Brands Featured

  • Argos
    Argos
    BHS
    BHS
    Debenhams
    Debenhams
    Harrods
    Harrods
    House Of Fraser
    House Of Fraser
    M&S
    M&S
  • Matalan
    Matalan
    Next
    Next
    Selfridges
    Selfridges
    The Range
    The Range
    TJ Maxx
    TJ Maxx
    Very
    Very
  • argos.co.uk
  • johnlewis.com
  • debenhams.com
  • marksandspencer.com
  • houseoffraser.co.uk
  • next.co.uk
  • very.co.uk
  • selfridges.com
  • harrods.com
  • matalan.co.uk
  • littlewoods.com
  • therange.co.uk
  • tkmaxx.com
  • harveynichols.com
  • bhs.com
  • neimanmarcus.com
  • laredoute.co.uk
  • anthropologie.com
  • fenwick.co.uk
  • libertylondon.com
  • tjhughes.co.uk
  • jdwilliams.co.uk
  • shopstyle.co.uk
  • jarrold.co.uk
  • hemashop.com
  • harveysofhalifax.co.uk
  • homeessentials.co.uk
  • dunnesstores.com
  • roys.co.uk
  • boswells.co.uk
  • trago.co.uk
  • danielstores.co.uk
  • beales.co.uk
  • boyes.co.uk
  • austins-uk.com
  • hoopersstores.com
  • wroes.co.uk
  • tylers.co.uk

Show More Brands

What to expect inside

Latest insights

  • bhs.com has the best Link Authority Score in the industry
  • debenhams.com has a high volume of referring links, however the average link is of poor quality
  • Sites that have grown considerably in SEO visibility YOY are: therange.co.uk, debenhams.com and argos.co.uk
  • Sites that have stagnated in the last year and have seen little to no online growth are: hoopersstores.com & boyes.co.uk

10 minutesReading time

20 pagesLength

What this Department Stores report is all about...

We’ve produced a 2018 Department Stores Market Performance Report.

The report outlines the market and competitors within it, giving a greater understanding to industry leaders about where they measure up in this digital landscape.

This latest report looks at the top websites within the Department Stores sector and analyses them to produce a data set that ranks the best performers against each other. The report gives a qualitative score on each brand’s performance individually across 9 key performance metrics. Some metrics such as Brand Reach Score, Link Authority & SEO visibility change every year which is why we recalculate them.

We now only include data from the best performers in the industry in our sector reports. But don’t worry if you can’t see your company name, we source data across the whole industry to produce this report. We’ll be happy to send you through the data that includes your company if you request it.

Our analysis of the Department Stores market

Data in charts and graphs is only useful if you can understand the wider context. While we explain as best as we can within the report, we realised it would be more useful to discuss the sections in more detail and pick out our standout contenders for each metric. The best way to read this post is with the report to hand. Here are our highlights from the Department Stores Market Report 2018.

Department Store SEO winners and losers

We all want better visibility.  In such a competitive search landscape, improving your visibility every year can be very difficult.

Argos remains the market leader by quite a stretch, however, they have stagnated year on year.

John Lewis has dropped 16% and needs to keep a careful eye on Debenhams who is close behind, having increased their visibility by 11%.

We have to commend The Range who has propelled themselves into the top 10, overtaking 2 major competitors and increasing their visibility by almost 150%. A huge well done to them.

Selfridges has also had a good year for visibility with a 28% increase.

Aside from this, the top 10 is looking pretty static.

We also must not that the top 8 are huge in terms of visibility but after this, it drops massively. In other markets, a visibility score of 5000+ would be quite impressive, but this is a very competitive market.

Link building opportunities for Department Stores

Links are still the primary ranking factor within Google but the days of being able to spam are long gone. Nowadays, it’s all about quality over quantity. Gaining high-quality links isn’t easy, but the results are worth the work. You can do this by creating a bulletproof content marketing campaign and outreaching to the right people at the right time.

Which Online Department Stores are getting all the links?

The one really hitting the nail on the head in terms of blogging is Debenhams. They’re gaining over 1000 links per month, most of which are going to their creative blog content.

This article featuring Britain’s Next Top Model contestants has gained over 9,000 links including one from the official BNTM site and also Lifetime TV.

However, a lot of their links do seem to be of low quality. Outreaching to higher tier publications could bring this score up. Their blog is also on a different domain to Debenhams main site, losing valuable link equity.

They could also enhance their posts and increase revenue by including shoppable content. This means customers could read a review or watch a tutorial and click to buy immediately.

Liberty London’s site falls into the ‘high quality, low volume’ category for links.

They have a section on their site called Liberty Life which features articles, interviews, product reviews and insider knowledge into the well-known brand.

Their article promoting their beauty advent calendar in 2017 gained 57 links, but these included top-tier publications such as House Beautiful and The London Evening Standard. Clearly, they’re outreaching to the right people but could outreach to more people to gain a higher volume of links.

And who could use a few tips?

Harrods falls into the same category as Liberty and also have a fantastic blog section on their site. Despite being aesthetically beautiful, full of great content and shoppable content, it doesn’t gain many links.

This just shows that, no matter how big your brand name, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. Tweaks to their outreach strategy could improve the number of links they’re getting.

BHS has more than double the amount of links per month of any other department store in the list.

However, they do not have any form of content outlet. Most of their links are coming from images which show as 400 errors once followed.

A lesson to learn here is to audit your site regularly for URLs that don’t lead anywhere, as these can damage your site scores.

Social media for Department Stores

In this age of constant connectivity, social presence if more important than ever to boosting your brand exposure.

Effective use of social channels allows you to take an earned or paid audience and turn it into an owned audience.

Owned audiences have a direct connection to your brand, improving relationships with existing customers and cultivating relationships with new prospects.

M&S has the biggest owned social score by far. Their Facebook feed features product videos, promotions of offers in-store and expert takeovers from members of their development team.

This is a terrific way of getting customer engagement and feedback on their products and services.

They use Twitter to promote products and external articles as well as posting gifs.

Their TV ads are also very well received, with their unmistakable food ads and yearly Christmas offering which featured Paddington Bear and gained over 6 million views on YouTube.

Next has a similar Facebook feed with videos and promotional posts about their brands and products. They regularly change their cover photo to keep their page current and interesting.

Their Twitter feed features shoppable posts and inspiration images which fits in with their brand aesthetic.

One way that John Lewis brings more engagement to their Facebook page is by posting links to events in different stores around the country. This is a fantastic way to engage customers both online and in person and a way of getting customers to visit the store.

Making social improvements

Very’s social media feeds are full of great content, celebrity-hosted videos and competitions.

However, their sister brand, Littlewoods, has only half of the owned social score.

Moving forward, they could consider making more of a feature out of the Littlewoods social media channels to bring them up to the same speed.

Download the report below or get in touch if you need us to explain anything in more detail.

Challenge Us

We'll exceed your expectations.

What's your goal?

Talk To Us

We love a good chinwag.

0800 122 3530