Last week, Southeastern Grocers announced it was filing for bankruptcy and would close 94 stores, including 46 Winn-Dixie locations in the Southeast. The supermarket hopes restructuring will help with success in an evolving grocery market, where digital has increasing importance.

In Florida, Winn-Dixie struggles against the massive footprint of Publix. For example, in Palm Beach, Winn-Dixie operates only 12 locations, tremendously overshadowed by Publix’s 75 stores. Furthermore, Winn-Dixie struggles digitally, falling in the Average class of L2’s inaugural Digital IQ Index: Grocery. Meanwhile, Publix earns a coveted Gifted distinction, exhibiting particularly strong SEO performance on unbranded delivery terms (e.g. “grocery delivery near me.”)

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L2 also analyzed grocers’ digital visibility in the South. Researchers appended 40 unbranded delivery and store-related terms (e.g. “supermarket”) to the names of 18 of the largest cities by population to yield terms such as “supermarket jacksonville,” then conducted Google searches for these terms for a month. On keywords pertaining specifically to the South, both Publix and Winn-Dixie lagged significantly behind Instacart and Walmart, which appeared on 40% and nearly 38% of terms respectively.

Instacart earns the highest organic visibility in the Northeast, South, Midwest, and West, showing that some pure play grocers are starting to optimize pages for regional search visibility across the country. Though Publix continues to place pressure on Winn-Dixie’s physical locations, both grocers must consider optimizing online properties for search visibility to compete digitally in their respective regions.

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