Boo Hoo might be going from strength to strength in terms of their share price, currently sitting at 287p per share, a YoY rise of 80%, but there are missing some clear opportunities to sell more clobber online. Let’s take a look at where they’re missing out.
This might say as much about my somewhat juvenile tastes in fast fashion than it does about my ability to spot SEO issues, but nevertheless BooHoo is potentially committing a huge SEO boo boo (sorry) by having similar content across two domains which are essentially in direct competition with one another.
You see, Boo Hoo group has two domains, https://www.boohooman.com/ and https://www.boohoo.com/. This is fine if there is a good reason to do so, but the problem is, they are selling very similar or in some cases, the same products. In these situations, Google has to make a decision about which URL is the most relevant one for a given query, and unless one of the URLs is ranking in position #1, Boo Hoo Group could be leaving revenue on the table.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Both Boo Hoo Man and Boo Hoo domains rank on page 1 for the term [hawaiin shirts], yes, I know, I couldn’t have picked a less festive keyword and this is likely to be a product with high seasonality that’s not getting a huge amount of search volume at the moment, meaning it’s not a priority, but it serves as a good example.
SEM Rush is reporting https://www.boohooman.com/ as ranks in position #8 for this keyword.
Meanwhile, https://www.boohoo.com/ ranks at position #7
A quick manual search reveals that this is indeed the case.
Why is this an issue? Well, it’s more of an opportunity than an issue, you see Boo Hoo Group would potentially get a lot more traffic for this term (depending on where it ranked) if it were to rank at a higher position (duh), even if only one URL was indexed, and an easy way for them to attain a higher position might be to consolidate these two URLs using a 301 redirect or a cross-domain canonical.
In my opinion, it’s always worth testing the canonical option first as this can generally be reversed a lot more easily than a 301 if it doesn’t work as planned. So, which page should be the primary or canonical version?
Well, in my opinion, the canonical version should be the one that converts better. If we assume that canonicalsing https://www.boohooman.com/mens/shirts/hawaiian-shirts to https://www.boohoo.com/mens/shirts/hawaiian-shirts would produce the same result as doing it the other way around, AND if we assume the CTR would be the same, then the URL that has the best conversion rate will generate the most sales.
WHATS THE SIZE OF THE OPPORTUNITY?
What kind of results could consolidating these pages actually produce? To try to gauge that, let’s take a look at how many external links each page currently has.
As you can see from the Ahrefs reports, https://www.boohoo.com/mens/shirts/hawaiian-shirts seems to be the stronger URL, it has more links, ranks for more keywords and gets more traffic and this is reflected in it’s ranking position.
This isn’t to say however that canonicalising it to https://www.boohooman.com/mens/shirts/hawaiian-shirts isn’t worth a test. The Boo Hoo Man URL might have the much better ranking potential for other reasons (content, speed, internal links), and with the help of the links from its sister URL, might achieve a much better position and attain more traffic than both URLs do at positions #7 and #8.
The size of the prize at position #1 for this term looks to be a gain of about 1,100 visits per month according to Ahrefs (the current combined monthly traffic for both Boo Hoo Group pages is about 2,200 – the Amazon page at #1 gets 3,300).
Even at position #4, https://hawaiian-shirt-shop.co.uk/ gets more traffic (albeit only 100 more visits per month), although it does rank for more keywords.
It really is difficult to accurately gauge how much more traffic Boo Hoo Group would get if this test worked, but the point is, there is a clear opportunity there which isn’t being taken advantage of, and if I was working there, I’d be all over this like a rash. Even if by doing this they only get an extra 500 visits per month, at a 2% conversion rate, that’s 10 extra sales a month – probably not much for Boo Hoo Group, but if you scale this up across all the keywords they rank for, it potentially adds up to large gains.
REASONS NOT TO CONSOLIDATE
If you look back at the screenshots of the SERPS for [hawaiin shirts] above, you can see that Boo Hoo Group is using the two URLs to target different secondary keywords. Let’s examine the page titles from both URLs to see exactly what secondary terms they target;
While both URLs target [tropical shirts] (880 ASV) (which is a good idea because from looking at the SERPs for this term, Google deems it to be a synonym of [hawaiin shirts]), boohoo.com targets [aloha shirts] and boohooman.com targets [floral shirts] (3600 ASV).
First of all [floral shirts] is not a realistic keyword to target with the Hawaiin shirts page because from looking at the SERPS for that term, Google deems the intent to be totally different. As you can see below, the results returned for this term are more formal, long-sleeved shirts rather than hawaiain shirts.
For this reason, if Boo Hoo Group wants to target [floral shirts], they should really have a page set up to focus on that term, and not use it on their Hawaiin shirts page to target it. As for [aloha shirts] (720 ASV), the SERPS are slightly different from the [hawaiin shirts], this is an edge case where a separate page might work.
So, if Boo Hoo Group want to keep both pages, but stop them competing for exactly the same terms, I’d optimise https://www.boohooman.com/mens/shirts/hawaiian-shirts for [alhoa shirts], and de-optimise it for [hawaiin shirts]. This way, both pages will be more unique and will both have a better chance at ranking for their target terms.
ANY OTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITIES?
Another term that both URLs rank for but aren’t targeting is [loud shirts] (1300 ASV).
In this case, the SERPS are different enough from the [hawaiin shirts] SERPs to warrant a separate page to target this term (even if some of the products that feature on the page also feature on the hawaiian shirts page).
There is no clear cut answer here in terms of what solution would get Boo Hoo Group the most incremental traffic, but the fact is there are opportunities to test various different initiatives such as canonicalisation, changing the keyword targeting on competing URLs, and setting up brand new URLs to target keywords that warrant their own page.
There are other examples of competing pages across the Boo Hoo Group sites, for example, boohoo.com and boohoomen.com both rank for [cargo pants] (33,100 ASV).
Implementing similar tactics for these pages could yield more incremental traffic. There may be many more examples of cross-domain cannibalisation/competition that could be capitalised upon. In order to get the full picture, I would recommend that Boo Hoo Group export all the keywords that each domain ranks on page #1 for (excluding position #1 terms), find the duplicates, then estimate what sort of ranking, CTR, traffic, conversion, revenue and margin gains are to be had, then set about isolated tests to validate this.
To me, it feels like the logical thing to do would be to 301 redirect all the URLs under https://www.boohoo.com/mens/ to the equivalent URLs on https://www.boohooman.com/, since there seems to be a lot of ATL spend going into the later, but a full analysis should be carried out first to assess the potential gains and loses (such as the tests above).
Get on it Boo Hoo Group!