How to optimise your site for Black Friday

Here are our top tips for optimising your website for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Here are our top tips for optimising your website for Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales that will help you make the most out of increased traffic volumes!

Get the most out of the biggest spending weekend of the year by optimising your site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In November 2015 there were 4,078,070 searches for the term ‘Black Friday sale’ with shoppers spending around £3.3bn over the weekend. That is a heap of people searching for deals. If you want a slice of the action, our tips will help you stand up against your competitors.

In no particular order, here are our top 5 tips to be SEO ready for Black Friday:

1. Be Mobile Ready

Your load times will be extremely important during the Black Friday sale. People will be scanning for deals on their mobiles while they’re on their way to work, on their couch and at any point they have some downtime. Google expects mobile shopping to surpass desktop again this year so make sure you have a mobile responsive website that can seamlessly handle any extra traffic for the day. Every additional second taken to properly load a page directly costs you revenue, as people get bored or frustrated and leave. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of people expect a site to load within 2 seconds, with 40% of users abandoning a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Some of the most common problems people have cited as frustrating on mobile sites are:

  • Sites that take too long to load
  • Sites that crash, freeze or receive an error
  • Sites that have bad formatting making it difficult to read
  • Sites that don’t function as expected
  • Sites that aren’t available

    So check your site against the points above for any last minute tweaks that can be made prior to the sale. A useful tool to check how your mobile experience rates is to assess your site in the Google Search Console mobile friendly tool.

2. Sync up with Paid Search

Ensure you have consistent messaging across both paid and organic search channels as this will enhance your overall SERPs performance. Data from Google published in 2012 demonstrated that when both PPC and SEO have a result on the page in SERPs it drives a higher click-through-rate (CTR). Keeping your content high quality and relevant can also help reduce the cost of PPC as it can improve the brand’s Quality Score which assesses how relevant a page is.

To get a view of how your channels are currently working together it’s worth going into the Multi-Channel Funnel report in Google Analytics and viewing the volume of conversions that can be attributed when both channels are used in conjunction.

If you are a product based site then you will want to ensure your Google Shopping/Google Merchant Center is up to date. It runs much in the way as adwords does, with the main opportunities being in monitoring and optimising your campaigns.

3. Rework your Meta

Change your Meta titles and Meta descriptions to reflect your promotional message on the main pages of your website. This can create a lovely campaign sandwich in SERPs with a PPC ad on top and organic listing below.

As part of your meta optimisations you should also consider using a structured mark-up such as schema.org. By adding the correct type of schema mark-up (either Microdata or JSON-LD) you can increase the amount of space dedicated to your search result. You can mark-up items for offers, product name, price, availability and reviews. In particular, by using the “priceValidUntil” property, people will even be able to see your flash sale offer directly within the search results!

4. Build links to your Black Friday Sale page

Creating content specifically for the black Friday sale will help you rank for the keywords you’re targeting. Create a dedicated landing page for your holiday content to make it an easily reusable page, and build links to this page in the lead up to the event. By excluding the date from the URL – for example, using brand.com/black-Friday-sale over brand.com/black-Friday-2016 – any links you build to this page will continue to pass relevance year after year.

The earlier you create your Black Friday page, the better, as many potential customers will be researching various ideas for gifts in the weeks leading up to the sale. By setting up a page early, you also have a greater chance of getting indexed in time.

A lot of news outlets and review sites will be compiling lists for the biggest and best deals for Black Friday in the weeks leading up to the event. So, make sure you have communications in place with the relevant industry publications that will help generate traffic to your product/site by linking to it.

5. Optimise your Reviews

Making sure you mark-up reviews on your ecommerce site is a must. Customers are going to research what they want in advance of the sales. While they may be price led on the day, you will need to show that your product is worth it. Ensure you are responding to negative reviews and there is a proper strategy in place as Google views a company that responds to reviews as one that cares about its customers.

You must also be using a Google approved third party aggregator if you want to ensure the reviews you accumulate can actually be used to develop a more engaging search snippet that’s likely to improve CTR for organic and paid search.

The bottom line is, if you really want to be at the top of customers minds come Black Friday and for any sale for that matter you really need to be prepared in advance. The tips above will be useful for any sales from the January sale to summer offers. Many companies, like Amazon, Debenhams and supermarkets like Morrison’s, will be promoting deals well before the actual day itself. So plan your campaign well in advance, and integrate it into all your marketing channels to get your loyal customers prepared for some excellent deals.

By Kathryn McKelvie, SEO Executive.