The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK home improvement brands has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK home improvement brands perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK Home improvement brands has just been published. It covers the largest 10 national home improvement brands, including Plumbworld, Screwfix, Tool Station, Wickes, Selco Builders, B&Q, Homebase, Bradfords, Jewson, and Wolseley.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other home improvement brands to win brand exposure, and drive both online traffic & in-store footfall. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 10 home improvement brands on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK home improvement brands or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. For brands within the home improvement and DIY space, they'll often be supporting large websites hosting a huge range of products that regularly changes. Retailers will need to ensure that product and stock updates are well-considered within their internal linking strategy and that any changes do not impact the customer experience.
Last quarter, Wickes had 1,688 4xx errors, which has seen a drop to 412 this quarter. B&Q continues to have the largest number of 5xx errors, with a total of 7,697 this quarter. This home improvement brand needs to check that its server can handle the traction it receives to its website.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. DIY and home improvement sites should be well-equipped to handle last-minute, or on-the-go mobile searches from any customers searching for supplies mid-project.
We have seen universal falls in mobile page speed across all sectors we specialise in, so expected to see a reduction in scores for home improvement brands.
Scores now see an improvement at the bottom end with a range of 22 to 46, compared to 11 and 56 last quarter. However, Jewson has seen a drop from 56 to 46, though it’s still at the top of the leader board. Fluctuations in site speed are to be expected each quarter, and brands can make optimise images and videos on their landing pages to enhance their scores.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Home improvement brands can look to collaborate with online trade publications or interior design bloggers in order to improve their DA, and ensure they're being linked to from high-authority sites.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. As all our DIY and home improvement brands are long-standing companies, DAs are (unsurprisingly) high compared to brands in some of the more emerging sectors we work with. This quarter, the DA rating ranges between 49 and 78, with B&Q holding the top position. Bradfords, which has the lowest DA rating, could follow suit with the other home improvement brands to increase its score. For example, it currently ranks for 54,096 keywords — the lowest of all brands. An increase in this metric will help with its DA rating.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. With our DIY and home improvement brands selling similar stock (with brand loyalty only going so far), strategic keyword optimisation is key to ensuring visibility is strong on high-conversion products and leading items.
Plumbworld is the only brand with an increase in YoY organic mobile traffic (36%). Bradfords saw the biggest drop in traffic (56%). Most brands have seen a reduction in mobile traffic for the last two quarters, so it’s not unexpected to see decreases in this sector.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. For any e-commerce brand, 'reviews' are a useful way of building trust with prospective customers, and boosting visibility on products. For home improvement brands, 'people also ask' provides an opportunity to rank for any DIY or construction queries too.
Screwfix continues to see an increase in rankings for ‘people also ask’, with 26,700 searches — a growth from 20,400 in the last quarter. B&Q has the largest total of universal searches across the board.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. As we've mentioned, longtail keyword rankings put brands in good stead for appearing in 'people also ask' search results, so have the added benefit of boosting Universal Search visibility too.
B&Q has the top 100 searches for the most longtail keywords. While Screwfix is nearly 35,000 points behind B&Q, it’s a very close second in the top 3 searches. This suggests that Screwfix has a strong SEO strategy to rank highly for longtail keyword searches.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.
For UK home improvement brands, Facebook ads are an opportunity to ensure customers see product releases and deals. Screwfix used ads to promote its Black Friday deals, using the same text across all three ads. It also has a strong sense of branding by using the same imagery — with minor tweaks to the product it advertises. Brand recognition is important, and clean imagery for infographics makes it more likely followers will see such posts when they’re inundated from other brands.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. For DIY and home improvement stores, they'll have two audiences - at-home DIYers and trade professionals. This presents the opportunity to create two distinct content plans, that can appeal to a wide range of potential customers.
Both Wickes and B&Q continue to favour Pinterest — a platform that’s effective for sharing inbound links in a customer-facing niche. Bradfords has the largest number of total engagement (42,900), despite having the second to lowest Facebook Likes and Instagram followers. High engagement rates are key to ensuring that your social media followers see and interact with your posts.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. As with ensuring their sites are technically compliant, large e-commerce brands, such as those in the home improvement sector, should ensure that their site is simple to read and digest, as well as navigate.
Plumbworld continues to have a significant number of alerts (565, a small drop from the previous quarter which saw 567). Jewson also has a high number of alerts (466). Both of these home improvement brands will need to check for broken links and image optimisation to ensure those using screen readers can comprehend their websites.
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q4 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.