Discount stores may have a strong foothold in the high street and retail parks, but what about the online world? Brick and mortar is one thing, but with 87% of retail purchases being made online, a strong web presence is vital for a good business. And the online world is an ever-changing competition; with Google often making updates that change the goalposts. At Salience, we have taken a look at the top 42 discount stores online to see how they have done over the last year, and so created our Discounts Stores Sector Report.

What Does The Sector Report Judge Discount Stores On?

The Sector Report looks at various ranking factors for online stores. We look at how well companies are doing on social media and their page speed, for example.

However, the main point to take away is the store’s visibility ranking. This ranking is taken from Search Metrics and is used to compare how brands rank for millions of keywords. It is likely that competitors will want to rank for the same keywords, and so their visibility rank shows how visible they are in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

As we can assume that most people won’t scroll through pages and pages of search results (I know I don’t, do you?), it stands to reason that those that have a better visibility rank are put in front of more potential customers than those that rank badly. Therefore these brands are likely to have much better organic traffic.

What’s Happened Online?

The last year has seen some major changes in the visibility ranking of various discount stores; some good, some bad. But overall the market is pretty stable with an overall drop of only 2% in the visibility rankings.

However, there have been some dramatic changes for individual companies. For example, Clearance 365 has improved its visibility by 383%, meaning that they have climbed 10 places in the SERPs, no easy feat. Another impressive climb has been seen with Charlies. This “new kid on the block” launched their website last year, hence they weren’t seen in last years report. Despite the new site, they have already made it into the top 15 of discount store retailers, so they should definitely be patting themselves on the back. Another year like this one and they’ll be sure to climb even higher.

But where there are winners, there are losers. Poundland has seen a visibility decrease of 43%. Although this has not moved them in the rankings if they repeat a similar loss this year, they may seriously start to struggle online. As Home Bargains isn’t fair behind them in their visibility score, Poundland could be over taken by them if they have a repeat of last year with their visibility.

In fact, another year like this one could see the whole top ten moved around. Most of the top ten have seen losses ranging from 4% to 43 % drops, with only The Range and B&M seeing visibility improvements. So, it won’t take much for those companies with visibility drops to lose their spots.

How Can Discount Stores Win Online?

SERPs are fickle, with Google updating the algorithms and mixing it all up. And as Google holds the monopoly of online searches, it’s best to do what Google wants. The only issue is we have no idea when the next update will hit, or what the changes will be.

Luckily, we can make educated guesses as to what Google will look for in the next update, by looking at previous updates. For instance, recent updates have been focused around Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-A-T). Therefore, focusing on these areas should help discount stores to rank better. To show that you have the expertise, authority and are trustworthy, your site should have high-quality content; good quality backlinks; be mobile-first and have a quick site speed. It’s also important that you prove your expertise.

Another great way to get in front of potential customers is to take advantage of position zero. This is above the first organically ranking site in the search results. For example, discount stores can register with Google My Business to feature on a local map. The map on Google is at the top of the page, above the organic search results. The results that feature on the map don’t have to be ranking well in the SERPs to feature on a local search. Therefore it’s a great way to dominate the real estate at the top of the page, even if your overall visibility isn’t great.

Another way to help with this is to add local business SCHEMA. This allows you to highlight contact details, opening hours and reviews.

Want to know where you rank and what you can do to improve your visibility?
Contact Salience for more information.

Terry Clark
Author: Terry Clark