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So here we are, week three in our attractive content series, and the astute amongst you will have noticed that there is a new author in town.
I’ve got the honour of taking on this instalment in the series and adding my own personality to it.
So what shall be my theme for the purpose of my content analysis?
Well, it just so happens that today is the day that I, as well as a lot of other people, look forward to every year – the official “it’s-ok-to-get-excited-about-Christmas-day”, signified by the arrival of John Lewis’ Christmas ad! If you’ve not yet seen it you need to go watch it.
So given that it’s now officially OK to start thinking about Christmas I’ve decided that this weeks’ search intent will be a very festive one.
Without further ado, let’s crack-er on with this.
B&Q are a DIY and home improvement brand, so I had a little think about what Christmassy trigger event I could use for my analysis of their content, and determined pretty quickly that I’d like to get some ideas and inspiration for decorating my house this Christmas.
I pumped the phrase “Christmas house decorating ideas” into our Search Intent tool to see what other related enquiries people use when they are seeking their own festive inspiration. The chart below shows just some of the phrases and enquiries that people use to find what they are looking for:
I ran a site search in Google alongside my root enquiry of “Christmas house decorating ideas” to see how many results were returned from B&Q’s website (DIY.com). Here’s what Google returned:
Just look at that – over 5,000 potential pages to delve into – will I discover the winter wonderland that I’m looking for or will DIY.com miss(tletoe) the mark?
The first page of the returned results is clearly a product category page which doesn’t really match my original intention of getting some inspiration for decorating my house so I didn’t click it.
The second returned result in Google’s index looked far better suited to my original intention so I clicked through and was greeted by a rather pleasing page – take a look below:
After I’d stopped wondering how the heck they’d managed to get Kate Middleton to be their Christmas model, I noticed that there were some links in the left hand navigation bar which would lead me on to further related content – so B&Q get a tick in my book for being helpful to the user with their suggestions for additional content.
Scrolling down below the fold of the page I was greeted by some lovely inspiring content which matched my search intent.
I had a click on the Whistler’s lodge CTA button and was greeted by yet another festive delight that gave me additional ideas for decorating my house this Christmas:
B&Q have got a whole sleigh-full of inspirational content chock full of ideas to warm my Christmas spirit. I’m really impressed with the layout of the content, the high quality imagery, and the very clearly defined style types that they offer. The only thing that I would like to see more of is the inspirational imagery and some suggestions for how to use their decorations to make my house stand out this Christmas.
I’m giving it 4 Santa’s out of 5.
Argos are a UK high street catalogue shop with a somewhat back to front in-store shopping system that has been commented on by many comedians including Bill Bailey (the laminated book of dreams anyone?). Long has the Argos catalogue been the go-to standard for excited children across the UK who are looking for inspiration as to what they shall ask Santa for on their Christmas list, so I used this as inspiration for my search intent start point.
The search phrase I entered to our tool was “Christmas gift ideas” which produced the following related queries:
So how well do Argos measure up to my gift ideas intent?
As before, I used a search command in Google to search the Argos site for content that would meet my requirements.
52,000 results were sent back to me and, ignoring the ads from other suppliers, I could immediately see that Argos may have the perfect page. I clicked through to the first result from Argos.co.uk:
Immediately I was greeted with a promising page of content informing me of Argos’ ‘gift finder’ – I was excited to see how it worked so eagerly clicked on the pink CTA button and was met with more disappointment than when a Christmas cracker doesn’t go “bang!”:
Access denied! Horrified I quickly tried again in a different browser and also on my mobile device just in case the page was only set up for mobile traffic. Alas, no access was permitted to me through any browser or device that I tried. Back to the drawing board, (AKA the search results), to try again.
The second results page looked like it would only partially match my intent – “gifts for kids”. My intention is to be able to find gift ideas not just for my child and my niece and nephew, but also for my wife, my mum and dad, my sister, my in-laws, and my friends (sure they might love a Barbie doll or an action man, but I’m guessing they’d prefer something else more suited to their age).
I clicked through to the page and was greeted by a rather annoying feature which I felt degraded the overall user experience; an auto-playing video with music. It threw me as I wasn’t expecting it and had already scrolled down the page so didn’t immediately know what was going on as the video was out of shot (I initially thought that Argos had committed the cardinal 90’s sin of having a musical web page). Scrolling back up the page I saw the video but had a mini panic attack as there was no visible pause/stop/nuke button, in desperation I started clicking the video frame and fortunately the video paused.
Looking at the page without the distraction of the music I saw a top 9 gifts for kids list, which annoyed me more than it should, as a “top” list should, in my book, be either a top 3, top 5, or top 10 – who has a top 9, honestly?
Only as I was about to exit the page did I notice there were links to more content which might suit my initial search intent. Clicking through to the “gifts for everyone” content landed me on a page which didn’t meet my needs as it was essentially a top-level product category page sorted by department rather than indicating who might be an ideal suitor for each item:
Argos have the potential to really hit the mark with their gift finder once it is working, but for now I’m afraid their content is a bit of a Christmas Turkey. 1 out of 5 Santa’s.
As with B&Q, Homebase are a UK home improvement and DIY brand. So I’ve decided to pit them directly against B&Q to see if they do as well or even better at satisfying my Christmas decoration aspirational intent.
As before, I input the root enquiry of “Christmas house decorating ideas” into the search intent tool and surprisingly got the same set of results back (#NotSurprised).
The routine site search came next to see how many URLs Google would return from Homebase.co.uk:
As with B&Q there were a similar number of results returned which potentially met with my intentions. Looking at the top 5 returned results I was drawn to the result at position #4 – ‘Christmas ideas and advice’ – this looked very promising indeed so I clicked on it:
This is the grotto of advice I was looking for. Immediately the page fills me with confidence that I’ve come to the right place; festive imagery, decorating advice clearly categorised by tree, home, and table, and even the language used on the page like “inspired”, “advice”, and “tips” all signalled to me like the star guiding the three wise men to the baby Jesus that I was going in the right direction.
I clicked immediately through to the section about “decorating your home for Christmas” and found a page giving some helpful tips and advice (as promised). Although I do feel that there is more that Homebase can do to attain perfection, such as instructional content directly relating to the advice and tips that they write about, as I want to see how they would create the ivy and pine cone stair feature, or what lights are best for adding sparkle to my front garden and/or porch. Instead it is a couple of sentences of advice, categorised into 5 features with one picture next to each feature and then a CTA to go buy the stuff you need to make your home as good as they say it can be.
I really like what Homebase have done with their Christmas content. It is so nearly perfect in my opinion and just needs a couple of extra flourishes to really meet and exceed user intent. I’m giving them 4.5 Santa’s out of 5.
B&Q, Homebase, and Argos are obviously trying hard to create seasonal content to meet the needs and intent of their target audience which is very commendable.
However, Argos has slipped up a little in the execution of their Christmas Gift Finder which, if fixed, I could imagine being a very useful tool for people like me who find purchasing gifts for other people a difficult thing to do.
B&Q are doing excellently with their content and by adding additional images and tips into the mix could make things even better for their users.
Homebase have set the standard in this weeks’ analysis with their excellently laid out and inspiring content. Just a bit more media in the way of images and guidance videos would put the star on the top of the tree for them.
Do you love Christmas as much as me? Maybe you’ve got your own Christmas decorating tips, or gift finding hacks that can help me out? Let me know by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to spread the festive spirit too by sharing this on social media.