In this post I am going to guide you on getting SEO ready for Black Friday 2023.
Although Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the UK, we’ve still adopted the shopping event associated with it over on these shores. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now commonplace in the UK, with many retailers treating this as the start of the Christmas shopping period.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are associated with big discounts on popular items. Shoppers are expected to spend less this year, which means more competition for attention and sales. With this in mind, getting your SEO right is more important than ever before.
These SEO optimisations will help your eCommerce website all year round, but you’ll be in a good position to make the most of the increased attention around Black Friday if you make these changes now.
When users have the whole world at their fingertips, they’ll make purchasing decisions based on which websites make things easier for them. Having good content on your website is the ultimate low-hanging fruit in terms of SEO.
Your products need compelling descriptions that explain the benefit to the user. And remember that content is about more than just product descriptions. It’s also the additional information that helps them to make a decision. This could include images, videos, testimonials, reviews, and the customer journey.
Metadata is often an afterthought and nearly always written for machines. Instead of writing for robots, try writing for your ideal target customer. Keep metadata consistent so that you can easily replicate it across your whole site.
The title tag should always include your main target keyword and then a USP or a CTA. You can also add in a mention of Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, if you have the space. Remember that customers are looking for your products, but they also have a lot of other choices. The SERP is often their first point of contact with your website, so make sure you are making the most of the space available to you.
Every page needs a unique meta description. This section can use sales language and also highlight the perks of shopping with you. Do you offer free shipping? Do you have an extensive product range? Do you stock items that are often out of stock elsewhere? Use this important bit of sales text to entice customers to click through to your website.
Return and refund policy
Customers will put the brakes on their shopping experience if they don’t feel confident they’ll be able to return the item and get a refund if it isn’t right for them. Online shopping is fraught with scams, but you can reassure your customers that your website is trustworthy by making this information readily available.
If your policy is different for sale items, this needs to be made clear in your returns policy. Including basic contact information on your website can also help to build trust.
Calls to action
Multiple CTAs on a page can be highly effective, provided you use the hierarchy method. Your main CTA should be the buy now button, but there may be other actions a user could take to help move them through the customer journey. Perhaps you have an email newsletter they can sign up to? Or perhaps you have product brochures they could download? Make sure you assess the CTAs on your page to ensure the most important ones are the most prominent.
When a customer can’t pick up your product, your website imagery offers the next best thing. You need to have high-quality images that enhance the user journey and help to answer any final questions they might have.
Investing in high quality website imagery will help to build trust and enhance the user experience. Images also have an impact on SEO, so you’ll need to consider the following as part of your website optimisations:
- Include multiple product angles and ensure that images are consistent and presented in a way that works with your website design. Poorly cropped images can make a website look less trustworthy.
- Include hover zoom on high quality images so that users can get a better look at what they are purchasing.
- Decide how images will be cropped across your website and then stick to this. Inconsistent images and a succession of different sized images can lead to an erosion of trust.
- Alt tags are not there for SEO; they are included to help users with screen readers to access your website. The Alt tag should be descriptive, and this should naturally help with SEO.
- Descriptive file names. You can enjoy a simple SEO boost by making sure that the file name includes your target keyword. This can increase the chances of your images showing up in image search.
Video content can help to increase conversions by up to 144% according to a recent study. If you have video content that could help to enhance the customer journey, upload it ahead of Black Friday so you can make the most of the extra attention on your website. Just be sure to check that the video doesn’t slow down the user experience and use a content delivery network (CDN) if it does.
Social proof refers to the phenomenon whereby individuals feel more compelled to make a decision if they feel that other people are doing it too. It doesn’t have to be people they know. Knowing that other people are purchasing from the site can help to enhance trust and also enhance the sense of FOMO – fear of missing out.
You can achieve social proof in a number of different ways. Reviews are one of the simplest ways to achieve this. Including all of the reviews can be overwhelming, so try including a snapshot of the very best, with the option to read them all if the user wants to learn more.
Schema markup is used to create rich snippets on the SERP. This can help to grab attention and make your website stand out from the crowd. This is the kind of information you can include in your schema markup: See this handy tool.
Reviews on the SERP will help to tick off a few more boxes for the consumer before they even click through. Naturally, this will only work if your products have glowing reviews. If reviews are mixed, this could work against you.
Many consumers are shopping based on price alone. Those that are motivated by price will be more likely to click through if they can see that your website is the cheapest. On Black Friday, you can show your current discounted prices to help convert more visitors.
Displaying stock levels in the SERP can help to avoid frustration. If users have to click through to your website to learn that you don’t have stock of a wanted item, this will only frustrate the user and also increase your bounce rate.
By including this information in your schema markup, you can enhance the customer experience and ensure you stand out from the competition.
Determining your URL structure is never easy. You need it to be consistent and easily replicated across your whole website; even if your website expands and grows to include new product categories.
The URL structure of your website can help to enhance SEO visibility, provided you make your URLS simple and effective. For example, try to avoid placing product pages under parent category pages. While this might work for a service-based website, it doesn’t have the same impact in eCommerce.
This is because products can appear in multiple categories, so you can end up with duplicate content which harms your SEO efforts.
Once you know that your website has everything a customer could possibly need to make a purchasing decision, you then need to know that visitors will be able to access it quickly. Slow websites will kill conversions and sour the experience. It can also leave customers with a bad impression of your company.
If you are expecting an uptick in website traffic due to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, think about how this will impact site speed and the user experience. You may need to speak to your web hosting company to confirm your site will be able to handle the increased demand. You should also consider the following site speed factors:
Most website visits now happen on a mobile device, we can no longer escape this fact. This means that website experiences need to be designed from a mobile-first perspective, rather than designing for desktop and then making it responsive.
Think about the mobile experience on your website and check that it’s up to scratch. Keep a close eye on your website analytics to learn if you’re losing mobile traffic more than desktop traffic, or if users are more likely to abandon their carts when they are on a mobile device.
Website preparations for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should start as soon as possible. By making sure that your website is up to the task, you can increase your chances of making sales during a time when consumers are known to be tightening their belts and being more selective in their purchasing decisions.
I'm Paul Gordon an SEO freelancer who has spent the last 16 years helping businesses expand and grow through effective SEO strategies.