Getting Into the Holiday Search Spirit

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santasearch_smallADOTAS – During the holiday season it’s not uncommon for search marketers to make big changes as they plan for what is easily the heaviest traffic period of the year. However, when it really comes down to it, this time of year is no different than others in terms of strategy.

All the basics still apply; it’s just that the impact of a poorly managed strategy can be amplified by the volume and the focus of holiday traffic patterns. Even one misstep can quickly turn a holiday marketing campaign from merry and bright to downright depressing. The old saying about Christmas lights can be applied to your campaigns: when one goes out, they all go out.

Here are six tips for search marketers to consider when planning for the upcoming holiday rush:

1. Remember that if you have a set strategy for daily / weekly etc. budget for a particular keyword or campaign, you will want to monitor that carefully as traffic increases so you don’t cap out your budget and miss opportunities for increasing sales at existing ROI rates.

2. This may be a particularly important time to pay attention to your match types and to the use of negative keywords. As traffic goes up for greeting card queries, your SIM card business could take quite a hit if you are ranking for irrelevant queries due to overly broad matching.

3. Remember that brand marketing should be an important part of your paid search strategy. Consumers are doing a lot of research online and buying in stores so don’t forget to construct and manage your campaigns in a manner that recognizes the contribution that paid search can make to an offline sale. Look for tools that can help you to understand that contribution through attribution features that track the many touch points on a buying journey.

4. Make sure you are using Google Tags via Google Places. They are offering 30 days free advertising for new advertisers on this service that can show up above standard search results.

5. Make sure you have visibility on Bing. They are now powering over 20% of searches in the US where they have already replaced Yahoo’s search results by Bing’s own search mechanism. Don’t waste opportunities by forgetting about these potential customers. Searchers on Bing can sometimes convert at a higher ratio than on Google and for less cost if using their PPC system.

6. Use analytics and related tools to refine your PPC strategies. ROI for certain search terms can vary widely from normal during the holiday period. Monitor what is happening and change your strategies to suit — or use an intelligent bid management system to assist you in doing this.

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