Entering 2020, Victorianplumbing.co.uk once again held onto the crown for the most visible domain in the UK for bathroom specialists across Google. What this means is that their combined coverage of search keywords and the likely traffic they would drive from all those positions was far greater than any other players in the sector.
To those working in the industry, this is likely to be little surprise, with the online supplier storming past the previous search leader Bathstore.com’s visibility in January 2018. When asked about their future, the company’s Founder and Owner, Mark Radcliffe, clearly outlined in 2019 that their goal going forwards was to be number one in the industry for profitability, service and turnover and their organic search performance seems set to propel them a good way towards this goal.
Following their initial rise in UK search results, Victorian Plumbing is now ever-present in the top spot for a wide range of highly sought-after, high search volume keywords.
Since this switch at the top in 2018, the competition for second place in search has seen Bathstore.com’s visibility score continue to decline from a 5-year high in excess of 25,000, falling by 65% to only 9,229 at the time of writing.
Taking over second place as a result of this is VictoriaPlum.com who have consistently held this position since early in 2020 (now with over 14,000 visibility).
Some other success stories of 2020 worthy of a mention are plumbworld.co.uk and (our client!) drench.co.uk.
Both sites have seen big percentage uplifts over the year. 2020 has seen both sites burst onto the first page of Google in a big way (no pun intended), doubling their organic visibility and establishing themselves in the top 5 for online bathroom specialists.
What would it cost to buy this bathroom brand’s organic traffic?
To each site, the final value of any traffic is of course dictated by their ability to convert each customer visit to a sale and how much that sale makes the business, but from a marketing perspective we can estimate what each of these sites would likely pay if they had to buy all of this traffic through Google Ads.
As you may have gathered from the title, using this method we can estimate that Victorian Plumbing receives around a huge £4.1million worth of traffic on average from their organic search visibility every month.
Digging into the big money drivers for this figure, we can see that the value comes from a number of sources, including:
- Top rankings for big generic keywords like “toilet” or “baths” (10-15% of the total value)
- Keywords for the Victorian Plumbing brand (around 20-25% of the total value)
- A huge spread of rankings for over 70,000 smaller more specific keywords which combined make a huge contribution each month (the remaining value)
Comparing this to their closest competitors, we can see that not only does the site receive more organic traffic, but that there is a significant gap between the value of this and the nearest competitor.
This gap is so significant that it is roughly equivalent to the total cost of buying all the traffic for the rest of the top five sites combined.
|Domain||MTh Tracked Visitors||Total Ad Value (£PM)|
How did they succeed in search?
Victorian Plumbing has risen to the top of the industry in a relatively short period of time.
Looking into the detail of this rise to the top, we can see some top-level key trends that go a long way towards explaining this success.
Firstly, their onsite experience both from a technical SEO standpoint and from a user experience perspective stands out from the crowd.
On the technical side, strong core vitals around speed, and a clean, logical structure makes for a search-engine-crawler-friendly experience. Beyond the fundamentals, they are clearly going the extra mile around making their organic results stand out, with strong messaging in meta information that’s very click-through-rate-friendly, and a thorough consistent application of product level Schema to upgrade their search results with stock information, pricing and reviews.
From the user experience side, the main navigation is well-executed with a clear, intuitive hierarchy. Product pages do a good job of displaying information in a clear way and are supported by well written guides and how-to information, which funnels traffic into commercial pages and supports those ready to buy with answers to last-minute questions.
But, having a sound onsite experience on its own is not enough to conquer search within a competitive industry like Bathrooms.
On the other side of the coin, links from other websites are one of the main currencies Google deals in when deciding which brand deserves the top spot in search results.
Digging into the link profile for Victorian Plumbing, we can see that their powerful brand momentum has translated into a flurry of passive link activity. Although it is far from the most cost-effective method of building links, a huge investment in brand building and awareness through TV, radio and digital advertising have made them the brand on everyone’s lips when it comes to talking about bathrooms.
|Domain||Monthly Brand Search|
A charge of online and offline paid activity, led currently by interiors aficionado, Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen has ensured that they have become a go-to source for every journalist, blogger and DIY enthusiast when creating content.
Now in this advantageous position, brands below Victorian Plumbing face the difficult challenge of competing against not only an ongoing barrage of big budget brand advertising, but also fighting to overcome what we sometimes refer to here at Evolved Search as the Organic Cycle of Success.
This basically outlines how a brand that can establish itself at the top of search and use this visibility to pick up links from publishers researching their industry through search. This means they can, in part, grow their link profile without needing to proactively drive that process holding them in that number one slot over time.
How to challenge the status quo
For brands in the Bathroom sector looking to compete beyond the head on approach of throwing large sums of money at advertising, there are some more direct cost-effective ways to carve out some market share in search.
A starting point is to get the fundamentals right on your website. In 2021, it’s unlikely sites looking to succeed in competitive spaces will get away with things like having a significant number of duplicate pages or a poor structure with badly constructed URLs.
Every one of your pages needs to be at least in the game to rank for a vast array of search variations your customers use to find your products.
Take content seriously on your site and invest in improving it as a resource. A colleague of mine used to say that if you are not having that conversation with your customer, your competitor will be.
Start building pages and sections and hubs that not only serve to make the sale to those ready to buy, but also walk your customer through the buying cycle and guide them through the discovery and learning process to set them up to make that conversion.
I’d also recommend looking to integrate these pages within your site experience as a whole rather than taking the view that keeping a relatively hidden blog which you add two 500-word articles to each week can tick this box. Google is investing in evolving technology all the time to better understand which sites provide the best user experience and rewarding those sites with a higher search result over time. It’s worth going the extra mile.
On the links front, going on the offensive effectively requires using targeted tactics to proactively drive up the rate at which your site acquires links each month.
Where a competitor like Victorian Plumbing is able to benefit from the status quo, it’s vital that you work harder and smarter to start closing that gap. Where we’ve worked with clients in similar market positions, using content assets aimed at driving conversation from publishers has been a key part of how we help domains to start to compete.
Where you achieve links is also of the utmost importance, with a link building roadmap for any site needing the right blend of quality, quantity, and topically-relevant links to establish you as the authority in your space. Remember that search is not a sprint, it’s a marathon (or at least a 5000m metre race). By this I mean, rather than looking for a quick-fix, brands who develop consistently and stay on course methodically, always doing the right things to improve, rise to the front of the pack and in the end win out.
If you’re looking for an experienced pair of hands to help you succeed in the competitive Bathrooms sector, we can help.
We’ve helped contender brands like Tap Warehouse and Drench to propel their traffic, visibility, conversions and revenue, providing a robust search strategy that encompasses everything they need for their brands to grow online.