you are going to delivery these particular campaigns. If any changes ever happen to the content of the promotion, knowing the dates in advance will give you (the search engine marketing coordinator) the ability to make changes to ad copy on the fly.

3. Email Send Dates:

This completely mirrors #2 in this list, however email send dates tend be a bit more extensive than a marketing calendar as a whole. The reason being is that a marketing calendar will have a specific time period in which a promotion begins and ends, while in between the start and finish line multiple emails may be scheduled throughout. Having this information really benefits Remarketing based Search & Display campaigns from an ad copy perspective. Emails are scheduled often as a Kick-Off, Reminder, and Final Reminder (don’t quote me on that) in order to entice the email database with the offer throughout the duration of the sale. As relevant as email marketing is in the digital marketing world, for every email that is sent there is going to be a large portion of subscribers who do not open, or if they do open, do not proceed to clicking through the site. However, out of those subscribers who do not open the email or click through right then and there, the behaviour of that customer may be that they visit Google or Bing to perform searches. Having a validated search or display to mirror the content of your email, which is based off the content on the site, will simplify the experience for the user and align all of your marketing activity.

4. Up to Date Products in Google Merchant Center:

Need I say more. Technically, yes I do because this point is stating the obvious, but for a very valid reason. A lot of changes are made are to product catalogs between now and the New Year. Whether or not your product feed is uploaded manually by a merchant or a scheduled fetch in Google Merchant Center, the changes that are made in your inventory system have to reflect what is in Google Merchant Center for two main reason: 1. Users see the correct price on the web and 2. Google will disapprove products that are not valid on the site. Product Listings Ads have grown in popularity since the last holiday rush, and Google has introduced its “Shopping” Campaigns in Adwords to arm advertisers with an easy to manage campaigns.

Related: Google Shopping Campaigns – Somewhat New And Very Improved

5. Correct Ad Copy:

Ad Copy is one of the most diligent items in search engine marketing. A few reasons include; quality score, ad position, cost per click, click through rates, etc. During the holidays, there is a lot of searches performed including queries such as “deals”, “sales”, “where to find” (Specific opportunities to present direct Call To Actions). As I mentioned in the 3rd point, a lot of customers who receive other marketing material will be expecting a form of validation from a search. Likewise, new shoppers who click through an ad will expect the landing page content to correlate with the ad language that was presented to them in the search engine result page.

Make your Search Engine Marketing Holiday Wishlist – I Mean Checklist The Best it Can Be

search engine marketing checklist for the holidays

Take advantage of this busy shopping season by optimizing the performance of your eCommerce store by driving search and web traffic to your website. With the right checklist and implementation of these important Search Engine Marketing strategies, you’ll make your marketing efforts this Holiday season worth your while. Remember your comprehensive keyword list, keep an up to date marketing calendar, accurate email send dates, your up to date products in Google Merchant Center, and the correct ad copy! This search engine marketing holiday checklist is a simple, yet affective list for assisting efforts throughout the holiday season.

Related: 5 Marketing Tips For Your New eCommerce Business