At 4Ps we work with a lot of terrific beauty and grooming brands, many of which do an impressive line of men’s products, but the focus for many tends to be more on the lipstick and mascara than shaving cream and aftershave.  If you know (or you are) a fella who is taking part in Movember, however, then shaving products (or a lack thereof) might be a little more in the forefront of your mind than they usually would be.

In the spirit of Movember nearing its end, and the many chaps at 4Ps who have been proudly growing out their moustaches for a good cause, I thought I’d have a look at a small selection of men’s grooming brands to see how they fare on their SEO – arguably something to be looked at soon for the double December rush of both Christmas gifts and all the Mo-brothers who decide to lose their facial hair once the sponsored month is over!

After a bit of research (mostly involving shouting over the tops of desks to find out which brands the more well-groomed 4Ps lads use) I’ve picked out three websites to test with a set of sample keywords around men’s grooming products.

These rankings were taken on so are free of personalised search filtering.

Movember SEO Sample Rankings

There isn’t actually much of a clear leader in this little pack – Kiehls for men is clearly trailing with none of their men’s range showing up in the top 20 organic search results and the vast majority not even putting in a top 50 appearance for this sample set, but Crabtree and Evelyn’s men’s grooming is pulling in at about even with Molton Brown for men – in this sample Molton Brown may have the slight edge with a few more keywords showing up in the top 10 results, but it is pretty neck and neck – an interesting result considering that C&E lead considerably in terms of domain authority (presumably most of the inbound links are pointing to their women’s range) and also in social media engagement, with over 110,000 Likes and more engagement than Molton Brown’s more modest 41,000 or so Facebook followers.

Molton Brown Onsite SEOThe signals they are sending to search engines onsite are mixed as well – Molton Brown’s landing and product pages do quite well in terms of the usual solid basics like H1s and so on (although they make that signature mistake of forgetting to put their product copy inside a p tag to highlight it as content, not structural) and they’ve also expanded their horizons a little with the inclusion of a rel publisher tag and some rich snippets markup for product reviews. A shame that the have so much inline script muddying up their pages, and that their developer has clearly never heard of minifying HTML (getting to below line 500 before the document type is even declared is pretty poor and results in a lot of unnecessary bloat for crawlers which won’t do their SEO any favours).

Crabtree and Evelyn, on the other hand, have missed out a little with H1s on their landing pages by forcing the tag around image alts – in theory a valid tactic but not really ideal, especially when you wrap the H1 around a pair of dfn tags which both contain images with different alt text.

Code View on Crabtree and Evelyn

In fact despite being relatively cleanly coded with little inline scripting and generally good code to content ratio, the entire C&E site seems a little behind the times – for example it makes use of the cufon tag, a somewhat outdated JavaScript font replacement technique which converts fonts into shapes that are then rendered out as canvas or VML shapes. Strange, and not helpful for SEO when search engines want to see crawlable (and readable) text. Unusual indeed – but they did at least get their alts and titles done well and their meta data is generally good.

Kiehls Onsite SEOPoor Kiehl’s, on the other hand, have made rather a mess of things by mislabelling their H1s (for example “Moisturisers” rather than “Men’s Moisturisers” – while equal rights advocates might argue the need for the gender qualifier the search engines will still welcome the distinction) and pushing the more qualified and relevant landing page titles down into H2s, diminishing their impact. Again the product pages lack paragraphing on the product descriptions which lessens the impact of the otherwise quite good copy, but most of the meta descriptions are far too long and the use of product rich snippets and open graphing doesn’t make up for the inline script and untidy HTML on their pages, as the sample search rankings clearly show.

So no clear winners in this particular Movember SEO race (although Kiehl’s is arguably the definitive bottom of the podium here) – the distinction in organic search performance for men’s products between Molton Brown and Crabtree and Evelyn isn’t as clean cut as many of the dashing moustaches ornamenting the boys around the 4Ps offices! If you’d like to see how your site measures up in the luxury grooming stakes then give us a call – or pop round before the end of November and admire some of our moustachioed marketers for yourself (we’ll even give you a free cup of tea while we look at your search marketing and twirl moustaches with you).

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and content are evolving to keep pace with new developments in web and mobile technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and incredibly geeky chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.