SEO Showdown: Interior BC Toy Stores
December 12th 2023
It’s that exciting and magical time of year when we celebrate the holidays and look to toy stores for fun gifts to share with children and adults alike! Toy stores play a significant role in our gift-giving. They’re locations we can visit by ourselves or with children to see toys, games, and more, handle them, and make wish lists. For this SEO Showdown, the SilverServers team decided to analyze top-ranking toy stores in the BC Interior. Join us as we share what we discovered and what we suggest BC toy stores can do to strengthen their SEO presence in their respective cities.
As these SEO Showdowns typically focus on helping small businesses, we planned to exclude Toys R Us. We were surprised to discover, however, that we didn’t need that plan! Despite the company’s highly-recognized branding, long history, and strong local presence in Kamloops and Kelowna, those Toys R Us locations did not rank anywhere noticeable in our searches for “toy store kamloops” and “toy store kelowna”. We may write more on that in the future!
The Winning Toy Store in the BC Interior
For this SEO Showdown, we researched and used the keyword “toy store [city]”. After thorough analysis and scoring, we declared Teeter Totter Toys in Vernon as the winner. Congratulations Teeter Totter Toys!
The Teeter Totter Toys website began construction for an update the week after we completed our analysis, so when you visit, you will find a different website than the one we analyzed. We look forward to checking out the new site when it’s live!
Toy Store SEO Competitors
Initially, we started this SEO Showdown with a list of toy stores across much of BC. However, as we tried to trim the list down, we decided to test the competitors closest to our Kamloops home. In many of these cities, the respective toy store has no competition, so we thought ranking in the top spot would be easy and not a good indication of SEO quality. We recognized this, but saw it as an opportunity to provide tips for growth into more competitive, online spaces.
Below, find the 5 toy stores with their scores:
|Teeter Totter Toys
|Realm of Toys
Each website was analyzed by 4 specialists on our team. Read on to find each specialist’s comments and tips for improving toy store SEO.
Design and Social Media
Emma is the manager of our social media team at SilverServers. Read her comments below:
There was lots of contrast between the design/usability & social media presence scores of the websites in this Showdown; it was far more than usual. The overall winner, Teeter Totter Toys, came in last on my scoring metrics and won due to higher scores in other areas.
Their website is under construction at the time of writing this, so I will highlight two things that I would like to see improvement on:
- The menu did not contain categories for the products listed on the website. Categorizing products in a cascading fashion is a great way to improve the user experience on a site. For example, there might be a general category for “Board Games”, under which you find subcategories of “Made For Kids”, “Strategy”, “RPG”, etc. I hope to see a menu that is organized by at least one level of categories, with subcategories included for further separation if needed!
- The website could use more Calls To Action (CTAs) to prompt visitors to buy products (BUY NOW),take advantage of deals (BUY 20\\\\\% OFF),or learn more about the store itself (LEARN MORE). I would love to see a few prominent CTA buttons placed throughout each page of the website to help increase conversions and make it easier for visitors to make purchases!
I’m looking forward to seeing the new website for Teeter Totter Toys when it’s finished!
Content Health and Quality
Andrew manages the SEO and Content Writing team at SilverServers. Read on for his comments and tips:
The scores in the content health and quality section of this analysis were unfortunately low, with none of the websites demonstrating much effort in their content plans. However, two sites looked like they had started making steps in the right direction: the winner, Teeter Totter Toys in Vernon, and the runner-up, Tumbleweed Toys in Kamloops. Before I start sharing my comments about Teeter Totter Toys, I should mention that the final scores for the showdown are based on the combination of each section’s scores - meaning that the overall winner may not have been the winner for an individual section. That was the case for content health and quality. In this section, Tumbleweed Toys had a significantly stronger content strategy in place.
Luckily, Teeter Totter Toys’ website was live when we did our analysis; but as I’m preparing these comments, their site is under construction! With that in mind, my comments about the site may be generic, as I work from the notes I took during my analysis. I look forward to seeing their new site once construction is complete!
Teeter Totter Toys had a blog. In any SEO Showdown, a blog is the first thing I look for on a website. The existence of a blog shows that a website may intend to be active and alive, rather than trying to be an inactive online brochure. If I can see that the blog has content added to it regularly, then that indicates to me that the website is designed to provide value to customers. Teeter Totter Toys (and Tumbleweed Toys as well) had fairly inactive blogs that lacked long-lasting, quality content. So, although I was happy to see that the blog existed with a couple of posts, I suggest considering a content strategy that provides customers with more long-lasting value.
Where Teeter Totter Toys fell behind Tumbleweed Toys was in its primary product pages. Neither had strong content on those pages, but Tumbleweed’s was slightly stronger (containing more info about who they are, what they do, where they are, and what the pages are about). The other websites in this showdown lacked valuable SEO content on product categories and pages. From an SEO perspective, it seemed like those websites were designed for existing customers, whereas Teeter Totter Toys and Tumbleweed Toys seemed to be taking steps on the right path toward attracting new customers.
Technical Health and Quality
Chris is the head of web development at SilverServers. He found many positive aspects to the technical foundation of the websites in our Showdown. Read his comments below:
I recently had the opportunity to review the Teeter Totter Toys website, and I found several aspects worth highlighting, along with some areas for improvement:
Strengths of Teeter Totter Toys Website
- Platform Utilization: The use of WooCommerce is a solid choice for an e-commerce platform, known for its flexibility and user-friendly nature. This is a good foundation for an online toy store.
- Schema Implementation: With a score of 6, it appears that Teeter Totter Toys is making decent use of schema markup. This is essential for e-commerce sites as it helps search engines understand product information and pricing, which can improve visibility in search results.
- Meta Health: A score of 6 here suggests that meta tags, including descriptions and titles, are being used effectively. This is crucial for SEO and helps improve click-through rates from search engine results pages.
- Value and Mobile Quality: A value score of 7 and mobile quality score of 6 indicate that the site offers a good user experience, particularly in terms of mobile responsiveness. Given the increasing trend of mobile shopping, this is particularly important.
- Areas for Improvement:
- Full Render Load Time: The load time of 12.3 seconds is quite high. Website speed is a critical factor for user experience and SEO. Improving load times could significantly enhance the site's performance and user retention.
- Header Hierarchy: A score of 4 suggests there might be some issues with the use of header tags. Proper header hierarchy is important for SEO as it helps search engines understand the structure and content of your pages. Revising the header tags to more accurately reflect content hierarchy could improve the site's SEO.
- Domain Authority: With a domain authority of 15, there is considerable room for growth. This could be improved with a more robust backlink strategy, quality content, and improved user engagement.
- Contentful Paint and Overall Web Vitals (CWV): A CWV score of 47 indicates that the site could be optimized further. This involves improving loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the site. These factors are key to enhancing user experience and search rankings.
Teeter Totter Toys has a solid foundation with its choice of platform and some of its SEO practices. However, improvements in site speed, header hierarchy, and overall web vitals could elevate the site's performance significantly. With targeted adjustments, I believe there's a great potential for Teeter Totter Toys to enhance their online presence and user experience.
Keywords and Search Engine Presence
Mickael focuses on the results of our team’s SEO work, by regularly testing where they’re ranking. He researched a list of hundreds of keywords that these toy stores should rank for and tested their rankings against them. Read his comments below!
I was surprised that the websites in this category seemed to struggle to achieve a wide range of general search engine ranking positions (SERPs). In further testing, I observed that Teeter Totter Toys in Vernon seems to have some acceptable ranking positions for Vernon specific search terms. I also noticed that Tumbleweed Toys in Kamloops had some strong search engine ranking positions. One of the great things about retail shops like toy stores is that they have a lot of products that create amazing content opportunities, which in turn can lead to a wide range of search engine rankings. Since good search engine rankings tend to lead to strong organic visitor traffic, SEO is typically one of the most cost-effective long-term marketing strategies. Not only that, but good content can help visitors decide to buy your products.
In reviewing the sites for today’s SEO Showdown, I noticed that Teeter Totter was using WooCommerce as their Ecommerce platform. The loading times and page size were pretty good even though the total requests was high. The overall performance score came in at 45\\\\\% which does suggest there’s some room for improvement. In contrast Tumbleweed Toys was using Lightspeed as their Point Of Sale (POS) and their online store. I noticed that their site seems to have one of the lowest page performance metrics according to our Lighthouse test. Unfortunately this is quite a common issue with Ecommerce websites.
All of these sites could benefit from stronger content and from working with their service provider to address page performance issues. This should help them broaden their search engine rankings and increase their organic visitor traffic.
Summary: SEO Tips for Toy Stores
Although our comments were aimed at Teeter Totter Toys and the other toy store websites we reviewed, the suggestions are relevant for most websites. Read the comments above for details, or click links below for articles on these topics! Here is a summary of some of our SEO suggestions for toy stores:
- Categorize and organize products in a menu. Emma suggested categorizing products to provide a more-natural user experience.
- Add more Calls to Action (CTAs). Emma suggested adding more calls to action to encourage visitors to buy. This may increase conversions, and as Google sees visitors visit purchase pages more often, they may become convinced that your store is one they should send people to (ie. increases rankings).
- Use a blog on your website. Adding a blog page to your website is a great step towards a valuable content plan. Andrew suggested using the blog regularly to show Google that you want to provide value. Read more about blogs and content strategies.
- Put strong content on your product pages. Andrew suggested including your business name, your location (ie. city or neighbourhood),what you are (in this case, “a toy store”),and what the page is about.
- Increase the load time of the website by decreasing its size. Chris suggested optimizing the memory usage of a website to decrease its size - which will in turn increase its load time.
- Use and optimize header tags. Headers help Google understand the value and intention of your content more effectively. Chris suggested implementing “proper heading hierarchy”, or using header tags correctly for SEO.
- Take advantage of endless content opportunities. With shops full of toys and games for every age, Mickael pointed out that toy stores have almost limitless options for content topics to build rankings for.
Play around with some of these suggestions on your toy store website to see how they increase your SEO value and rankings. We enjoyed exploring the online toy shops of nearby toy stores in BC over the past few weeks. If you’re interested to know how well your toy store website is doing, ask us for a review of your website!
For more showdowns in other industries, visit the SEO Showdown section of our blog!