A pandemic may still be impacting the global economy and continuing to cause unrest, however one thing it won’t do is put a damper on holiday shopping. In fact, Americans plan to spend $148.5 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. This substantial figure is up $285 million compared to the year prior. And, businesses are more eager than ever to generate year-end sales after a financially stressful year across all industries. How can they do this? They must strengthen their local pages ahead of the holidays.
Although customers may not be waiting to enter your store doors Thanksgiving evening, it’s now more crucial than ever for brands to optimize their digital footprint to make up for lost sales pre-holiday season. The number of Americans planning to take advantage of the pre-Christmas sales period is expected to rise from 86% in 2019 to 88% in 2020, and there’s no better time than now to prepare for an influx of shoppers.
In addition to optimizing your local listings across all your locations, brands must also prepare their local landing pages. Whether you’re creating a specific landing page for pre-holiday shoppers or updating your local pages, we’ve rounded up our top 10 tips to strengthen your local pages before the most infamous shopping day of the year.
Diversify your content
Unique content is king when it comes to improving your visibility in local search. Yet, brands often make the mistake of using duplicate content for each of their locations’ landing pages. Black Friday serves as a prime opportunity to highlight distinct offers and promotions each of your locations may have. A few pieces of content you may want to consider custom-tailoring for each of your locations include your:
- Promotional banners
- Webpage copy
- Countdown clocks
- On-page testimonials
- Holiday graphics
- Holiday hours
- Product images
Add unique media
Customers who visit your landing pages want to not only consume differentiated content, but they also want to view unique media. Adding visual elements to your landing pages also encourages visitors to click through to other pages on your website and stay on your website for longer. Web content containing visuals or videos perform better in general, receiving up to 94% more views.
Add high-quality photos of your physical location, products, coupons and social distancing measures you have in place this holiday season, such as barriers between cashiers and customers or directional arrows to spread out customers. Video is another powerful tool in your content arsenal. 51% of marketers cite video as the form of content that produces the best ROI.
Leverage Google Posts
Google Posts are often underleveraged on local listings, yet are a prime opportunity to drive consumers to a specific landing page. They take up prime real estate on your local listing as well, further prompting clicks to your website. Google Posts are also shareable and if your content is compelling enough, a searcher may want to share your offer with a friend, further encouraging conversions. Use a Google Post to link to your local landing page or Black Friday page. We recommend using an “Offer” type Google Post as this allows you to not only link to your landing page but also feature an image.
Immediacy is Key
The holidays may be a little less than two months away, however, you want to publish or update your landing pages as soon as possible. It takes time for Googlebot to discover and index your page, so the sooner you can update or build out the page, the better. Additionally, it takes time for Google to crawl and re-index freshly optimized title tags and meta descriptions.
Showcase social distancing services
Fear of face-to-face, in-person interaction is at an all-time high. So much so, that online shopping has become the norm for many. In fact, online sales for September increased 43% year over year and were also up 42% year over year in August. For those seeking an alternative for in-store shopping, showcase any social distancing services your brand is offering on your holiday landing pages. Some of these contactless services may include:
- Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS)
- Curbside pickup
- Contactless delivery
- Online shopping
You can promote these services in your on-page copy, promotional banner ads, and video.
Use Schema Markup
Using schema markup on your landing pages increases your opportunity to become eligible for Search Engine Result Page (SERP) features, therefore getting more coveted real estate in the SERPs. It also helps search engines understand the content on your landing pages. As searches for Black Friday sales start to rise, we recommend brands use “Offer” markup to push discounted prices.
It is important you tag products with offers or discounts as such in product schema markup. This will not only ensure Google lists your promotional offers correctly in its rich search results and also allows you to stand out from your competitors.
Identify Trending Keywords
By now, you likely have a baseline understanding of the products and services your customers are most interested in. However, we encourage brands to dig deeper this upcoming holiday season, as anxiety and fear have crept its way into nearly every household. Prioritize fully understanding your customer’s current search behavior and popular keywords they’re using to search for your products/services.
Use these keywords on your local Black Friday landing page, while avoiding keyword stuffing. Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends are great resources to leverage to surface what your customers are searching for.
Update Page Title
Your page title holds significant weight in determining where and how you appear in the SERPs. For example, keywords in your page title can help you rise higher on Google’s SERPs for queries. Your keywords in your page title also usually end up in the link to the page, which also plays a crucial role in search. For brands that are beginning to revamp their SEO efforts, Google Tag Manager is a useful tool that allows brands to manage their website tags without editing code for free.
Update Fundamental SEO elements
In addition to optimizing your page title for your Black Friday landing page, there is a myriad of other SEO elements that also deserve your attention. These include but are not limited to:
- Optimize page speed for faster page loading,
- Place 301 redirects on pages with outdated content or broken links
- Resolve 404 error pages
- Avoid duplicate content
- Add a meta description
- Add inbound and outbound links
- Ensure your landing page is mobile-friendly
- Provide a phenomenal user experience
- Avoid being overly self-promotional
- Ensure your URL speaks to the page’s content
The process to purchase with your brand should be as smooth and seamless as possible. Marketing experts recommend that there should be no more than two clicks, including a click on an ad and the other on your call to action (CTA), to lead to a website conversion. Add CTAs where and when applicable to lead consumers through your sales funnel. Additionally, before directing consumers directly to purchase, consider providing them with an informational resource to build trust and authority. A prime example of this would be a 2020 holiday gift guide to tie into your pre-holiday sales promotions.
Black Friday is a tradition that will remain unbroken, despite the curveballs thrown our way this year. It’s renowned as a day, in tandem with Cyber Monday, for the best bargains, which will remain especially important this year due to financial losses many worldwide are facing. By following the aforementioned tips, you better poise yourself to be a trusted brand consumers feel comfortable shopping with. Set your stores and locations up for success this holiday season to prepare for a new start come 2021, a year we are all collectively looking forward to.
Need help ahead of the holidays? We are here to help.