Are Sales Bad for SEO?

Are you offering a sale? Holiday weekends bring out the discount signs as companies plan special sales on everything from laser surgery to beach towels. Naturally, you want your website to help you get the word out to your customers, but how do sales affect your SEO?

If you’ve carefully crafted your homepage to show trustworthiness and authority in optometry, how is that affected if you suddenly change half the text to trumpet your 25% off all glasses frames doorbuster deals? Can you make clever puns about how much the Founding Fathers would have loved your selection of climbing shoes without sacrificing rankings?

And what about your blog and social media in general? If you write all week about the fireworks that your 4th of July sale is going to cause, how will those posts fit into your long-term strategy?

Don’t worry. You can use digital marketing to make the most of your seasonal special sales without throwing your long-term strategy off course — for summer 3-day shopping weekends, and for your holiday shopping blasts in the winter, too.

Use graphics.

For good communication with search engines, you have to use searchable text, not text in graphics. So just turn that on its head. Use your cheesiest slogans — just make sure they’re in the graphics, not set as text over the graphics. Make your alt text something like “Juvederm bargains” or “wide selection of sports gear” that will continue to communicate your overall message even as it makes your graphics clear.

Generally speaking, search engines won’t care about your graphics. You can replace all your headers, banners, and sidebars with unapologetic ad graphics to let your visitors know about your sales. As long as you have plenty of strong optimized text on the page, too, search engines won’t mind.

A word on ads: Google hates pages with lots of ads, especially above the fold or in the middle of the content. Keep your ad graphics to the areas of your website that are designed for graphics — don’t treat them as though they’re ads for other companies.

Try popups.

Yeah, we know you hate popups. But customers visiting your website before the long weekend want to know if you’re having a sale. They will not mind the popup that gives them the details.

Make sure that your popups are very clear. Short is also good. This is the place for “1/4th off Tabata on the 4th!” rather than “This Independence Day, celebrate your future freedom from embarrassing….” It doesn’t matter where that second ad was going — your readers aren’t going to go with you.

Also be sure that it’s easy for visitors to close the popup if they’re not interested. This isn’t for SEO, but for user experience, which is equally important.

Keep blogging.

If you blog three times a week, you can certainly make one of those blog posts about your sale. You can link to that same blog post seven times if you want to. People want to know about special deals — your customers certainly do.

But you don’t need to write a new blog post every day about the upcoming sales. Here are some topics for the other two days of the week:

  • A spotlight post on a brand or procedure you’re discounting during the sale. Provide plenty of useful information in the post, plus a nice graphic promoting the sale. It’s a snap to remove that graphic when the sale ends.
  • A fun post about the holiday,  sharing a cool infographic or a tasty recipe. Add that graphic about the sale, too.
  • A public service post about safety issues that go with that holiday. There are safety issues for every holiday — we know from our blogging experience. You can use the promotional graphic, too.
  • Industry news, because things don’t quit happening just because there’s a holiday coming up. That promotional graphic? Totally appropriate, unless you’re writing about something extremely serious.

When the sale ends, take down the signs in your store or office, and take down the signs on your website, too. You can certainly get the message across to your human visitors without confusing the search engines.






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