The number of searches for store opening times and related terms spiked over the Easter weekend, as people looked to see if it was worth a trip to the local supermarket, but retailers aren't making the most of these searches.
Robin Goad from Hitwise has been looking at the number of searches for these terms, finding that Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys all featured in the top ten.
According to Robin's Hitwise post, UK web users searched for 12,100 distinct terms containing the phrase ‘opening times’, 7,200 containing ‘opening hours’ and 500 containing ‘store locator’:
Most of the 'opening times' search terms were accompanied by brand names but there are some others that were popular. For instance, 'good friday opening times' was a popular search term, but one for which just 64.7% of searches were successful (i.e. the searcher clicked a link on the results page).
This means that supermarkets and other retailers are missing out on a chance to drive some more traffic to their websites, leaving sites like theanswerbank, and The Trafford Centre to benefit from these searches.
Also, the supermarkets, even when searchers are using their brand names as part of the query, are often not directing users to the relevant content on the site to answer their questions.
Tesco performed best here, with the top result for 'Tesco opening times' being the store locator page where customers could find their nearest store and its opening times. It even displayed Easter opening hours:
Sainsburys also performed well here, but Asda, whose opening times were the second most popular search, failed miserably on this. Its store locator tool was the sixth result on a Google search, half below the fold on my browser.
Top spot was taken by a site called openingtimes.co.uk which seems to have taken advantage of the SEO opportunity itself, and ranks very well for this and similar search terms.
Worse still, once users find the store locator for Asda, it didn't even provide the information people were looking for, instead asking users to call the store, which might be closed, to find out about opening hours. Some searchers may simply find a store that does give them the information they want and shop there instead.
This is not the first example we've had about supermarkets and SEO mistakes; Kevin Gibbons posted on this blog with his observation that Asda and others were ranking very poorly for the term 'supermarket' on Google UK, something which is still an issue, though Google's local business results have helped them slightly.