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Black Friday/Cyber Monday is Coming – Is Your eCommerce Site Ready?

In just one day, 2020 Cyber Monday sales hit a record 10.8 billion. This number, when combined with Black Friday revenue, rose to 15.6 billion. Since COVID-19 changed the way we go about our everyday lives, people have become more accustomed to the convenience of shopping online. This BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) season is expected to be bigger than ever, and companies should be prepared for the influx of digital visitors that are looking to buy.  

First thing you’ll need to look at is your site’s performance. Your site will need to be prepared for the large volume of visitors and buyers. This means you want to make sure your pages load, are mobile friendly, and have the correct information so it can be found by those looking for your specific item. Mobile friendliness is one of those things that is often overlooked by eCommerce sites, despite the fact that 37% of BFCM sales last year were from a mobile device. The good news is, once your pages are mobile friendly, the type of device won’t matter–it’ll be consistent whether the site is accessed by a Samsung Galaxy, iPhone 13, or any other mobile device.

To prepare your website, WooRank’s Assistant is a widget that can be added to website. It can run a quick analysis on any page you’re on, giving you an in-depth report on mobile experience, Core Web Vitals, Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift, and First Input Delay. Cumulative Layout Shift can be one of the most frustrating issues for a user who is rushing through a website to be the first to find the lowest prices and best deals. This often happens if images are not optimized, have not been cached, and have long loading times. When the rest of the content loads before images, it can shift the page as someone is clicking ‘add to cart’. If a shopper tries to add a pair of $30 earbuds or airpods, the page shifts, and they see a Macbook Pro in their shopping cart when they go to check out, the shopper is going to get frustrated and take their business elsewhere. Check out our Core Web Vitals hub to understand how to find and fix these problems ahead of Black Friday.

Security Issues

There are always invisible issues on a page, security being one of the major things WooRank’s Assistant identifies. HSTS, or HTTP Strict-Transport-Security response header, tells browsers whether your website should be accessed using HTTPS or HTTP. Hosting over HTTPS ensures the connection in between your site and visitors remains secure and encrypted. To host over HTTPS, you need to install an SSL certificate for your website’s server. Though SSL certificates can be issued by several entities including GoDaddy, Let’s Encrypt is a free open certificate authority backed by the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). Once your SSL certificate expires (after 24 months), your site may be unreachable–essentially a dead end for your site’s traffic. Google also announced in 2014 that a HTTPS website will receive an extra boost in their ranking over HTTP websites. It’s important customers feel safe if they are spending a long time on your website, sharing sensitive information like their credit card numbers or home address. If there are in fact security issues, it makes your website vulnerable to data breaches. This can damage a company’s image long-term when customers lose trust in your website’s security. By looking for security and technical issues early, you have a decent time buffer to bring in help from the IT department to fix errors that could take days to resolve.

Keyword Research

Once site issues and loading errors have been corrected, it’s time to make sure you beat your competition in the search results. On days as big as BFCM, popular keywords like ‘Black Friday Sale’ or ‘Best Deals’ will be extremely competitive. WooRank’s keyword research tool helps you find the best keywords for your products, services, and suggests low competition, longtail keywords. These longtail keywords are conversional in that they target specific search queries. For example, you may be competing against millions for keywords like ‘best cologne’ but less for ‘best cologne for dads’ or ‘best deals for teen Christmas gifts’.

Keywords also take a while to soak, so adding them in the night before won’t give you the results you want. It’s important to also include these in title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, and even product descriptions so buyers know that this is a seasonal deal.

Supply Chain

It may seem a little early to be thinking about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but eCommerce sites should have already prepared their websites for an uptick of visitors and buyers before the big day. Supply chain issues over the last year have forced businesses to change the way they operate–consumers have also adapted to consider delays in shipments of orders. Although BFCM sales start November 26, in consideration of the supply chain crisis, more and more companies are planning to offer early black Friday deals. Most savvy shoppers will be looking for these early black Friday sales to avoid any shipment or shortage issues before Christmas.

Having all your inventory up on your site not only prepares you to join in on early black Friday 2021 sales, but it also improves your website’s visibility on the big day. For people to find the specific products they’re looking for on your site, Google first needs to understand the content on your product pages. Making sure inventory, title tags, and meta descriptions are updated so Google understands your site’s content so it can recommend it in search results. Then run WooRank’s Site Crawl so Google recognizes that your products can be sold and added to virtual carts.

This day unique year after year in that millions of people are looking specifically with the intention of buying. Not to browse casually or get distracted. Shoppers have their card ready, in-hand, and know exactly what they’re looking for, or are looking for you to make relevant suggestions to make their holiday shopping easier. Make sure to prepare ahead so you and your site are both ready for the biggest sale events of the year.

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