How did your Black Friday campaign perform for your business this year? Not as well as you’d hoped? The holiday season can be an especially hectic time for any company’s marketing department. Whether it’s planning a major promotion, releasing a new product, or working on a big membership or subscription push, holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday can require an all-hands-on-deck approach for holiday marketing in a digital marketing agency.
While there are several ways companies can prepare their website to capitalize on holiday shopping spikes, a key component to any forward-thinking digital marketing strategy will be your SEO landing pages. Let’s look at some of the different options available and evaluate their pros and cons so you can be better prepared next holiday season.
One easy option many brands utilize is to add an eye-catching banner on their homepage and display deal information (e.g. 25% off, BOGO, etc.) on the applicable product pages, either as an additional banner or simply an updated price. With this strategy, there isn’t a central landing page, but instead deal information found across many product pages. It’s a fairly easy process for most brands making it very common, but this strategy doesn’t offer any long-term SEO benefits. Let’s look at the pros & cons.
Pros: A homepage banner advertising a promotion is quick and easy to create and customize, and it’ll help your brand peak consumer interest and drive sales during the holiday shopping season.
Cons: Banners are a great place to catch the eye of your direct traffic or any traffic you’re sending to your site’s home page. However, home page banners and updated pricing should just be a piece of the puzzle, rather than the crux of your holiday marketing strategy. Why? This option doesn’t include a dedicated landing page that targets relevant and competitive sale & deal keywords, which is a big missed opportunity.
SEO traffic can be your best (and most inexpensive) friend in digital marketing, especially during holiday sale periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday where digital ad space is highly competitive and expensive. But for many industries, the organic search landscape is also competitive and you have to have optimized effective landing pages authoritative enough in Google’s eyes to rank well.
Non-Evergreen Landing Pages
“Non-evergreen” may sounds silly, but this is an all too common mistake in digital marketing, with both small businesses and Fortune 500 brands as offenders. They start out with what sounds like a step in the right direction: an optimized landing page. The problem is, they already have a page from last year, and the year before that, and yes, the year before that too. The flaw with this is it poses duplicate content issues, which means Google may not understand which page on the site is most relevant for a query such as “black friday [product] deals.”
In an event to “clean house” before launching the latest year’s page, some marketers will let the old pages 404, or they may 301 or 302 redirect them to a new or different deals page. Whatever the case, many brands end up with a little bit of a mess and a non-evergreen strategy. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the way these non-evergreen pages are sometimes handled:
- Have the old pages redirect to another page (301 Permanent or 302 Temporary)
- Take the old pages down (404 Page Not Found)
- Leave old pages live (200 OK)
A, B, & C Pros: Despite posing duplicate content issues, this tactic will still allow you to capture organic traffic from branded search terms such as “[YOUR BRAND] black friday deals” or “black friday [YOUR BRAND] sale.”
A & B Cons: Having the landing page redirect or taking the page down may help reduce duplicate content issues, but it definitely won’t help your long-term SEO strategy. While it might seem like a good idea to wipe the slate clean each year, anyone committed to long-term SEO success will know it takes time. What this means for holiday landing pages is remaining live all year long, collecting backlinks and gaining authority for high competition terms.
C Cons: If you use option C and leave the landing page up, while also building a new landing page for your Black Friday sale next year, you may end up like some brands that have a handful of pages all targeting the same sale keywords. This means that when you leave your existing page up and create a new page the next year, your two pages will essentially be competing against each other for SERP relevance. And the duplicate content may prohibit them all from ever ranking well. Worst case scenario? Your old pages from years ago that have built up more authority outrank your new pages and instead of getting relevant deals a user is served an outdated page with outdated deals and old products.
One Single Landing Page That Rotates Copy And Banners For Each Holiday
You also might consider having one dedicated landing page that you utilize for all of your holiday sales. With this option, you can simply adjust the copy and banners as necessary throughout the year for your holiday campaign.
Pros: Utilizing a single landing page such as mybrand.com/holiday-sales/ for all of your holiday campaign is certainly easier than having a page for every sale and many brands use this strategy when they’re short on development staff to launch and maintain new pages. Consider how many different holiday sales some brands run throughout the year: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc. That’s a lot of landing pages to build and maintain!
Using one landing page for them simply requires an update on the copy and featured deals. Take a look at Dick’s Sporting Goods Holiday Deals landing page. Whether it’s Black Friday deals in November or 4th of July deals in the summertime, the site is live, the deals are active, and the URL has over . The page can acquire links and build up page authority all year long, which could be great for your rankings.
Cons: While this landing page option is better than the previous two, there are still better options for SEO. Why? Because using one landing page for all of your holiday deals will mean targeting different keywords to the same URL depending on the time of year. So while this allows your URL to gain authority and backlinks, it’s not the best case scenario as far as building up permanent keyword relevancy in Google’s eyes.
Unique Evergreen Landing Page Live All Year Per Holiday
The unique evergreen landing page per holiday is your ultimate holiday SEO strategy. With this option, your holiday landing pages are live all year long for each holiday sale. For instance, Black Friday will have its own evergreen landing page that is active year round, same goes for Cyber Monday and so on.
Pros: This is your brand’s best shot at ranking for SEO keywords related to each holiday and additionally for specific products or services. For example, if someone is looking for a TV on Black Friday they may search “Black Friday TV deals.” Best Buy offers a good example of an evergreen landing page for a Black Friday sale related to this search. The page has 1,216 backlinks and builds page equity throughout the year. The fact that Best Buy is a known brand for this specific deal certainly doesn’t hurt, but they are still utilizing effective SEO strategy.
Another example is Walmart’s Black Friday Deals landing page. Their black friday URL has 6,349 links from 656 referring domains, meaning their page shows up in results EVERYWHERE.
If you’re wondering how to keep the page relevant if you leave it up all year, and it’s actually rather easy site maintenance. Some simple copy tweaks and rotating banners are all you need to keep the page fresh and continue to build your SEO. You could use a “coming soon” banner message like on Walmart’s Black Friday page that lets site visitors know the page is active and information is forthcoming. It’s also a good idea to add an email capture, where consumers will provide their contact information in exchange for advance notice of the sale, which you will notice on both Best Buy’s and Walmart’s pages.
Or, looking at Samsung’s Black Friday landing page could inspire you to include a simple countdown timer so a potential customer can know when the sale is coming and the page remains relevant that way. You could even tease the sale while mentioning other holiday deals with a mini calendar. Any of these strategies make your evergreen landing page a well-oiled SEO machine that builds your brand equity all year long.
Cons: For some brands having many holiday pages can mean a lot of resources and time to build and maintain them. For these brands, Options 1 through 3 can oftentimes be the best best. If you can think of any other cons to an evergreen strategy, let us know in the comments…