At AB Tasty, the name of the game is optimizing your on-site customer experience to maximize conversions, but helping people find your site in the first place is just as important! That’s why for this post we teamed up with the SEO pros at Botify, an enterprise SEO platform, to offer guidance on what you need to know to make sure your SEO is in tip-top shape for the holiday shopping season.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be both a blessing and a curse for large e-commerce sites. On one hand, if everything goes smoothly, these two “holidays” are revenue-generating machines. On the other hand, if something goes wrong, it can mean a wealth of missed opportunities for your business.
Plan ahead to make sure your site is ready and optimized for a fruitful season. Take a look at our SEO checklist to achieve maximum traffic and revenue for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Consider Last Year’s Metrics
Take a look at your SEO metrics from last year — things like organic search traffic and keyword rankings. This will give you a baseline for what to expect this holiday shopping season.
Looking at your SEO metrics will help you answer questions like:
- What type of content were people looking for most?
- In what locations did your site perform best?
- How much traffic did you get from search engines like Google and Bing?
You can also evaluate your SEO metrics from the angle of what performed best and worst. Evaluate those pages, looking at things like title tags, meta descriptions, and content quality, to determine what you should be planning to both do and avoid this season.
It’s also a good idea to collaborate with your paid search teams to analyze last year’s metrics more comprehensively. After all, what works well on your paid copy could provide helpful guidance for your on-page copy, title tags, and meta descriptions too!
Check Your Site Speed
Make sure to check your site speed so that “slowness” doesn’t increase your bounce rate, turning potential customers away. Your site speed will also influence how Google views your pages and how highly they rank in search engine results. With your users’ happiness and your rankings at stake, this is a no-brainer!
Additionally, due to increased visits during holiday shopping season, sites may even go down. Make sure you test your site beforehand (on a staging environment is best!) to evaluate if it can handle the massive increase in traffic during the holiday season.
Update Your Content
You should do a site-wide update on your product descriptions, meta-descriptions, and titles to reflect the deals you have going on (25% off boots, for example). These details aren’t just helpful for conversions on-page, but they also show up in search engine results, boosting your click-through-rate.
Creating a landing page will help you outrank other websites, like coupon curators pulling information straight from your site. Plus, landing pages are a great entry point for potential customers, bringing them right to the good stuff! It’s best practice to repurpose your old Black Friday URL from 2018 and update it for 2019, rather than creating a new URL.
Manage Your Inventory
With so many products on your site, it’s natural that some will go out of stock or rotate out of the inventory. You should implement a fool-proof system so that when searchers find a page that no longer exists or an item that’s out of stock, they’re provided with similar product options.
To do this, customize the 404 error pages that appear when an item goes out of stock so that they include similar product details and links. You could also have out of stock or expired product pages redirect (301 status code) to a similar product that the customer might like. Keep in mind, the customer might feel jaded if they arrive at one page expecting another. To avoid this, create a drop-down or pop-up window that explains that the original product they were looking for is no longer in stock. This will help avoid confusion for your customers while giving them another product recommendation.
Test Your User Experience
Make sure those buttons (especially CTAs) are working! The last thing you want is for a customer to click “purchase” and nothing happens. If this is the case, they might utilize your live chat (which you should definitely have!), or they might leave your site entirely.
It’s important to make sure your user experience (a.k.a. UX) is top notch. UX not only impacts your customers’ happiness but also affects how Google perceives your website. If Google catches a poor user experience, it will hurt your rankings and negatively affect traffic to your site.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Also on the note of UX, customers can become frustrated when they have to fill out forms on mobile (especially if they’re not functioning properly). If you are using forms, make sure you test them. As a happy alternative, you can use Apple Pay or another easy check-out method, but as always, make sure you test it properly before it’s prime time.
If you’re using a landing page for your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, you can also consider using an accelerated mobile page (a.k.a. AMP). This will grant customers quicker access to the content they’re looking for and funnel them into the conversion area of the site.
And again, the things that are good for visitors are also good for Google! That’s why they made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. Optimize your site for mobile, and you’ll not only have happier visitors, but Google will also reward you.
So, there you have it! Our SEO checklist to optimize for the most wonderful time of the year. Keep your site running squeaky clean this season, and give your customers the best bargains they’re looking for!
‘Tis the season!