Primark launches new informational website: Analysis and Live Migration Data

The new website is aimed at providing more informational content and encouraging more people to visit stores – the long-awaited Primark digital shopfront has arrived. You can look, you can view availability, but you still can’t buy, and that’s what makes this website an interesting case. Will it take visibility away from competitors, or just appease existing Primark store fans? We’re tracking it live as it Google makes its assessments.

Primark migration status

At 4 minutes past 7pm on the 6th April we captured the first keyword ranking on the new Primark website. The URL https://www.primark.com/en-gb/c/men/clothing/tops-and-t-shirts gained a position 61 ranking for “men s marvel t-shirts”. Since then, thousands of keyword rankings have been passed from one directory to another. Here’s the recent status of the overall domain (light green), the old web shop (blue) and the new web shop (red).

Visibility development of the two main directories, and the overall domain visibility. 21 June 2022.

After nearly two months of development in the re-building of rankings through redirects it is becoming clear that the migration was completed without any major loss in rankings. In the last month a slowly rising trend has formed.

Analysis of ranking keywords shows that there are very few significant non-brand rankings at this stage.

Primark website. Top ranking keywords
Live keyword ranking data [more information] as it stood at 14:10 on the 2nd June 2022. Ordered by click potential.

Starting position and competitor analysis

With a pre-launch Visibility Index of 3.412, primark.com is much less visible than most other high street fashion domains. Among Primark’s high-street competitors in the online world (and it will be interesting to see if this changes) are: Next, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, New Look and many more, all with much more visibility than Primark.

One can’t compare apples to pears so we’ll leave Amazon out of this but next.co.uk with a VI of 175.81 is a comparable business but has 51 times more organic visibility.

Competitors for Primark

The problem with primark.co.uk is that it simply doesn’t rank well for anything other than its own brand. Only 3% of its ranking keywords are on page 1 and of those, the vast majority of the search volume is for Primark-related topics – so-called branded search. The most successful non-brand ranking is for fluffy socks. When you take a search with more search volume, like “jumpers”, the ranking success is typically page 2 and beyond – effectively invisible.

Example ranking history

An important part of SEO, of increasing visibility in Google search, is targeting the correct user intent, and there’s a simple way to find that out – by understanding the organic search results, and the SERP features around them.

For example: Do people want to know how a jumper is made, or do they want to see some prices and buying options? The former query would be classed as a ‘know’ query. The latter, as a ‘do’ query and search results and features would typically match the users search intent.

Let’s take a look at where a competing website is get their keyword rankings, and visitors. This is the summary SISTRIX analysis on search intent across the domain next.co.uk:

Search intent at Next website

85% of the keywords ranking for next.co.uk are in SERPs that can be classed as ‘do’, which means, Google thinks the searcher wants to take action. Next overlaps nearly all of Primark’s non-brand rankings. In page 1, non-brand keyword rankings, Next is ahead of Primark in all but about 1% of keyword rankings.

There’s a high chance that the ‘do’ intent, the buy option, is the reason that primark.co.uk is not reaching searchers. 

The domain next.co.uk is a blueprint for success in this market and to beat them, Primark needs to be better.

The new Primark website

The new website was announced last year and Primark was clear that it would be non-transnational. A quick look at the user interface shows similarities with its competitors.

The Primark page ranking for “fluffy socks” above, compared with the Next page ranking for “fluffy socks”, below. There’s little difference in the look and feel, but some differences in the features available, even ignoring the fact that one can’t buy from the website.

Primark say that new features will be added “in the coming months.”

In terms of structure, we know that the new product website for the UK (the first of a number of country rollouts) has been created under 

https://www.primark.com/en-gb/

We already know, via company statements, that the new site is going to hold more products. By looking at the site itself, and looking at some of the current redirects, we can also see that it’s probably going to have a different structure and hand-crafted redirects, which makes it challenging for the engineers working on it, and challenging for Google. Here’s an example of one of the redirects.

https://www.primark.com/en/all-products/womenswear/clothing/socks-tights/socks-ankle-fluffy/c/womens-socks-tights-socks

Now redirects to…

https://www.primark.com/en-gb/c/women/clothing/socks-and-tights

There’s a clear structure change there. Is Google going to have to spend a lot of watts and dollars trying to understand the new structure? If that’s the case then, as we’ve seen before, this migration could take a long time. 3 months is common, but we should start to see a trend fairly quickly – and we’ll update our data below as we track the site.

If the new website is faster and if the store-availability feature satisfies the average searcher, primark.co.uk could increase visibility for searchers, but the intent and competitiveness is not obviously better than before. If it fails to satisfy new searchers, the website simply continues to serves existing primark fans.

Latest data for primark.co.uk

If you have SISTRIX access, the day-by-day visibility graphic is available here. The live keyword data is available here

Find out more about the SISTRIX live data.

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