In our sector reports, we cover a wide range of industries and brands. One such industry is the florist industry. In this report, we found that many brands are thriving, achieving high visibility scores and smashing it on the SERPs. However, we also found that some were beginning to fall.

One such brand was Appleyard Flowers, which has seen a YoY decline of 74% – the largest decline in the report. Their visibility went from 2677 to 689. A sharp drop considering this brand ranks for many high competition keywords.

We decided to dive into Appleyard Flowers and investigate exactly what’s going on. We challenged ourselves and asked what we would do if we had control of Appleyard Flowers SEO. What would we do to improve these declining rankings?

We used a combination of technical analysis and content deep-dives to analyse the possible cause of the Appleyard Flowers’ drop and the methods we can use to remedy it.

If you’re interested in seeing how an expert agency solves problems and saves a falling site, continue reading this analysis.

Mobile Page Speed

With over 70% of the population now searching on Google via mobile, it is more important than ever to be ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, especially when in regards to page speed.

Mobile users are often more impatient with many bouncing off your site if it fails to load within a few seconds. Additionally, findings have revealed that a speed boost of 2 seconds could result in 2x multiple in revenue per page view. With this in mind, optimising your site for optimum speed is a must.

When we investigated Appleyard Flowers’ page speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool, we instantly noticed issues. For one, their page speed for BOTH desktop and mobile are poor. Desktop performance sits at 56, whereas mobile page speed sits at a lower score of 9. In today’s SEO climate, this is below the required threshold.

If Appleyard Flowers is to see ranking improvements, pages speed (particularly on mobile) will need some major tweaks.

Our Solution – Complete Page Speed Audit

A page speed audit would be a priority with this site if Appleyard Flowers is to compete efficiently on the SERPs. If they were to improve their page speed, both revenue and rankings would improve.

There are a range of factors that contribute to a poor (or good) page speed rating and each site is often different. In most cases, we rely on Google Page Insights as an initial guide when investigating where to start. As well as automated tools, we also have a few tricks up our sleeve that work well when improving page speed.

In the majority of cases, unoptimized/uncompressed images and JavaScript are the core problem that slows down site times. With a few small changes to certain factors such as the aforementioned, Appleyard Flowers will see superb results.

Mobile Responsive Errors

As well as mobile speed, mobile responsiveness is also a key factor in website rankings and conversions. As mentioned above, more people are using mobile for online searches than ever before, therefore, if your site isn’t resizing properly (resulting in a disordered, strange-looking website) visitors will bounce and go elsewhere.

When analysing the decrease in visibility, we noticed that Appleyard Flowers’ site doesn’t properly resize when shrunk to a mobile view. Many of the images and links pop out of their containers, meaning a lot of the content is pushed outside of the viewable area. When browsing the site as a customer, this is a big red flag.

Additionally, if potential customers see this broken display and bounce off the site, this reflects poorly in terms of UX metrics, telling Google that your site might not be answering the searcher’s query. In some instances, this could result in a rank loss.

Our Solution – Site Re-Design

In all instances, fixing this problem is a priority. Our tech staff would investigate the issue further, identifying what is causing the site to respond in this particular way, as well as the best route to take when remedying the issue.

With a quick and efficient fix, the site would be up and running, responding to mobile resize the right way. Following this, bounce rates would improve on mobile and you’d probably find conversions would increase. This simple fix could result in a lot more sales as well as a boost in trust in Google’s eyes.

Competitive Environment

Understandably, in any industry and market, competition is going to be an issue that has to be overcome. With many results and keywords on Google, there are millions of sites also trying to rank and beat you, some more authoritative than others; the florist market is no exception.

In recent months, many authoritative sites have begun selling flowers and, as a result, have instantly overtaken Appleyard Flowers simply because they’re bigger sites. With all these sites jumping into the florist market, Appleyard Flowers has been pushed down the SERPs to make way for these competitors. After all, there are only 10 spots available on the first page. The sites which have pushed Appleyard down include the likes of Moon Pig, Waitrose, and M&S.

Our Solution – A Content Strategy and Untapped Categories

If Appleyard is to compete against these larger, more authoritative sites, it will need to take a unique direction in terms of content creation and opportunity keywords. Competing directly with these competitors using only category pages and backlinks will be taxing. By selecting a few opportunity keywords, Appleyard could find a workaround and increase visibility/profits without having to go head-to-head with authority sites.

  • Utilising untapped categories, such as funeral flowers, will allow Appleyard to jump back up the SERPs (as the site already has authority) and tackle a sub-market which hasn’t been tarnished by the larger sites.
  • Additionally, we’d look to create an editorial plan based on competing domains and associated publications which would bolster Appleyard’s visibility and generate backlinks on the backend. With years of experience in content creation and expert outreach, this content would act as additional padding for a complete authoritative overhaul.

Summing It All Up

Appleyard flowers have taken a devastating drop in the SERPs and have been pushed far from the first page by new larger sites that have leapt into the florist market. Although they have suffered, there is still hope and with a few optimisations to page speed and mobile usability, as well as a content strategy which utilising hidden opportunities, this site could recover.

The above recommendations\findings are only the beginning. We’d also look to perform a complete category and architecture review, making sure each page is being indexed efficiently. Additionally, we’d also look to flesh out a blog or knowledge base to get greater visibility with awareness and consideration-focused keywords.

If you’re interested in taking your SEO strategy to the next level or are eager to get a free professional, in-depth audit on your site, call us on 0800 122 3530.