This time of year tends to sneak up on even the most organized marketing teams. The heat of summer barely wears off and you’re already moving on to the holidays! For Ecommerce, most companies make the majority of their revenue in the last quarter of the year. If you’re part of an organization’s marketing team, a Black Friday ecommerce strategy is a vital part of the overall efforts. Let’s take a look into how Black Friday SEO can be incorporated into your brands marketing mix every year and how to win the holiday rush with it.
Why do You Need an eCommerce SEO Strategy for Black Friday?
At the end of the day, paid advertising is not enough. On average, a user is more likely to click on a search result if both a Google Ad and an organic blue link are present on SERP’s. So, making sure that “black friday” related keywords in your niche are serving up your organic landing pages will be a key factor.
Also, Black Friday on its own is a huge keyword modifier, but there is a ton of volume around long-tail keyword phrases for Black Friday and even a branded strategy. For example, for people who know your brand, they are most likely going to type in something like (“Brand name” black friday”) and you want to get your promotions in front of them as easily as possible. Let’s look at some data around SERP’s that is relevant to know for creating a strong Black Friday strategy.
Black Friday SEO Data
- 67% of searches resulted in a zero-click search in 2021 for the keyword “black friday 2021 (Similar Web Data, 2022)
- 98.83% of clicks were on ORGANIC results during black friday (Similar Web Data, 2022)
(Similar Web Data, “black friday 2021”, pulled October 2022)
(SEMRush, November, 2021)
- Black Friday as a search term begins to gain traction around October (Google Trends, 2022)
(Google Trends, 2022)
This data shows that people start to research and become interested in Black Friday around October and are still mostly clicking on organic results. With the advent of product image search, rich results, and other enhancements to SERP’s it is more important than ever to have a well-rounded product strategy year-round and especially for Black Friday.
Without further ado, here are our Black Friday SEO tips to get your brand ready for this holiday season!
Step-by-Step Black Friday SEO Checklist and Tips
1. Start Planning Early
As mentioned above, users start searching for Black Friday deals by mid to late October. This time frame should be used to prepare your email lists, and any technical issues on your site. You don’t want a site that’ll crash on Black Friday!
Begin planning at the end of summer for any creative assets that need to be created as well as any approvals that need to get done.
(Google Trends, October, 2022)
2. Create a Dedicated Landing Page
If you can create a dedicated Black Friday landing page, this ensures you’ll be found on any branded searches or local searches. You can also use this landing page for Google Ads.
This page doesn’t disappear after Black Friday, you need to keep the URL. The page will build value over time, and will only need a content refresh on a yearly basis.
Make sure to NOT INCLUDE THE YEAR IN THE URL. This is important because you want to be able to reuse the URL next year. Only change the year in the page titles, meta descriptions, headers, and throughout the body copy, but never the URL of the landing page.
3. 302 Redirect Black Friday Landing Page or Keep Live the Whole Year
It is vital that this landing page builds a history over time. The way to do this is to start the page and after Black Friday/ Cyber MOnday, either 302 redirect the page to temporarily redirect to somewhere else only our site, or just keep it live but not too visible on the site.
We recommend 302 redirecting since it doesn’t confuse the end user and you can redirect the user to the homepage or an evergreen sales page.
4. Add a Link to the Black Friday Page to the Main Navigation
This ensures a higher CTR to the page and is an immediate indicator to Google that it’s one of the most important pages on your website. Anything on your main navigation will get more eyeballs. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, it can be removed from the navigation.
5. Homepage Updates
Create creative and clear sales messaging above the scroll to capture users when they enter your site. You want to keep the Call to Action above the fold for Black Friday.
You can feature your main promotion or some kind of creative that details all the sales in different product categories.
6. Change metadata during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Change metadata on the homepage to reflect the Black Friday sales. The Black Friday Page can be updated slightly to “Happening Now!” or something with urgency, like “Black Friday sale ending soon!”, “Save 50%” or “Best Sale of the Year”.
(Google SERPs, October, 2022)
7. Make Sure all Products Have Complete Product Schema and That the Product Tag Appears in Google Image Search
With google image search becoming more relevant, it’s less likely your customers will click on a blue link on SERP immediately. Manu users will go to Google Image Search.
72% of U.S. consumers search for visual content before making a purchase. Check tools like Google search console and check if your products are pulling impressions and clicks for “Product Results” under “Search Appearance”:
(Google Search Central Blog, 2019)
Shopify will usually automatically create some schema for products uploaded to the site, but it’s usually not complete. Double-check that all fields are completed for the schema so all elements can be shown, like ratings, price, descriptions, etc… You can use technicalseo.com to create manual code for a product.
(Screenshot from Google, October, 2022, “She’s Happy Hair”)
8. Gift Pages
The Black Friday page isn’t the only page that should be added, during the holiday season consumers have come to expect gift guides and curated filtering options on eCommerce websites. Examples of pages to add include:
- Gift Sets
- Gifts under “$50”, “$25”, etc..
- Gifts for Him/ Her
The more variations and options the better, this way you can capture keywords around specific groups people are searching for gifts for.
(Nordstrom.com homepage, 2022)
9. Email (or Text) Sign Ups
Before Black Friday gets started, you want to make sure you capture as many emails/phone numbers before that date so you can blast out sales emails the week of Black Friday. Email is still the leading channel in terms of conversions and returns on spend.
This moves consumers further down the sales funnel and allows you a captive audience on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Build off of existing data from previous customer segments and campaigns
- VIPs by lifetime value
- Back Friday/Cyber Monday Purchasers from the previous year
- Engaged users with above-average email open rate
- Core email list (remove inactive subscribers)
Over 116.5 million emails were sent on Black Friday 2020, so make sure your captive audience is able to see and click on yours!
10. “Best Sellers” categories
There is a lot of overwhelm on a normal day, and Black Friday ramps that level to 100 for customers. Curate their buying options by featuring great deals on best sellers. Having your best sellers tagged on the website will increase clicks to those products.
(Sephora.com, 2022, “Best Sellers”)
11. Create Synergy between your marketing channels
All marketing campaigns are carefully choreographed dances. All the players need to hit their mark for it to be a success. Make sure all channels are aligned and communicate the same message.
- SEO – follow the checklist above
- Email – plan your messaging way in advance and align it with sales messaging
- Social – announce sales, countdowns,
- Paid – create strong Black Friday branded campaigns, as well as focus on high-converting products. Utilize your best-converting keywords from paid ads to inform your keyword targeting strategy for SEO
Bonus Tip – Install a BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) Option
This tip is both a conversion and SEO tactic. When online retailers added a buy now pay later option to their checkout process, their revenue increased by an average of 20-30% and increased total checkout prices by 30-50%!
We witnessed this phenomenon ourselves with one of our clients: their revenue DOUBLED YoY on Black Friday and overall SEO increased with it for months after installing a BNPL provider. This can be a quick way to increase your sales during the holiday season.
A Black Friday SEO strategy isn’t made in a day, but if you start now you can have a well-oiled machine for the highest revenue-making time of the year.
Matthew Capala is a seasoned digital marketing executive, founder/CEO of Alphametic, a Miami-based digital marketing agency, author of “The Psychology of a Website,” dynamic speaker, and entrepreneur.