Online Toy Store SEO: Marketplace Analysis

toy store uk seo strategies

In recent years, parents and grandparents alike have been shopping online for presents for children rather than stepping foot into a toy store.

This may be down to the expense which is incurred by letting a child run loose in a shop piled high with toys of all types, or the convenience of getting toys delivered to your door in a matter of days!

This comparison will explore the leading UK toy stores that allow users to shop online, examining their organic traffic, keyword usage and landscapes.

For this comparison, we are taking a closer look at Smyths Toy Store, The Entertainer, Toys R Us, Toy Street and Hamleys.

Website Traffic Analysis

online toy stores brand traffic

Notably, all of the stores except Hamleys and Toys R Us are focusing more on non-branded keywords. Why is this?

Toys R Us and Hamleys are well-known household names for toy shopping but represent different ends of the market. Hamleys is high-end and is also the world’s oldest toy store. On the other hand, Toys R Us represents the more affordable end of the market, where parents can purchase almost anything for their child from birth to their teens.
It is worth noting that Toys R Us has recently reopened some stores in the south of the UK after closing for an extended time.

Smyths, The Entertainer and Toy Street have similar amounts of website traffic from non-branded means. This gives them a significant advantage when users type into search engines queries such as ‘toddler interactive toys’ or ‘toys for a 4-year-old’. They are attracting new customers from non-branded keywords, having the upper hand when improving their user base.

When comparing the number of keywords the websites are ranking for, this has a similar result.

total keywords online toy stores

I thought Toy Street would have ranked for more keywords, given that 82% of their traffic is non-branded. They must be doing something right, as they are currently ranking 2nd for ‘online toys’, one place behind The Entertainer.

Hamleys, however, I am not surprised by. Millions and people know this world-renowned company can also visit the huge store in the centre of London.

Website Visibility

To compare the online toy stores’ keyword rankings, the bar chart below helps you understand where they place in search results.

online toy stores keyword positions

As you can see, Smyths is miles ahead of the other online toy stores when ranking between position 1 and 100 in Google. They have successfully optimised their SEO strategy for both popular and niche keywords, giving way to numerous keywords ranking in search engine results pages.

To our surprise, Hamleys is lacking in positioning for keywords. The main bulk of their keywords are positioned between 21-50 in SERPs. This isn’t good as users don’t tend to go past page 2 in search results.

But how does this correspond to their online traffic share?

online toy stores seo traffic share

The pie chart above shows each online toy store’s traffic share. The results go hand in hand with the keyword positioning, with Smyths again leading the way and taking most of the traffic.

Due to the immense footfall with Hamleys have to their historic and landmark store in London, it seems like they don’t rely too much on online traffic due to their share only being 2%.

Toy Street and Toys R U resulted in a 1% organic traffic share.

Backlink Analysis

One of the biggest factors in organic search rankings is backlinks. The number of backlinks is important, but not as much as the quality of the source.

The higher the quality of a backlink, the more trust signals that point to your website. This lets search engines know that your content is valuable and trustworthy, improving search rankings.

See below the number of referring domains from the online toy stores we compare.

number of referring domains online uk toy stores

It’s no surprise that Toy Street is the lesser-known online-only brand with the least referring domains. If only a handful of users know about your website, how will they link to specific pages in their content?

With Hamleys leading the way with the number of referring domains, they seem to have the most valuable content on their website. It also helps that they are the most well-known around the world.

Below you can see the domain authorities of the referring domains of each online toy store.

referring domain authority online uk toy stores

When reviewing the number of high-quality links, there don’t seem to be many across the board.

Hamleys carries the most low-quality links, but they are the most well-known.

Smyths holds the top position for the number of high-quality backlinks, improving their organic rankings and trust signals.

Let’s take a closer look at the number of backlinks each online toy store has accumulated over the past 12 months.

number of backlinks online uk toy stores

What stands out is The Entertainer’s rapid backlink increase during Jan and Feb 2023.

Each store has maintained a steady increase in its backlink total, which is a good SEO strategy to have.

The main competition is between Smyths, The Entertainer and Hamleys, fighting for the backlink crown.

Analysis Round-Up

To conclude this online toy store comparison, we have discovered valuable insights into how each player in this sector utilises SEO to their advantage, with some relying on it more than others.

The significant importance of utilising non-branded traffic is apparent for the companies that are online only, like Toy Street. However, seeing how little non-branded traffic a large department store like Hamleys was attracting was interesting.

Smyths are the landslide winner regarding keyword positioning and their online traffic share. With over 4,000 keywords in the top 3, it shows they’ve made a big effort with their SEO strategy.

The Entertainer has more referring domains overall, but most have low domain authorities. The difference is apparent when compared to Smyths, who have fewer overall referring domains. Smyths have more high-quality domains linking to them than any other brand in this comparison, which means that they could be working with bloggers.

By utilising SEO effectively, online toy stores can improve their organic traffic and create a strong, reputable brand website they want to link to.

In this crowded sector, staying ahead with up-to-date SEO tactics is important to sustain business growth and success.

At Fly High Media, we have extensive experience working with online stores to generate more sales and increase organic traffic. Get in touch today!

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