When a Black Friday Promo Can Go Wrong and Ruin SEO


When I woke up today, I had no idea that I’d be writing this post. But I found this thing and I couldn’t help sharing it. So here we are. 

The post is going to be about one store that messed up their SEO while doing the Black Friday Promotion. The store is Manière De Voir.

A Disclaimer

I don’t have any affiliation with Manière De Voir. I don’t work for them (though they might use help from an eCommerce SEO professional, to be honest). I’m their loyal customer and I LOVE their products a lot, that’s why I was so surprised and nervous for them when I saw how they handled their Black Friday sale. 

So What Happened

Manière De Voir was collecting emails for their Black Friday promos which is great. They targeted me via a FB ad and here’s how the landing page looked like:

Manière De Voir - Black Friday promo -email-signup

But then something went wrong.

When I visited their website today, I saw this page:

Manière De Voir - Black Friday promo -email-signup redirect

The URL was https://www.manieredevoir.com/password

I got confused and thought that I had followed the wrong link from Google. 

Then I checked the redirects for the page (because I’m an SEO, you know). Here’s what I saw:

Manière De Voir - Black Friday promo -email-signup redirect

Extension used: SEO Pro Extension

The homepage is redirected to the password page with a 302 redirect… 

Ok, I checked other website pages and ALL of them were 302 redirected to the ‘password’ page.

Wow! I mean, look at the number of searches and just think about it: ALL the pages are redirected:

mdv-black-friday-promo-google-search

Of course, I also crawled the website with Screaming Frog, and here’s what the crawl showed:

mdv-black-friday-promo-screaming-frog

‘Awesome”, right?

How important is SEO for Manière De Voir

Of course, I don’t have access to Google Analytics or Google Search Console of Manière De Voir. But I checked their traffic sources via SimilarWeb. And here’s what I can see:

mdv-black-friday-promo-searches

About 42% of the website traffic goes from search, of which almost 87% is from organic search, i.e. SEO. Though I think this could be improved, it’s still a big share of traffic that you would not like to lose. 

SEO Implications of Such a Black Friday Promo

There are many, to be honest. And they depend on how long the promo has been in place. Here it seems to be pretty new. But redirecting the whole website to a promo page even for 5 minutes is never a good approach if you care about SEO. 

Loss of non-branded search visibility

While ranking websites, Google (and other search engines) take into consideration the content on the page: how relevant it is for a particular query. 

When you switch all website pages to the same URL, there’s actually no relevant content left. Branded search will still most likely lead to the website but non-branded searches such as ‘mens cargo pants’ will be lost. How fast this happens will depend on how fast Google will find and process the changes on the website. 

Also, the title tag on the final ‘password’ page looks like this:

mdv-black-friday-promo-title-tag

Extension used: SEO Pro Extension

Google Might Canonicalize the Whole Website to the Homepage

I’ve seen this happen before: when all pages of the website looked the same to Google, it just ‘glued’ them together serving only the homepage in the search results. No long-tail keywords were ranking as a result.. Check it out:

Here’s how Google sees the homepage:

mdv-black-friday-promo-google-homepage

And here’s how Google sees one of the internal pages:

mdv-black-friday-promo-google-internal-page

They look the same. Why would Google keep 100500 pages that look the same in its index?

Some time later, Google would most likely consolidate the whole website to the homepage. It might have already happened to some internal pages.

Loss of Organic Traffic

Redirecting the whole website to just 1 page will 100% cause a loss of traffic. I’m pretty sure Manière De Voir will see it soon (though I’ll be happy if it won’t happen to the store I love). Their homepage has already been indexed by Google and looks like that in cache:

mdv-black-friday-promo-google-cache

Bad User Experience

It’s honestly very confusing when you’re just redirected to a blank page with a form when you came to shop. It’s like going to a brick-and-mortar store and discovering that all the doors have been boarded up. And there’s a note with the time when they reopen and a discount code. It’s just confusing. 

What Could Have Been Done Better

A simple truth is: one channel should not hurt another channel, and one promo campaign should not hurt any traffic source. Especially when this traffic source is technically free (like SEO compared to paid ads when you’re charged for every click or impression). 

If you want to have a massive promo campaign, there’s no need to redirect the whole website to the promo page. 

In this case, Manière De Voir could just have an interstitial or pop-up which is triggered after scrolling or has a time-delay so that Google will not see it and index the content as normal. I’m personally not a fan of  interstitials but they’re much better than redirects (even 302s). 

Final words

I’m pretty sure, Manière De Voir had no intention to hurt their SEO. It just happened because SEO was not considered in their promo campaign. 

That’s why I always say that all digital marketing teams should work together, this is very important for the business. 

I love this store and have no intention to hurt their feelings by writing this post. But as an eCommerce SEO consultant, it’s my responsibility to educate online stores on how to use SEO the right way (or at least not to hurt it). 

I’m also sure they’re removing the redirect when the countdown ends. But this doesn’t mean it’s not harmful for their organic traffic. With how Google delays crawling these days, it can take time to re-crawl and re-indexed the pages that have been redirected for a while. You never want to rely on luck when it comes to SEO. 

Update:

The redirects were removed indeed after the countdown finished. But as I wrote above, this was still a bad idea, and its consequences will be seen soon. 

If you need help with SEO, contact me here.

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