As online sofa retailers recover from the volatility in traffic caused by the pandemic, including record spikes in retail spending throughout the various lockdowns, many are preparing for 2022 and beyond to maintain and grow their presence in Google Search.
With a lasting impact on brick-and-mortar stores, consumer attitudes have shifted to buying products online which previously had a much stronger presence at stores, including large homeware and furniture items, in particular sofas.
With this change in consumer attitude, online retailers must react. But this does not simply involve increasing rankings and growing their presence in Google, this is about developing lasting relationships with consumers and building trust so that customers are willing to shop for something they previously would have never considered buying online.
While online retailers are expected to see inflated pandemic figures caused by the lockdowns drop, there are clear signs that this consumer shift will remain, and eCommerce will be able to maintain and grow traffic higher than pre-pandemic levels. The trend can already be seen according to rising Google Search volumes and is one that is likely to remain as we return to normal.
Sofa sector is worth over £37m per month, but three brands dominate 83%
Our report found that the organic market value of organic search clicks is worth over £37 million per month in the Sofa sector. However, three brands dominate the SERPs and hold more than 83% of that non-branded organic click value, namely DFS, Sofology, and ScS.
As you can expect, the larger brands lead the way for highly competitive generic sofa and product category terms, although DFS is significantly contributed to by the site’s strong lead for sofa beds, holding a 60% market share – 1.5x higher than the other 18 brands combined in our report. Sofology isn’t as strong for the generics but consistently ranks in the top three positions for high-volume Sofa product categories.
Furniture Village have the strongest search visibility overall, but a look at non-branded keywords shows a different picture
According to overall search visibility alone, Furniture Village is the highest performer in our Sofa report. However, stripping away branded keywords shows an organic downturn, which coincides with a 2018 Google core update that focused on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Sites with poor quality content were affected by this major algorithmic change and it appears Furniture Village was impacted as a result. The site’s non-branded organic value significantly trails behind DFS, Sofolofy, and ScS.
Loaf.com is another site that has seen a significant drop in visibility since 2018 – a huge 55% decline – although we have seen more recent changes which could make the site one to watch in 2022.
Only 0.5% of Featured Snippet opportunities are owned by Sofa sites
Our report found that almost all brands Sofa industry are missing out on key SERP features, including Featured Snippets. A study by Ahrefs says that the ‘answer box’ Featured Snippet steals away a third of clicks that would normally go to the site in position one for that search term. However, only DFS, Sofology, and Darlings have managed to obtain more than two Featured Snippets.
In total, only 0.5% of Featured Snippets have been acquired by the Sofa brands in our report out of a total 6,577 opportunities. This is even more interesting when you consider that Featured Snippets are normally acquired through well-targeted, high-quality content and where a site has the correct technical implementation, indicating that even the largest Sofa brands are falling down in this area.
For other SERP Features opportunities, only one site, Love Sofas, has correctly implemented Rating Schema for around 200 rankings, which allows sites to display rating stars in the search results. A conversion XL experiment found that star ratings improve organic clicks by 35%, indicating that almost every site in the Sofa industry is missing out.
Does your site have an outdated Digital PR strategy?
The Digital PR segment of our report shows that several Sofa sites are subscribing to an outdated link acquisition strategy by poorly targeting topically relevant sites. These include sites that are often a source of inspiration for customers and are researching purchases, therefore a key area for you to implement Product PR and Content Marketing.
Even larger high street names such as ScS are not acquiring relevant links on topical sources such as Apartment Therapy or Country Life. Surprisingly, Loaf.com is a leader here, having earned the most topically relevant links as well as other strong links from Tier 1 sites, mostly through proactive expert commentary and Product PR.
Furniture Village could improve the value of organic traffic by up to £220k a month
Our CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) analysis of the Sofa industry shows that almost all brands could increase their organic traffic value by reducing PLT (Page Load Time). Several companies are losing out on a significant number of sales from lost traffic caused by a high PLT impacting the Bounce Rate of these sites.
With the highest valued traffic, Furniture Village has the most to gain, with up to £220k worth of organic traffic lost due to a less-optimised PLT. This increases to a huge £620k if PLT could be reduced by three seconds. The other top players in the Sofa industry, DFS, ScS, and Sofology could retain over £30k of organic traffic monthly by improving their PLT by one second.
Want to understand more about the Search landscape for Sofa retailers?
Request our latest Search Competitor Insight Report and discover more about the industry, the opportunities, and the winners in the sector, featuring brands like DFS, Loaf, Snug Sofas, Furniture Village, Arlo and Jacob – and more. Click the image below and fill out your details ?