Black Friday/ Cyber Monday or BFCM weekend is one of the biggest opportunities in the commerce calendar, and not just for sales!
As many as 80% of customers will discover new brands over BFCM. That means there’s huge scope for boosting customer acquisition ahead of the holiday season. And with Q1 typically considered a low period for retailers, those customers could be the key to a successful post-holiday strategy.
However, the key word is “discovery” - in order to take advantage of those opportunities, customers need to discover your brand. And the primary way they’ll do that is through search.
Seasonal SEO and BFCM
In SEO, we always talk about the value of evergreen content. This is content which gains authority and attention over time, as it focuses on topics and subject matters which don’t have an expiration date. This content will be relevant regardless of when they were first published, or the time of year a customer reads it. For example your product pages or home page, or blogs which focus on common questions.
However, there is another type of content which is just as important - seasonal. The best example of this is when a user wants more information about some kind of current event, such as a storm in their area or an election. They want information that’s current and relevant, not information from weeks or months prior. The same applies to BFCM content. If a user inputs a search for Black Friday deals, there’s an assumption made by the search engine that they’re looking for content related to the current year.
Google especially puts a lot of emphasis on providing relevant, useful content. At times, this means ensuring the content that’s ranking for certain keywords is fresh and recent. This applies not just to current events and BFCM, but also the holiday season as well as other holidays throughout the year. Therefore, adding seasonal SEO into your strategy will be invaluable.
3 optimizations to prepare your store’s SEO
Before we get to content, let’s start with technical SEO you should pay attention to as we approach Black Friday. Technical SEO should be part of your long-term, day-to-day SEO strategy, however as with content, there are certain elements which will matter even more to potential customers over BFCM weekend. Therefore if you’re looking to prioritize your SEO tasks in the lead up to Black Friday, these are three which both search engines and users will care most about.
1 - Page speed
One of the biggest conversion rate killers is page speed. 53% of users will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and 70% said page speed impacts their likelihood of making a purchase. Especially on BFCM weekend, speed is going to be important to potential users. They don’t want to miss out on the products they want, and they may have other sites they’re considering purchasing from. The faster your site is, the better the experience, and the more likely a customer will be to make a purchase.
This better experience is also great for your store’s SEO. Many of Google’s key ranking factors such as core web vitals focus on speed, so the faster your site is the better chance it has of ranking.
Some of the ways in which you can improve site speed include:
- Reducing image file sizes, especially on product pages
- Making use of browser caching
- Remove unnecessary code and any unused apps
2 - Mobile friendliness
Mobile browsing is more popular than ever, and the demand for better mobile shopping experiences is growing. In 2021, mobile accounted for 71% of all BFCM sales through Shopify merchants. Mobile commerce allows customers to discover and purchase products quickly, no matter where they are so they never miss a good deal. Mobile friendliness is equally important to search engines and is a key ranking factor for Google.
If your store is built using a theme from the Shopify Theme Store, it’ll be mobile responsive by default. This takes a big weight off your shoulders in developing a mobile experience, but there’s still plenty more that can be done. It’s not just adapting your desktop experience to mobile viewports, but creating an experience that’s designed specifically for mobile users. If your checkout process takes too many steps, or your product pages take too long to scroll to find a CTA, these are markers of a poor mobile experience.
Here are some ways you can improve your mobile SEO:
- Keep your navigation on mobile simple and easy to find
- Shorten any forms customers need to fill out
- Enable guest checkout so customers don’t need to create an account to checkout
- Ensure all text is large and legible on mobile, and CTAs are easy to tap
3 - Site navigation
The way your site is organized will impact conversions, even outside of Black Friday weekend. Revise this ahead of time, and make sure it’s fast and easy for customers to find the deals and promotions they want. Especially if they’re a new customer unfamiliar with your store and its layout, they don’t want to waste time searching through different sections of your site to find Black Friday offers. This can be frustrating, and lead them to look elsewhere.
To make it really easy, you could…
- Add your Black Friday landing page or category to your primary navigation.
- Link Black Friday deals on your homepage.
- Create a temporary collection of Black Friday products and offers.
- Create a site banner that follows customers as they navigate, with an easy link back to BFCM content.
- Link to your Black Friday collection or landing page from any other BFCM content e.g. blogs.
3 types of content to create to target seasonal SEO
Now let’s talk about content. The kind of content that you should create should focus on being useful for potential customers, rather than just trying to advertise your Black Friday offers. This can be a tricky balancing act, however as with evergreen content, Google will only rank that content which is relevant to its users interests. Providing them with that will allow your store to climb search rankings and drive conversions.
1 - Landing page
One of your most useful seasonal SEO tools are landing pages. These give users a concentrated hub with all the information they’ll want and need to make a purchase. It also allows you to add your seasonal keywords related to BFCM in a way that’s organic and makes sense, rather than trying to find ways to sneak them into other, less relevant pages.
On a Black Friday landing page, you should include:
- Details of any time limits and dates for your promotions
- Links to products included in your BFCM promotions
- Any codes or redemption links customers may need
- FAQ section about your Black Friday deals along with shipping info
This will not only give customers all the information they need, but also search engines can crawl the content and start to rank it for search queries. The benefit of a landing page here is that you can remove the page from navigation once BFCM is over, and then repurpose it the following year. It will build authority while it’s live and send signals to search engines that it’s useful content for users looking for BFCM deals, which you can take advantage of in the future.
2 - Buying and gift guides
Gift guides are a common sight as we approach the holiday season. They’re great for adding in seasonal keywords, highlighting products, and bringing in potential customers looking for gifts who are unfamiliar with your brand. They’re also valuable as we go into BFCM, as many customers will be hoping to grab some early gifts on promotion. As well as gift guides, you can also create buying guides focussed on your BFCM deals and promotions. This allows you to target those keywords, keeping all your blog content focussed.
Knowing which guides to write will depend on your target audience and keywords. There will be branded searches you can target, if users are specifically looking for deals from your store, e.g. “Apple Black Friday deals”. However, if you want to target that 80% of customers who discover a new brand, you need to target what else they may search for. If you sell board games, for example, then that may mean targeting searches for “board game black friday deals” or “best cyber monday deals for table top games”. In your buying guides, be sure to include links to the products featured to make it easy for readers to become customers.
3 - Temporary collections
Especially as we get into BFCM and the holiday season, creating temporary collections can be a great way to help both customers and your store’s SEO. Collections are when you create collections of existing products within your store, separate to your usual product categories. You may, for example, have categories for men’s clothes and women’s clothes with subcategories within each. A collection may have a mix of products from different subcategories that all fit a specific theme. For example you may want a collection of vacation essentials that has a mix of t-shirts, shorts, sandals, sunglasses etc. that wouldn’t normally all be displayed within the same category.
For Black Friday weekend, you can create collections related to your promotions. These can be hosted on your homepage or landing page, to give customers an easy way to view all the products included in your BFCM event. You can create different collections within this, for example you may have “Black Friday Deals - Running & Cycling” and “Black Friday Bundles - Yoga”. These can help not only your customers, but also your store’s SEO as these collections can be crawled and flagged as useful for seasonal search terms.
When Black Friday is over, you can hide these from your store and reuse them the following year as you would a landing page.
Black Friday is a major opportunity for your store to acquire new, engaged customers ahead of the holiday season. However, in order to acquire them, they need to be able to find your store first. Seasonal SEO is your ticket to acquisition and a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.