With traffic to retail websites expected to soar over the sales period (Black Friday 2017 saw web traffic increase 150% compared to a normal sales day), it’s imperative that your on-page SEO is fully optimised to deliver successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns across all your digital activity.
While the scope for site improvements is vast, there are a handful of areas that I recommend you focus on in the run up to Black Friday:
Create or update an optimised page for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which includes information related to ‘page title’, ‘H1’, ‘URL’ (minus the year to futureproof) as well as engaging, informative, keyword-rich content around the trading days. These pages could include the history of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or previous year’s stats if you have any to hand, which can be used to drive interest and engagement. If you’re creating a new page, make sure it’s live at least 12 weeks prior to the actual trading period, and never disable, delete or redirect the page, as these will impede page authority gains which are garnered over time.
Depending on your site, create subcategory specific Black Friday pages with appropriate taxonomy logic incorporated, meaning that all sub-pages sit beneath the main Black Friday or Cyber Monday page. This can help to rank for product-specific Black Friday or Cyber Monday terms, which will drive far more traffic for your products. Volume has increased for these terms; however, they’re still dwarfed by the volumes gained by Black Friday or Cyber Monday head terms.
Keep your optimised pages live all year-round. This increases out-of-season relevancy, so also include a link to ongoing sales if you have any.
Ensure your pages are mobile-friendly, especially as the days of mobile-first index are fast approaching, meaning that mobile experience will impact authority and rank of your page in a far greater way than before.
Conduct an internal link project to ensure Google understands the pages that are important. This includes adding a link in the main navigation (at least nine weeks prior) to ensure PageRank flow is optimal. If possible, one or two weeks later (depending on the nature of your site), add a link to your optimised Black Friday or Cyber Monday page from the homepage, as this will ensure maximum equity is transferred.
If you’re expecting a large volume of traffic, make sure your site can handle it. Load test it well in advance as there’s no point doing all this work to rank high for your site just for it to crash on the day.
Last few months and on the day
As you’re approaching the big day, it’s key to monitor ranks leading up to the month of November. From the 1st November onwards, keep an eye on ranks on a weekly or, even better, daily basis. This will help identify ongoing performance and any need for maintenance or reviews.
One of the most important things to get right on the day is to ensure that you’ve included plenty of call-to-actions which link to your actual deal pages – you’ll be penalised for not directing users to the relevant content or pages they intended to land on, so don’t get caught out here.
Don’t undo all your hard work – keep your optimised pages live all year-round to increase out-of-season relevancy; this can be done by including links to ongoing sales if you have any on.
While there are plenty of considerations and factors which need to be considered to create a winning campaign, the above outlines the must-dos for any retailer. So, make sure you plan in advance, select the appropriate products and pages to promote, and make sure you continue to optimise right up until Black Friday to make the most of the busy trading day.