It’s that time of year again – Christmas is just around the corner and most everyone is working on their holiday spending budget. For Christian bloggers, it is a time for creating a few gift guides to hopefully boost the holiday income a bit so you’ll have some extra money to do some shopping of your own!
If you jump on Pinterest and type in “gift guide” you’ll get flooded with all kinds of pins leading to various holiday shopping guides. But how do you create them in a way that actually generates income for your site? Your gift guide layout matters!
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Holiday Gift Guide Layout that Convert
Ok, so you are ready to start creating some holiday gift guides. Chances are, you use “gift guide” as the Yoast keyword, have a paragraph to open the page, then simply list all of the products you recommend, right?
This is NOT the best approach to creating content that you expect to generate sales from!
Think about it – every blogger out there is creating gift guides for just about any item you can think of. You have to create yours in a way that will beat all of theirs out in a Google search or (Pinterest feed).
1 – Focus Gift Guides to Your Target Audience
The first step in creating holiday gift guides that convert to sales is to make sure you are creating them specifically for YOUR target audience. Think of all the types of things your target audience would be shopping for this holiday season (as it relates to your blog). If it doesn’t make sense for your target audience and/or it doesn’t really fall in line with the content you usually write about, then don’t make a gift guide for it!
For example, if your target audience is Christian moms of toddlers, it would make sense to have gift guides for products either for the mom or for kids of toddler age. It would not make sense to have gift guides for teenagers. Although some of your moms may indeed have teenagers, the majority of your audience most likely does not. Also, the SEO for your site has zero to do with teenage topics so it would be much harder to rank that post.
2 – Choose the Right Keyword for the Content (not the Title)
As with any content that you publish on your Christian blog, choosing the right keyword is equally important for creating holiday gift guides. Why? Because you need the content to rank in search results based on keywords that shoppers are actually using (in the Google search box).
Most bloggers will simply put something like “gift guide” or “gifts for women” or something like that as their Yoast keyword. So that means that hundreds (if not thousands) of other bloggers are all trying to get that post to rank for the same keyword.The key to creating holiday gift guides that convert to sales on your Christian blog is to ensure you are writing them the same way you write your regular content - with SEO in mind. Click To Tweet
“Gifts For” keywords
You can narrow down your gift guide layout by doing searches for keywords that start with “gifts for” to find a long-tail keyword that most reflects what types of products are in the guide (or who they are mostly meant for). Examples include:
- gifts for Christian women
- gifts for pastors
- gifts for kids who love to read
- gifts for dinosaur-loving kids
These can be further narrowed down with some of the related searches that come up with Keywords Everywhere over on the right sidebar. The more specific, the better!
In addition to finding keywords that include the word “gift,” find keywords that related to specific things that might be great gift ideas. These will do well during the holiday season because most people don’t actually search “gifts for” because they often are looking for the “best of” something. Also, these posts, when properly written for SEO, will generate traffic all year from people wanting to buy these things.
A great example of a product post:
If you are a Mom-blogger, think beyond “gifts for kids” to the types of toys or products moms would most likely be buying for kids (whether it is Christmas or not). For example, “non-toxic toys for babies” or something along those lines. Even better – “best farm toys.” Just because the main keyword for the post doesn’t have the word “gift guide” in it doesn’t mean you can’t use the Gift Guide approach in writing the content (and for the title).
If you publish a good handful of these that are SEO’d for a particular type of product, you could easily publish a roundup post linking to all of them.
At the end of the day, the keyword phrase you choose needs to be something people are actually searching for because they want to shop!
3 – Holiday Gift Guide Layout
Just like choosing the right keyword, formatting the content on your gift guide post is equally important! In order for your gift guides to be found in organic searches – year after year – you need to have the content laid out in a way for search engines to easily crawl and index it. Simply listing all your favorite products in a single-file list won’t accomplish this goal!
Remember, you are trying to compete with thousands of other bloggers writing similar content! You need to have more content for the crawlers to read and pick up on those keywords so it can index and rank yours on Page One. It is important that you use your H2 and H3 headings to break up the content (or segment some of the things on your gift guide).
In other words, start with your H2 header, followed by a couple of paragraphs to talk about this particular gift guide and why these types of products/gifts are so great. If you have some items that can be segmented into smaller groupings, use H3 headings (and in intro paragraph) before listing them). For example, you can see in my Gifts for Bible-Lovers guide, I am talking about 3 specific categories of things for Bible lovers (a new Bible, a cover/case for their Bible, and accessories to use in their Bible). So each of these categories are listed in their own H3 section with a paragraph to introduce it – before listing the actual products I recommend.
Related: How to Format Blog Content for SEO
Create Gift Guides ALL Year – Not Just Before Christmas!
The key to seeing consistent affiliate conversions from your content (including gift guides) is to get them ranking on Page One before the particular shopping season rolls around. Waiting until late November or December to publish them won’t yield the results you are hoping for because it takes approximately 4-6 weeks before Google will index it. And that depends on how well the SEO foundation for your site has been established before-hand.
Your gift guide layout – from choosing the right keyword to formatting the content – will make all the difference in seeing actual income generated from them.
The truth is that you should include gift guides and product posts into your regular monthly content plan (all year long) so you have plenty of them ranking on Page One before the holiday shopping season even comes. Also, people do shop for gifts throughout the year for various other holidays and special events so publishing them when it isn’t Christmas shopping season will produce results all year long.
If you are just getting started on creating gift guides this year, don’t worry – you can still generate some traffic to them via Pinterest. Just be sure you create really great, eye-catching pins for them!
Be sure to check out these other gift guides to give you some ideas and inspiration!
- Bible Journaling Gifts for Jesus Girls
- Gift Ideas for the Gardener in Your Life
- The Best Gift Guide for NICU Moms
- Gifts for Guys in their 20’s