An SEO Checklist for the Holiday Rush

Don’t Let Your Traffic Tank Before Your Busiest Season!

Is your BigCommerce site ready for the rush of holiday traffic? Making sure you show up on Google is crucial if you want to get a piece of the holiday shopping action. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot your rankings before your busy season gets underway.

Give Your SEO A Checkup With A Site Audit

One of the best ways to prepare your BigCommerce site for the holidays is to do what’s called a “site audit” – an analysis of the searchability and rankability of your website. These regular check-ins will give you a better idea of the overall health of your site and flag any technical issues that could be hindering your User Experience and tanking your SEO.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of tools to analyze your site. SEMrush, WooRank, BrokenLinkCheck.com and the Google Search Console run diagnostics and alert you to outstanding errors on your site.

What to Fix: Common Site Issues That Affect SEO

So what should you be looking for? As you know, Google’s algorithm analyzes every aspect of your website to determine its overall usability. Here are a few potential pitfalls that are often overlooked but can seriously impact your rankings:

  • Broken Internal Links: Broken links are like dead ends for both Google’s bots and your users. Be sure all the links on your site lead to an active site that the user is actually trying to get to.
  • 301 Redirect Chains and Loops: A 301 redirect is a way of sending visitors to a different URL than the one they typed in the search bar or clicked. Using them is sometimes necessary if you’re dealing with a larger or older site, but too many can negatively impact your page speed, rankings, and perceived credibility.
  • Missing H1 Tags: Including a relevant h1 (or HTML “first heading” tags) is one of the most crucial ways of signalling to Google’s bots what the most important content on your site is. Think of h1 tags as the headline of a news story. If you don’t have h1 tags in your HTML, you won’t rank for what you want to be ranking for.
  • Missing Meta Content: Meta content includes the title and short description your users see when your website pops up in Google. It’s important that each page has relevant content of the appropriate length. The title should be long enough to communicate what’s on the page but short enough that it doesn’t get cut off. Likewise, your meta description should be 160 characters or less in order to show up in full.
  • Duplicate Meta Content: Not only is it important for each page to have meta content, it’s also important that meta content be unique and relevant. If you have meta content that is replicated over several pages of a site, it could negatively impact your conversion rate and rankings.
  • Broken Images: Broken images not only affect your SEO, but also make your site look unprofessional and outdated. Ensure all images are properly hosted to improve your user experience.

Loading Time Matters: Get Your Pages Up to Speed

When your website traffic begins to increase during the holiday season, it’s important to ensure that your pages load quickly. Otherwise, those visitors will bounce to another, faster-loading website.

So how can you make your BigCommerce site run faster? If you’re using the Stencil framework, you’re already ahead of the game—as we’ve said before, Stencil is 15 percent faster than Blueprint and shaves nearly a second off its load time. If you’ve made the switch to Stencil, we suggest resizing and compressing your images to improve load time even further. Tools like Kraken or Yahoo’s Smush.it (which is free) are great options for this.

And, if you’re on Blueprint and haven’t optimized your site for faster page load speed, contact us now! Our Page Speed Optimization package improves load time by reducing the size of the page and the number of requests that are made to the server. We work to combine and minify both the content on your site and the code itself, resulting in a faster site and a better conversion rate.

Ready To Rank Above Your Competitors? Call Us Today!

Want to maximize your holiday traffic with a faster, better-performing site? Call us today at  866-843-4650!

Internal Resources and Marketing Specialist

Emma studied English in college, then later discovered the world of technology through her work in nonprofit marketing and communications. Inspired by the power of the web, she began teaching herself to code. She brings those skills, plus a background in content creation and an interest in human-centered design, to a role where she seeks elegant digital solutions to problems of all sorts. In a former life, Emma taught ESL and worked as a freelance writer on a variety of projects ranging from natural health newsletters to poli-sci textbooks.