How to SEO your Black Friday strategy – 6 tips


When optimising your website for Black Friday, be sure to target searches for ‘deals’ and don’t be too specific where it counts.

In November 2017, the most popular Google search with approximately 2,240,000 hits was “Black Friday 2017”. While this isn’t likely to shock anyone vaguely familiar with both the calendar year and internet search, it might come as a surprise for some businesses to learn that incredibly generic terms such as this may actually be profitable search engine optimisation (SEO) targets for their websites.

Last year, UK shoppers spent £1.4bn online on Black Friday – 11.7pc more than the previous year. The business opportunity is clear, particularly on the web, where the environment, with its endless avenues for research, lends itself perfectly to indulgent sales shopping.

So how can business owners lay claim to a decent slice of Black Friday web traffic and boost brand exposure without spending a fortune on marketing? The answer is not as typical as you might expect.  

In the past, business websites have been set up to focus on specific products for Black Friday activity, which is (in theory) sensible. Web pages are usually created in an attempt to capture people who are focussed on finding deals on specific items – such as “Black Friday smartphone deals” or “Black Friday home furniture offers” – but as this recent report from Pi Datametrics reveals, web traffic moves in more ambiguous directions on big sales days, bucking the online shopping norms where shorter, more focussed journeys typically yield higher conversion rates.

Here are six tips for optimising your business strategy for this year’s Black Friday on 23 November 2018.

1. Go general

Make sure that your strategy for Black Friday includes efforts to target generic, yet popular, Black Friday searches in addition to product-focussed targets.

The keyphrase table below presents the most valuable Black Friday search terms in 2017 (however, some data is subject to change). Naturally, terms last year that cited “2017” will need to be updated to target 2018 key phrases, but be wary of date-specific targets, as search levels around this phrasing in previous years have not been consistent.

A “hero” or “gateway” page on your website that targets general Black Friday interest is recommended for maximum traffic exposure.

Consider how often you have visited a sales section on a website and picked up a number of items “you didn’t know you needed”. This Amazon webpage is set up precisely for such behaviour, targeting people looking for Black Friday deals – whatever they may be. Set up a similar page on your business’s website and link to individual product pages to ensure that casual, deal-hunting shoppers can browse all special offers with ease.

2. Optimise for ‘deals’

At the time of writing, the online landscape aligned to the sales event is being dominated by businesses targeting specific categories, particularly within electrical, where the recent release of new Apple products has sparked an annual fight for business in the marketplace. But this looks set to shift as we get closer to the event and mentalities change, with consumers being drawn to any and every “saving” that they can make.

Last year, the most common theme in the top 10 Google searches on Black Friday was the mention of the word “deals”, with six of the 10 searches featuring it. It’s the strongest noun in sales shopping language and business webpages should include this word above all other variations, such as “offers”.

3. Advertise with the right affiliates

Choose popular, high-ranking affiliate websites to promote your Black Friday deals in the run up to the event. Giants such as Amazon are a must, but don’t disregard the many other websites (specialist and not) that can help you to secure visibility and push your products in 2018.  

Both blackfriday.com and blackfridaydeals.co.uk currently sit in the top five websites returning for the 10,000+ Black Friday searches analysed in Pi Datametrics’ report. See the top 20 here.

4. Partner with publishers

On the day itself, it’s advisable to cosy up to publishers, who will dominate information-seeking searches. In September 2017, brands were dominating the Black Friday marketplace right up until November, when publishers overtook and reigned supreme, winning valuable positions in Google and, subsequently, valuable traffic.

With this in mind, it’s important to negotiate mentions with both national and local publications to drive awareness of your brand. Be wary that any link placements where money has changed hands must adhere to Google’s guidelines.

5. Start early and perform year-round

It’s important not to get tunnel vision when thinking about Black Friday. In the UK, the shopping event has become much like Christmas: offers are released earlier each year, with many businesses choosing to run activities across the whole month to take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and festive gift planning.

A consistent year-round Black Friday webpage on your website will save you a space in the search engines’ indexes, meaning that you can be there when traffic begins to develop to a notable degree from August.

From September onwards, you can then focus the majority of efforts on driving traffic, which will help to improve your search engine ranks and put you in the best possible position on the day itself.

Maintain a consistent cycle of marketing activity each year

Credit:
Pi Datametrics

6. Build a layered Black Friday strategy

Leaving everything until the last minute won’t cut it and neither will a hasty or simplistic content plan. During seasonal events, search data becomes invaluable to digital strategy. Speaking to different audiences, or the same audience but at different times of the year, means a variety of content needs must be addressed.

Create content with a two-pronged approach:

i. Evergreen content:

Create landing pages that target those golden, yet general, Black Friday searches, as well as content pieces that will meet the needs of information-seekers year after year.

The Telegraph’s Black Friday channel is live year-round and updated regularly with editorial and affiliate content to maintain authority. This page attracts the general searches.

In addition, the Black Friday channel houses and connects to a variety of individual evergreen interest pieces, such as “How did Black Friday get its name?” – a question that will remain relevant for years to come. These pieces not only appease information-seekers, thus improving brand awareness, but closer to the sales event, they can be used to funnel traffic through to the business side of the channel.

When the shopping event swings around, online shoppers are eager to see as many offers as possible

Credit:
Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

ii. Reactive/news content

One of the main reasons news publishers dominate on Black Friday is due to coverage of the event as it unfolds across the day. This will include everything from guides to the best Black Friday deals as and when they break, to the timely publishing of affiliate advertiser content.

Businesses should not leave it all to the newspapers, however.

Writing your own content is certainly an option, though Google feeds favour publishers by nature and a large amount of on-the-day searchers head there directly for content. Combat this by getting your social media team involved to ensure that your content is seen by as many people as possible across a variety of platforms.

Another option (in an “if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them” sort of way) is to ensure press releases and announcements are released at the right times.

In 2017, one of the most shared content pieces from a UK-relevant website was a news item from the Liverpool Echo detailing Virgin Trains’ Black Friday offer. It’s not a particularly lengthy piece, but still managed to amass approximately 7,700 engagements on Facebook alone.

Social entertainment website, LADbible – certainly no stranger to promoting content on Facebook – sent its young audience into a frenzy with an expletive-laden announcement of an alcohol deal the day prior to the shopping event. Two similar pieces published within 24 hours of each other amassed 91,200 shares and engagements across social platforms, showing that Black Friday traffic can be almost anyone’s game.

Read Pi Datametrics’ Black Friday analysis and recommendations in full.

Explore the data behind this article

Pi Datametrics is an enterprise-level content performance solution, informing the business decisions of major global corporations. For more information on the insights featured, visit pi-datametrics.com

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