Did you know that Black Friday isn’t actually the biggest shopping day of the year, nor is Cyber Monday?
It’s actually the Saturday before Christmas.
Regardless, Black Friday provides a nearly incomparable source of foot traffic and e-commerce sales for retailers.
In total, 108 million consumers purchased online in 2016 compared to 99 million consumers on Black Friday in 2015. According to one survey, the average consumer spent $289 on shopping Thanksgiving weekend last year.
Being early in the holiday season, Black Friday serves as the official kickoff to e-commerce promotions and seasonal content outreach. With 49 percent of marketers initiating holiday campaigns before Halloween, when is the right time to promote seasonal content or products?
With the large array of Black Friday choices available, how can you set yourself apart from the competition?
Here are 10 imperative SEO strategies to augment your holiday marketing campaign and boost your Black Friday sales.
1. Review Your Technical SEO Fundamentals
‘Tis the season and I’m sure you have a million marketing ideas and holiday promotions sprawling through your head. Before you formally launch your holiday sales blitz, it’s good practice to review your SEO basics and optimize your website’s technical foundation to position pages to be crawled, indexed, and ranked properly.
Review your technical SEO fundamentals, including:
- Resolving 404 error pages
- Placing 301 redirects on broken links and lost landing pages
- Ensuring servers can handle high visitor traffic
- Optimizing page speed for fast loadouts
Shoot for low hanging fruit as well when you optimize holiday landing pages:
- Optimize meta tags and descriptions with targeted “Black Friday” keywords
- Inserting visible calls-to-action for easy conversions
- Providing clear NAP information so users can contact or locate your brick-and-mortar establishment
Ideally, these technical structures will be put into practice already if you run an e-commerce platform. I emphasize providing a seamless internal linking structure to give visitors further options to interact with your site. They’ll be more likely to make a purchase the longer they dwell on your site.
2. Keyword Strategies
When researching the best terms to target on Black Friday, do a quick analysis of your campaigns from last year.
Go into Google Analytics and see which pages drove the most traffic, highest conversions, and highest keyword rank for holiday marketing campaigns. Build off of these successes and use these pages as a model for your marketing strategy this year.
In terms of keyword research, the two most highly searched terms on Black Friday are “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” Leverage these terms in combination with your topic or product to serve as a starting point for your organic search strategy.
Common terms leading up to Black Friday weekend also include “gifts”, “delivery”, and “deals.” Leverage these terms and focus on long-tail keywords that include branded terms, product specifics, and competitive pricing offers, such as “coupons,” or “discounts.”
If you’re selling products through Amazon or using referral strategies to drive visitors to different platforms then use product specifics (e.g., sizes) in each listing title to maximize conversions.
3. Holiday Landing Pages
Landing pages are a great way to attract leads for your business and also specifically market products you wish to push around holiday themes. Landing pages should feature keyword optimized meta tags, (including product characteristics), descriptive ad copy, and an enticing headline.
Businesses can build links to these pages to rank them for specific Black Friday keywords and leverage calls-to-action to lead them to your domain and through your funnel.
Dedicated landing pages will also benefit from interactive and engaging content, such as videos that provide informative value to visitors.
Creating timestamps, such as a “coming soon” title on your page will create anticipation for its release. Creating a sense of urgency, such as “limited time offer” will also entice users to make a purchase before it’s no longer available.
4. Seasonal Content
Launching your seasonal content marketing blitz early will help keep your brand top-of-mind by the time purchasing decisions are made on Black Friday weekend. Begin running promotions and launching landing pages at least three weeks to a month in advance of Thanksgiving weekend.
One way to begin this strategy is by producing seasonal content and gift guides that seek to build awareness around your products while providing useful information for customers to make the most out of the holidays this year. Consider that 70 percent of holiday gift guide videos are consumed on smartphones.
Observe trending content in your industry this time of year by looking up seasonal keywords on Google Trends and turning to BuzzSumo.
Videos, slides, and infographics are a great way to engage random visitors who end up on your site and capture their attention. They are also easily shareable which could create the potential for your seasonal content to compound in the days leading up to Black Friday.
Most importantly, it’s key to start planning out promotions and content marketing ideas early so you can write and publish once the time is ripe. You may also consider simply updating holiday landing pages from last year with appropriate dates and pricing to save you time.
5. Optimize Weak Touchpoints
With such fierce competition, it’s important to have all of your bases covered.
Using Google Analytics, it’s important to evaluate which core webpages are contributing the least to your conversion rate and lead generation. You can also leverage Google AdWords and map out which touchpoints are underperforming using data-driven analytics.
It’s important to optimize middle-of-the-pack webpages with the appropriate keywords and content that will nurture leads through your sales funnel. Keep your brand top-of-mind by providing content that answers user questions that would be asked before making a purchase of one of your products/services.
Ranking middle pack content on the first-page for keywords that invoke high intent or are directly related to your products will significantly boost your sales.
6. Reviews Are HUGE
With a laundry list of product listings and special promotions, people tend to do more online research before making a purchase during the holiday season than the rest of the year. Expect a lot of pogo sticking in analytics.
A BrightLocal survey found that 92 percent of shoppers read online reviews and 68 percent say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
Case studies and customer testimonials are always ideal to showcase on your landing pages to help influence buying decisions. Be careful not to obstruct any other crucial UX elements before placing these on your webpages.
Ideally, you’ll want to advertise customer reviews front and center on any ad listings you purchase or any landing pages you create for your products.
It’s also important to emphasize a unique proposition value that will separate your brand from the competition. Examples include:
- Competitive pricing or price matching
- Free deliveries
- Free installations
Proposition values should take priority on pages with fierce competition and high keyword volume. Use online reviews to curate trust with consumers and a proposition value to create the illusion of a once-in-a-lifetime deal for pogo-sticking visitors.
7. Harness Your Social Media Following
Social media is the most cost-effective platform to advertise promotions and ensure they reach the right audience. Aside from running promotions, you can leverage social networking sites to distribute holiday-themed content that leaves your brand top-of-mind.
Know your social media channel and which ones convert the best for holiday promotions and also which ones receive the highest engagement for contests and user-generated content submissions.
One survey found that 75 percent of users will take an action after seeing a brand’s post on Instagram while Pinterest is 30 percent more effective in generating sales.
Advertising on both websites has been found to increase favorability and brand awareness. The key to a solid Pinterest pin or Instagram ad is to create engaging images that separate your products from the competition.
You can also leverage social media sites to create personalized videos that showcase the benefits of your product. Feature user-generated content that show followers using your products and create rewards for engagement or shares with product promotions over select social media sites. For example, you can include the phrase “Retweet this post for a chance to win a brand new…” for increased user engagement.
8. Cross-Channel Marketing
All of these strategies are vain if you’re failing to leverage alternative platforms to market your products. For landing pages, I like to use Unbounce for our products/services, though wholesalers will benefit from marketing over Amazon and other e-commerce giants.
Most importantly, it’s important to look toward last year to understand the importance of mobile optimization. According to Adobe Digital Insights, while 64 percent of online Black Friday purchases resulted from a desktop computer, a majority of native site visits (55 percent) resulted from mobile platforms. This reinforces the importance of optimizing weak touchpoints for the appropriate keywords that will nurture mobile leads into conversions.
Consider leveraging AMP for your ads if you’re targeting mobile devices and creating optimized page copy for easier consumption over a mobile screen.
Finally, one channel you can’t fail to take into account this year is email marketing. Email marketing presents a higher ROI than any other marketing channel and will also help you compile audience lists and profiles that you will target with product promotions this Black Friday.
9. Boost with Paid Advertising
One way to directly drive eyeballs to your seasonal content and product landing pages is by advertising them over search and social. I often recommend running retargeting campaigns the week before Black Friday so you can drive ads to people who have already visited your page, but decided to do more research first. This will also keep your brand top-of-mind come Black Friday.
Whether you’re running carousel ads or banner ads over social, the most important aspect to keep in mind are your images and headline. Emphasize your value proposition in your headline and create a compelling image that will separate itself from the stock photos other brands will leverage.
Consider leveraging customer journey mapping technology and advanced audience analytics so you can target users with the highest intent with your advertisements.
10. Don’t Forget About Links
Finally, acquiring links from retailers, Black Friday listings, and local citations will help rank your landing pages above the competition organically.
Links on relevant publications are paramount because the focus shouldn’t be on boosting authority as much as it should be on capturing leads and increasing organic visits.
Link building also relies on building relationships with other bloggers and trade publications in your industry. Leverage influencers and reach out to bloggers to promote your Black Friday deals this season for some easy sales.
Cyber Monday Is a Big Win
For e-commerce platforms, Cyber Monday remains just as important as Black Friday. Leverage these strategies while also inserting Cyber Monday keywords to make the most out of your holiday marketing campaign. These events only mark the beginning of the holiday marketing season, not the end; continue to run campaigns all the way up to and past Christmas.
Are you ready for some easy wins this holiday season?
by Kristopher Jones