Black Friday is fast approaching, and while everyone is focusing on updating ads, planning in new campaigns, and drilling through data to find new audiences, it can be easy to forget that SEO has a huge part to play as well. So, we take a look at the fundamentals of Black Friday SEO to help you prepare.
This is what people come to your site to buy, so should be your first review point. If the product information isn’t accurate, or they aren’t displaying properly, you need to get that fixed asap, and definitely ahead of your development code freeze.
Top things to check include:
- Accessibility & Indexation – can they be easily found (by crawlers and people), are they being indexed properly, are any showing up as crawl errors?
- Is there a separate “hub” for products on offer, or is it a sitewide discount? – this changes your targeting approach, so get this nailed at the start for minimal last-minute panic.
- Is the information correct? Think stock counts, pricing, descriptions, reviews – is it all pulling through properly?
- Are the images appropriate? Are they high quality? – Images are a huge part of product purchases, the ability to zoom in, click through galleries, and even have 360 images to manipulate angles is a great plus to any product page
Then, you need to get into the nitty-gritty of product optimisation:
- Is the schema accurate, pulling through and validating properly, and matching the feed information for the product? – Do not forget the stock in the schema and make sure it is updated with Offer markup ahead of the day!
- Are the images optimised? Think file size, file name, alt text.
- Does the description include target keywords?
- Does the product name need optimising?
- Does the page effectively call out the offers in the text as well as image overlays?
Then once you’re done with all of your checks, benchmark them then check them again in the week before your code freeze, and then again in the days leading up to your offers starting. Most sites put a code freeze in place the week (or sometimes two) before Black Friday but (and developers will hate me for this) for any urgent changes you can normally still get them pushed through in the days leading up to launch. Just make sure it is actually urgent and will impact plans and performance if not resolved, and say this to them!
This one is a bit of a grey area as it depends on how you are running your offers. So, we’ve split it into the two kinds of offers you can run:
If you are running sitewide discounts, whereby everything on the website is part of the offer (even to varying degrees) then you will need to:
- Make sure the correct discounts are being applied to the right categories/sections – e.g. if T-shirts are 20% off but Jumpers are 15% then the copy on these sections needs to be updated respectively
- Check any banners that have been running and make sure they are replaced with new Black Friday ones – e.g. if you’ve been running sales recently you want to make sure the new offers for Black Friday stand out
- Update your homepage to showcase the different offers available by site section
If you are running product-specific offers, whereby only certain products are going to be on offer, then you need to come at the on-page copy a little differently:
- Create (or update an existing) Black Friday hub to house all of the products on offer
- Make sure the copy for the individual products has been updated to clearly state the discounts and new prices
- Call out the best offers on your homepage
Then, regardless of which approach you’re taking, you’ll want to make sure related-products can pull through to the product pages based on type and offer and make sure landing pages affected are updated with new copy as well. The core pages will be your homepage, categories (if category-specific offers), and products..
The holy grail of SEO, and one that many argue over when it comes to Black Friday. Changes to your targeting can be very positive around Black Friday but you need to make sure your rankings are stable enough to change it up for a week. So, you need to do some digging into:
- How your product rankings are performing – if they’ve been stable for a while (or on the up) then you’re probably OK to change up the targeting slightly and then revert back once the sales are over
- How the rest of your rankings are performing – categories and homepages tend to see less fluctuation than products, so if your products are stable chances are these will be, too
- How your competitors are performing – if they’ve been gaining on you recently then you might want to keep targeting the same
Once you’ve got a bit of background information, you can take a look at search volumes and trends for “(product) + black friday” to get a sense of what the demand is. However, unless you’re selling tech products (like the latest mobile phones, laptops, TVs etc.) it’s unlikely people will be typing in specific product names. They’re much more likely to be searching for things like “(sub-category) + black friday”, or “(product type) + black friday” so keep this in mind when you’re doing your research.
Then, when it comes to actually changing the targeting if you’re going ahead with it, you’ll need to:
- Update the title tags so Black Friday Deals (or similar) is clearly stated – if it isn’t immediately obvious you’re running deals, chances are people will go to your competitors instead
- Update the meta descriptions so Black Friday Deals (or similar) is clearly stated along with the actual discounts available – e.g. Up to 60% off – so people can see instantly what the level is they’re working with
- Update the homepage and category page H1s to include Black Friday related terms; if you can’t update the h1s on category pages then make sure the copy itself is updated accordingly
Hopefully, by following these steps, you can lead yourself to a successful Black Friday. But 2020 has been the year of the unexpected. Download our latest white paper on predicting Black Friday in 2020 for the best data sources and expert opinions on how you can make the most of Black Friday