The Hitwise Intelligence blog is a great example of how a corporation can use proprietary info to attract customers.  I just saw this post by Robin Goad on the growing popularity of “opening times” searches, particularly around holidays, in the UK.

Last week the three fastest moving search terms for retailers were ‘tesco opening times’, ‘tesco opening hours’ and ‘asda opening times’; while ‘sainsburys opening times’ and ‘sainsburys store locator’ also featured in the top 10.

Robin has a lot of good data on this trend, but this was the most interesting point for me:

The generic ‘opening times’ related searches also represent missed opportunity for retailers and affiliates. Currently just 64.7% of ‘good Friday opening times’ searches are successful, meaning that a third of people searching for the term last week didn’t click on a link from the search engine results page (SERP). Further evidence of a content gap / SEO opportunity is provided by sites that did manage to pick up traffic from the generic terms. The top to recipient of traffic from ‘good Friday opening times’ searches last week was The AnswerBank, while Yahoo! Answers was top for the term ‘easter opening times’.

As Google starts to localize more generic searches, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these generic “opening times” searches start to surface local sites that target these terms.

There are a lot of search queries like “opening times” that are likely uncontested in your market(s).  Are you going after them?

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9 Response Comments

  • Steve Morris  April 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I’m not sure how impotent these search terms are. What sort of business are they viable for, is it the takeaway down the road or the graphic designer the other side of the country.

    By definition I believe its more for bricks and mortar businesses then those involved in the online world.

    Also is there any value in targeting these phrases, does including “opening times” as a modifier mean that it will covert to a customer.

  • Andrew Shotland  April 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Steve, I think these are the kind of terms that require a bit of strategy to use correctly. They are not as obvious as “digital camera in “, but the fact that these are the fastest growing retail-related search terms according to Hitwise seems like a good enough reason to see if you can get any business from them.

    I am thinking these terms provide an opportunity to hijack searchers. Those who search “opening times ” already know what they are looking for. If you can give them the info they want you have the potential to introduce them to your service while doing so. Seems like it could be a good strategy for IYPs or any local service trying to get visibility in search.

  • Jack DeNeut  April 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    We added the word “address” before the address of a business, despite the fact that it’s obviously an address, because we get a fair amount of traffic for “BUSINESS NAME address”. Same goes for “telephone”, “email”, etc.

    What’s the most common term for hours of operation of a business? “Opening times”? Does that apply in the U.S. as well?

  • Andrew Shotland  April 19, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    That’s a great strategy Jack. Re “Opening Times” based on the results I see it seems like a mostly British term. “Hours” or “store hours” seems more U.S.

  • Robin  April 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Andrew – I agree about hijacking the traffic – how would you monetise the traffic ? selling adspace , discount vouchers ? would be keen on your views or that of a UK affilaite/local search expert

  • Andrew Shotland  April 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Robin, I was thinking about this more from a local merchant’s pov. If I am a hardware store and can hijack someone searching for “home depot opening times” I have a chance to tell them about sales, promotions, products & services that I have at my store and perhaps convert them into a customer.

  • Robin  April 21, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Andrew – If you had say , on google page 1 Wouldn’t there be more money to be made from trying to get tesco to promote discounts – and selling banner advertising rather than trying to hijack the traffic to a smaller local store ?
    also do you have any recommendations on affilaites who could help me with this project ?

  • Andrew Shotland  April 21, 2009 at 8:02 am

    You could definitely try an affiliate strategy with these types of searches. Any of my readers care to help Robin out?

  • cash 4 gold  June 1, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I guess from what I’ve learned I would say diversify. Even if you are FT at a company or run your own SEO company have some other projects, outsourcing work or blogs/websites with ads/affiliates on the side. I hope your break is both refreshing and illuminating. I totally agree on the not moving…but then again, as a Mid-Columbia native, I may be biased. Wishing you the best!