5 Tips to Prepare and Prioritise Product Links for Black Friday 2021

Black Friday is on the horizon again and we cannot wait for the start of this huge event, full of exciting new marketing opportunities. It’s no secret that Black Friday didn’t originate here in the UK – that all got going over in America. As a nice little fact, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and as the Friday after is observed as an unofficial holiday, due to lots of people being off work and so on, businesses reduce their prices and it becomes a bit of a free for all for those looking to grab a bargain!

 **Yes, you’ll have seen the news clips of people raiding stores getting whatever they can get their hands on and of course, queue jumping!**

Black Friday only got going in the UK back in 2010. It ignited in 2014 when retailers both in-store and online capitalised by selling thousands of end-of-the-line products and high-value items sold with large discounts, this was the peak pre-Christmas online sales day and ever since, all eCommerce businesses have kept it as part of their core trading cycle! 

Ahead of Black Friday 2021, the PR team here at Spike are pleased to share with you 5 simple tips to be prepared for the big event to ensure you get your brands in front of the right audience in time for the event.

How do you get product links? 

It’s worth mentioning firstly that backlinks do not normally occur pointing towards product link pages, not naturally anyway. There is usually a strategy in place behind a product link or category page link. Unless your product is a topic of interest or trend/debate and you are also the manufacturer. With Christmas approaching, you might receive backlinks from press publications if, for example, “This year’s most popular Christmas toy that is now sold out!”, but aside from that, it’s unlikely. 

Product links from the national press are often tagged as “affiliate links” so a percentage of commission is earned for the publisher from any sales made from the article product links. You are less likely to see this when outreaching for Local SEO purposes. It’s much better to secure product links that aren’t affiliate links, as they are often NO-FOLLOWED. A longstanding topic of debate is, NO-FOLLOWED links do still provide potential referral traffic to your website so should not be ignored or discounted. From an important SEO perspective, essentially a no-followed attribute tells search engines to not follow the external, outbound link. This means the website does not endorse any of those links tagged in this format. 

If the product link is followed and from a website of relevance and high authority, you are looking at big SEO benefits such as potential ranking improvements for the product page itself, traffic from the source of coverage that could drive sales to the product highlighted or other products within the category, and also affiliate traffic that can drive sales. 

Latest views and opinions

As recently published in Search Engine Land, Google’s John Mueller pointed out the difficulty of getting your product pages to rank. John says himself that backlinks to product pages are very tricky to achieve. 

Google’s Mueller said:

“…I think that’s always challenging.

And I don’t think there is a simple trick to make that happen.”

By understanding what kinds of content people are enthused about and would be interested in linking to, you’ll have a clearer mind when it comes to creating ideas that are linkworthy. 

Following the next 5 tips will help you to prepare and prioritise product links for Black Friday 2021. 

1. Know your brand’s audience

When it comes to pitching products, ensure you have; high-res imagery, pricing information (before and afters) including freshly written product descriptions in place.

But before any of that, it would be wise to discuss with your brands, where they would like to secure coverage and where they think their competitors will try and build links/coverage.

Draw up a list of prospects to target by, firstly, undertaking competitor analysis using a fantastic tool like Ahrefs, and assess gap analysis to see which websites you are not getting links from. Next, undertake targeted prospecting utilising search operators, using relevant keywords to flag up any sites of interest.

Reach out to your existing contacts, such as consumer-focused journalists, seeing what their content plans are going to be. Knowing your brand’s audience helps you to correctly pitch products to the right publications, targeting relevant coverage rather than a shotgun approach to sending mass emails, which can be costly and time-intensive.

2. Plan ahead and secure internal marketing plans and products/offers you should and can promote

Prepare your clients well ahead of the event and start conversations around Black Friday marketing plans, and ensure a discount or offer can be run across products. Try to communicate to journalists what makes your product/offer stand out. Standing out on Black Friday 2021 will be tougher than ever before as the pandemic has seen millions of businesses shift to move online, whilst accelerating spending online means more competition to land coverage.

As well as this, an ‘always on’ approach to link building and securing coverage for clients, means PR professional across the industry and working in a more reactive way by quickly responding to news (in as little as 30 minutes of seeing a journalist request or news story) leads to excellent coverage and brand awareness.

In the last 30 days alone, there have been 165 articles indexed containing the terms “Black Friday” and “deal” or “offer” which reflects how journalists want to get hold of deals/content and we are still months away from the event.

3. Think like a link builder

Thinking like a link builder helps you to increase the likelihood of securing links. It all begins with understanding both your client’s website structure and the publications you plan to target.

You can use search operators to bring up results of previous Black Friday coverage to understand how pages on Black Friday are set up, who the repeating journalists are, and also start to get an idea of ‘preview Black Friday’ coverage happening NOW! So instead of thinking just about what products to pitch, take a step back and think about how you can secure a link to your client’s product.

  • Gallery links (often tagged under the image or as the image linking to the product)
  • Look back at Black Friday product links from previous years, assess who secured the links and why? Can you utilise any of those strategies previously deployed?
  • Standard textual links alongside high-res imagery
  • Affiliate links – if your clients pay to be an affiliate with a publisher, find out the names of these and the journalists who can perhaps run a few products for you in any pieces

Yes, that’s right! Not every business will be able to capitalize on Black Friday. You can do all the planning and prep in the world but if your products or content isn’t valuable enough to deliver that press hook for journalists, then you’re risking losing relationships with contacts. 

4. Offer variety and something ‘wacky’

Consumers often put ‘wishlists’ together for Black Friday, and so by offering a range of different products for journalists to link to, you can be sure to have a higher chance of being featured. A Black Friday ‘offers’ lookbook is a sensible way to showcase a range of products to a journalist. Aim to get these sent out from September onwards if you have confirmation on what deals will be put live affecting the specific products.

By offering something wacky, you’ll be sure to cut through the noise and secure possible product links. This could be something like, “You can now buy a heavy gold chain worth £4,000 for half the price”.

5. Ensure Black Friday is for you…

We hope these tips were useful or perhaps serve as a timely reminder ahead of Black Friday 2021. Let us know on social media what you thought and if you are already planning for the big event, including Cyber Monday! 

Looking for further hints and tips ahead of Black Friday 2021? Check out our latest webinar with TrafficDefender here: https://bit.ly/3wq5reS

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