If you haven't started preparing for the holidays yet, don't panic. While the holidays are quickly approaching and many companies may have a jump start, it isn't too late to put a plan in place and make sure you're taking advantage of all the extra traffic that could come your way. Local SEO and a strong local presence is going to be the key.

Hopefully by now you have a local strategy in place including a Google My Business account, local accounts on other search engines such as Bing Places or Yahoo! Local, Yelp and directory accounts, and more. If not, visit this article to get started with a local presence in general. Once you do that, you can begin to focus on getting your local presence positioned specifically for the holidays.

5 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Local Presence for the Holidays

Below are 5 things you can do to start getting ready for the holidays and getting your website on top of the local SERPs:

1. Make sure your local NAP is correct across the board.

This is something that is important all the time and not just around the holidays, but the holidays are a great time to make sure all of your business information, such as your company name, address, and phone number, or NAP, are correct on all local accounts. Having consistency is important to the local search engine bots when it comes time to rank a website. Because the holidays are busier online and can bring you more traffic than usual, now is not the time you want the bots to push your website down in the rankings just because your company information wasn't consistent.

It's important to also note that this means everywhere online, not just the major local accounts like Yelp and Google. Use a tool such as Yext or Localeze to see everywhere your business is listed online so that you don't miss a beat. Many companies forget that sometimes the company is mentioned online by a third party, which is why it's important to constantly keep an eye out.

2. Tweak your PPC campaigns and website to target local, Christmas searches.

When it comes to PPC, you will want to make sure your PPC ads are focused on keywords that may be used around the holidays. Try to get rid of all of your other campaigns during this time and just include campaigns with Christmas or holiday keywords. The same thing can be said for your website homepage. If you have a promotion, make it known and advertise it! Below are a few examples of companies offering promotions on their homepage:

holiday-1

holiday-2

For more tips on holiday PPC specifically, visit this article.

3. Get creative with your holiday promotions and specials.

On the same note as number 2, holiday keywords are also best when trying to optimize for organic search. This means publishing holiday content on your blog and using holiday keywords on your homepage through promotions. Of course optimizing your website (and even your PPC campaigns) for the holidays is great, but you have to actually make sure your promotions are something that visitors would actually want. In other words, you have to get creative.

If you're having trouble with what to offer or do to stand out during the holidays, ask yourself: What's part of the holiday spirit; what would you like to have, get, or have happen in that period? You can then focus on how to make that come true for your customers. Consider a few good ideas along with a few examples below:

  • Create a Christmas give-away campaign shared via YouTube.

holiday-youtube

  • Create a holiday hashtag to help get people sharing and engaging in social media.

holiday-hashtag

  • Get creative with contests.

holiday-contest

  • Have a countdown on your homepage to a certain promotion or event.

holiday-countdown

It's also important to note that you have to be able to manage any promotions you offer. We talked with Scott Langdon, managing partner of HigherVisibility, who added, "For example, a 12 days of Christmas series on your blog will take some upkeep. You don't want to simply write an article and then be done with it. Promote your articles on social media, see if you can get a contest going, consider using paid search to promote your content, etc. Again, creativity is the name of the game here."

4. Use holiday images on your website and social accounts.

This is an easy one, but many companies still forget to update their websites and social accounts for the holidays with simple images. Your cover photo or website background, for example, is the first thing people see when they finally do click on your website. If you worked hard to optimize your local presence for the holidays so that people will click, where they click should also be ready to go for the holidays.

Below are a few cool holiday cover photos on social and website backgrounds:

holiday-photo

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 6.22.37 AM

5. Take a look at your competition so you can make sure you stand out.

When getting your local presence ready for the holiday season, ask yourself: What differentiates you from the big guns like Amazon & eBay? What is the key reasons people will shop with your for the holidays? Speed? Last minute items? In the end, it's these websites that are going to try and steal your holiday traffic, so you have to analyze your competition and come up with something that makes you unique.

Most of the tips above focus on improving your local presence specifically, but if you want a few more general tips just to get started, visit this article from Forbes.

Do you have any more tips for sprucing up your local strategy for the holidays? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.