How to Nail The Strategy & Execution of SEO with Blink SEO’s Sam Wright
With the rising costs of paid media, organic search can be key for DTC brands. It’s a performance-marketing channel that drives customer acquisition and growth, and it’s a “need to have” to stand out in today’s crowded DTC landscape.
You’re probably familiar with the SEO buzzwords—keywords, meta description, product title, image title—but how can you leverage SEO without getting lost in the strategy and the execution?
We caught up with Sam to learn more about how DTC brands can get their categorization and positioning right, and why this is crucial for delivering SEO and PPC campaigns that actually deliver results.
All of Blink’s clients are SMEs—either multi-category retailers or DTC brands. Generally speaking, their annual revenue ranges from a quarter of a million to five to six million plus.
“Brands come to Blink to sell more products,” says Sam. That’s their main goal—although each business is at a different part of the journey. And, they all require different approaches as it relates to ecommerce SEO.
However, within the DTC space, categorization and positioning are not well-understood concepts.
At Blink, the first step to implementing a strong SEO strategy is all about categorization—how the customer perceives a brand and classifies it in a digestible way. It’s all about who/what the customer compares the brand to—and often the results are not what one might expect.
That process includes unpacking the customer’s wants, needs, and pain points, which all inform SEO strategy before any tasks like keyword research are carried out.
And, it includes asking the golden question: What’s the point of differentiation?
That answer should match up with what people are searching for online.
Unfortunately, most of the time that’s not the case.
For example, DTC brands that rely on Facebook ads quite often have a categorization problem. That’s because their business only works when they’re pushing out an ad; in that case, consumers aren’t actively or organically discovering the product.
KURU Footwear is a great illustration of a brand that truly understands positioning and categorization in SEO. They’re a DTC shoe brand on a mission to eliminate foot pain and conditions. They create content that’s structured to answer questions and dive deep into topics like finding the right shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Fixing categorization isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. It might require some work— it could mean changing the product or completely reframing it—but it’s worth it.
“Aligning your point of differentiation and what people are actually searching for online is extremely powerful.”
3 Reasons Why Your SEO Isn't Converting
Strategy and execution go hand in hand.
Most SMEs are not served by agencies. That’s because they focus on the execution and less so on unpacking what’s already working vs. what’s not working.
Sam has seen numerous DTC brands skip the strategy stage and blindly launch an SEO campaign. But, that’s not the best course of action.
He recommends spending the time and effort to go through traditional marketing work such as customer research, user personas, and pain point analysis as well as reflecting on past wins and mistakes.
When SEO doesn’t work, it’s often due to tactical reasons. It’s possible that:
- The business is operating in a field that’s way too competitive.
- The business doesn’t have a clear point of differentiation.
- The business’s categorization is incorrect.
At a distance, SEO may look easy. But, it’s not. It’s all about bringing together the strategy and execution stages to reach an audience by giving people exactly what they’re searching for in a way that benefits the brand.
“At Blink, we stress the difference between strategy and execution. You can’t succeed without one or the other. You need both.”
It’s never been easier to dive into audience analysis, yet some brands still aren’t doing it.
Talking to customers and asking for feedback is a must. The brands who’ve nailed that are the ones growing quickly.
Sometimes, user testing and customer feedback require brands to ask hard questions. But, those tough conversations are instrumental in helping brands adjust their SEO strategy accordingly.
To succeed in the world of SEO, DTC brands need to understand the customer's POV and also know how to position themselves as a solution.
And, relatively speaking, it’s not that hard to do, especially with customer surveys. The Blink team is a big fan of Conversion Crimes, a fast and easy way to improve user experience and increase conversions.
Any feedback makes a big difference.
That commitment to the customer and extreme focus on their pain points and needs is what sets apart successful brands from unsuccessful ones.
“Most SEO boils down to understanding your audience.”
Tracking Metrics: The Power of Blended ROAS
“Brands can’t iterate themselves to massive growth,” says Sam.
Some of SEO is about the quick wins, such as page optimization. But, the brands looking to 20-30x their growth can only achieve that through audience analysis and honing in on their goals and why they’re doing what they're doing.
Although every business has its own set of goals, Sam recommends focusing on Blended ROAS. That number gives DTC brands a quick idea of whether or not a campaign is performing.
Ultimately, that metric provides merchants with a fuller picture of the business. But, the data never stops there. It’s also important to look at other site metrics—conversions, CPA, CTR, etc.
“Understanding ROAS is a common struggle for brands. At a high level, it gives you an understanding of how campaigns are going and whether things are scalable or not.”
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