When SEO in London Doesn’t Matter

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a queue of people standing outside Monmouth Coffee

I’m often nagged by my wife to do weekend trips with our 2 little boys. It’s so much logistics to pack all the things that a 1 year old and 3 year old need just for one night. She picks a night at some random hotel in London and wanted to do the whole museum thing and walk around central.

What’s this got to do with SEO in London? Well, hang on, because I didn’t fully appreciate the power of what we do until this weekend.

She wanted to do Covent Garden, I wanted to take the boys to Neal’s Yard. Simple, we could do both, they were near enough each other.

Despite the cold, London was heaving. It was simply bustling and people were crowding the tiny triangle inside Neal’s Yard. I just wanted to get out and head to Covent Garden. Through the alley we were and out on to Monmouth Street.

Ahh. Finally, I could breathe again.

The 4 of us, well 3 of us walked whilst my youngest enjoyed the view from his buggy.

But suddenly, again another crowd. Just standing with coffee cups chatting. What the heck was going on?

When SEO In London Is Not Needed

I could see this coffee shop / store – I wasn’t quite sure what it was in my rush to walk past. But there was a queue out the door. Literally. There was a queue of people out the door and it just kept getting bigger.

Who the heck were Monmouth Coffee?

Was I that far out the loop after having kids that I didn’t know what this clearly hip brand was.. …

My wife was getting frustrated at me for trying to google the company during on our family walkabout. Covent Garden was next. Within minutes we were on St Martin’s Lane. Walking past Cantina Laredo (great if you like people making Guac right in front of you – LITERALLY)..(sic – although my business partner says leave out the coriander for a perfect Guacamole recipe!)



Forming in front of the restaurant Dishoom was an enormous queue. In the short space of 7 minutes, I stumbled upon 2 businesses that were doing something so right that people were willing to stand in a queue and simply WAIT.

I couldn’t wait for the boys to hit the sack that night. I couldn’t help but investigate how these 2 companies were doing what they were doing. I started my analysis with Monmouth Company. The stats on their site were interesting:

Monmouth Coffee Stats

So really good stats in terms of domain authrotiy and referring domains. But for a shop that had people standing in line for a while, I was almost expecting more traffic than just under 5K visitors / month.

After checking out their site for a few minutes, it was clear that this was a brand coffee house. There wasn’t the slightest bit of emphasis for ranking for certain keywords. And the stats sorta started to backup my theory. In fact I found out that most of their page 1 rankings were simply around their brand. The following kept popping up:

Monmouth Coffee Shops  / Monmouth Beans / Monmouth Jobs, etc…

Ok, so they weren’t ranking for any terms that didn’t relate to their brand. Curiosity dictated that I look at what was on page 2. To my surprise, I could see for the phrase Coffee they were on page 2, along with a WHOLE LOAD OF COOL KEYWORDS, like:

coffee filter papers / decaf coffee beans / plastic coffee filter

OMG, I couldn’t help myself. I started shouting at my screen. And if you think this sounds strange, you can read more about my behaviour in our article on HMV Online. But clearly there were huge gaps in the market that they could dominate with the right focus and grow a massive online side.

Ok, calm down. This was a brand. Ranking for these terms were almost happening incidentally.

But how were they getting the word out? How did people know they even existed in the first place? How did people know to queue up?

And after having looked at social, and the hashtags – there was just nothing that was standing out. It all just seemed natural. By that I mean, it seems that clearly the queue was because they sell an amazing product, in a unique way that appeals to coffee lovers with a fantastic location.

Let’s See If Dishoom was in the same boat as Monmouth Coffee or if it was because they were working some of the digital avenues available.

On immediate view, the stats were really impressive:

Dishoom Stats

And unsurprisingly the stats were great. I’ve even eaten at this restaurant. And not only were they ranking for their own name. They were also ranking for good buyer intent words like:

Indian Restaurant Covent Garden / Indian Edinburgh – etc…

In addition to that, their social media was on point. It turns out that Dishoom was easier to understand why the queues were out the door. But like Monmouth Coffee it had a great product, it had a great location along with good SEO and social, I’m not really sure how many other Indian restaurants would stand a chance of being noticed.

What They Got In Common?

The one thing that was so very cool about both these companies was that they were both getting plenty of user generated traffic. Which is a cool way of saying word of mouth.

That means that their own customers were posting online, they were tagging these establishments and they were taking great photos with glorious reviews.

Both of these companies were lucky enough to be getting so much love by their patrons, that it meant having to do less themselves. Yes, whilst Dishoom was stronger on SEO and Social – they’ve not been aggressive. By this I mean, they’ve not put their entire efforts into growing online. Their site nor social points to that being the case. I believe that Dishoom has people waiting at the door because of the quality of their product.

Could A London SEO Agency Achieve These Results?

Probably not! But what’s important is to see what these 2 companies have in common.

The answer to this question is really simple. To ignore doing any local London SEO work, you need to have an amazing product, at a price point that’s exciting, an enviable location and a user base that helps promote your business.

And with that perfect combination, here’s what you get – a queue out the door. And that’s what we’re all aiming for really, isn’t it?

But until you have this, until you have 100% nailed the above sequence of scenarios and events, you’ve got to have a digital plan. A way to connect to the people who don’t know about you. And it could be social, it could be email, it could be some guy dressed in a Spiderman outfit waving a sign around, it could even be an amazing SEO plan OR just a combination of all of these.

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