Triage No. 4: Cross Promoting Holiday Deals & Events
A great option for boosting your holiday rankings can boil down to clever internal linking and cross promotion. In triage no. 4, Ben and Tyson talk about the do’s and don’ts of this low resource, high-return activity with a great little tip on leveraging your affiliate partners to boost holiday search results. Listen in to learn more.
Ben: Welcome back to holiday triage week on the voices to search podcast, I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro and this week we are going to publish an episode every day covering the topic of the season getting ready for the holidays. But before we get into the weeds of today’s podcast to help you implement everything you have learned from position zero month, I want to remind you about today’s webinar which we are calling, “Zero Or Bust: Do’s and Don’ts in Pursuit of Position Zero.” Join Searchmetrics Inc. CEO, Jordan Koene, Eli Swartz, Director of SEO and Growth and Survey Monkey as they discuss the fundamentals of position zero and why it is great for your brand, the impact of position zero on your visibility, and winning content strategies for feature snippets.
Ben: This webinar is going to be held today November 8th and 11 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, 2 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. So if you haven’t already head over to the news and events sections of Searchmetrics’ website to register or you can just click on the link in our show notes. If you are listening to this episode after 11 A.M. Pacific Standard Time on November 8th, don’t worry about it we have posted a recording of the, “Zero or Bust: Do’s and Don’ts in Pursuit of Position Zero,” Webinar in the news and events section in the Search Metrics dot com website so head over to Search Metric’s site or click the link in our show notes to learn even more tips to help you rank in position zero even if you missed the actual webinar.
Ben: Alright, joining us for Holiday Triage Week, is Tyson Stockton, who is the Director of Searchmetrics’ Enterprise Team. Outside of shepherding Search Metric’s largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, Tyson once ate a worm out of a bottle of Mezcal without taking a shot, and today we are going to continue our conversation about SEO triage for the holiday’s by talking about how you can use your top performing historical pages to cross promote your holiday deals. Here’s the fourth installment of Holiday Triage Week with Tyson Stockton, Search Metric’s Director of Enterprise Services.
Ben: Tyson, welcome back to the Voices of Search Podcasts.
Tyson: Thank you Ben. And yeah don’t overlook Mezcal, totally underrated.
Ben: I’ll be honest, I’m the one who ate the worm.
Tyson: I figured that but I didn’t want to call you out on the air.
Ben: I’m running out of things that are like novel ways to describe you, you are kind of a conservative, cut down the middle guy. I just was trying to spice it up. Bad day in my early twenties and the worm didn’t taste very good. Let’s just move on and start talking.
Tyson: It’s okay you are not the only one.
Ben : Yeah…
Tyson: I think, I mean I can only speak for myself but..
Ben: Have you actually ate the worm?
Tyson: I have.
Ben: See you’re not so conservative.
Ben: Alright what were we talking about the holiday’s triage, making sure that SEO’s understand how they are getting their site prepped for the holidays?
Tyson: Yeah… All sorts of holiday fun.
Ben: Let’s turn the page, this is a different type of holiday fun but let’s talk about using your top performing pages to cross promote, a lot of this is going to be internal linking. Tell me about how you use the existing assets you have to get some juice to your holiday pages.
Tyson: Excellent, we touched on this in the last podcast this is a really critical piece and it’s an excellent lever for the last minute aide we have a page but we haven’t really done much to it or maybe we had limitations also like those type of internal linking depending on the scale if it’s one off, so those are ones that you can usually get in when maybe other parts of the sites are locked down and code freeze. So I think this is a great option for the last minute strategy of, I didn’t do anything what can I do today. Really like the constant thing behind its straight forward but it’s also for looks you want to be looking at the pages of what’s our most visited, but you also want to look at what pages have the most link to certain equity to give.
Tyson: So again it’s going to be going into your analytics, and pulling those numbers of who’s visiting what a lot and who visited what last year too. So you are looking at the same time frame. But then again run a crawl do an SSO (technical) crawl or site structure crawl, see which pages have a really high SBF score and lower chi range. And that’s going to be a great candidate for an internal link, sure everything that fits that criteria may not be relevant. You have to be realistic and say hey this page is about this, it makes zero sense to the user to link over here.
Tyson: So you have to make sure that not just for the user, but also like that helps Google with the intent of the page like if you take it in the extreme, you aren’t going to have one sentence about cars and link them to a running shoe page. Similarly, if that are on one page that’s literally zero, zero to do with the others then that might be a questionable link but again it is a great opportunity. It is typically a low resource, low band with a kind of push. You might have to fight a little bit of a political battle if it’s a really prominent banner or something but typically if you aren’t talking about a hero banner that is going to take over the page, then usually you can slip in a link or two without rough on too many others.
Ben: How much does the placement and the size of the link, a banner versus a link buried at the bottom of the page matter?
Tyson: My personal opinion on that is I think the location on the page and where is the source code is going to have greater significance, than like was this a banner and inker text. If it is kind of buried down at the footer of the page it’s going to have one value or one weight to it. So the main things that I would be looking at is its going to be similar to like content. Ideally I want to have it in the body of the page, higher up is usually going to be better too. If you are looking at it inker text in a sentence, kind of easy rule of thumb that you can pass around through the organization is going to be something like that makes you want to have a correlation between the three key elements. What’s the sentence about, what’s the actual inker text as far as the link or what’s highlighted in blue, and then where does the page go. Ideally each of those elements should be in the same vain, and in the same intent and then that is going to send a clear signal to a search engine what the page is about, and you’re going to run less risks there. If you are just stuffing away at links it makes no kind of sense and the search engines will pick up on that.
Ben: You know the original premise for this episode was for us to talk about using your top performing pages, but I actually think there is a different component where you can use you your top performing assets instead of just your internal pages which is some of the partnerships and some of the external links that you have already gained. Can you ask partners to change those links? What are the strategies that you can think of for getting your back linking, can you use existing assets to point to your holiday deals, and obviously lever some partner relationships as well.
Tyson: Yeah. And that is actually next on audible, the shifting over again you have to think about it a little broader. Say you are an eCommerce site and you are working with a collection of affiliates that is a great opportunity depending too if it’s like a network, or if it’s a private affiliate where the links aren’t being registered as ad links or something. That’s an excellent opportunity to get back links, you have to view those partners as assets in your toolbox so to speak there not someone and typically a lot of people like to keep their marketing campaign plans a secret until it comes out, I would recommend in those situations especially if you are working direct with the websites as your affiliates so there’s not an in between mediator. That can be a great opportunity and more like a partner so you can share what those plans are because you have a mutual interest. If you have a strong promotion that people are going to be interested in buying on, your affiliate partner has that same interest because if people are buying they are going to get a higher commission check.
Tyson: It’s like that can be something that is very little conflict of interest, if you have a good relationship too I would say a low risk of things being leaked out. You know typically most of these things it is no surprise that you are going to have a sale during this time period. So it’s not that sensitive of information, and to make sure you are getting that communication to these partners and external assets early as well because the same challenges that you are going to have by getting things live on your site, your affiliate is probably going to have similar limitations as well. Even if you are like hey we don’t know the exactly what the offer is going to be but at this date we are going to have this sale, were going to provide you with what the actual landing page link is and then the copy for the promotion. Give them that heads up that is coming on the way and them just go ahead and fill in the blanks once you decided on it, if you are not already that far out.
Ben: So we are talking about placing affiliate links, around the holiday deal time and having them update existing relationships there is a ton of listicals and deal pages and sale pages that are just trying to get traffic trying to build the list of the best deals that are out there. Is there any arbitrage there to be in the top ten list, this is a little bit of a PR strategy but maybe working with people that are not specifically your existing affiliate, but people that are just doing holiday promotions.
Tyson: Yeah and there is absolutely an opportunity there, I mean you have it in the sense of hey this is a business opportunity to get more people on the site. But selfishly speaking towards SEO numbers like if you are responsible for what kind of attribution you are going to get on search traffic, that’s a great opportunity for back links if you have that strong promo, and you have that PR team or individual that is able to go out and make sure that these media publishers are aware of your promos. That is an absolute excellent opportunity to give your SEO kind of equity, kind of a little bit of a push, and I think to tie it back, depending on what your role in the business is you may have different roles in the levels of influence on this.
Tyson: If you are kind of more in the SEO manage role where it’s like, “Yeah I don’t really have the resources to go after these PR things.” That’s where you want to make sure, that the other team members whether it is your higher ups, as well as your counterparts and colleagues you don’t want them to just understand, “Hey I’m trying to grow traffic to holiday pages,” but you want to make sure that they understand at least a few of the basic fundamental levers. Because they might also come back to you with ideas for that. If they know that back links help SEO performance maybe they have other ideas for some of their efforts that could have a mutual benefit of yours. So to your point absolutely, that is a strategy that you could use during holiday. To open up a little bit more, and linger in the middle when you are having those war room internal holiday meetings, don’t just skim and give them the bare bones, give them at least the basics of what the strategy, and individual pieces of the strategy so that they might be able to help you build up on that.
Ben: Tyson, let me give you the real, real here. This comes from somebody that has seven years of business development experience working at eBay, also working in partnership with the SEO team, working with Jordan, your boss, here’s what I would do.
Ben: The first thing that I would do when we are crafting our holiday triage, is I would go to a liquor store and notice that I am bringing this back to the introduction where we talk about mezcal, you can buy a cheap bottle of wine, buy a case of them, it’s going to cost you fifty bucks out of your pocket to get twelve cheap bottles of wine.
Ben: You are going to need to go to your engineering team to make sure that you have enough bandwidth, you are going to need to go talk to some of your affiliate partners. You’re going to need to go talk to your PR team, you need to come bearing gifts because you are behind at this point and you are asking for favors during the holiday and as much as this sounds like a joke, actually building up good equity internally, a lot of these SEO practices that we are talking about things that are basically favors during the holiday, because you are doing triage and you are behind it will actually garner you a ton of good will.
Ben: To show up, saying, “I need a favor it’s the holidays, here is something for you,” and as cheesy as a tactic that it sounds, actually having a gift for someone during the holidays will provide you with good value. So go to BevMo, go to Total Wine, pick up the cheapest case of wine you can, buy one with a nice looking bottle and go talk to your affiliates in person. Go talk to your PR team if you don’t have control over that and ask them to put a little extra work to try to get you a few extra links into the listicals that are about holiday deals or to change one of the links on one of your previous promotions, to do five minutes of work to try and direct traffic to those key pages. I think that is actually a meaningful holiday strategy.
Tyson: I would add to it that, that’s not just a holiday strategy it’s actually something that just in some areas is a pitfall but that’s one of the most critical elements to actually have success in SEO is being able to build those relationships. Communicate across different teams. Ultimately, in SEO you are only going to be as effective as your able to work those partners. So if it is getting them the bottle of wine for Christmas or something, or even better yet just getting them a bottle of wine at a random time just because kind of thing. That is going to keep them thinking about you, and that’s going to keep them giving you that additional push and even bringing things up when you are not around.
Ben: Supporting your cross functional partners, bottle of wine or not is key, and I think it is specifically important during the holidays. I think that is our big takeaway for this episode. So that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search Podcast, thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Search Metrics Director of Enterprise Services, we would love to continue this conversation with you so if you are interested in contacting Tyson you can find a link to his bio in our show notes. Or you can contact him on Twitter, his handle is tyson_stockton. If you have general marketing questions or if you want to talk about this podcast, you can find a link to my contact information in our shows notes, or you can tweet me @benjshap.
Ben: And don’t forget Search Metrics is hosting the Zero or Bust Do’s and Don’ts in Pursuit of Position Webinar, today November 8th at 11 A.M. Pacific Standard Time. So if you haven’t yet clicked the link in our show notes, or head over to the ‘News and Events’ section of the Search Metrics website to reserve your seat. If you are listening to this podcast and it’s passed 11 A.M. on the 8th, don’t worry about it. We are publishing a reported version of the webinar, so you can still go and learn all the new tools, tips, tricks that Jordan Cooney and Eli Swartz the Director of SEO and Growth at Survey Monkey discuss in the webinar.
Ben: If you like this podcast, and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we will be back in your podcast feed tomorrow morning to discuss the quickest and most impactful way you can make a change to your existing holiday pages to affect this year’s holidays.
Ben: Lastly if you enjoyed this podcast and you are feeling generous, it’s the holidays people we would love for your to take a minute and leave us a review in the iTunes Store.
Ben: Okay, that is it for today but until next time remember the answers are always in the data.