Is it just me or is everyone getting a headstart on holiday decorating? If statistics are any indication, the answer is a resounding yes. Back in July, Pinterest reported that holiday content was already trending, a search behavior that normally picks up in August and September. Additionally, Google reported that “as of the end of August, 27% of U.S. shoppers said they have already started their holiday shopping.” Now that we’re a hop, skip and jump away from 2021, you’re probably want to know how to increase holiday sales and end this tumultuous year on a high note. Here are five things you can do right now.
Recommend products that resonate with your audience.
Weaving product recommendations throughout your content is an easy win during the holidays. Your audience trusts you and is probably purchasing gifts. Brands are also looking to be included in these roundups, product reviews, and gift guides so they increase effort around affiliate marketing strategies. In order for them to do this at scale, they need mass people repping their products on social media and blogs. They most often do this through organized influencer campaigns and giving free products in exchange for placement in a roundup, giveaway, or gift guide. Just keep your readers in mind. Stay niche to your audience, because losing their trust will never be worth whatever that free product might be.
To maximize revenue from your shopping content, go overboard on quality. Google nor users trust product recommendations coming from a list of product links on a page with no surrounding content to persuade how must-have the product really is. Write unique descriptions and incorporate authentic reviews into the content as well as the direct link to purchase.
Optimize your site’s user experience.
Google is releasing a new search algorithm in 2021 with a greater emphasis on user experience signals. Things like page load times, interactivity scores, and visual stability (AKA cumulative layout shift) will have an impact on the search results in the near future. Even now, slow load times and bouncy pages cause users to have a poor experience on your site. A poor user experience leads to poor brand perception and potentially less traffic.
This can also pertain to your website’s navigation. Make sure your users can seamlessly move from one page to the next. Adding related content modules like PubExchange can help expose other helpful content to your audience from your site. And more page views mean more revenue, especially during the holidays. Navigate around your site on a mobile device, see what your user sees and make your goal be to get users to take just one more click. Internal links are key!
3. Publish family-friendly content.
We’re all for edgy around here, but it’s a well-known fact that advertisers don’t want to pay for ads next to questionable content. They can avoid this in several ways, but one common method is to have machine learning scan the content for a set of terms (read more on keyword anti-targeting) and choose not to run their ads if certain terms appear in the content. Brand standards vary to the level of strictness, but one way to ensure advertisers run on your site is to avoid a ton of profanity or otherwise explicit language in your content.
There are other benefits to keeping your content above board. Google has guidelines for publishers when it comes to the serving of their ads. In their effort to make the web a better place and protect the eyes of the unsolicited, they enforce rules for what types of content you shouldn’t publish. If you are monetizing through Google ad platforms in any way (and who isn’t?), Google will either restrict the ad monetization or block monetization altogether. So basically, for any content on your site publishing these kinds of content, you potentially won’t be able to monetize those views.
There are two sets of guidelines:
Google Publisher Restrictions – Publisher restrictions identify content that is restricted from receiving certain sources of advertising.
Prohibited content types: sexual, shocking (ie gruesome, graphic), explosives, guns/weapons, tobacco, drugs/alcohol
Google Publisher Policies – When you monetize your content with Google ad code you are required to adhere to the following policies.
Prohibited content types: illegal, copyright infringement, content promoting the sale of endangered animals, content that enables dishonest behavior, misrepresentative content
In late 2019, Google updated these guidelines to specifically include any user-generated content appearing on your site. We informed our SHE Media Partners of these new updates and advised them to have a process in place to monitor comments that potentially break any of the above guidelines.
Add affiliate links to legacy top traffic drivers.
By now, the large majority of bloggers and influencers participate in affiliate programs. Put an affiliate link of every single new product you recommend, but don’t forget about older content with product recommendations from before you were putting in affiliate links. Look through your Google Analytics data to discover legacy evergreen content that you added product recommendations back in the day. Update that content to reflect your current quality content standards and while you do that, add in affiliate links to the products.
Increase your ad inventory.
If you’re only running display banners on your site, consider the possibility of other formats. Video ads have high RPMs, especially in Q4. Make sure you’re website is running an optimized ad layout with high viewability and quality user experience.
Another option is to look at the number of ads you have on your site. Are there pages you aren’t monetizing, like a sidebar or on the homepage? SEO is important to us, we would never recommend overdoing the number of ads on your site. Quality first, always! But as a publisher ourselves, we’d be remiss to not encourage content creators to be adequately paid for their work. Internet users are accustomed enough to the working of ads and expect to see them. If you don’t have many, consider adding to the number of ad units you expose on the page.
The SHE Media Partner Network helps content creators and entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses with dedicated support for managing ads, brand partnerships, and more. Apply now to join our mission-driven platform.
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