Digital Insights

How to Use Holiday Searches to Drive Online Traffic


Published: December 23, 2015

Even if your primary sales vehicle is your brick-and-mortar store, you can almost bet that many of this season’s new customers will get to you via an online search. Statistics now indicate that an estimated 67 percent of all holiday shoppers plan to start their searches for the perfect holiday gifts online.

In this post, learn how to be sure you capture your fair share of this online traffic in time to turn browsing into buying!


Tip #1: Use Google Trends to Find out What Is Trending in Your Industry.

Google Trends is yet another one of the browser giant’s many free tools designed to help small business owners succeed in the vast online world of e-commerce. Not only can Google Trends help you identify the top trends across the board, but you can do specific keywords searches to drill down into industry specifics.

How this will increase sales: Google states that using their tools will help you increase sales by up to 50 percent. Given their market share of late, it seems safe enough to give it a try!


Tip #2: Be Sure to Update Your Online Platforms with Your Store Details. Update Online Holiday Hours

If you are open late for the holidays, have changed your location or contact information, are available in new geographic areas or any permutation thereof, now is the time to make sure these details are accurately conveyed via your online platforms.

Be sure to think beyond just your store site or website. Update your information everywhere you are online – Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google+….you get the idea.

How this will increase sales: If you are one of the many marketers who is syncing up online ordering with in-store pickup, this tip is a must-do, period, the end! In fact, approximately 70 percent of holiday shoppers now use this popular feature!



Tip #3: Change up Your Holiday Ad Copy Without Ceasing.

The more you change your holiday ad copy, including small additions or edits to feature new holiday sweepstakes, giveaways or promotions, the more likely you are to be displayed in Google browser results and ad sidebars.

How this will increase sales: It is no secret that Google’s recent algorithm changes favor highly relevant as well as highly mobile-friendly web copy. As such, fresher copy that is continually updated will do you plenty of favors in the robust holiday search engine traffic the reigning king of browsers experiences.


Tip #4: Use Google’s Free Keyword Planner Tool to Optimize Holiday Keyword Use.

Google Adwords customers are not the only ones who have access to Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. This invaluable tool helps you continually refine and update the keywords you are using to improve your ranking in search engine results.

How this will increase sales: By combining your regular trusted keywords and keyword sets with trending holiday keywords in your industry, you can improve your holiday-specific search engine results.


Tip #5: Don’t Forget About In-Store Online Browsing.

Purchase incentives for holiday shopping

Oh yes – just in case you didn’t already have enough piled onto your holiday marketing to-do list, you can’t forget that the sale isn’t final until, well, it is final. Your customers may do their initial online research, narrow their results down to include your store, visit your brick-and-mortar store for a hands-on look, and even then still go back to their phones to do more searches for price comparison and customer reviews! So the time to turn a browser into a buyer is when they walk through your door with mobile-based in-store promotions.

How this will increase sales: Three-quarters of holiday shoppers this season will turn to their mobile devices while they are in actual brick-and-mortar stores. If you set up a promotion where your customers can text a specific number to receive a special in-store only discount, you are much more likely to capture that final sale.


Tip #6: Create a Gift Guide That Can Go Viral in Its Own Right.

Gift guides are not only a great way to help stressed out shoppers get unstressed quickly, but they also have the ability to go viral in their own right, which increases your online inbound traffic as well as your brand’s credibility as an expert in your industry.

How this will increase sales: By hosting your gift guide from your website (and NOT from a micro-site, which won’t help your search results one bit over the long term) you stand to improve online inbound hits not just during the holidays but all the way into next year’s holidays as well!


Tip #7: Be Sure Your Site Loads Lickety-Split When You Get That New Hit!

Webpage loading delays statistics

Surveys show that a delay in load time of even one measly second can cost you a potential new customer. During the hectic holidays, you can cut that grace period in half. You can turn to Google’s free Analytics tool (Site Speed tab) to get some statistics on the average load time for your pages. For extra reassurance, check your site using Pingdom’s website speed test.

How this will increase sales: Not only will improving site load times prevent prospects from abandoning ship, but any improvements you make, no matter how infinitesimal they may be, will improve your ability to convert new visitors into prospects. And once you convince a customer to stay on your website, you have five whole seconds (a lifetime in cyberspace!) to engage with them and make a connection.



There is no single right or wrong way to drive more online traffic to your site during the holidays and at any time of year. What you can do is build on what you learned during last year’s holiday season to improve results this year, and so forth. As well, each year there are new tactics and tips, such as these seven tips, that can help you tailor your search engine-based marketing campaign for best results.


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