Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become two of the biggest days in a retailer’s calendar, for which preparation starts months before. In this piece, Jamie Faulkner, head of SEO, Greenlight Digital, tells RetailTechNews that, 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 on-page SEO is fully optimised to deliver successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns across all digital activity.
While the scope for site improvements is vast, there are a handful of areas that brands must focus on in the run up to Black Friday. The first of these is creating or updating an optimised page for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which includes information related to ‘page title’, ‘H1’, ‘URL’ (minus the year to future proof) 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 they are 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 a brand or retailer’s 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.
Optimised pages should also be kept live all year-round, and brands must ensure all 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 their 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 the site), add a link to the optimised Black Friday or Cyber Monday page from the homepage, as this will ensure maximum equity is transferred.
Finally, if a brand is expecting a large volume of traffic, they must make sure their site can handle it. They will need to load test it well in advance, as there’s no point doing all this work to rank high for the site just for it to crash on the day.
Last few months & on the day
As the big day gets closer, it’s key to monitor ranks leading up to the month of November. From the 1st of 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 there are plenty of call-to-actions that link to the actual deal pages – merchants will 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 the hard work – keep the optimised pages live all year-round to increase out-of-season relevancy; this can be done by including links to ongoing sales.
While there are plenty of considerations and factors that 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.