The color of the leaves clearly confirm the month of September is just about over, making it hard to believe that Black Friday is just 60 days away.

The holiday shopping season accounts for as much as 40% of annual retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation. With almost half of your business concentrated in 6 weeks, it’s critical to dive into the season early.

In a report published by Google just before the start of 2012’s holiday season, nearly 50% of the consumers surveyed said they would be relying on search engines during their online shopping sessions. If this holds true, it makes search engines the single highest source of traffic to retailer websites. Optimizing your website, for the best visibility in natural search results, is critical. Get started with these 5 easy tips.

1) Keyword research
The first and perhaps most important phase of optimizing your site at this time of year is keyword research. You’ll need to identify the keywords that are currently working for your brand, relevant keywords that you are missing and a quick analysis on how your competitors are doing in optimizing their sites.



2) Create content
With your researched keyword list in hand, create a content plan. What topics do you need to write, which do you have covered but need to be optimized?

Consider creating gift guides. These hardworking content pieces play important roles in  site optimization efforts by allowing deep content to be grouped together and linked close to the homepage. Gift guides also serve your shoppers, giving them quick browsing opportunities for easy gift recommendations. Create your gift guides with your shoppers in mind. Include guides for the best price points (gifts under $25), popular categories (top kitchen gadgets) and ideas for gift recipients (best gifts for girls under 12).

3) Update title tags and meta data with seasonal products and special offers.
Using your keyword research insights, map out title tag and url structures to include keywords, valuable product information and deals & offer information.

Are you planning to offer free shipping this holiday season? Or maybe a limited time product offer? Include it in your title tags and meta descriptions.

4) Publish holiday specific content early.
It can take some time for new content to be crawled and indexed by the search engines. Publish holiday specific content early so it will be visible for searchers during the shopping season. This includes shipping cut-offs, holiday specific products, unique holiday themed pages, gift. guides

Once your holiday content is published and category pages have been updated for the season, submit an updated XML sitemap to the search engines. This will help make sure your new pages and content are indexed before the shopping rush.

5) Check for site errors
Log in to your Google Webmaster Tools and review the health of your site. Now is the time to fix crawl errors, find and fix 404 errors, look into any sluggish download times, and look into how much of your site is indexed.

The 2013 holiday season has 6 fewer shopping days than 2012, with just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The reality of this year’s e-commerce calendar requires website and marketing teams to be working as a cohesive unit, speeding down the runway to the holiday season. At eZdia, we specialize in creating content for companies. We write SEO and customer friendly content, that enhances your customer’s shopping experience. It’s an easy ROI calculation with our innovative approach. If you find your teams tight on time, short on resources, or in need of expert — get in touch!

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