How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results

Gideon Parirenyatwa

Black Friday presents a great opportunity for your PR and SEO departments to work together to attain links.

However, while most ecommerce websites create a campaign around Black Friday, many are none-the-wiser as to how a campaign page can be used throughout the year permanently to earn links and build the authority of the pages associated with it.

How a Black Friday campaign page can build authority

A campaign page, such as a Black Friday one, is significantly easier to earn links to than any other type of page on a site. Other websites, such as publishers, are less willing to link to a product page or category page for example, and why would they when these types of pages offer little value to their readers?

A campaign page on the other hand is exciting! And websites would rather link to a page that has the best deals and exclusive discounts! Especially for Black Friday, what with it being the one event everyone eagerly tunes in for each year.

Now, most people simply know this day as the day after Thanksgiving in America, when stores open early and offer various discounts. However, it’s made its way across the globe to countries including Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, amongst others so it’s pretty much a global event at this point. And for retailers, it marks the start of one of the most profitable times of the year. So while the focus tends to be centred around sales, you can’t ignore the value this event also has for ecommerce SEO.

When non-campaign pages are difficult to generate links for and a Black Friday campaign page is easier to attain links for, what do we do…?

… We leverage!

Using the authority that a Black Friday page earns with its backlinks can help build the authority of other pages.

Here’s an illustrative outline of how this works: websites link to the Black Friday page; the Black Friday page links internally to other pages. Link equity is passed from the Black Friday page to the pages it links to, thereby helping to improve the authority of those pages.How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Link building image

Now, bearing in mind the SEO benefits of linking internally from an authoritative page, what pages would you want to be linked to from the Black Friday page?

What ‘high-value SEO pages’ can benefit by being more authoritative?

What keywords could bring in more traffic with a higher ranking…?

Has the ‘aha’ moment hit you yet?

The one mistake ecommerce businesses make with this approach

Here’s the typical process many ecommerce sites take with a Black Friday page, which they rinse and repeat yearly:

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Create and Delete image

As Darth Vader would say, “Noooooooooooo!!”

Because deleting your Black Friday page does incredibly unfortunate things to your SEO and is counterproductive to its purpose – not only does it affect the value of the page, it affects the value of the pages linked to within it. It’s a massive waste of the backlinks the page will have earned and if you’re doing this every year that’s the opposite of leverage.

The one thing most get wrong is thinking of a Black Friday page as simply a campaign page – temporary, seasonal and one to be deleted.

Rather than deleting your Black Friday page, you should aim to repurpose it instead. This should even be part of your upfront strategy when you’re planning for the day itself.

Here’s what you should do for the page insteadHow to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Create Update Revamp image

Once Black Friday is over, the page still holds value so you’re far better off building a Black Friday page that you use annually. After the event, simply update it to reflect that it’s ended until the following year and have your team re-evaluate to see what other pages can be internally linked to it for the rest of the season.

One brand that makes the most out of a permanent Black Friday page is Boots using this URL. Notice not even that is beholden to a specific year: https://www.boots.com/seasonal/black-friday

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Boots BF page image

When on the page, the heading text informs the user the event is over, yet hints of other great deals that may be of interest to them. Also, look at the links on the page. Highly targeted, aren’t they?

Here’s the thing about pages that have SEO equity to them – the longer you have the page for, the more authoritative it becomes, meaning the more link equity can be passed onto the pages that are linked on it. The more link equity these pages have, the more authoritative they become.

And as you know, this is a prerequisite to having a page ranked highly in the SERPs.

So if you create and delete your Black Friday page each year, reconsider this approach. As more and more brands leverage the equity of a permanent Black Friday page, to build the equity of other pages, you can’t afford to be deleting yours. It’s a massive waste!

Let’s take a look at Walmart to see how they mess up can improve.

Unfortunately, they generate a new one each year:

…the Black Friday page for 2021:

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Walmart BF page 2021 image

…for 2020:

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Walmart BF page 2020 image

…and 2019:

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Walmart BF page 2019 image

Three different pages with the exact same content. The 2019 and 2020 pages are canonicalised to the 2021 page, with the 2021 page (correctly) having a self-referencing canonical.

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing result_Walmart canonical image

The three pages have the appropriate canonicals though, so they seem OK right? Well, not quite…Remember, the purpose of this page, from an off-page SEO point of view, is to attract links.

So, let’s look at the pages from a link acquisition perspective:How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Walmart fresh links image

The 2021 page has the most backlinks (2.9K). But these are the ‘fresh’ links, and if we look at historical backlinks we get a different picture:

How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_No. of links (historic) image

The 2019 (old and canonicalised) page has almost five times the amount of backlinks as the (new) 2021 page, and more than twice that of the 2020 page.

When we overlay the Page Authority, we see that the page that’s been live for the longest and amassed the most amount of backlinks, does indeed (still) have the most authority:How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_Walmart BF pages with PA overlay image

You see why this is a waste…?! If the 2019 page was a permanent one, simply updated for every Black Friday event, it would arguably have an even higher PA.

Many ecommercers (that’s a word, right?) create a campaign page for Black Friday and use it to attain links – what many need to do now is make the most of those links. Here’s some considerations you’ll need to address to do that.

Before Black Friday arrives

Have a list of pages you want to build the authorities for via way of internal links on the Black Friday page. You’ll want to consider the profitability of the deals/offers you’ll promote on the Black Friday page and the search potential of these pages. And confirm the keywords you want to target on the Black Friday page to use these as the anchor texts (you can see why your SEO team needs to be engaged even in the planning stages, right?).

Black Friday is over: Now what?

Once your landing page is completely clear of deals and all your products have flown off the shelves, however tempting it may be to move your page to ‘drafts’ or delete it entirely…don’t. Keep it live and simply update it. You do as much or as little that as you choose but as a minimum, make sure you let customers know the event offers have now expired and where they can find other deals of interest.

John Lewis has the right approach with this one – they even optimise for terms that will gain popularity during the lead-up to Black Friday.How to maximise Black Friday links for ongoing results_John Lewis image

https://www.johnlewis.com/black-friday/c6000670128

If needed, update the internal links on the page too. This doesn’t have to be carried out immediately and doesn’t have to only happen once, you could update the page several times throughout the year if you wanted. As always, it’s important to keep in mind your site’s SEO health as well as your user experience. Ensure the page is never bare throughout the year!

One more thing…

Imagine if a permanent page were to be created for another high profile event, perhaps the next biggest online retail event in the calendar year. Why, such a page could be just as powerful as the Black Friday one could it not? And what other event in the year is very attractive for retailers in the ecommerce calendar…?

I’ll give you a clue: it rhymes with ‘ickmass’….

Get in touch if you’d like more information on how to approach high value days, so you can keep on earning even when the seasonal deals are done.

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