That’s right, we know it’s early, but planning well in advance gives you the best opportunity to ensure your website is elevated and prepared for the holiday season. So, what should your Black Friday strategy include?
We think that incorporating SEO into your strategy is crucial to leveraging the pre-Christmas craziness of Black Friday. Using SEO, you’ll increase the volume of organic traffic to your website through technical elements and content. The stronger your SEO, the more conversions you could have.
It’s not just us who think this as, according to Google Ads Keyword Planner, online searches for ‘eCommerce SEO’ have increased by 51% over the last 3 months, while searches for ‘eCommerce SEO tips’ have risen by a staggering 133% in the same time.
Use SEO tactics to optimise your website and stay ahead of your competitors leading up to and during Black Friday. How? That’s where we come in. We’ve put together our top 10 tips for elevating your eCommerce website in preparation for Black Friday.
Are you ready to go for gold (or black)?
One of the most important parts of any strategy is research because it forms the base of everything you do content-wise. If you’re looking to create specific Black Friday content, then we recommend doing specific business-related keyword research to ensure you’re tailoring any blog content, product pages or service landing pages to the right phrases. SEMrush, Google Ads Keyword Planner and Also Asked.
As you’re conducting your keyword research, look at the actual SERPs to see who is currently ranking for those terms, how they have targeted them and whether it is actually possible to compete. If it is a well-known company with high authority, it may be worth looking for more niche terms to target. This is also a fantastic opportunity for a competitor analysis to see how well your competitors are ranking for similar search terms and what they’re doing right or wrong.
Our SERP simulator is a free tool that allows you to compare your metadata to that of the top-ranking SERPs for any keyword or phrase - you might find it handy for determining which key terms to go after and how!
You can also leverage Google Search Console to understand how users are already finding your landing page(s), check out your site’s overall performance, filter by season and then choose the landing page. This will reveal what users searched to find your page in SERPs.
Fun fact: You don’t always need to create brand-new content, especially if you have existing Black Friday content on your website. You can optimise your existing pages and update them to be relevant, saving you valuable time. In fact, updating meta titles, descriptions, H1 titles, and image tags can have a HUGE impact on search results and fast.
Using your research, determine which pages you want to optimise for Black Friday and work in your keywords (naturally) across these areas. Keep your audience at the heart of your optimisations by writing human-centric meta titles and descriptions.
Also, assess whether the overall content is relevant, useful and impactful. We suggest creating evergreen content wherever possible. This means your page doesn’t point to specific dates, times or moments that could become outdated or irrelevant very quickly. For example, ‘Black Friday 2022’ isn’t reflective of what users will be searching today as the day has already passed. If you do decide to add timestamps to your content, that’s fine but you’ll need to remember to update them as soon as the time passes.
By optimising existing content rather than creating new pages every year, your URL will stay alive year after year, which means:
Speaking of optimising pages, take a look at our recent blog on SEO optimisations in Shopify.
Technical SEO is one of the main aspects of SEO which is why it’s a good idea to routinely check that your website is up to scratch and not experiencing any technical issues. Many technical problems are easily fixed but you need to learn about them prior to Black Friday starting to ensure they’re sorted before the big weekend arrives. If you don’t solve the technical issues, users could run into a number of problems and ultimately return to the SERP to find someone else to shop with.
During your technical health checks, keep an eye out for elements including:
Where appropriate, you might want to consider adding your Black Friday landing pages into your main navigation. This helps ensure people can find your pages AFTER they’ve landed on your website, which is especially important for returning customers who might not be navigating to your site from specific Black Friday terms.
You could even colour them differently to capture people’s attention. This is especially helpful if you opt to not use website banners (see tip #8) as they work in a similar way, without being too intrusive or slowing your site down.
If you want to keep your landing pages more evergreen so that they are relevant all year-round and you don’t need to add redirects, think about adding a ‘deals and discounts’ section to your main navigation and simply updating the content depending on the deals and discounts available at the time.
If you create new content, ensure that there are internal links (A) from other pages on the website to your new page and (B) from your new page to other relevant pages on the website. This helps to create a user journey on your website and could potentially keep them on the site for longer, increasing the chances of conversion.
Be sure to try and use the keywords as natural as possible as your hyperlink text to increase authority around those terms for that page. Google will assume that if a user clicked on the keyword anchor text X and goes to page Y and stays on the page to read or even converts to a sale, then page Y must be highly relevant to the keyword X (the anchor text used to send that user to that page).
This is the same logic with someone clicking through to your website from Google SERPS too!
Important: Remember to use the right keywords for the right pages. Refer back to where you mapped your keywords to the target pages, and use this as a rule of thumb to avoid cannibalisation!
Starting your Black Friday preparation as early as possible gives you the opportunity to create a fully integrated strategy that incorporates Digital PR. Whether you’re wanting to earn important backlinks to your Black Friday landing page, brand awareness or both, an outreach campaign is the cherry on top of a delicious SEO strategy cake!
When it comes to a killer Digital PR campaign that will help you with link-building, you need to ensure it’s relevant and topical, but stands out from the crowd. Use data and research to identify a trend and find an interesting angle for your outreach campaign. Look in the following places to find newsworthy data:
In this scenario, you can see that ‘Black Friday homeware’ has seen a 600% rise YoY which makes a great angle for an outreach campaign if you sell homeware products. You could give expert tips on interior design on a budget, how to nail the latest homeware trend or share the most in-demand homeware products of the year so far. Whatever you do, ensure you target relevant publications, including local, national and industry press.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in producing content to rank on Google. However, you must have a clear picture of what your target market will get from the piece you’re sharing. Whenever you create content, the most important thing to think about is the person reading it on the other side of the screen.
Don’t just take our word for it though, Google’s Helpful Content update made it very clear that content needs to be created first and foremost with people in mind. Having relevant, well-written content that answers user intent and shows your expertise has never been more important.
So, how can you create well-informed content that speaks to potential and existing customers? Here are our top 3 tips:
As you’re planning your eCommerce Black Friday strategy, it’s really important to consider the ease at which customers are going to be able to navigate your website. If the user journey is complicated or unclear, customers may be put off from investing in your products. No matter how amazing your discounts are, you’ll go from Black Friday hero to Black Friday zero!
When it comes to your content offering, don’t add big blocks of text with headings, paragraphs and images because it can become difficult to read and digest. This may deter users from continuing their journey on your website, causing them to return to the SERP to look at your competitor’s website instead. To create captivating, easy-to-understand content, consider:
As the end goal of your Black Friday strategy is to increase conversions, and ultimately revenue, it’s also important to display your products in a way that will engage users and encourage them to click through. Something you need to avoid is causing decision paralysis. This is when you provide so many options to a user that they become overwhelmed and can’t make a decision. As a result, they’re more likely to leave their purchase and return to the SERPs. If you want to get conversions this Black Friday, make it easy for your customers by grouping products into smaller categories, adding filter options or limiting the number of products on sale.
This may sound obvious but the best way to encourage customers to look at your Black Friday products is the scream and shout about them. While Black Friday may have started in America, the concept has been adopted throughout Europe and particularly in the UK. Although there’s undoubtedly a hype around Black Friday that you can leverage for your eCommerce brand ahead of Christmas, everyone else will be doing the same which means you need to cut through the noise!
How? Take an integrated approach to your Black Friday strategy and use a blend of SEO, PPC, email and social media marketing where possible. You can create meaningful social media and email marketing campaigns to connect with your existing customers, and SEO and PPC to reach new and potential customers.
On your website itself, be sure to add strong calls to action in your content to drive users to continue their journey and check out your Black Friday products. You could also consider adding bold banners across your website to highlight your Black Friday offerings. Take a look at Boohoo’s banner, you literally couldn’t miss it:
Our final tip for helping your website perform for Black Friday is to ensure it is accessible to everyone who wishes to browse it. If you don’t make your website accessible to people, for example someone with a visual impairment, you’re denying them the opportunity to buy your products and services. This could have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation, push people away into your competitor’s arms and ultimately lose you revenue. So, what can you do about it?
For more information on how to elevate your customer relationship with website accessibility, download our whitepaper.
So there you go, our top 10 eCommerce SEO tips on how to help your website perform for Black Friday to leverage one of the most lucrative seasons of the year!
In-depth research, optimisations of existing web pages, internal linking, integrated Digital PR campaigns and user-friendly content will all make a huge difference when it comes to conversions and revenue. They are the fundamentals of a sizzling SEO strategy!
We know it’s early but, by getting ahead of the Black Friday game and improving your website at least a quarter before the big weekend, you’ll be sure to reap the rewards. Plus, many of these tips can also be applied to your Christmas strategy too, so starting now means you’ll be well prepared for the festive season as a whole.
Wordsmith Morgan joined the Reflect Digital team fresh out of University and is learning about the world of digital marketing while supporting the SEO team with highly engaging content. With a background in website administration and social media, she also brings a broader perspective to her clients.More about Morgan