07/02/2023 • Beu Smith
We all know the situation, it’s happened time and time again. One minute you are enjoying summer and the next it is November and Black Friday is around the corner with clients and managers asking what is the strategy this year to outperform last year’s sales.
We’ve noticed this groundhog day repetition and wanted to share some foundation tips to help with future-proofing your special annual sale pages so that there isn’t a big panic every year. So here are some top tips and tricks to help with Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness.
Sounds obvious right? SEO isn’t a quick win channel, it’s a long-term strategy that requires constant maintenance, testing and improvements. To keep ahead of the curve, add a recurring event to your calendar for the beginning of September to remind you is a foolproof plan. This gives you enough time to run any internal meeting and ideation sessions slightly ahead of the competition. By having early meetings and a clear plan, you will be able to create a clear strategy. Executing the strategy early allows Google to crawl the page and update its index cache with the optimised content and products.
This also allows you to have cross-channel meetings to ensure that your strategy will synergise with any other marketing avenues. Getting this balance right can mean that the channels complement each other, improving quality scores and reducing the cost for paid channels on certain terms which can lead to a high combined revenue.
A little bit of reactive optimisation can go a long way, having a quick sense check of the page title, meta description and on-page content to ensure it’s relevant for the users’ search and targeting the core keywords. This includes updating any dates like ‘Black Friday 2020’ or other sales messaging. Optimisation like this can sometimes be the extra little boost that your page needs to get ahead of the competition and it's a nice easy quick win.
We always recommend keeping your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages live, accessible and crawlable all year round. This creates a historic page which builds authority over time and has a better chance of ranking higher than flash sale pages which life for a month. This strategy also allows you to build backlinks and internal links to help increase page authority.
For the remainder of the year use your Black Friday / Cyber Monday page as a way to capture any miscellaneous traffic. Try implementing a dynamic display of 8-12 products that are on sale with an internal link to any sale listing pages for an expansion of products. You can also link to any related content if you have created a relevant topic which could assist in the user's journey. Rather than thinking of the Black Friday page as a once-a-year sales page, use it outside of this demand as a stepping stone to redirect any off-peak traffic. You might be surprised at how effective it can be.
If you don’t already have a Black Friday article then you have another quick win off the bat, Black Friday articles are a great way to address users’ performing informational searches on items of interest before Black Friday. This allows you to boost internal link signals by having reciprocal links from the blog post to the landing page and vice versa.
This is also a good time to update other anchored links on the page as there could be links to old or redirected URLs which cause a redirect chain (3XX) or dead end (4XX). If you find any old links then replace them with the most relevant page which matches the same intent, try to avoid just auto-redirecting to the home page as this adds zero value.
November conversion rate is notorious for being skewed in the weeks prior to Black Friday, with users performing research on prospective items of interest but holding out for those promotional discounts.
In this research phase if you have optimised your metadata, and on-page content and written some Black Friday/Cyber Monday content then you could find people landing on your holding page prior to BF offers being live. This is a great opportunity to show a range of other related products that are also on offer or entice users with what offers are to come.
The same tactic can be applied after Black Friday, with the page being live all year round, you find there is a low but steady stream of users landing on the page. Having a carousel of products and a link to all sale items can be enough to entice the user to browse which is a lot more lucrative than a holding page saying “coming soon”.
You could also look to provide a mailing list/re-stock availability on the page relating to offers with the caveat that users will be the first to receive offers and deals. This is a great way to get people’s contact information and retarget with other seasonal offers.
Server issues are never welcome and rarely come at a good time, but there aren’t many other worse times than peak black Friday! Although not a common issue many face, there are horror stories of website servers crashing due to not being able to cope with the demand of users on the site which can end up costing £££’s which could have easily been avoided.
While this is quite difficult to prepare for as you might not be able to forecast how many users will hit your site, you can enquire with your server host and ask about package limitations and maximum user capacities. This can help guide you using historical performance data to gauge if you need a more robust server.
While having this discussion, it would also be worthwhile to inquire about server speed and transfer protocols. Upgrades or improvements to these services can improve page speed across the whole site, which would impact things like Core Web Vitals and Page Experience metrics which Google is prioritising at the moment with recent core updates.
There is a lot of noise around Black Friday with everyone trying to shout above the competition to get their products to be the ones you hear, as a result, users have turned to performing basic research and review queries about your company/products/services which are on offer to get the reassurance you are legit.
If you already have an attractive review portfolio on Google, Trustpilot, WooCommerce etc. then reference this on the page. This is a big trust signal for users and will make them feel more relaxed and secure when purchasing something from your site. Give some examples of positive customer reviews and if you have any negative ones, demonstrate how well you deal with the issue to resolve it.
All customers really want is the item they are purchasing, in the timeframe displayed on your site, along with feeling like their custom is important and valued. So if you know Black Friday will delay the usual order processing and dispatch time, be sure to signpost this so you don’t give unrealistic expectations and receive negative backlash as a result.
There should always be a purpose or action attributed to an e-commerce page, whether you want a contact form completion or a purchase transaction. If you have access or resources to any CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) or UX (User Experience) departments then getting them to review the page could have large improvements to the conversion rate which would increase revenue without having to drive more traffic to the page.
Sometimes this can be something as simple as having a CTA (Call To Action) button above the fold or displaying the discount as a percentage instead of a monetary reduction. Although these might seem overly simplified, finding the right concoction can have monumental uplifts in conversion and revenue.
All too often Black Friday ends up being a rushed, last-minute panic job with companies and agencies scrambling to pull something out of the bag to satisfy demands for higher YoY revenue. This might work for other reactive channels but is the wrong strategy for SEO, there are no cutting corners in SEO without the risk of consequences.
To ensure your website/landing page is going to be optimised for the holiday sales, it all comes down to preparation and covering all the basics. Make sure your page is optimised, user-friendly and merchandised with relevant products, follow these over-simplified rules and see how you perform.
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