We recently undertook digital market research into the solar industry in Australia to provide insights to help inform strategic online marketing decisions.
Our analysis and recommendations cover:
- SEO Market Analysis + Recommendations
- Paid (SEM) Analysis + Recommendations
Solar Industry Australia Market Analysis: SEO
We have undertaken a light analysis of the market to evaluate the competition and opportunities for organic search.
Data from Google indicates there has been a steady growth in interest in solar panels over the past year.
While there was a significant dip in March, the interest has resumed to the highest levels of interest (index: 100 in Google Trends).
5 Year Trend for Solar Panels
90 Day Trend for Solar Panels
The Northern Territory has the highest level of interest in solar panels (and related topics) in Australia, followed by Western Australia and South Australia.
While New South Wales doesn’t feature in this list, it is worth noting that ‘solar panels sydney’ is one of the highest growth search queries at +60%.
The highest growth search query is ‘risen solar panels’ which is up 180% due to paid advertising by Arisen Solar (the query is misspelt).
We have explored the solar industry in Australia to understand the landscape and identify a competitive peer group. The market is fairly complex, however, we can identify the top 3 companies competing for solar panel system customers.
Each of the competitors is generating a significant volume of web traffic from organic search, indicating there is a significant opportunity for smaller players to increase their performance.
For the purpose of analysis, we reviewed SolarQuotes.com.au against the market to provide context.
Total Traffic Trend
SolarQuotes.com.au is achieving around 387k monthly domain traffic (total). This is under the market expectation of 8.6M monthly users, however, this data does include national energy companies which skews the data.
Traffic Generation Strategy
The solar (and energy) market is skewed towards direct traffic (dark traffic without attributed source), followed closely by organic search. Paid represents a small volume of traffic, which is most likely highly targeted conversion activity.
As expected, market growth is largely from organic search, and SolarQuotes.com.au growth is largely from social. Lead generation companies are amongst the largest advertisers on Facebook, so we expect to see SolarQuotes.com.au continue this strategy.
The market audience has a male skew and is largely in the 25 to 64 age brackets. This information can be used for your content generation and base advertising targeting. For example, a sandbox campaign test targeting male homeowners, aged 35 to 54 with an income above XYZ.
In terms of organic traffic, SolarQuotes.com.au is leading the pack with significantly more traffic than all competitors at 107.7k visits per month from organic (AU).
EnergyMatters.com.au and SolarChoice.net.au are lower with 69.7k and 45.7k monthly organic visits per month respectively.
There is a clear investment in organic search from all competitors.
The authority scores of all three are above 50, indicating a considered approach to search engine optimisation. The volume of keywords and backlinking by all three sites indicate a sustained SEO approach.
Only one of the sites is using paid adverts which indicates an opportunity to gain visibility in the short term. As a strategy, using a combination of search ads, social ads and remarketing would drive instant demand and leads.
A long term SEO focus is required to boost authority signals in order to compete.
In general, while there is a significant overlap between all three competitors, there are many unique keywords. This represents a number of opportunities for growth:
- Target a selection of high volume keywords
- Target a selection of high intent keywords
- Target a selection of unique keywords
Undertaking a detailed keyword research and strategy process is required prior to web development or online marketing activity.
EnergyMatters.com.au has the most referring domains at 4,182 and SolarQuotes has 3,138. This indicates to Google that these sites have more authority.
To compete with these and other sites, competitors will need to increase organic and high-quality links by:
- Undertaking analysis of competitor links
- Identifying high-value opportunities
- Undertaking a sustained link building campaign
- Avoiding paid links (quick but high risk)
We recommend Google My Business optimisation as part of a local SEO approach. Including:
- Correct address and contact details
- Correct open times
- Latest news/promotions
- Reviews process
- Photos (team and product)
- 360 photos (for showrooms)
Solar Industry Australia Market Analysis: Paid
SolarQuotes.com.au is an active search advertiser, spending approximately $24k per annum on this channel (likely underestimated) and increasing.
They are targeting 281 keywords. The ad structure, ad copies and target keywords indicate a higher level of experience than others.
Keywords are stacked towards head search terms with geographic modifiers.
There are a number of other active advertisers in this market including YourSolarQuotes, Sunterra and Sunboost. Competing would be low complexity.
SolarQuotes.com.au is an active display advertiser. The message strategy calls on consumers lack of knowledge or fears. Essentially, they aim to inform and educate.
- The truth about…
- Avoid these 7 traps
- Regret-free solar
In line with best practice, each campaign has a dedicated landing page.Display Performance
Top Ad 1
This ad (7 solar mistakes) is a favourite ad, suggesting it is a high-performance advert.
- Active for 341 days
- 967 ads pointing to a landing page
- Landing page seen 5,814 times
Top Ad 2
Another top-performing display advert is “should you buy a battery in 2019”.
- Active for 245 days
- 384 ads pointing to this landing page
- Landing page seen 1,021 times
SolarQuotes.com.au will be using these ads as part of a through-funnel strategy which uses other channels, such as Facebook and Instagram to convert the users.
SolarQuotes.com.au is mostly targeting males (76%) with a spread of ages, mostly above 25. Audience interests are skewed toward media and entertainment.
Publishers are primarily business and industrial, science, news and computer electronics. Top publishers include (most ads):
- Google Sites
Desktop accounts for approximately 36% of targeting.
As expected SolarQuotes.com.au is actively advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Networks. This is a common tactic for lead generation.
There are currently 7 active adsets and 24 ad variations live.
The adverts use a number of formats, including video. Calls to action are consistently ‘learn more’ with a value-based message, e.g. “the high cost for cheap solar”.
Solar Industry Australia
The solar industry in Australia is currently thriving. We hope these insights and tips will help you compete with bigger players online with SEO and Paid opportunities.
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