Black Friday beacons and digital marketing specialists across retail business are no doubt in the midst of budget allocation and plans to ensure the retail sales bonanza delivers just that: sales.
Before planning how to allocate your budget across different paid promotions, retailers need to optimise organic search engine optimisation (SEO). Ensuring your website is fully optimised and best prepared for that influx of activity can be done organically and it’s essential that it is. The scope for site improvements is vast, but there are several areas that we recommend you focus on in the run up to Black Friday that can be actioned.
Let the optimisation begin
To ensure customers can find you amongst the ocean of retailers and offers, laying the foundations is key. To optimise your pages, they need to include information related to page title, H1 and URL minus the year to future-proof. This will increase organic SEO in one really easy step.
Take a closer look at the content populating your site, it ultimately needs to be engaging, informative and contain keyword-rich content around the trading days. If a new page is being created, make sure that it’s live at least 12 weeks prior to the actual trading period and that it’s never disabled, deleted or redirected as doing so will impede page authority gains which are garnered over time. In addition, the 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.
Depending on your site, you should create specific subcategory pages with appropriate taxonomy logic incorporated, meaning that all sub-pages sit beneath the main Black Friday or Cyber Monday page. This will drive more traffic to your products as it’ll help rank for product-specific Black Friday or Cyber Monday terms. While volume has increased for these terms, they’re still dwarfed by the volumes gained by Black Friday or Cyber Monday head terms. To increase out-of-season relevancy, you should also keep your optimised pages live all year-round. In addition, you should include a link to any ongoing sales you might have.
It’s vital that Google identifies the pages that are important. So conduct an internal link project. In order to do so, add a link in the main navigation at least nine weeks prior to ensure PageRank flow is optimal. Depending on the nature of your site, you can also add a link to your optimised Black Friday or Cyber Monday page from the homepage, as this will transfer maximum equity.
What can often be overlooked is ensuring your site can handle whatever volume of traffic is expected. There is nothing more annoying for consumers than a site that crashes as soon as they try to view products or make the purchase. This can be an extreme barrier to purchase and all the hard work taken to rank high won’t be worth it if your site crashes on the day, so make sure you load test your servers well in advance.
The home stretch
As you’re approaching the big day, it’s key to monitor ranks leading up to the month of November. Identify ongoing performance and any need for maintenance or reviews by keeping an eye on ranks on a daily or weekly basis from November 1 onwards.
You’ll get poor engagement signals and potentially worse rankings for not directing users to the relevant content or pages they intended to land on, so ensure you’ve included plenty of call-to-actions which link to your actual deal pages to get it right on the day.
Don’t undo all your hard work once the big day, or rather week, is over. That momentum can be built on and can enable you to tap into an active and susceptive audience all year round. For ongoing sales, include the links and keep your optimised pages live all year-round to increase out-of-season relevancy.
While there are plenty of factors which need to be considered to create a winning campaign, the above outlines are the must-dos for any retailer. Plan in advance, select the appropriate products and pages to promote and continue to optimise right up until Black Friday to make the most of the busy trading day.