Black Friday is a day when we willingly spend a lot of money. Moreover, there is also Cyber Monday and last minute online Christmas shopping (read: 15 tips for improving Christmas e-commerce sales). Now, online store owners have a lot to fight for, especially during the post-pandemic season when many of us won’t be able to benefit from discounts in brick-and-mortar stores.
Additionally, Black Friday frequently turns into the entire Black Weekend or Black Week which lasts for several days in a row. How to get ready for such an intense season in your online store? Discover the best Black Friday practices and tips from Google, complemented with Delante's comments.
If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO news and be the first to know the tips for webmasters from all over the world, follow Google's Webmaster Central Blog. No matter if you personally develop websites or online stores or just outsource such projects, a dose of knowledge straight from Google's headquarters in California will certainly make it easier for you to operate effectively in the online world.
Black Friday in e-commerce: the best practices from Google
On Monday, 26/10/2020, Google's Search Engine Help Center published a new post (check it out: Best practices for Black Friday and Cyber Monday pages) about pre-holiday Google's recommendations for online stores. It focused on elements like SEO, internal linking, product page indexing and e-commerce SEO practices that should be implemented as soon as possible to boost sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let’s delve into details:
1. Take care of product pages in advance
How to take care of product pages in an online store? Develop all of them, including the sales landing pages as soon as possible so that Google has time before Black Friday and Christmas to find them and index everything properly.
Note: Make sure that your key tabs, subpages, and product pages (meaning their URLs) aren't blocked for Google. To verify this, use the free URL inspection tool in Google Search Console.
Apart from checking if individual product pages are indexed in Google, you can also detect errors in site navigation or the current mobile-friendly status of a particular product page.
In order for Google to index and display your products well in Google Shopping, you should absolutely create unique descriptions and meta tags, keeping SEO principles in mind.
2. Place internal links to the most important product categories on the home page
Making your online store easier to navigate (read: How to improve your website's navigation?) will help both customers and Google robots get to your key products and categories. Refer visitors to specific places in your store directly from the home page. Try to maximally shorten the user's path from entering your store to adding products to the cart and finalizing the transaction.
3. Use the product’s URL to additionally categorize your range and support SEO
Guess which product page link inspires more customers' trust and is perceived better by Google's algorithms:
Option B definitely dominates here. This is another best e-commerce practice, frequently neglected by online store owners. However, thanks to it, you can reach higher positions in the search results. This way, customers will see which subpage they're going to reach and Google finds it much easier to categorize the product and helps users find it in the organic results.
If you're planning special discounts for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it's worth creating a separate category and an individual link, e.g. www.yourstore.com/black-friday. It’ll definitely attract all bargain hunters.
4. Don’t scrimp on high-quality product pictures and accurate alt descriptions
Images can sell. A high-quality, unique image, properly described and optimized, according to the file size and format, can improve sales, especially if it shows exemplary applications of the product (check out: Images vs. SEO. How to get down to it?). Such pictures are displayed more often to a larger number of people using different devices and can increase conversions. Avoid ready-made mockups and manufacturer’s images showing products on a white background. Make these photos more creative and personalized so that they become your sales reps, spread all over the web. On top of that, the images you've prepared this way can be used in Google Images or reposted as inspirations on Pinterest. Want more tips on Google graphics?
5. After all the adjustments, request re-indexing of the entire online store or individual subpages
Once you're satisfied with all the applied improvements, ask Google to re-index specific URLs. You can do this in two ways, depending on the number of pages you've modified:
If you want to index the entire online store, upload its sitemap, and mark the updated pages in it with the <lastmod> tag to speed up indexation (you can do it through the Sitemap Report in Google Search Console or by placing the txt file in the sitemap on your server, e.g. www.yourstore.com/stitemap.xml).
Black Friday in e-commerce: the take-home message
The tips above are a small bit of knowledge that Google shares on its blog, just like we do on our Delante’s blog. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more steps. You should start preparing your online store for Black Friday as soon as possible so that you can implement these best e-commerce practices throughout the year.
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