Christmas Preparations in July?

Is July too early to think about online holiday retail promotions? Never, in fact, the more you can improve search engine rankings now, the better positioned you will be when online shoppers take to the internet. Most retailers do about 40 percent of their annual sales between Halloween and New Years, so getting started now means more conversions later.

It is just as critical for online businesses too. With search engine optimization, there is a lead time before you see positive results, so getting your business in order now can impact holiday purchases in a few months. It can be critical to establish your site in the search rankings before the competition does, since over half (52.9 percent) of eHoliday survey respondents in 2011 indicated that they were going to start their retail marketing efforts by Halloween.

But what is at the root of search rankings for retail? First, there is behavioral data that the search engine rankings are built upon. Every search you or your visitors perform feeds the data that search engines use behind the search queries. As they encounter trends, the search engines can better tailor your results so that you find what you are looking for.

Then, they look at the individual buyer behavior. Are they selecting organic links or pay per click links? Do images in search results factor into clicks? There are numerous assessments and behaviors analyzed to understand buyer behavior before they even visit and online store. For those employing pay per click or other search engine marketing tactics, the keywords and phrases that lead to purchases really bubble up here.

Then there is the seller data and descriptive copy that helps determine search rankings. Like catalogs and other printed media, the copywriting really can influence purchasing. Fortunately, images do not seem to be a factor in Googles latest algorithm. Matt Cutts, Google engineer and search expert, was on the record saying that stock images do not penalize sites. For retailers, this means that their imagery should have descriptions, but the image quality should not affect their search rankings.

The bottom line is that taking steps now to insure preferred search engine rankings can help your business capture the upcoming holiday traffic. When you realize that more than one third of consumers will be doing most of their shopping online, it is never to early to think about search engine rankings.

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