I joined MADE.com December 2016, just days before the January sale.
If anyone’s experienced a January sale period in retail, it’s pretty mad.
This is mainly because such a high percentage of the yearly revenue is made during these sale periods. As a result every little helps, especially when it comes to a free channel like SEO.
If you plan in advance and have a clear process in place it can certainly help to avoid any stress, if not from you but from support teams and managers.
During these sale periods, it’s natural for the attention to be on the paid channels that can make iterative changes every hour and see short term performance growth. But there are tactics you can use for SEO, one of which i’ll share below.
How we doubled SEO revenue from sale pages
After my first sale period at Made.com I’d noticed a few of our key rankings like ‘sofa sale’, ‘furniture sale’ etc achieve page 1 rankings after 2 weeks of the sale.
These were great rankings, but next sales period I set out to try and achieve these after week 1 of the sale. Which i did.
Next sale, I aimed to get these key rankings after a few days of the sale. Which I did.
An extra 2 weeks of SEO traffic to these sales pages. The sales period was only 4 weeks long – so this process helped to double our revenue from SEO. Win.
By testing the process below before and after every sale period.
It went through 4 sale periods and took 2 years to perfect but it worked.
The overall aim is to keep the same URLs year on year and maintain your SEO value. I.e. don’t put ‘2019’ into the URL slug, just call them ‘sale’ or ‘christmas’. The process then aims to tell Google of these changes a few weeks ahead of the sale launch.
You’ll also need to have at least 10 relevant child pages e.g.
Yes results will vary by domain, e.g. a start up may implement this process and not see anything however if you have enough trust and authority within your niche i’m very confident it will help you.
How to get the most out of your sales pages for SEO
The process covers 2 stages:
- Closing down: straight after the sale period – steps to take to clean up the pages and leverage them for the next sale.
- Before Launch: when the sale is fast approaching these are steps you need to start thinking about.
Actions to take after the sale period ends (Closing down)
- Remove from mega navigation and any other linking on site
- 302 redirect all child pages into the parent page e.g. /sale or /christmas/
- Implement a generic brand message on the /christmas/ page e.g. ‘Sale not on at the moment, see our offer/last chance pages or any other related pages’’ etc
- Add some internal links to key categories, few best selling products and maybe a search bar (not essential) – more for UX and to avoid high bounce rates
Typically eCommerce sites will have a winter (January) sale and a summer sale (July/August) time, in addition you can still use the same URLs for Black Friday or other periods like this. Either way when the next sale period is approaching you should then implement this process below.
SEO Actions to take before the sale period starts (Before launch)
- Remove 302 redirects on child pages 2 weeks before promo/seasonality period, no-one will find these and they will just exist on the site
- 1 week before – submit 1 or 2 of the main pages to fetch as google and request indexing
- Day before the sale, once the content and SKUs are added to the page – re-submit to fetch as google & re-request indexing to all the main pages
- Update title tags to match any seasonality/promotion e.g. Winter sale change to summer sale, Xmas 2019 etc
- If you have any related content to the topic then update this ahead of time, change the publication date and focus keywords away from last season to this season e.g. if you have ‘best Xmas gifts’ blog content from last year – repurpose and submit to Google ahead of time
- Finally on day of the promotion/seasonality add it to the mega navigation, footer and the homepage
- Do a final fetch as google and request indexing for content and the landing pages
Notice how I do mention seasonality a lot. This is because the logic can still be used for seasonal product that usually just leave the website e.g. outdoor furniture, Xmas or sunglasses etc.
With engagement playing such a big part in the algorithm today, I’d be confident saying that just leaving the pages alone with a tonne of ‘out of stock’ products accessible is going to cause some pogo-sticking from the SERPs which could impact your overall perception for these products for the next sale period.
As always it’s important to keep an eye on the data to inform your decisions and to also communicate your process with other teams in the business – particularly the trading and online merchandising teams.
As mentioned previously, this may not work for all brands and it depends on your authority within your niche. That said, since leaving MADE we’ve been following these processes at THIS IS NOVOS and we largely see very positive results from it.