"So in order to not make any more sales during Christmas, I don't need to do anything?!"
I shook me head.
"Nope. Nothing. Just leave your site as-is and your sales will remain more or less the same."
He was clearly impressed, both with my knowledge of search engines as well as their highly advanced AI-like technology.
My ego got the better of me and I decided to share some stories from the trenches.
"Yup, just the other day had to go in, and go in deep, to completely deoptimize a site. You wouldn't believe the the things we see sometimes… References to 'Christmas Sales', 'Best Christmas Gifts', 'Give a Wrench for Christmas'…"
He attempted to be unimpressed but the horror of the realization of the sheer cost of handling the increased traffic and sales was plain on his face.
Of course not all site owners are like that. In fact, just the other day I received a call.
"Hey Ruud, we've put up a Christmas page!"
I looked at my calendar.
"Cool,", I said, because I'm from that generation, "I'll make a note of that for your Q4 2008 campaign."
Silence on the other end of the line.
"2008?", confusion oozed through the telephone, "What are you talking about?"
"Well, you've put up a Christmas page just now, right?" I was right, of course. "So to actually make that page count for anything you're going to need time. Seeing as we're 12 days away from Christmas, time is what you haven't got."
But of course it's hard to get it right with us. We're like repair men; we check where it hurts.
You show me your all Christmassy themed site. Keyword optimized, so laser targeted towards Christmas gifts that Santa Claus and the Elves are among your clientele. And there we come…
"So what's your differentiater?"
"Differentiater. Unique selling point. The thing you use to make the choice between Christmas shopping with you or elsewhere come down in your favour."
"Oh that! We don't do that. Nuh-uh. No, 'Free Christmas Wrapping', 'Free Christmas Shipping', premium overnight delivery and all that jazz for us. Besides making a buck or two we're in the goodwill business and I love to share some of my traffic with other merchants."
No, all in all, this is one of the easiest, low maintenance SEO seasons of the year.
Next break will be around Saint Valentine when nobody wants to make an extra buck from all those "valentine" searches. Well, maybe a couple want to but they'll launch February 13, right?