It’s safe to say that at this point, we’re all familiar with the concept of gift guides. There’s a strong chance that even if you haven’t written one for your store before, you’ve come across them in your own search for the perfect gift. Gifts after all are tricky business and when you’re buying for someone where you’re maybe not familiar with their hobbies or are unsure what they may like, gift guides are a valuable resource.
Gift guides are a great way to boost your store’s discoverability in searches conducted by those customers who really aren’t sure where to start their gift buying journey. While many gift guides typically pop up around gifting holidays, there are so many more opportunities for merchants to make the most of the SEO benefits of gift guides year-round.
Why gift guides are great for SEO
A large part of SEO is satisfying search intent; the more your content is seen as valuable and relevant to a particular type of search, the more likely it will rank higher. Understanding not just the terms someone uses, but why they’re conducting a search gives you a better idea of the content they want or need.
There will be plenty of gift buying customers for whom your product would be ideal, but they may not find your brand right away with the kind of keywords you’ve created content around for your usual customers. According to Google, searches for “unique gifts” continue to grow significantly, and 57% of shoppers say they look for helpful recommendations or suggestions for gifts. That early discovery phase for gift buyers looks different to your usual audience, as they may be more vague and less focussed on a specific product. For example, where a usual potential customer may search “best baking trays for brownies”, a gift buyer may be looking for “unique gifts for bakers”. The intent and terms are different, because it’s not your typical purchasing journey.
Gift guides provide merchants with an easy way to target those customers, including the different occasions why they may be purchasing a gift. They also allow stores to add fresh, relevant content to blogs which is also great for SEO as well as saving the hassle of trying to figure out how to add such a wide variety of gifting keywords to product pages.
5 tips for writing SEO-led gift guides year round
#1 - Consider other reasons your products may be gifted
The first step in finding those gift guide keywords and topics is to think about why someone might gift your product. Specifically, why they may gift your product to your ideal customer. There are some obvious reasons to think of first such as birthdays, where you want to consider topics that focus on your products as a gift to your target audience. For example if you sell cookware, you want to target people buying gifts for people who enjoy cooking. These can be more general such as “Gift ideas for foodies” or specific like “Birthday gifts for people who love to cook”.
From there, you want to consider those less obvious reasons. If you sell paint and wallpaper, for example, you might want to target new homeowners in which case that’s what your gift guides will focus on. Or if you sell baby clothes, your guides should target those looking for gifts for new parents.
#2 - Write guides around themes rather than holidays
If you want to write great holiday gift guides but maximize their usefulness for your SEO, then it’s time to think about writing around themes rather than a specific holiday. Each holiday has a very short window of relevance, especially for your store’s SEO. While it’s important to target those customers looking for ideas for those holidays, there’s a chance they’re searching for the recipient or a theme. By this we mean rather than searching for “Valentine’s gift ideas” they may instead be searching for “romantic gift ideas”.
By focusing on themes, your gift guides will be relevant year-round, and target customers long after different holidays are over. Then when they roll around again, you can update them and they’ll continue to be valuable.
#3 - Make a gift guide content calendar
With all the different occasions, holidays, themes and more that you may want to write a guide for, it can start to become difficult to keep track of which to publish and when. That’s why you need a content calendar for your gift guides.
Map out all the gifting holidays for which you plan to run promotional campaigns. Not every holiday will apply to every business, so consider which are most relevant to your products and business. Plan out which related guides will be published in the run-up to each holiday. Next, fill in when you’ll publish seasonal guides; these can then target customers not looking for gifts but instead just looking for product recommendations for example “Best cozy candles for Winter”.
Once these are all filled in, you’ll be able to see what content gaps you have and when. You can then start to fill in these blanks with gift guides that target different gifting reasons, such as birthdays. Having this calendar will ensure you have a consistent stream of content which targets different types of customers throughout the year.
#4 - Find unique gifting related keywords
The keywords which gift buyers use will look different to those your usual audience does. They may be unfamiliar with your product category, and will probably be less specific due to that lack of knowledge. Moreover, due to the variety in gifting reasons there will be many more keywords to try and incorporate into your store’s content. Think about how these customers may start their journey in discovering your brand through search, and the kind of keywords and phrases they may use.
These keywords will help to inform the kind of gift guides customers want to find during their research. Don’t include every gifting keyword in every guide - write unique guides that target different keywords. You may be able to group some of these together, targeting a primary long-tail keyword in your title along with related keywords throughout the guide itself.
#5 - Include internal links and images, and optimize your content
When you want to improve a page’s SEO elsewhere on your store, you often look at which elements you can optimize. That might be added images, alt tags, meta titles, descriptions, site architecture and so on. The same optimization process needs to be taken for your gift guides also. This means you’ll provide a good user experience, and this will in turn boost the gift guide’s SEO.
Here are three optimizations to start with:
Images - You want to demonstrate to the reader what the products actually look like that you’re suggesting to them. This saves them having to go to each product page just to know what the product you’re writing about looks like. Be sure to include image alt tags to maximize that keyword real estate on the page.
Internal Links - Improve your guides’ user experience by including lots of helpful links throughout to individual products, collections, or other articles you may mention. This will also help search engines better understand how your gift guide is related to the rest of your store, and pass on link authority from your product pages to the gift guides.
- Meta title and description - Make sure your meta title and description include your primary keywords and use the language your target audience will use. This will help it to rank on search engine results pages.
By optimizing your content, you’ll give it a much better chance at ranking higher in search results and bringing more potential customers to your store.