Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | December 13, 2019

7 Local SEO Tips To Prepare Your Brand For The Holidays

The holiday season is approaching quickly and as much as we look forward to spending time with friends and family, we have to admit, preparing for the holidays can often be a little stressful. Preparing your brand for the holiday season is no different. There’s a lot you have to do to ensure your brand will survive the largest consumer spending season of the year. From an influx in the number of local searches taking place to the increase in daily reviews coming in, to employee vacations and more, it’s easy to fall behind this time of year. That’s why we’ve put together 7 Local SEO tips to help prepare your brand for the Holidays.

#1. Set Your Holiday Hours

Did you know that mobile searches for “store hours” grow throughout December and are the highest on Christmas day? Setting your holiday hours are important for every holiday even if you don’t plan to change your store hours. If you don’t set your hours for holidays, sites like Google and Yelp will warn customers that they may be wrong due to the holiday. Our advice, set your holiday hours now – before it gets too late.

How to set your holiday hours on Google My Business:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.
  3. Click the Special hours section.
  4. Click Confirm hours next to an upcoming holiday. Or click Add new date to choose a different date.
  5. Enter the opening and closing times for that day.
    • Slide the circle to “Closed” to indicate that the location is closed all day.
    • If you’re open 24 hours, click Opens at and select 24 hours from the dropdown menu that appears.
    • If you enter closing hours past midnight, make sure to set them properly.
  6. When you’ve finished entering all of your special hours, click Apply. Your special hours will appear to customers on Google only for the designated days.

To bulk update the hours for all of your locations you can do so using a spreadsheet by following these instructions.

How to set your holiday hours on Yelp:

  1. Login to the Yelp for Business app.
  2. Go to Business Information and select Special Hours.
  3. You can mark your business as closed for the day or open during a window of time. Special hours are set on a day-by-day basis, so add each day where your operating hours will be different from the hours regularly listed on Yelp.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Did you know that mobile searches for “store hours”  are the highest on Christmas day? Setting your holiday hours are important for every holiday even if you don’t plan to change your store hours.[/tweet_box]

#2 – Optimize Your Local Pages For The Holidays

82% of local searches are unbranded. People are looking for things like holiday-specific items, holiday hours, and holiday deals during this time of year. Your local pages are the perfect place to store all this information.

By adding holiday information to your local pages, your brand will be able to appear in more local, web, and voice searches. In fact, in the past 2 years, mobile searches for “on-sale” + “near me” have grown 250%. When users search for terms like “Black Friday sales near me” Google crawls your local pages to find relevant keywords and then uses that information to rank your local stores. This is a great time to rank for seasonal keywords that won’t last year-round.

#3 – Get Ahead of Your Review Responses Now

97% of consumers say reviews influence their buying decision. Consumers are going to be turning to your reviews more than ever during the holidays. Reviews impact more than just products or retail brands during the holidays, people are looking at reviews for making decisions about everything they do during this time of the year; booking hotels, making restaurant reservations, even doing things like hiring a handyman to help put up decorations.

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Brands who get ahead of their reviews now will have a better chance of influencing consumers to chose them over the competition.

#4 – Proactively Ask and Answer on Google Q&A

If you have yet to ask or answer a question on the Google My Business (GMB) feature, Google Q&A, now is a great time to start. During the holiday’s brands can expect consumers to ask questions on their GMB listings about things like holiday hours, holiday-specific products, and BOPIS (Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store). Brands can get ahead of these questions by asking and answering them ahead of consumers. Not only will this help proactively answer common questions, but it will also help prevent the spread of misinformation. GMB questions can be asked and answered by anyone, get ahead of inaccurate user-generated answers by answering those questions first through Chatmeter’s Google Q&A publishing tool.

#5 – Schedule your Social Media Posts in Advance

This is probably a no-brainer for most brands but we couldn’t leave it off the list. Because 76% of US consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a social media post, this is the best time of the year for brands to be active on social media. With less than 3-months left in the year, it wouldn’t take much to create, approve and schedule out your social media posts for the rest of 2019. Using a tool like Chatmeter’s Social Suite to publish posts to all of your local social accounts would help free up your time to accomplish some of the other items on this list.

#6 – Create Review Response Templates

The best way to get on top of all those reviews when you return from the holiday break is to create review response templates. Creating templates is a great way to save time when responding to reviews. Chatmeter users even have the option to set up bulk responding. Using merge codes, rotating templates, and advanced filtering, our bulk response tool helps users create custom responses for every review in half the time.

How to create review response templates:

How to Respond to Positive Reviews:

  1. Thank the customer
  2. Get specific
  3. Entice them to come back

How to Respond to Negative Reviews:

  1. Apologize and thank them for their feedback
  2. Respond appropriately
  3. Invite the conversation offline
  4. Keep it short and sweet

Not sure where to begin? Download our 10 review response templates any brand can use for inspiration.

#7 – Use a Task Management System

You’re not going to be able to enjoy your time off for the holidays if you’re dreading all the work you have to come back to. Implementing a task management system before your vacation will help you to stay on top of everything once you return.

Chatmeter’s Workflow makes it easy for brands to stay on top of all their reviews, listing changes, and more throughout the holiday season. By setting up auto-assigned tasks for things like responding to reviews, you can ensure you won’t miss a thing when you return from the break.

Prepping for the holidays is already enough work in your personal life, don’t let the holiday prep for your business overwhelm you. By following these 7 tips, brands can prepare their online presence and reputation for the holidays.