A winning approach to Technical SEO & Content in the Golf eCommerce sector

By Dan Davies • 11 May 2022 • minutes reading time

The total number of UK golfers has almost doubled in just four years, to 4.8 million, according to research led by The R&A (between 2017 and 2021).

This highlights the continuing importance of eCommerce brands in the golf sector to invest in digital marketing, to ensure they take full advantage of the commercial opportunities available and keep pace with their competitors.

I’ll be highlighting crucial technical SEO and content considerations that companies should be focusing on, with examples of those brands that are on par for SEO success, along with those that have a fair way (ahem) to go.

For full search insights into the golf eCommerce sector and its key players, be sure to request a copy of our free Golf Search Competitor Insight Report – you can find a link at the end of this post.

So let’s dive right in, shall we?

Featured Snippets

If you’ve ever seen a paragraph of answer text displaying at the top of your search results when you’ve submitted a search, that’s a Featured Snippet – a direct response to a query, pulled from the site, with the option to click through for the full information.

Appearing for a Featured Snippet at the top of pages can take a third of the clicks that would normally go to position one on that page (study by Ahrefs). So optimising your content to better answer queries, and consequently giving you a higher chance of ranking for these features can be extremely beneficial.

According to our recent report where we analysed 20 of the top-performing Golf sites in search, Golfbidder was the standout leader in this area; ranking for 23 Featured Snippets. Take this example result for “what degree is a sand wedge”, which receives around 1,600 searches per month.

Top of the funnel content – where customers are still in the research phase, or simply looking for general answers – is great for building trust and establishing yourself as a market leader, which could put(t) you in a strong position once they’re ready to make a purchase.

But what about right now?

That’s when you’d want to look at Featured Snippet opportunities closer to your products. Such as this snippet for “golf club grips” (1,800 monthly searches) for example, currently owned by eBay.

There’s clearer commercial intent here and it’s the Golf Club Grips category that ranks, displaying an array of products available on the page.

So now we have a keyword we want to target, let’s see how one of our analysed competitors, Golf Online (currently ranking in position 3), could go about optimising for this feature.

Here’s their current category content for the target page.

  • Body Copy

We can see that the content pulled through from eBay’s category page includes an overview stating that there are 3 grip types and a succinct explanation of the types. This is something Golf Online could try incorporating to add more depth to the content.

  • Contextual Headings

The page also uses headers well to separate the content and add more context – in this case the ranking copy is under a “Choosing your golf club grips” header.

  • Title Tag

Finally, the order of wording in the Title Tag of the page could be updated to help prioritise the product name; this could help improve the relevancy of the page which may, in turn, impact its chances of being used as a featured snippet for the query.

From: See Our Range Of Golf Grips, Many OFFERS

To: Golf Grips: Great Offers on Putter Grips

FAQ Schema

Feature-focused Schemas look to be underutilised within the Golf industry according to our research, potentially impacting opportunities to attract new visitors at the discovery and awareness stages of the buying process (learn more about eCommerce Schema types here).

One of the visually appealing opportunities is with Frequently Asked Questions, where the content can be marked up with Schema so that they are eligible to display directly in the search results, making your snippet more eye-catching and taking valuable search real estate away from your competitors.

Golf Online puts FAQ Schema to good use on a small number of pages, such as their Golf Trolleys page (“golf trolleys”, 2,500 monthly searches). Here is their FAQ content on the category page.

And this is their result in the SERPs, thanks to the marked-up content:

Conversely, American Golf appears to be making good use of FAQ content on category pages (such as Putters), but it isn’t marked up, so isn’t eligible for the same exposure in search results.

Addressing this could help drive more organic clicks to their site, as Semrush estimates 6,700 keyword opportunities where FAQ schema could be eligible for them.

Product & Review Schema

Utilising Product Schema on your product pages can help inform potential customers of crucial details directly from the results, such as the item’s price and availability, as seen here with a driver from Snainton Golf.

Going one step further, if you’re able to collect reviews from customers who have purchased the product, AggregateRating Schema can be incorporated to make the listing eligible to display rating stars. This helps the result stand out and could increase click-throughs to the page – a valuable feature when consumers are likely looking to make a purchase at this point.

Product Schema is a surprising omission from Clubhouse Golf on their product pages, given their prominence in the market. This should be a key consideration if looking to bolster their organic search efforts.

Speaking of reviews, Google continues to work on improving the effectiveness of how it ranks review content. If your site produces equipment reviews or “best of” lists, be sure to heed their advice to stand the best chance of ranking prominently:

  • Demonstrate expert knowledge about the product
  • Provide more information than simply the manufacturer specs – what’s the product like physically, how is it used, how durable is it?
  • Where possible, provide quantitative values about how you’d rate it across various categories
  • Explain what sets the product apart from the competition
  • Discuss comparable products and whether it might be more suitable than similar alternatives

Blog & Advice Content

When looking at the quality and depth of blog and advice content of leading brands, it’s a fairly mixed golf bag. Some include equipment buying guides, technique blog posts, and club reviews, while others are focused purely on the commercial side.

Remember, top of the funnel content not only allows you to introduce yourself to potential customers in the early stages of their buying journey, but also helps demonstrate your Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT, Google’s key principles for high-quality pages), which in turn could help improve your rankings from an increase in the content quality.

How-To Schema

As part of your content strategy, you may wish to consider ‘how-to’ content. Again, a great way of bringing your brand to the fore as an expert in all things golf. This markup allows your step-by-step instructions for a given task or question to display in the search results.

Here’s a result displaying a how-to on “how to drive a golf ball”, for example:

Think about common questions you receive about clubs, equipment, or technique. To give you some examples, are you best placed to assist in providing industry-leading advice for any of these questions?

  • How to hold a golf club (1,900 monthly searches)
  • How to grip a golf club (1,000)
  • How to clean golf clubs (720)
  • How to correct slicing in golf (480)
  • How to choose a hybrid golf club (50)

Video Content

The use of relevant videos on key product/category pages and advice pages can be of great benefit, helping to communicate information more effectively than plain written content and increasing engagement.  According to a recent study by Wistia, customers spend 2.6x more time on pages with videos than those without.

YouTube is an obvious ally when looking to execute an effective video strategy. Uploading your videos to the platform (it is another search engine, after all) and also featuring them on relevant pages on your site gives customers multiple avenues to find you; plus they’re eligible to display as Featured Videos directly in Google results.

Using one of our “how-to” suggestions above, we can see that “How to choose a hybrid golf club” serves this result as a Featured Video.

Internal Linking

Lastly, but by no means least, I wanted to cover links (no sandy coastline or fresh sea air here, I’m afraid). Internal linking doesn’t just help your customers easily navigate your site, it also helps search engines understand your website hierarchy and spread link equity to key pages.

As a very basic rule, you want your most important or valuable pages to have the most internal links pointing to them – giving them a better chance at ranking prominently.

The most obvious and straightforward application of this is helping to establish parent-child relationships between pages, by linking your Category pages (e.g Drivers) to your Product pages (e.g Callaway MAVRIK Driver) and vice versa, for example.

Following on from this, look for opportunities to link from blog posts, buying guides, or technique advice pages to relevant products and categories; pushing customers further down the funnel and increasing the link equity to your commercial pages.

This technique is used to good effect by Golf Gear Direct, where their golf trolley buying guide links through to specific trolley products.

On the other side of the coin, Taylormade could potentially link from some of their help content more effectively. For example, in this post on the technology behind the latest Stealth driver, the page could link to the actual Stealth product page, where customers can review the specs of the club and find retailers that stock it.

If you’re keen to find out more about the wonders of linking, read our recent post on how internal links can increase organic clicks.

As this is just a selection of opportunities from a small number of competitors, you could fill a bunker with the technical SEO tips and content insights which haven’t been included here.

So be sure to get in touch if you’d like to find out more and take a swing at capitalising on your site’s SEO potential.

Want to understand more about the Search landscape for Golf retailers?

Request our latest Golf Search Competitor Insight Report by clicking the image below and discover more about the industry, the opportunities, and the winners in the sector; featuring sites such as American Golf, Callaway, Ping, Clubhouse Golf, Golf Bidder, and more.

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