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How to Optimise Your Black Friday Content Strategy for 2018

With just over a week to go until the most anticipated trading event of the year, Mellisa reveals all on how you can optimise your Black Friday content strategy ready for Friday 23rd November.

Preparation is only half the battle to achieving success with your Black Friday content strategy. The real difficulty is making sure that your content is fully optimised in time for the event in line with the trends in organic traffic from the previous year. No one said it would be easy – if it were, all retailers would be doing it by now!

Following a recent report from Pi Datametrics, it was revealed that of the businesses who took part in Black Friday last year, 92% of them saw an increase in the number of visitors to their website. It is clear that Black Friday offers a huge opportunity for retailers, but what can they expect this year? How can retailers strengthen their content strategy in preparation for the big day?

Here are our tops tips for optimising your Black Friday content strategy for 2018.

Implement a year-round landing page

This is a simple, yet effective way of acquiring traffic and building authority throughout the year. Known as a ‘holding page’, its purpose is to rank highly for particular search queries, or in this year’s case ‘Black Friday general’ terms. Essentially, a holding page will save you a position in Google’s indexes, so you’ll appear when traffic starts to develop from August onwards.

It doesn’t necessarily provide visitors with valuable information, but it will add value to the user journey by getting them to your site through a more direct route. Bypassing the need to go through affiliates and publishers will result in a huge boost in your organic traffic this Black Friday.

A typical holding page for Black Friday could include information on the following:

  • What is Black Friday?
  • When is Black Friday?
  • Why is it called Black Friday?
  • What Black Friday deals will you have in your event?
  • What is Cyber Monday?

However, some brands use it as an opportunity to be creative with their branding. Argos is a prime example this year of how to make the most of a holding page. Already securing a spot in page one in Google for the term ‘Black Friday deals’, their Black Friday landing page focuses on promoting their branding by incorporating fun messaging throughout.

Argos Black Friday

{Image Credit: www.argos.co.uk}

By comparing their £288,400 worth of sales on board games, for instance, to purchasing 288 hotels on a monopoly board, they successfully engage with the user in a way that many brands fail to do. They connect with consumers on a personal level by drawing upon common interests, familiarising habits that most of us have with their own products. It’s a simple thing to do, but it works!

Capitalise on ‘general’ organic search opportunities

A very simple lesson that many retailers can benefit from learning this year – don’t underestimate the value in general searches. Based on the results from 2017, UK retailers will benefit from targeting ‘Black Friday general’ keywords even if their brand is already performing well. Optimising content around these generalised searches will enable brands to cement their place higher up the SERPs for increased visibility throughout the event.

Establish what organic searches you are going after before you plan your content for the year. For instance, this Black Friday retailers should be focussing their target keywords on popular and product-based Black Friday searches, with a particular emphasis on generic terms. In order to give your site a fighting chance for ranking for these terms, you will need to produce evergreen content, topical content and reactive content at key stages of the year.

These three content types are crucial for capturing the user intent and assisting the user journey. It gives you the opportunity to link to key places in your website, encouraging customers to follow through with a purchase. Each content type is used to promote a different stage of the journey, for example:

  • Evergreen content – Links to individual product pages
  • Hygiene content – Links to category pages
  • Reactive content – Links to offer pages

Maximum traffic exposure can only be achieved by catering for exactly what the consumer needs, but here’s the thing – they don’t always know what they need.  How often have you found yourself browsing sites on Black Friday and end up buying items that you had no idea you needed? Targeting ‘Black Friday general’ terms will cater for those customers who fall into the ‘you didn’t know you needed’ category.

Amazon Black Friday

{Image Credit: www.amazon.co.uk}

Take a leaf out of Amazon’s book. Their Black Friday page is perfectly catered to satisfy that exact shopping behaviour and is optimised for non-specific search terms. It targets customers who are actively looking for Black Friday deals but are not sure what exactly. When their customers land on this page they are greeted with hundreds of deals and CTAs, so they can browse and shop to their heart’s content. And the best bit is, they are being directed towards making a purchase without even realising it.

Optimise content to satisfy ‘deals’

In November 2017, the most common theme for Black Friday searches was the word ‘deals’. Featuring six times in the top 10 Google searches, ‘deals’ was by far the strongest noun in the shopping landscape, outranking all other variations including ‘offers’. With consumers more focused on making a substantial saving than ever before, it is vital that retailers shift their mentality and optimise their content to satisfy ‘Black Friday general + deals’ search terms.

Having seen year-on-year growth, the organic value for ‘Black Friday general + deals’ increased 35% from November 2016 to 2017. UK retailers should make the most of this opportunity, as it will earn them a huge amount of organic traffic straight to their site. Many of the top performing brands are currently focussing on ‘deals’ based searches. Affiliate sites like hotukdeals.com are also performing particularly well, with some even performing strongly beyond their own native market.

Black Friday Deals Graph

{Image Credit: Pi Datametrics}

Publishers should also be seen as a direct threat to your site when it comes to targeting ‘deals’ organic traffic, especially on Black Friday itself. In the months leading up to Black Friday, affiliate sites begin ranking for ‘deals’ search queries until November when publishers usurped both affiliates and retailers. Despite optimising their landing pages to capture the traffic for ‘Black Friday general + deals’, affiliates and retailers lost their positions due to the lack of reactive content.

Retailers will benefit from optimising their landing pages to feature the keyword ‘deals’, as it will give them more visibility against affiliates and publishers. When planning your hygiene and reactive content for the year, you should take ‘Black Friday general + deals’ search terms into consideration and tailor your content to respond to reactive activity. It will put you in a better position on the day by serving your site as a reliable result.

Promote products with high-ranking affiliates

Affiliate sites like blackfriday.com and blackfridaydeals.co.uk are currently in the top five websites returning for 10,000+ Black Friday searches, so it makes sense to use this to your advantage. After all, if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them! Promote your Black Friday deals with high-ranking affiliates in the run-up to the big day.

Promoting your products through affiliates can help you to secure visibility and push traffic towards your product pages specifically. Whether they are specialist sites or not, don’t rule them out, especially if they rank highly for ‘Black Friday general’ terms. Of course, giants like Amazon are an absolute must. If you haven’t already got your products on Amazon, put that at the top of your to-do list!

Build partnerships with key publishers

Publishers have already started to dominate the SERPs for information-based searches around Black Friday once again. But instead of losing out on valuable positions in Google, it’s advised that you build partnerships with high-performing publishers to win that traffic back.

Much of the content from publishers that goes live on Black Friday will identify the best deals from various online retailers, and in many cases, they will even provide a link to their website. With this in mind, it makes sense to negotiate mentions with local and national publications. It will drive awareness of your brand and help direct much of that valuable traffic to your site.

Create content with a layered approach

Black Friday brings with it a massive opportunity for UK retailers, so leaving your content until the last second just won’t cut it. The key to success during seasonal events is preparation. It involves taking the time to analyse search data in order to tailor a digital strategy to suit your brand.

However, a challenge presents itself when communicating with a wider audience that you may not always cater for. The solution lies in creating a variety of content to address each buying persona. Plan your content strategy with a layered approach to include:

i. Evergreen content

Start by creating relevant landing pages that target those generic Black Friday searches. Not only will they direct users towards your site when they rank, but they will also meet the needs of users who are seeking information. Just remember to update these pages at the beginning of each year to include the right date. It’s amazing how many sites fail to change the date and the year until the very last minute!

Editorial content should be your next port of call, as it enables pages to maintain authority throughout the year. This is where you can optimise your content to target ‘Black Friday general’ keywords and increase your brand awareness at the same time. Come Black Friday, your brand awareness will need to be strong in order for your site to have any impact on consumers. Evergreen content gives you the perfect opportunity to sell your brand and manage your brand image.

ii. Hygiene content

Essential for keeping your site visible to your consumer-base, hygiene content will draw in your target audience and will keep your regular followers engaged. It should form the foundations of your digital communications strategy and is based on high performing customer searches. It is vital for guiding consumers through the purchasing journey on your website.

Regularly posting hygiene content on your site will:

  • Increase your brand’s visibility
  • Retain visitors
  • Create relationships with influencers

Use your hygiene content as an opportunity to sell your brand and its core values, as well as informing your audience about things that they are interested in. This will drive your brand awareness during the event, giving you the visibility that you need against competing sites.

iii. Reactive content

The key to appearing for the most valuable search terms is reactive content, which is why publishers dominate the SERPs on the actual day. Topical coverage of Black Friday as the event unfolds throughout the day will allow you to compete against affiliates, and most importantly, publishers.

Whether it’s a guide to your best Black Friday deals as and when they go live to news on the best-selling products with limited stock, publishing content in a timely manner will point users for key search terms towards your site. However, Google will naturally favour publishers as a more reliable source, so you will need to market your site on social media in conjunction with your reactive content. Make sure that your content is seen by as wide an audience as possible.

If you want to go the extra mile, send out press releases and announcements at key times during the lead up to Black Friday. This will enable you to get mentions in publishers’ news articles, directing their readers to your website. Start by targeting local publications in the run-up to the event, then reach out to national publications closer to the day.

Take our advice

With only a couple of days to go until Black Friday, you may find that you have far too much to do in time for the 23rd November. But don’t worry! Focus on optimising your landing pages for the most valuable organic search terms and plan what reactive content you can post on the day. And don’t forget to optimise your title tags and meta descriptions with the right year – a lot of retailers do forget to do this.

Use this year to help you shape your strategy for Black Friday 2019. Start planning a year in advance and learn from this year’s results, then tailor your content strategy to fit in line with your findings. so, if product specific terms were to see an uplift this year, then you can expect them to increase again next year. Be sure to consider any retailer-specific promotions that could contribute to an unusual spike in results.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or tweet @Honcho_Search and let me know your thoughts on Black Friday 2018.

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