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In 2020, Black Friday was the most popular 'deal day' in the UK, Germany and France. Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) kicks off the festive deal season, with the whole long weekend (Black Friday to Cyber Monday) presenting consumers with irresistible deals and promotions.

Due to the incredible increase in online shopping, as a result of the pandemic, online retailers have a momentous opportunity to harness the mass influx of consumers. In 2020, mass retailers' online sales rose by 93%. Now, more than ever, it's essential to optimise your organic search strategy and maximise organic traffic to your site to capitalise on those Black Friday deal hunters.


Page Speed and Robustness

Optimising site speed, fixing broken links, error pages and images that fail to load, and crucially ensuring that your site can handle the extreme increase in visitor traffic, should be the first tasks you tackle in preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (henceforth to be referred to as Black Friday).

According to Google, site speed is one of the most crucial indicators in determining page rank. Consumers will more often than not, immediately steer away from slow-loading pages and websites. Google bots register high bounce rates, malfunctioning forms, and slow loading times and will conclude that your site is untrustworthy. After all, they aim to provide the best user experience.

Do this well in advance, to allow plenty of time for your site to be crawled, indexed and ranked properly.

Check your page speeds using Google PageSpeed Insights.

Internal Linking Structure

Optimising your internal linking structure is twofold.

1. Encouraging visitors to spend longer on your site, by ensuring you have a seamless internal linking structure and offering easily accessible and intriguing options for further viewing, will help to increase your sales. The longer a visitor spends on your site the more likely they are to make a purchase. Create more relevant internal links.

2. When it comes to the check-out process, this needs to be as convenient as possible. Make sure to audit your check out system in advance. Can it be streamlined? Is it clear and quick?

Mobile Site

With Google now prioritising your mobile site when determining page rank, having an efficient and effective mobile viewing experience is essential. Thus, you may have already turned your attention towards mobile. But, did you know that in 2020 75% of Black Friday consumers used their mobile devices to research products and make purchases?

Ensuring that your mobile site can handle the excess traffic, fixing malfunctions and slow loading times, and creating seamless check-out experiences on your mobile site should be a TOP PRIORITY.

Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to make sure your site is up to scratch for this Black Friday.

Obviously, these are excellent best practices all year round, however, during Black Friday their importance is heightened as the competition grows and shoppers have countless options to choose from. Make sure it's your website they choose.


As a long-term strategy, your marketing campaign should begin with SEO. From this foundation, you can build social media and PPC to create a cross-channel digital marketing strategy. Furthermore, with paid ad costs on the rise, organic search traffic is increasingly important.

Keyword Research

Analysing your previous Black Friday campaign is the best place to start. Which pages drove the most traffic and the highest conversions? Note the highest ranking keywords and begin your keyword research from there. You can use these to generate similar search queries in your Google Keyword Planner.

If you don't have previous Black Friday campaigns, never fear! Begin by selecting broad high volume keywords, such as 'Black Friday sale' and leverage this in combination with more specific terms such as product type. Think about consumer intentions and whether you have products that fit them.

Select keywords that your business can be competitive with. Keywords that have relatively high search volumes, low competition and relevance to your business are ideal. Focus on long-tail keywords that include specifics. For example, 'Black Friday cashmere jumpers' (obviously only if your business sells cashmere jumpers). Adding terms such as 'deals', 'gift', or 'coupons' is also good practice.

Landing Pages

Now you've identified your target keywords, it's time to use them on your landing pages. Optimise your meta tags, create targeted copy and product descriptions, and focus on Black Friday search queries. Identify and optimise existing weak and mediocre pages.

Creating a page dedicated to Black Friday deals is an excellent way to include lots of high ranking keywords and display your promotions in one place for improved user experience.

Including creative visual content is strongly advisable, to engage random visitors and encourage page sharing.


Reaching out to influencers, bloggers, local citations and Black Friday listings, will also boost your SEO.


Customer Testimonials

With so many mind-blowing deals to choose from, consumers look increasingly to reviews and testimonials to determine their purchase. Include these on your landing pages to build trust and demonstrate credibility.

Email Marketing, Social Media, PPC

Collaborating with your digital marketing efforts and diversifying your campaign has proven benefits for brand awareness and sales.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer tremendous opportunities to boost sales and make a significant contribution to your revenue. Optimising your digital marketing efforts by leveraging SEO to its fullest potential can transform your Black Friday campaigns. Being prepared is the name of the game here.

For more information about how to improve your SEO, get in contact with our team at Bell. Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Creating a robust content marketing strategy can be a challenge but is extremely important for SEO. Search engines crawl content for information that helps them index your pages correctly and help you rank in search results. Having a good SEO content strategy improves your website's visibility on search engines, helping to drive traffic. Furthermore, well thought out content will increase conversions by encouraging people to purchase your products/services.

The Top 3 Challenges of Content Marketing in 2021

1. Creating content that drives traffic

Solution 1: Create a content strategy based on the buyer journey

Truly understanding your customers is the first step in content marketing. If you understand customers' needs and expectations throughout the different stages of the buyer journey, then you can build a strategy that drives traffic through each stage of the funnel. Your content decisions should be based on user behaviour data that you continuously collect and analyse.

Solution 2: Research and understand search intent 

Search intent is the reason why someone conducts a specific search, and forms part of the buyer journey. For example, are they looking for information, are they searching for a specific website, or are they looking to buy something? Keyword research will play an important role in planning content for search intent. Read more about the different types of searcher intent on SEMRush's blog.

Solution 3: Make use of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are usually more specific search phrases, and are particularly beneficial when there’s a lot of competition in your market. Although long-tail keywords get less search traffic, they usually have a higher conversion value because competition is lower and they're targeted. Spend some time researching long-tail keywords before writing each content piece.

2. Keeping the target audience engaged in your content

Solution 1: Get creative with content formats

Diversify your content and get creative with different formats. Blogs will always play a major role in content marketing but by getting creative and focusing on user experience you can really engage with consumers and stand out from the competition. Research and test new formats of interactive and immersive content across all digital channels.

Solution 2: Regularly review performance and update your content strategy 

Content marketing works best as an ongoing process. By auditing your content on a regular basis, you can test and learn what works best and is most favoured by your audience. Consumer behaviour is always changing online which is why regular analysis and an agile strategy is important for continued success.

3. Creating content that converts

Solution 1: Have a specific goal for each piece of content

Content should never be created for the sake of it, instead, you should have a clear, measurable goal in mind for each piece of content. This brings us back to the importance of understanding your audience and creating content for different stages of the user journey. Some examples of content goals include boosting blog traffic, growing an email list or increasing landing page conversions.

Solution 2: Create content for each stage of your funnel to create paths to conversion 

A content strategy should look at each funnel stage. Plan an equal amount of content for each stage in order to create conversion paths that assist your customers through the buyer journey.

From your regular content audits, choose the content that already converts well and ensure there’s stable traffic flow to this content. Make sure other teams in your company know about this content, especially your sales team who can hopefully use the content in their own efforts.

By investing in an SEO Content strategy, you can help ensure long-term success by building stronger relationships with your customers and improving brand recall. We are here to help you with the many challenges of content marketing.

Our Content Team at Bell can help you create an SEO content strategy by helping you understand your audience and the different content formats. We use analytics to make optimisations and improve your long-term strategy.

Want to know what other SEO trends will be important in 2021 and beyond? Check out our 5 SEO trends to include in your 2021 strategy article.

If you are interested in hearing more, get in touch. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

It was last summer when I decided to change jobs. The idea was to specialise in SEO, given my strong interest in this field, so last November I accepted the job offer from Bell Digital as an SEO Account Manager. I was very excited to embark on a new adventure despite the uncertainty due to the global pandemic.

The 3rd of November was my first day - remotely - in the new job. If I had started in the office, I would have met colleagues by the coffee machine and had the half-day orientation of meeting people to establish relationships at work. Instead, I saw myself locked up in my room, at my desk, which was close to my bed. I honestly felt kind of isolated, particularly because I’m not British and I really need to mingle with other people in order to get that sense of togetherness which is pivotal when you live abroad.

I was worried . . . many questions and doubts crowded my mind. For example, I wondered if I would quickly learn the job, and if I would be able to understand my colleagues and quickly integrate into the team. I was afraid, so afraid, that wouldn't be able to adapt to a new way of working. However, the excitement was high too, and I wanted to progress with my career and keep a positive attitude.

I was given a lot of learning material. My drive and curiosity have taken me a few times down the wrong route. I have felt overwhelmed sometimes. I loved what I was learning, but I lost focus because I wanted to absorb all the new many concepts and techniques I was presented with all at the same time. Thankfully, I had lovely and helpful colleagues who explained to me where I had to focus my attention.

In the office, conversations would happen spontaneously. I would either talk about projects and tasks with people around me or ask if they could give me their opinion on my work - that’s how I had developed relationships in my previous job.

Brainstorming in the office would make the learning process easier and quicker. I believe that discussing tasks with colleagues helps develop new perspectives and skills. It is eye-opening because It encourages you to think of multiple approaches to perform a task.

My team has a really good structure to ensure we regularly have face-to-face video chats. This structure has given me the chance to speak my mind, ask questions and discuss projects. Whenever I had task-related doubts I asked for help. My colleagues have been supportive and always available to listen. I had video calls where I could receive some training and talk freely. This has made me feel reassured and more confident.

To put it in a nutshell, it's an experience I would do again despite all the difficulties and uncertainties. It has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and my work and get out of my comfort zone. I was worried, but the willingness to make it work was stronger than the fear of failure. I have tried to keep a positive attitude, listen attentively to any advice from colleagues and be flexible and adaptable. I would encourage anyone to change jobs, even in times of uncertainty, if they have a career path clearly in mind. Although my experience during lockdown has been generally very positive,  I still look forward to going back to the office to establish closer relationships, make friends with other people and achieve great results together.

Share your experiences with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Looking for a new job in digital marketing? Check our careers page for new job openings.

Something you may not have heard of, or even understand, is now possibly, going to impact your website pages rankings in Google results, in May!  We’re doomed I tell you.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Google introduced its “Core Web Vitals Report” earlier last year, and later confirmed that they will become ranking signals for search results in May 2021.

“What are Core Web Vitals?” is a question many online businesses may be asking, or “Isn’t it too late to do anything now?”.

The answers are:

  • They are part of Googles’ User Experience metrics that use real-world user data (from Chrome and other sources) to measure if a site provides a good user experience in terms of
    • Page Load Time – How long does it take to load the largest element?
    • Page Visual Stability – Is the page stable as it loads or does it shift/jump around?
    • Page Interactivity – How long does it take before a user can interact with a page (scroll, click, fill forms etc.)

While Google gives reports on both mobile and desktop, your focus should be on mobile-first.

Does Core Web Vitals Impact Your Website?

The first thing you need to do is check if your site is impacted by these metrics by having a look in the Google Search Console account for your website (You don’t know what Google Search Console is? Ok maybe you need to get reading before you address Core Web Vitals).

The Core Web Vitals report was introduced into Search Console in May 2020 and there is no getting away from the fact that to resolve many of the issues brought up by this report, you will need technical knowledge or access to a developer, since most Content Management Systems will enable you to address some, but most of these issues require developer support.

The only other option is to go down the route of paying for one of the many new plug-ins that are appearing for systems like WordPress and Magento, however, using these without some background knowledge or researching that the Plugin does the job it says it does, could cause problems.

So first off log into your website Google Search Console Account and have a look at the Core Web Vitals Report.

Follow the Google recommendations for non-technical and technical users below, but be aware that for non-technical users Google still adds a step about passing on the report to “the development team”, so some level of technical knowledge is still needed.

Steps To Address and Fix Core Web Vitals Issues

Non-technical users steps to address Core Web Vitals Issues Report:

1. Focus on everything labelled as “Poor” first, then look at the issues that impact the largest set of URLs first or by your most important URLs. Those pages assessed as poor by the report are the ones Google will impact after May.

2. Once sorted by priority, pass the report over to your web(developer) team.

3. Common page fixes:

      a. Reduce page size – best practice is under 500Kb for a page and all its resources (images, JavaScript, CSS etc), but as we know ‘best practice’ and the real world are two different things so just look to reduce image size without impacting visual quality, getting rid of large JS or CSS files that are not used on a page and order the way a page is loaded by focusing on ‘above the fold’ elements – the part of the page that shows in a browser without the need to scroll down.

      b. Limit the amount of resources to no more than 50 for best mobile performance.

4. Test your fixes using PageSpeed Insights Testing Tool (or the Chrome Lighthouse tool, if you want to use an in-browser tool).

5. When you consider a page issue fixed then you should click “Start Tracking” on the issue details page in the Google Search Console Core Web Vitals report.

6. Track your validation process, you will likely have to go through the process a few times before getting a passed state.

Website Developers' steps to address Core Web Vitals Issues Report

1. Prioritise issues/pages labelled as “poor” first and focus on “Mobile” since fixing for mobile will likely resolve most of the issues on desktop and Google has been mobile-first focused for years now. If you manage to clear the “poor” URLs by all means start working on those URLs labelled “Needs Improvement”, but it is the “Poor” pages that will be impacted most when these metrics go live in May.

2. Page load speed will resolve many of the flagged issues, so have a look at dev fast loading guidelines for theory and guidelines t improve page load speed. (The site is a go-to resource for improving performance resources and tips as well as all things Web development.

3. Test your fixes using the PageSpeed Insights testing tool (or the Chrome Lighthouse tool, if you want to use an in-browser tool).

4. When you consider a page issue fixed then you should click “Start Tracking” on the issue details page in the Google Search Console Core Web Vitals report.

5. Track your validation process, you will likely have to go through the process a few times before getting a passed state, the validation states are:

      a. Not Started: There are URLs with an instance of these issues that have never had a validation request.

      b. Started: You have begun a validation attempt, and no remaining instances of the issue have been found as yet.

      c. Looking good: You have started a validation attempt, and all issues checked so far have been fixed.

      d. Passed: All URLs are in a passed state. You must have clicks “Validate Fix” to get to this state, if issues disappear without your having requested validation, the state would have changed to N/A.

      e. N/A: Google found the issue was fixed on all URLs, even though no Validation attempt was started.

      f. Failed: One or more URLs are in a failed state after a validation attempt.

The reality for many eCommerce sites who use systems, such as Shopify, is that you are restricted in how many changes you can make, but even here developers can optimise images, add Lazy loading, Preloading, setting width and height attributes for containers, checking 3rd party code and so on.

So keep calm, access your Search Console Account to see what issues exist, and work through the poor rated pages one step at a time, the more you manage to fix, the smaller the potential impact is going to be in May, and remember, the more you do and the less your competitors do on this issue, the better placed your website will be.

Later this month we will look at some developer actions your team could try that have already worked for large eCommerce sites who have put the time and effort in to address this issue.

If you are interested in hearing more about SEO, do not hesitate to get in contact.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

It is no secret that Paid Search, and more particularly Google Ads, is evolving at an incredible pace.

Even though 2020 was a weird year for everyone and every industry, Google kept changing up core systems that we have grown to consider staples of PPC. In the last year alone, we have seen fewer details in SQR, phasing out of Gmail ads as a standalone campaign type, expansion of more automated bidding and campaigns such as Smart Shopping and even more recently a major change in match types with the announcement of BMM’s death. Even Microsoft Ads is disturbing our habits with the upcoming removal of Manual Bidding being replaced by eCPC (honestly, we all thought Google would do it first).

So when I hear the question “What will Paid Search be like in 5 years?” I often feel like the answer could be unrecognisable at this stage. Nonetheless here are some of my favourite answers.

A push for automation

Microsoft Ads has just announced it so I think this is probably the safest guess at this point. In 5 years there will no longer be any purely manual bidding solutions on the two mainstream Search Engine platform that are Google and Microsoft Ads. Going forward I would argue that even a semi-automated strategy such as eCPC will no longer be available and we will be looking at a landscape made of tCPAs, tROAS and who knows maybe even new ones. tMargins could be of interest?

Dynamic Ads

Another very recent news that dropped in 2021 is the default search ad becoming RSA instead of ETA. We had seen the signs before with certain Google Ads account no longer having the option to create text ad. Technically ETA is still available to create and use but the same way the original text ads were slowly replaced by ETAs, I bet you that ETAs are on the same trajectory with RSA now.

What is Quality Score even?

Quality Score is another one of those core systems that Google is probably boiling in the inside to phase out. It has been with us forever and dictates how everyone competes in the search auction but is it really that important nowadays?

For me the answer remains yes, but simply not as much as it used to be, here are the reasons:

- Ad strength: Google has been pushing Advertisers very strongly on improving ad strength for our RSA Ads for a while now. The fact that RSA is now becoming the default ad type will only reinforce this message and if you think about it, ad strength could easily replace ad relevance someday.

- Optimisation score: Another way of measuring your campaigns up to Google’s standards. I personally have mixed feelings about this one, because as much as the recommendations can be useful sometimes, a lot of it is usually irrelevant in my case. However, remember that we are talking about 5 years in the future and by then I could see this becoming a much stronger tool for both advertisers and Google.

- Smart Bidding: Now this one is a bit more out of the box but hear me out! What is probably the most important thing to consider and work on when you are on smart bidding? For me, it is your Conversion Rate. It is simple, if you put a campaign on a tCPA and that your CR is not good enough for your given target, then you lose Impression Share and thus lose potential Traffic. The next evolution of PPC in an automated world is going to be CRO and ultimately what is CRO about if not landing page experience.

Could you imagine Google Ads without keywords?

I can! Think about it for a second, in the past two years we have seen 2 different evolutions of match type with close variant V1 for misspells and close variant V2 which let’s be honest is a mess. We are now in 2021 and as I mentioned before BMM will be gone by the end of the year leaving us with a new Phrase MT and Google pushing us towards Broad. Add to that the DSA Campaigns & Ad groups as well as the new Performance Max campaign type (in beta) not running on keywords either and you get some hint of a future without keywords.

More ad & extension formats

Google is known to be testing a few things on the SERP every year, would it be visually or more especially the format the ad appears to the searchers, form ads for instance? It is thus highly likely that we will see new ad or extension formats coming our way in 5 years. I would not be surprised to see industry-specific formats coming and going by then.

In conclusion, what will we see in 5 years? To sum it all up the clear answer is more automation and less direct control. That is not necessarily a bad thing though, as mentioned before, automation pushes advertisers to make their website better. So even though less time could be spent on optimising your accounts, we will still need to strategise. If you are in an agency, that will also mean more time accompanying your client both on advertising platforms and on their website, purely on CRO or even mixed in with SEO. For agencies, it will be a time to stop being specialised in one specific BU and becoming more and more full service to make the most out of any type of advertising budgets.

At ESV Digital we already understood this shift and that is why we evolved from a search specific agency to also being specialised in SEO, Social, Analytics & Strategy, so we can further accompany our clients towards successful growth.

If you are interested in hearing more, do not hesitate to get in contact with us and it will be a pleasure to see what we can achieve with you.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Last year was full of changes and uncertainty, but presented new consumer trends and a greater emphasis on digital and SEO than ever. But what’s key to include in your 2021 SEO strategy?

Let’s take a look at 5 important areas that will help you be a cut above the rest.

1. Search Intent

Search intent in SEO continues to grow in importance. While it’s hardly a new concept, every year it’s a good idea to re-examine user behaviour to keep on top of changes. Especially after the year that was 2020 when online behaviours changed so rapidly.

Understanding the why behind a search query and matching it to one of the four types of Search Intent (informational, commercial, navigational and transactional) will help you write content that answers consumers questions.

There is a large section on the topic in Google's most recent edition of Quality Rater Guidelines.

Google is getting better at understanding how people search so make sure you create content that reflects the different types of user intent.

2. Core Web Vitals

In May 2021 Core Web Vitals will become a Google ranking signal.

Core Web Vitals are designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page and combine the following signals:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe-browsing
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

It will be critical for marketers to make sure they stay on top of this to be competitive with the average website and ensure their traffic and conversions are not affected. So start looking at this now ahead of the update in May.

Overtime Core Web Vitals will change as user expectations of web pages change so staying up to date and checking these elements of SEO regularly should be an important part of your SEO strategy.

3. Mobile First

By March 2021, Google will have switched all websites from desktop-first to mobile-first indexing. This means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a website's content for indexing and ranking, meaning it has never been more important for marketers to focus on a mobile-first strategy.

If you haven't already, now is the time to check your website pages and make sure they are easy to navigate, and all images and content are displayed well.

It’s ok to have a different desktop and mobile website experience, but considering Google will essentially ignore the desktop version, if you still have a separate mobile site, now might be the time to migrate to a mobile responsive site instead.

4. Structured data & SERPs

In 2021 Google is set to offer even more answers directly on search result pages without people having to visit a site. This means structured data, or schema mark-up should be an important part of your SEO strategy in 2021.

Marketers should use structured data to help Google better understand who you are, what you offer and what audience you serve, increasing rich results from your website on SERPs. This can have a remarkable impact on CTA’s and attention from users.

Using Googles’ Structured Data Testing Tool, you familiarise yourself with the concept and start applying structured data for your website.

Although not always easy, if you can win FAQ or how-to schema on SERPS you can significantly increase the likelihood of people clicking on your result. You will want to make sure you're creating content with the user in mind and answer common questions on your pages.

5. Long-Form Content & Topic clusters

While the word count of content is not a ranking factor, long-form content generally suggests more information, more expertise and more questions answered.

Marketers should research topic clusters around one central content theme. Cover all aspects of a topic, in as much detail as possible with strategic interlinking. This will send signals to Google that the content of your site has a high level of breadth and depth.

Break up your long-form content with lots of keyword-rich H2 and H3 tags.

You should also take a look at updating old content with relevant new information. Answer questions you haven't previously touched on, and provide extra breadth and depth.


Adapting to SEO trends and keeping up to date with Google’s criteria is fundamental to SEO success. 2021 should see marketers put consumers' interests first, with a focus on excellent user experience and in-depth, interesting written content.

For more information about SEO strategy, get in touch.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.