Industry demand by numbers
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us do business forever.
Digital tools and communication channels have proved to be a massive part of being able to continue operating in a challenging environment, and with more time on their hands than ever before, homeowners have certainly been using the internet to plan their latest home improvement projects.
Like many others, Liniar has seen a surge in website visits and enquiries since April 2020, with some keyword search terms resulting in 70% more site visitors than normal.
The Liniar team decided to delve deeper to find out whether this additional website traffic correlated with the increases in demand the industry has seen, and to find out what lessons could be learned for the future, particularly when demand begins to slow.
Google Trends was used to look at specific keywords, going back to April 2019 and tracking searches for the last 2.5 years in order to rule out normal seasonality.
Trends (trends.google.com) is a tool that provides information about how often a keyword or phrase is searched using the Google search engine. It can help businesses decide which keywords are best to focus on when writing content and planning search engine optimisation (SEO) for their websites.
Sue Davenport, Liniar’s group marketing director, said: “When it comes to copywriting for the web, many companies describe their products and services in the words they would normally use themselves. For example, the terms ‘PVCu windows’, ‘PVC windows’ and ‘uPVC’ windows are used in various different places across our industry, but each term carries different volumes of potential search traffic, ie, people looking for information who could potentially visit your website.
“In order to capture as much of that web traffic as possible, it’s really useful to use Google Trends to find out the highest potential search term for your products or services, and then to make sure those terms are also used on your website – both on the page itself and in the metadata.”
The team focused on the following search terms that were used in the UK since April 2019: uPVC windows; French doors; patio doors; and flush windows.
The results will not come as a surprise to many who are still feeling the brunt of the challenges caused by the huge demand, but the graphs show some interesting results across the different types of product.
The line graph shows the upward trend in searches for PVC windows, with further analysis showing an uplift of around 40% in searches during both Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 against the same period in the previous respective years – both periods when sales demand was also at its highest.
Looking at the keyword trends for the term ‘French door’ we found a marked increase in searches following the initial lockdown of at least 50%. While there are dips as we moved through winter, the popularity of this keyword remains higher year on year.
The search term ‘patio doors’ also shows a sharp uptick in popularity at the beginning of the pandemic, with searches up more than 100% year on year. Like French doors, we see a slight dip during the winter months, but throughout 2021, digital demand for this product has been double what it was pre-pandemic.
The popularity of flush sash windows has grown in recent years, with many homeowners preferring the sleek lines to those of more traditional PVCU windows. As a relatively new concept, it’s not unusual for there to be several search terms used to find this type of window. We chose to focus on the most common, simply ‘flush windows’. Here, the growth trend is even more dramatic, especially in Q3 2020 when search traffic was 60% higher than the same quarter in 2019.
Additionally, an interesting statistic to come out of the data dive is that Q2 of 2021 was up significantly over the previous year’s quarters. It was quite compelling to see that Q2 of these years showed the lowest demand in online search.
The search peak so far was seen in April 2021, although it will be interesting to look at Q3 results at the end of September to see if this growth trend for flush windows has continued.
“It’s more important than ever to educate ourselves on how digital technology and analytics can help positively impact our businesses,” Sue said. “This goes far beyond a beautiful-looking website. Carrying out keyword research can help provide you with insights into what homeowners are looking for and you can tailor your digital content (including page content, news items, blog posts, articles and image tags) to help your website appear more frequently.
“SEO has never been more important than right now, as consumers carry out research online before they choose a supplier to visit. When the high demand in the marketplace starts to naturally fall as homeowners are able to travel abroad and spend on hospitality again, get ahead of the competition and make sure your website is high on the list with targeted keywords and phrases.”