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Black Friday SEO – Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for Rapid Sales

November 17, 2019

9 Min Read
SEO for Black Friday
Reading Time: 9 minutes

[UPDATED] Are you ready to boost your online sales this Black Friday? Everybody knows the holiday season brings the largest online shopping extravaganza of the year. Your store is up and running, but are you prepared to attract Black Friday traffic on your online store?

You must cash all the holiday sales frenzy with effective Black Friday SEO tips. Although content is the king, SEO plays a vital role in increasing your brand’s awareness with minimum effort.

Ecommerce SEO is quite different from Black Friday SEO because you are up against the time as well as your competitors to rank higher in the SERPs.

1. Black Friday SEO Marketing Tips for Ecommerce Stores

SEO is a combination of on-page and off-page activities. If you neglect either one of these aspects, your online store will not appear on the search results. Let’s begin with how to optimize your on-page SEO first.

2. Black Friday On-Page SEO Tips

Effective Black Friday SEO marketing calls for a proactive approach while doing on-page SEO. It is a mixture of technical and normal on-page optimizations. Let’s check out what the technical on-page SEO optimization is all about.

I. Technical On-Page

When it comes to technical on-page SEO optimization, you must consider the following aspects.

i. Review Your Technical SEO Fundamentals

First of all, ensure you have your technical aspects sorted out. These include having a proper URL structure, 301 redirects for all your pages which you’ve moved to new URLs, alongside the addition of temporary 302 redirects for pages under development, and a 404 error message. In short, just review the technical SEO fundamentals of your ecommerce store.

ii. Resolving 404 Error Pages

Make sure you have a proper 404 error page in place. The 404 error pages are a dead-end. When bots tend to discover pages and they land on a 404 page, they think nothing exists beyond. The only way to resolve this is by having a custom 404 page. It is especially essential for ecommerce stores that have plans to market themselves on Black Friday.

404 page

iii. Placing 301 redirects on broken links and lost landing pages

Another effective Black Friday SEO strategy that’s often overlooked is the addition of 301 redirects to pages. There are thousands of product pages on an ecommerce store. Online businesses often have to change the URLs (slugs) of these pages.

For example: We have redirected our previous content link to a new one.
Old: https://www.cloudways.com/blog/ecommerce-optimization/
New: https://www.cloudways.com/blog/ecommerce-optimization-guide/

Therefore, when a bot searches for a page and finds a 404 error, it will de-rank the URL from the SERPs. Instead, if it finds a 301 redirect, it can replace the previous link with the new one, without affecting your rank on SERPs.

iv. You Servers must Handle High Visitor Traffic

Ask yourself, how ready is your online store to take on the Black Friday web traffic spike? To manage the traffic head-on, you need a reliable cloud hosting service that offers auto-scaling features like Cloudways. The main reason most ecommerce stores crash during the Black Friday sales period is because they are unable to handle an unprecedented surge of web traffic on their online store.

Slow Store Load Time = Downtime in 2018 | SEE HOW

v. Optimizing Page Speed for Fast Load-outs

Ecommerce stores that have optimized pages for speed get more importance from search engines. Not only do they rank them faster, but the users also love it. Therefore, you must improve the page load time of your ecommerce store by adding advanced-cache on server and platform level plugins. You can also add CSS and Java minifying scripts to increase your webpage speed during Black Friday.

vi. Optimize URLs – Keyword Focused

I don’t understand why do online businesses won’t adapt keyword-based URLs? Brian Dean of Backlinko has published a complete guide on on-page SEO in which he mentions that adding a keyword in the URL increases its chances to rank higher on SERPs. Hence, if your landing page is about Black Friday Deals, then create the landing page as:

Optimize URLs – Keyword Focused

Check our URL structure for holiday season offers (Screengrab)

These are some of the necessary on-page SEO changes you can do on your website and make it more compliant with search engines. With that being said, it’s time to discuss normal on-page SEO tactics.

II. Normal On-Page SEO for Black Friday

These changes are not complex and you can do it yourself easily. It can help your online store reflect greatly on SERPs. Here’s how you can go about on-page SEO.

i. Insert Visible Calls-to-Action

Insert Call to Actions (CTAs) on each product page, landing page, blog, and even press releases. Your online visitors must know what your business is all about and how they can conveniently buy from you.

You can add CTAs like ‘Check out this product’s review’, ‘Buy PRODUCT at HALF PRICE’, or ‘Buy before the offer expires’. Ensure you create a sense of urgency to increase conversions.

ii. Holiday Landing Pages – Internal Linking

You must develop a specific landing page for Black Friday. Make a superb design for the page and add featured products on it to sell. When your pages are ready, you can inter-link them.

Walmart has a dedicated Black Friday page available. Their URL remains the same, all they do is update it before every Black Friday campaign.

Holiday Landing Pages – Internal Linking

Walmart Black Friday page (Screengrab)

Why are they using the same page? Because it is already indexed, and each New Year its value increases in search engines.

Moz Link Checker

We ran the Walmart page through Moz Link Checker and here are the results. As you can see, it has a pretty good page authority. Let’s checkout it’s yearly trend.

Moz page authority

The page authority has increased by five points within a year.

iii. Optimize Meta Tags and Descriptions with Targeted “Black Friday” Keywords

In simple terms, optimize your dedicated Black Friday main page and other relevant pages. The best way to do it is by adding Black Friday targeted keywords in your meta-title, description, and tags. Here is what Walmart has done. As you can see they have fully optimized their page with relevant keywords and meta tags.

Optimize meta tags and descriptions

As you can see it has fully optimized the page with keywords and even added meta tags that aren’t of much value now.

iv. Design Friendliness – Best Practices Article Check

The design of your online store must be user-friendly. Focus on the latest web design philosophy. If you are not a web designer or you don’t have one in your team, you can always outsource it to ensure effectiveness.

You can also improve your UX with the assistance of various plugins. Without digging on that deeper, here’s WooCommerce’s list of the best ecommerce landing page plugins for your perusal.

v. Sitemap Update

Once the Black Friday landing page is live, update the sitemap on Google and Bing. This will let the search engines know that you have published a new piece of content.
Sitemap Update

vi. Mobile Optimization – AMP or Responsive Website

In 2017, mobile visits to retail websites exceeded desktop traffic for the first time and have been growing since then. That’s why your website must be mobile responsive. All your content must fit and look perfect on any type of screen, especially the gallery pages. Mobile responsiveness affects image quality and ultimately, the customer experience.

vii. Create Gift Guides and Videos

Today, most ecommerce stores offer gift guides for the holiday season. The customers browse the ecommerce stores but they have no idea what they should buy. Some customers tend to buy gifts for someone else, and they don’t know what the other person’s preferences are. Gift guides help them decide a product or narrow down their choices.

For example, Walmart offers gift guides each year. It even has a dedicated landing page for gift guides.

Create Gift Guides and Videos

Source: Walmart website

viii. Use Images to Sell Products – ALT Tag and Keywords

Almost 97% of customers see an image before deciding if they should buy the product or not. This is because the images act as social proof. They help customers understand the type of product they should buy. You can even increase the reach of images by optimizing them for search. To do so, simply add alt text with SEO optimized content.

ix. User Reviews Front and Center

Customer reviews can make or break an ecommerce store. They are an integral part of the ecommerce business. Potential customers generally shop online when they find out that someone they know is satisfied with the product. That is only possible when some genuine customers have endorsed the brand by providing a positive review.

x. Deal Popups

Deal popups are an important part of the ecommerce conversion rate optimization strategy. They often lead to increased average page time and decreased bounce rate. Add exit popups on your ecommerce store providing deals that users can’t deny.

Deal Popups

Source: Wishpond

xi. Announcement Blog

The promotion of a landing page can increase its rankings in SERPs. One way to do that is via announcement blogs. Once you have the Black Friday page with you, announce on multiple news websites that you will be providing deals with unbeatable discounts on Black Friday. Ask them to add a link to your store, to facilitate online shoppers to reach you. This will not only pass the link juice to your website but it will also signal Google that you have link-worthy content. Here’s an example of the Black Friday announcement post.

Announcement Blog for Black Friday deal by Dell

An example of Black Friday announcement post

3. Black Friday Off-Page Techniques

Consider off-page SEO activities as co-marketing and promotional activities that you do to ensure people are aware of your brand. Let’s look at the best practices for ranking your online store in SERPs before the BIG DAY.

i. Build Links to Your Holiday Sales

Don’t shun your regular link building activities. The best way to build links to your ecommerce store is through guest posting. You can do forum postings, write blog comments, and social bookmarking to get links as well. But before you do that, understand the difference between do-follow and no-follow links.

You can also build relevant links for Black Friday by:

  • Display advertisements on websites
  • Forum posting
  • Blog commenting
  • Web 2.0 creation
  • High quality PBNs
  • Social bookmarking

These are some of the best ways to build links online. Let’s see what other methods we have of promoting the Black Friday campaign for increasing rankings in SERPs.

ii. Coupon Submission Sites and Forums

People are always searching for ways to get more discounts on products. During the holiday season, they search for the best deals available online. This is an opportunity for you to hook them on to your ecommerce store with the help of coupons.

Being a store owner, you can submit your ecommerce store coupons on multiple coupon websites during Black Friday including Groupon, Retail Me Not, Coupon Great, and I Love Coupons to get rapid sales.

Retail Me Not

iii. Q&A Deals for Black Friday

Another actionable tactic to get more eyeballs on your offer is by promoting it through question and answer websites. There are many Q&A websites active like Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, Yahoo Answers, etc.

Most of these have dedicated threads or topics for Black Friday alone. You can search for them and provide valuable answers to the questions with a signature or an announcement about your offer. Those who like your offer will get to your ecommerce store after seeing it.

QnA deals for Black Friday

Black Friday has a dedicated page on Quora – Screen-grab Quora

iv. Social Media Hype

There is no proven answer that social media hype improves rankings in search engines, but Google algorithm does consider the traffic flow to a website while ranking it on search engine result pages.

For example, many digital marketers have observed that if a website gets a lot of organic traffic from social media, it will start to rise in search rankings on search engines.

The Grand Ecommerce Giveaway hosted by Cloudways in 2019 – Screengrab Cloudways

You can create a hype about your offers on social media by:

  • Starting a giveaway or sweepstakes. The more users participate in the giveaway, the more users win.
  • Creating hype by producing ads with a strong social message. These ads get more shares and eventually, people will start shopping from your ecommerce store.

v. Link Exchange

Networking with other bloggers is another great way of improving rankings within the SERPs. Networking not only increases opportunities but it also creates a win-win situation for both parties.

Here are a few points you must ensure before exchanging links with other bloggers.

  • Check if the site is relevant to your niche
  • It should not be a direct competitor of your business and should not be targeting the same keywords that you are targeting
  • It should have a DA of at least 30
  • It should have an Alexa rank of less than 500,000

Now search for blog posts that have relevant content just like the one published on your website. Request the publisher/author to link to your website as you have similar but more comprehensive information available. In return, you will link back to their website.

Ready to Rank Before Black Friday?

After reading this article, you should be. This is a complete guide that highlights different ways to rank your website in SERPs before Black Friday. Just follow the Black Friday SEO checklist and remember to offer some eye-popping deals on your store to improve conversions during the holiday season.

Let us know if you have something to add to the article or if you have a question that needs more explaining.

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Sharjeel Ashraf

Sharjeel loves to write about startups and ecommerce. In his free time, he is on the road or working on some cool project in his den.

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