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Last week Econsultancy's Graham Charlton took a look at Ten things Asda can do better online.

What I found surprising is that neither Asda, or any of the other leading UK supermarkets, rank above #9 in Google UK for the term 'supermarket'.

They also don’t appear to be too interested in optimising their websites for this term either. Below I’ve taken a look at how the top five UK Supermarkets optimise their homepage title tags:

There are obviously other terms which are likely to be more important in terms of conversion rates, first and foremost the individual brand name, and other terms such as 'online grocery' or 'online grocery shopping' (as targeted by Tesco). But given the very large search volume of the keyword 'supermarket', this surely has to be a key term to target search traffic from?

The Google AdWords keyword tool, shows that 'supermarket' as an exact match generated 27,100 clicks in the UK during August at an average cost per click of £2.82. As a PPC cost this would have totaled £76,422 for this one keyword alone during the month.

If you consider that by optimising for this term rankings are likely to be achieved for many variations of supermarket queries, then it’s worth considering that the broad match of supermarkets generated 1.5 million clicks last month (at the same CPC). This much traffic would have cost £4,245,000! Yes, they wouldn’t have generated as many clicks in reality, but if they could gain high rankings for a number of top search terms then the 56% of #1 organic clickthroughs would be going directly to their own website instead of competitors.

Even Ocado, which specialises in online grocery delivery, isn’t best optimising its website for traffic- and conversion-driving search terms.

What do you think, are the UK supermarkets seriously missing out on increasing online traffic and sales?

Kevin Gibbons is Director of Search for SEOptimise .

Kevin Gibbons

Published 22 September, 2008 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

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Adam Crawford, Head of SEO at Momondo Group

I'd guess there was a keyword research oversight by Tesco, with US data skewing figures to make 'grocery shopping' seem more attractive.

Lets see if anyone picks up on this and makes some changes.

In fairness to Ocado, they have come a long way since their little Google banning incident a few years ago...

http://www.e-consultancy.com/forum/101395-ocado-blacklisted-by-google.html

... but still room for improvement.

almost 8 years ago

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LEON Bailey Green

I would have thought most supermarket shoppers were very much brand loyal, so are they really losing much?

The first page of results for the keyword 'supermarket' contains two supermarkets, price comparison (non related) engines and a pet store, so I suspect these results would drive a user to drilldown their search rather than click one of the links.

almost 8 years ago

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Adam Croft

I'm erring on the same side as LEON here. I don't really think SEO is relevant to major British supermarkets. I don't feel it's on a par with, for example, looking for a local jeweller if you want a ring resized. If you need to go to the supermarket, you go. I don't think SEO really comes into it. Even if it did, would typing 'supermarket' into Google really help you find the closest place to buy a 6-pack at 11pm on a Sunday night?

2c

almost 8 years ago

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SJSR1979

I agree with the above, the major UK supermarkets are so well known to consumers people pretty much know which supermarket they intend to buy from. Because they purchase goods so often the brand is embedded in people's minds. People don't tend to say "I'm off to the supermarket, they say I am of to "Tesco/Asda etc"

I think the real winner for supermarkets and SEO would be optimising for all the non food items that they now sell.

almost 8 years ago

Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons, UK Managing Director at BlueGlass

I agree with the comments, it makes perfect sense to me that you already know which supermarket you prefer and would search for the brand name.

But the figures show that 1.5 million people performed supermarket related searches in the UK last month, I don't doubt there's far more valuable keywords they could be ranking for, such as "grocery shopping home delivery", individual product names etc. But if you could easily generate thousands of extra free visits to a website, by optimising for a relevant term, I would consider that a great branding opportunity - even if it doesn't convert into direct sales successfully.

almost 8 years ago

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David

thats kinda scary, considering the UK is a few years ahead of Australia in most areas of SEO & SEM... i would have thought ASDA being part of the giant WALMART machine would have had put more focus into their online strategy

almost 8 years ago

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