Every ecommerce industry experiences a selection of yearly events that present sales opportunities merchants can’t afford to miss: Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Black Friday and seasonal sales are just a few that come to mind. Customers go wild for these events, and the few onlines stores that rank on the right keywords will see huge increases in sales during these periods.
Let’s look at this example :
Evolution of the query “bouquet” in the USA extracted from Google Trends
Notice the two peaks in February and in May of each year, as people search for flowers for Valentine’s day and Mother’s day. Any florist knows these are key dates for their business, but do you know what events are peak sales opportunities for your industry?
Every business activity sees a seasonal effect
Cultivating SEO for short-term events year-round is vital to ensure that you’re found when the big day rolls around. The shorter the event time frame—a one-day blow out for example—the better your SEO needs to be. You don’t have to work on your Black Friday, Christmas or Back to School landing page every day, of course, but getting it set up and tending to it at important intervals in the ecommerce calendar will ensure that you gain and maintain SEO ranking all year.
Let’s take a look at what you can do before, during and after special sales events to pump up your SEO.
What’s in it for my business ?
Evolution of the query “black friday” in the USA extracted from Google Trends
A study from the National Retail Federation found that over the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend in the USA, 42% of the average shopper’s budget was spent online, accounting for $159.55 of revenue for ecommerce. This is the kind of opportunity you can’t afford to miss, especially if you envision a B2C future for you ecommerce business.
What kind of events I can benefit from
Take a look at your industry and products and fill in your personalized ecommerce calendar. Does your business present unique opportunities that you can take advantage of to boost sales at key times of the year? Look at your products and your clients’ lifestyle: when might they need more of what you sell? Think outside the box. If you sell speciality coffee and accessories, you could think about bundling products into pre-exam packages targeted to college students studying up for exams. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious.
Define your deals.
Special events demand special deals. Sales periods like Cyber Monday and Black Friday are enticing because of their brief time frame and incredible deals. Think about making your offers relevant and appropriate to the sales event--you need to be unbeatable next to the competition. Having a tantalizing deal will also make it easier to convince bloggers and other influencers to tell their communities about you.
Search Google Trends to understand what users are typing.
As with any SEO project, your first step should be to identify what keywords your customers are using. Start with single word keywords and work your way up to long-tail combinations that target your specific products and carve out a place in your niche. Keep in mind that searches for words like “deals”, “sales”, “gift guides”, “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday” peak in November.
Once you know what people are searching for, you can create product categories that respond to those needs.
Create one product category per event and keyword; this will automatically create a dedicated URL and landing page. Keep in mind that you won’t be creating new “sales” categories every year, but reusing the ones from previous years. At this stage, you’re not only defining categories, but planning your entire strategy to make your site stand out on the big day.
Craft a landing page.
Looking for ideas ? You’ll find great examples of landing pages in this great article about Black Friday at TechRadar.com
Quick links US:
- Amazon.com - Black Friday homepage
- Best Buy - Black Friday 2015 deals
- Wallmart - Black Friday homepage
- Target - Black Friday landing page
- AT&T - Special Offers homepage
- Verizon - Black Friday deals
- Toys 'R' Us - Black Friday made easy
- Gamestop - Black Friday deals
Quick links UK:
- Amazon.co.uk - Black Friday page
- John Lewis Black Friday page
- Currys Black Friday page
- Argos - Black Friday deals homepage
- Boots - Black Friday weekend
- GAME - Black Friday deals
- ASDA Black Friday homepage
- Tesco direct Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
You won’t be using these categories pages everyday, but you will have to modify them at three important stages:
- Before the Event
- Start dropping hints about the big event.
- Make the page social and encourage your visitors to share it with their friends and followers.
- Your page is not linked from the homepage or the main menu, but it could be linked from sidebars and footers that allow Google to find it.
- Start encouraging people to subscribe to your emails with something like this :
- Focus all your efforts on bringing users to your page.
- If people subscribed to your mailing list, don’t forget to give them access to the deals.
- Make your categories accessible from the main menu and homepage.
- Make sure your products are listed in the categories.
- Consider pushing some Adwords and social media ads.
As the big event approaches, you’ll refresh your content, adding category pages and linking your landing page to be directly accessible from your homepage, as Target has done here:
- Start with the sales you’ve made, what worked and what didn’t work for you. Write down your conclusions for next year.
- Unlink your special category from the homepage and the main menu (but keep your page alive!).
- Put the page in hibernation mode until the following year, keeping it linked from the sitemaps page.
While it’s important to start working on your special sales event now, you don’t want to reveal your offers too early and kill the sales buzz before it gets started. Your special event landing page will live in your site architecture all year, racking up SEO points as time goes on.
Harness the power of social.
In addition to your landing page, you’ll need to create content to support your special event. Write up a series of blog posts to promote your products and special offers; have them ready in advance so that when you’re in the middle of the sales rush you’re not scrambling to put together valuable content. Don’t forget to push your articles via social media.
Start building relationships with influential bloggers in your industry.
Keep them informed of your special offers so they’ll be inclined to promote them on their blog and in their networks. Let them know before doing major communications of your own so they feel like they’re getting the scoop.
If you survived last year’s holiday season, you know it’s a stressful, if lucrative, time. Do yourself a favor and build your landing page, write your content and reach out to influencers now. SEO takes time to work and you don’t want to miss out when the sales start rolling in.
We hope this got you thinking about how to pump up your SEO for upcoming special sales events. What else do you do to climb the SEO ladder?