SEO Marketing for Black Friday South Africa (2018, 2019, 2020 lessons and Results)

Matt Davison Marketing, Technology 0 Comments


Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m super frugal with my hard-earned money and I am always on a lookout for awesome deals. So naturally, I love Black Friday.

Thats, not the only reason I love Black Friday, its a marketers dream as its the one day that almost EVERYONE is looking for some or other deal online.

This year, I’m in South Africa for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. So I’m looking forward to capitalizing it on it fully, as a marketer and a consumer 😛

Black Friday has a TON of searches behind it, it would seem that people care more about Black Friday than their mothers, new years plans or Easter.

Shame on us. But see for yourself!

I think that is a pretty scary stat.

Look how much it drawfs everything else… A maketers dream!

I would suspect traditional marketing is also not that effective for Black Friday because brands and stores generally want to only show their deals on the day to the masses… So online makes the most sense and as that is where the consumer will turn to on the day.

According to Google Trends, South Africa registered the highest search interest in the world over the past 12 months, with the US coming in second.


So this year we created a list post of the most comprehensive and in my opinion the best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials and Deals in South Africa.

Even though this is not exactly my area of expertise (e-commerce) I look forward to actually taking part in this awesome day from the marketers standpoint for once.

However, we not doing that great for it. The post has brought in only 700 users (over 3 days)….. but we have spent nothing on the promotion just yet.

Right now we ranking about #45 for “Black Friday South Africa” (which got 50 000 searches today according to Google Trends) and we have guestimates in the office for the amount of traffic it will bring on the day. My guess is around 20 000 visits with some people in the office estimating around 100 000. 😲


The Black Friday 2018 Marketing Campaign

This campaign was a rollercoaster, we had good things happen and the worst thing happened on the day…

We were a little late to publishing, as it took some convincing to get the green light for the Black Friday campaign. It was not aligned with exactly what Vibescout was about, but in the end, we got it published 6 days before the big day. Not ideal, but I was just happy we got something out.

The Office Traffic Bets and Guestimates

Generally, on a campaign like this we like to take bets in the office (not for money – we don’t have much of that at Vibescout) but for lunch from everybody in the office. This is what the estimates in the office looked like.

We have ambitious staff 😛 100 000 – that would have been nice, but the funny thing is it was 100% possible.

What happened to Vibescout on Black Friday

Our campaign was simple, make the most comprehensive post online about Black Friday South Africa, and that’s what we did, but someone did it better.  Much better, we learned a lot and I’m going to share the things they did, and what we did so you can do better than both of us.

This is what ours looked like:

Pretty simple, clear call to actions, and at the time of Black Friday, we threw in the words (Updated Daily) in the title in the hope to get more clicks.

It was shaping up pretty good, we had managed to get 10 domains to link to us in the first couple of days, got some traffic from Reddit, and were featured in a small Quora email blast,

Things were looking pretty awesome, we already had 15 000 people come to the post and it wasn’t even Black Friday yet…. we also crept up in the SERPS, and when I went to sleep we were ranking in the top 10 for a lot of keywords. If the trends were correct, we were going to do 5 – 10 times better the next day.

Before I went to bed I took this… I was happy

When I woke up things were very very different. We were not ranking for any of the big terms, we had completely dropped off the first page and the day was looking dismal. We put 10$ paid budget on social behind it, and built another link, nothing happened. We stuck somewhere in the abyss of page 2 for all the HUGE keywords.


I was disappointed by this, and you can see on the graph below just how bad the post performed compared to the 3 days before. Instead of a decrease in traffic, we should have seen a MASSIVE spike. But alas, the day went on. No ones real time bet/guestimate (from the above screenshot) even came close.

We weren’t too upset about this because my guesstimate was about right and we LEARNT a TON which I’m gonna share with you.

But first, let me share how a tiny little website that dominated the SERPS in South Africa and what they did.

What our competition did right

These guys killed it on Black Friday^^

  • They had an existing post from the year before and allowed the URL to age (Google trusts pages that have been around for some time more than other new ones – unless you want to get into Google news).
  • They had 3 -5 posts all about Black Friday targetting different keywords, one of them was bound to hit gold, and they worked on the post that had the most traction (but I imagine a lot of their other posts also did well).
  • They used interlinking very well; having the other posts gave them the opportunity to link to the main post with very nice keywords, that then allowed them to stay at the top of the SERPS.
  • They encouraged the readers to comment on deals they found, these always added to the freshness of the content on the page.
  • They continuously updated it every day with new deals and made a note on the page indicating all the updates (Google sometimes used this as the meta description so it was very friendly for users and search engines)
  • They utilized the Skyscraper technique and in the end, they had more than 500 deals on the page and indicated it in their title, users and Google must have loved this.

What really Sucked

At about 10 pm that night, I checked my phone and Google was being a complete dickhead, we had come up from yesterday on EVERY SINGLE keyword, but it was too late. If we had these rankings from the morning, we would have maybe even beaten our wildest prediction of 100 000 page views. We did hit my prediction in our office bet but we always try to exceed expectations. Better luck next time year I guess.


What did we learn

  1. That if you want to rank for something, you should post at least a week before the time (unless its news or fresh kind of content).
  2. There are actually some really good affiliate programs in South Africa (we made more on this post than we had in the previous 6 months of event ticket sales)
  3. We fiddled with the title tag too much, and this could have affected the rankings (still to be tested).
  4. Supporting posts can really make a difference to the ranking of a post (it also helps with topical relevance).

So, that’s how we did Black Friday, have you marketed it before? Did you have any findings or questions, drop a comment.

PS. Forgot to mention the other way I capitalized on Black Friday is I bought an SSD, best investment ever, my laptop is super fast now :P



I sold muy shares in the website above, but we did roll out a campaign for a client. We ranked #1 for “black Friday flight specials” and #4.7 in South Arica for “black Friday specials” with a flight affiliate site beating out all the big guys and receiving more than 100 000 people to the page :). This however happened in 2019 and the year after the campaign was put out. Not bad for a week’s worth and another reason I love SEO.



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