The countdown is on to Black Friday, so it’s time to start building up that SEO strategy. Customers start hunting for those bargains earlier every year - 24% say they start looking 2 to 4 weeks or more in advance! So the more prepared you are now the better for your chances come Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some tips that will help you climb SERPs in the run up to BFCM, and attract those all important customers.
#1 - Review your site’s technical performance
Good SEO starts with a site that’s technically optimized. After all, you could have the best content and keywords in all the right places, but if your site takes a long time to load Google won’t rank it highly. Search engines prefer sites that offer a top notch user experience. For example, a site which loads quickly, has few 404 errors, and has a great mobile experience is much more likely to climb to the top.
Here are some things to review now that will put you in a good place to perform:
- Site speed - Look for ways to speed up key landing pages as well as your site overall to ensure customers can access your site as quickly as possible.
- 404s - Broken links are bad for both SEO and user experience, so it’s important to find and resolve any on your store.
- Mobile experience - Many customers will be shopping on mobile devices,
- Duplicate content - This can harm your SEO, as well as become confusing for users. Take the time to look for any duplicate content across your store. It could be as simple as a product description for two similar products.
- Structured data - Want to take up more space in SERPs and catch your customers’ attention? Structured markup is a great way to add more to your search listings.
Having these optimized and keeping on top of monitoring them will give your store the foundation it needs for SEO success in the run up to Black Friday.
#2 - Look at your data from last year
Data is your biggest ally in perfecting your Black Friday SEO strategy. Between Google Analytics, Shopify Admin and other tools at your disposal, you have a lot of data that can give you vital clues about where to focus your attention. Use all you can access to build a complete picture of how your store performed last year, and guide your strategy for this coming BFCM.
Start by looking at things like your top landing pages - what were they, and how much traffic did they bring in? What was the bounce rate like? What was the conversion rate? Which sources led to that page? Which keywords led traffic to the page, if they came from a search engine? How did these data points change from Black Friday to the weekend to Cyber Monday?
You should also look at the rate of sale on different products. What were your bestsellers, and which deals were most effective? Which products underperformed? Be sure to examine matters like return rates also - the initial sales volume doesn’t matter as much as the final sales volume. For example, if a product sold really well but had a 25% return rate, what were the reasons for return? If they were related to things like sizing issues or “wasn’t as described”, then you should look to improve the product page.
All of this data will help you to highlight pages you may want to focus on as a source of success, and those which need some attention before Black Friday.
#3 - Assess your competitors
Competitor analysis is always valuable when it comes to building any strategy for your store. While many may not be publishing Black Friday content just yet, there is still plenty to explore. Start by looking to see if they do have any Black Friday/Cyber Monday content from the previous year on their site. What did they have - blogs, landing pages, etc? Is this content still active, and what kind of content is currently there?
You should also look at the other pages on their stores, given that these will likely be what appears in search results. If they’re currently ouranking you for specific keywords you want to target for BFCM, you want to understand what it is they’re doing differently. Look out for things like keywords, visual content types, and page layout. These are all elements that will affect SEO, and you can find opportunities to bolster your own pages. Also consider factors like page speed, and mobile experience. Again this can give you clues about what your competitors’ strategies are, or where you can find gaps that will boost your SEO.
#4 - Determine your target keywords
One of the best parts about Black Friday SEO is that it’s seasonal, meaning you get a rare opportunity to rank faster than usual. Normally, it can take 6+ months to rank but over BFCM search engines prioritize fresh, relevant content. After all, users will want to see deals and content for the current year, not the year prior!
The keywords customers will look for will be very focussed on Black Friday. So start by looking at your usual target keywords, and how you can add some BFCM focussed qualifiers or modifiers. For example, adding “Black Friday”, “Black Friday deals”, “deals [year]”, “Cyber monday” and so on.
Having this list will allow you to create better, more relevant content for your site that will climb SERPs faster.
#5 - Review existing content and see if you can update it
Did you create any BFCM content last year? Then it’s time to see if you can recycle it! The content you had last year will have gained some authority from when it was last relevant, so by updating it for the current year, search engines will see that you care about providing fresh, useful content.
For example, say you had a Black Friday landing page. Instead of creating an entirely new one, you can simply update it for this year. Add some fresh content like a blurb with your new, relevant keywords. Add some temporary, placeholder collections to give customers something to look at if they find the page before BFCM. Create a countdown so customers know when your deals will go live. Add an FAQ with details about your BFCM offers - e.g. “When will Black Friday deals begin for [brand]?” or “How long will my order take if I order on Black Friday?”.
As for blogs, look at what you published last year and determine which will actually be relevant to update. That update might be as simple as adding a blurb at the top of the blog directing them to fresher content. For example if you published a “Black Friday Guide 2022” then add a disclaimer at the top of the blog article directing them to your BFCM landing page or to a 2023 blog instead.
#6 - Start looking into backlinks
Customers look at a variety of sources to see who has the best deals and quality products over BFCM. And so do search engines! Backlinks are when another site links to your store, and it’s wise to try and gather as many high quality links as you can ahead of Black Friday. This will indicate to search engines that your site is suitable for their users if they’re looking for a great store this Black Friday.
Start by looking at which high authority sites your customers spend time browsing. Pay special attention to whatever these sources may have posted in years past for Black Friday. For example, perhaps they posted a few articles related to the best deals for specific types of products. You can then start some backlink outreach to see if you can be included and gain a backlink.
This is also a case for creating that high quality BFCM related content like landing pages we mentioned earlier. If you have something like that that’s worth sharing with people, it’s more likely you’ll earn backlinks.
Are you ready to start your SEO strategy for Black Friday? Getting ahead now could mean even greater success over the year’s biggest shopping weekend.