Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most crucial days of the year for digital marketers that operate in e-commerce or retail. These two days mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and many firms provide special discounts and incentives to their customers, resulting in increased sales, site traffic, and engagement. We wanted to look at the early statistics to see what happened, especially because 2021 is expected to be the largest retail Christmas season on record.
We were wondering if there were any discernible differences in how Google treats queries on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as how they are treated in the weeks leading up to and after the holidays. This knowledge may tell whether certain experiences are better offered on transactional days. Over the previous month, we’ve been watching 500 e-commerce-related keywords (covering informational, navigational, and transactional intents) to see how results changed to suit the shoppers on these days. While there were no significant changes in share of voice this year, there were some noteworthy shifts.
Here are some of the things we learned:
In the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon’s supremacy is less visible.
We observed Amazon’s share of voice in organic results fall for the 500 terms we tracked, while companies like Apple, Nintendo, and Healthline experienced a rise in their organic presence over the two days.
As the Christmas season approaches, regular online results become increasingly varied.
As we approach the holiday season, additional players are gaining market share in organic, with the “other” category up nearly 5% from where it was on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Content that is informative is still important.
Contrary to expectations, Wikipedia’s prominence in organic results has increased while shopping continues. This might be attributed to an increase in shopping feeds and sponsored results during these hours, necessitating organic to provide more informational demands. The rise in prominence of Wikipedia is strikingly similar to what we’re witnessing with Amazon.
We didn’t find any big changes in the sorts of pages that were favoured, but there were a few moves that corresponded to what we saw with share of voice.
E-commerce is still dominated by category sites.
You may have heard us talk about the importance of category pages during our webinar, Critical Shifts in E-Commerce: Preparing for the 2021 Holiday Season. According to the research, category sites are only growing in importance as the Christmas shopping season approaches.
The homepage continues to drop in popularity.
We observed homepages give way to article and product pages in search engine results pages throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While this was not a significant change, it did show that richer and deeper experiences perform somewhat better during peak shopping hours. If you’re releasing a new product or running a sale, making a big splash on your homepage is wonderful, but you also need to make sure those bargains are visible on your category and product pages, since those may be the sites your buyer sees in a search result instead of your homepage.
Following Cyber Monday, article and product pages are losing steam.
While the changes are minor and progressive, it’s worth noting that product and article pages are becoming less prominent as we move away from peak days. This is noteworthy since the number of category-level pages is increasing at a similar rate. This anecdote implies that during peak purchasing seasons, the more enjoyable category level experience you can deliver, the more likely you will be rewarded organically. This fits with what we’re seeing with share of voice, where companies like Nintendo and Apple are selling hot items this season and winning with category-level pages relating to those products.
It was also fascinating to compare and contrast the before, during, and after elements of various site kinds. We wanted to see which schema was more popular for pages on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Schema is a markup language that aids search engines in comprehending the context of information they are crawling (so instead of a series of numbers, schema can be used to tell a crawler that this is a time or date). The results revealed a lot of page structure information, as well as some surprising insights into what the winners are and aren’t conveying this year.
Higher rankings do not imply a better site architectural schema.
At the very least, we’re seeing e-commerce champions provide context for who they are, but there’s no straight link to higher rankings. The winners in the top three places are less likely to declare the site type and organisation structure than those in the bottom third.
The FAQ schema is more prevalent on pages with better rankings.
Unlike architectural content, we saw FAQ schema in the top three ranks more often than in the lowest third for the keywords we looked at. This backs up a major finding we made: during peak shopping days, searchers prefer a deeper purchasing experience, as indicated by the prevalence of category pages, fewer homepages, and more brands winning. In the same line as richer shopping experiences, it would seem that having simple access to product information provides a favourable experience. If you have FAQ material on these pages, make sure it is clearly identified by search engines, even if it links to a different page.
The product schema is still vital.
We assume that the minor rise in Wikipedia’s share of speech over Black Friday and Cyber Monday had an influence on how much product schema was included in the top three results. It’s worth noting that, outside of structural schema, it’s the most common kind in ranks 4 through 10. To assist engines comprehend the context of the information, make sure product schema is included in both your category and product pages.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of criteria will ultimately influence how and why a page ranks in a specific position for a given keyword for a given user. However, when we look at the big picture, we can detect some minor differences in how results are handled before, during, and after peak shopping periods. For e-commerce, it looks vital that you focus on the shopping experience your category page provides by offering helpful answers to client inquiries and making it simple for them to go into products they may be interested in. We hope you had a terrific start to the Christmas shopping season and look forward to seeing you in Q4!
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