If the holiday season is important to your business, than it’s important that Internet marketing initiatives like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) get started in August.
I like to define SEO as the process of proving to the search engines, like Google or MSN's Bing, that your website provides expertise on a specific topic / subject.
The SEO process itself can be both creative and technical in nature, and requires strategic planning, testing, website changes, and especially patience. In order for the search engines to recognize updates to your website and other websites that are writing about you, a substantial length of time is sometimes required. It may take weeks to many months before results are seen in the natural search results. It's due to this length of time that it sometimes takes for a search engine to process change, that we suggest starting your Internet marketing initiatives several months in advance. Start in July and August to ensure that your website and campaigns are ready for the holiday season in December. Keep in mind that rushing this process can lead to big, sometime irreversible setbacks. Excessive pushing of changes and promotions to you website in a very short period of time can lead to negative results from a search engine perspective. If you are already implementing SEO tactics, now it a good time to re-evaluate your strategies. Determine what has worked or not, how do visitors hear about you, which referrals are bringing in your best returns, and how much time are people spending on your website.
These metrics will help determine which parts of your website need improvement or even further testing. If you find that you won't have time to implement SEO now, an alternative is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) via a paid-per-click campaign through Google Adwords or MSN AdCenter, for instance. These programs allow you to setup ads that are displayed beside the organic search results and are labeled as sponsored ads.
Campaigns can be setup and implemented quickly however, the main difference, other than positioning on the page for these listings, is the cost. Each time someone clicks onto your ad you are charged for the click. Rushing either SEO or SEM will end up with poor strategy and patch work. Take the time needed and don't stop after it’s implemented. Both these Internet marketing tactics require regular attention.