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. To dive into ecommerce SEO, we chat with Sam Wright, MD and founder of Blink SEO, 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.
January 28, 2022
by
Yellow background with the Tydo and Blink SEO logos with blue text that says "Positioning & categorization"

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?

To dive into ecommerce SEO, we chat with Sam Wright, MD and founder of Blink. With a background in creative writing, Sam has worked in the world of SEO since the early aughts. 

At Blink, he and his team help SMEs compete with big-name brands through both SEO and paid advertising, working with brands such as Stasher, BlindsInABox, Blue Coffee Box, and Private Label

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.

Fixing Categorization 

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: 
  1. The business is operating in a field that’s way too competitive. 
  2. The business doesn’t have a clear point of differentiation. 
  3. 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.” 

Audience Analysis

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.” 


Report Cards

Free

Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.

Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.

Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.

Learn more
Base for feature illustration

Portfolio

Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.

See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.

Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.

Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.

Learn more
Screen 1
Base for feature illustration

Noah Wunsch

Founder & CEO,
Ruby
BOOK PICK
Ramping Your Brand
James F. Richardson, PhD
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Paul Voge

Founder & CEO,
Aura Bora
BOOK PICK
High-Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will
Mark Rampolla
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Andrew Benin

CEO & Cofounder,
Graza
BOOK PICK
Salt Sugar Fat
Michael Moss
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Becca Millstein

Cofounder & CEO,
Fish Wife
BOOK PICK
The Secret Life of Groceries Benjamin Lorr
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Allie Dempster

Cofounder,
Lupii
BOOK PICK
How to Change Your Mind Michael Pollan
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Michael Sharon

Cofounder & CEO,
Taika
BOOK PICK
The Beginning of Infinity
David Deutsch
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Michael Wieder

Cofounder, President, & CMO,
LALO
BOOK PICK
The Checklist Manifesto
Atul Gawande
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Stefany Nieto

Cofounder,
Mojo Microdose
BOOK PICK
The Immortality Key
Brian Muraresku
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cattie Khoury

BOOK PICK
Extreme Ownership
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Alex Onsager

Cofounder & CEO,
Character
BOOK PICK
Competing Against Luck Clayton Christensen
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Steph Hon

Founder & CEO,
Cadence
BOOK PICK
Open
Andre Agassi
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Katina Mountanos

Founder & CEO,
Kosterina
BOOK PICK
Pour Your Heart Into It
Howard Schultz
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Dee Charlemagne

Cofounder,
AVEC
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cristina Ros Blankfein

Cofounder,
Swoon
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Peiman Raf

Cofounder & CEO,
Madhappy
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Libie Motchan

Cofounder,
Fulton
BOOK PICK
Burn Rate
Andy Dunn
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Chris Meade

Cofounder,
Crossnet
BOOK PICK
Double Your Profits
Bob Fifer
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Maggy Nyamumbo

Founder,
Kahawa 1893
BOOK PICK
The Big Brand Lie
Eddie Yoon, Nicolas Cole, Christopher Lochhead
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

David Phan

Founder,
Huppy
BOOK PICK
The Slight Edge
Jeff Olson
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cole Pearsall

Cofounder & Chief Sales Officer,
Acid League
BOOK PICK
Business Stripped Bare Richard Branson
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

David Fudge

Cofounder & CEO,
Aplos
BOOK PICK
The Big Leap
Gay Hendricks
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

More about the project

Here at Tydo, we try to highlight DTC founders who run their business in various ways. And, that's because there's no "right" way to run a DTC brand.

This project illustrates exactly that. Whether it's how a founder supports their team or how they talk about mental health in the workplace, every founder has a different approach. How do they discover these different approaches? One way: reading. Discover the greatest books that have changed the way 15+ founders think about or operate their business.

You can also listen to these book picks on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Brandon Amoroso

Founder & President,
Electriq
GIFT PICK
AM to PM Set
by Brooklinen
For the friend who has everything (or when I have no idea what else to get!) this Brooklinen candle set is my go-to gift. It has a classic look, and each scent gives off a homey, exceptionally cozy vibe—perfect for the winter months.

Juliana Casale

Head of Brand and Community,
Wonderment
GIFT PICK
Desert Planter
by Jungalow
A lot of my friends either have a ton of indoor plants, or aspire to be the kind of person who has tons of indoor plants. Jungalow has a nice little selection of live plants in their online store, and they sell super cute planters like this one to house them in. Instantly add ambiance to any party you attend!

Tom Shea

Cofounder,
Adgile
GIFT PICK
Long Jambys
by Jambys
I try not to show up to a dinner party empty-handed. I love bringing “performance inactivewear”—better known as Jambys!  After a night spent entertaining, every host needs time to sit back, relax, and reset. And, what better way to do that than in a pair of super soft, Jamby joggers?!

Rhian Beutler

CEO/Founder,
Govalo
GIFT PICK
The Mini Essentials
by Brightland
Brightland's capsule sets are one of my favorite things to gift a party host. This set does it all—perfect for a charcuterie board or a drizzle on a crusty loaf of bread. It comes in a beautifully designed gift box that makes you feel like you are giving a gift that everyone can enjoy together and use even after the party is over!

Mike De Santis

Direct of Biz Ops,
Doris Dev
GIFT PICK
Humidifier
by Canopy
With winter right around the corner, you have to make sure your loved ones and friends don't dry out! When the heat comes on, the Canopy Humidifier helps to provide humidity in your home! Plus, the built-in aroma diffuser is a great alternative to candles!

Yair Slasky

Business Operations,
Fondue
GIFT PICK
Sampler Pack
by Olipop
You can never go wrong with Olipop—the soda that tastes good and is good for you! Same-day delivery makes for a perfect last-minute gift! I'll be stocking up on a few Sampler Packs this holiday season.

Robi O’Cleirigh

Marketing Manager,
Relo
GIFT PICK
The Classics Box
by Bad Brownie
Whilst I’ve never needed a party as an excuse to chow down on these bad boys, they’re the perfect gift for your host! Easy to share, and a real crowd pleaser, Bad Brownies are a great go-to, holiday sweet treat.

Arjun Jolly

COO/Cofounder,
adQuadrant
GIFT PICK
Sandwich Thins
by Outer Aisle
A healthy and allergy-conscious addition to any dinner, these delicious cauliflower sandwich thins are a top-notch alternative to bread (gluten free and sugar free). They’ll be a fan favorite at the dinner table.

Never miss an update from Tydo

Thank you! Be on the lookout for updates.
Hmm, something when wrong

Zack Elias

Director, Partnerships,
Plobal Apps
GIFT PICK
Open House Bundle
by Life in Lilac
The name says it all—Open House. This is my go-to gift for anyone hosting during the holidays (and a bottle of wine, of course)! Open House is a clean, crisp scent perfect for every day. If fresh laundry isn’t your vibe and you prefer woodsy/smoky notes, Life in Lilac has plenty of A+ scent options.

Nik Sharma

GIFT PICK
Matcha Variety Pack
by Chamberlain Coffee
No one says no to a good cup of caffeine in the morning. In fact, if there was a way to inject caffeine in my veins, I'd be open to testing that. But, the issue with most caffeine is there's always a crash! The crash sucks... you feel tired and unfocused, you just wanna take a break. This is where matcha comes in... but for those who don't want JUST the taste of green soil, Chamberlain Coffee created the perfect flavored matcha. Emma personally worked on these blends, so you know they taste amazing and just as good (if not better) than they look.

Jessica Grossman

Founder/CEO,
In Social
GIFT PICK
Best Seller Bundle
by Three Ships
Who doesn't want the gift of better and brighter skin? Our friends at Three Ships Beauty are the leaders in natural skincare that actually works! Starting with the bestseller bundle helps giftees discover which products (if not all!) work best for their skin.

Kate Cassidy

Partner Marketing Manager,
Tydo
GIFT PICK
Drizzle & Sizzle
by Graza
I love showing up to a party with a practical gift the host can and will actually use. Graza's Sizzle and Drizzle squeezable olive oil set is a welcome addition to any kitchen—plus, they fit perfectly in a wine bottle sized gift bag.

Marcus Ohanesian

Partners Manager,
Trellis
GIFT PICK
Lastra Holiday Mug
by Vietri
This hand-painted Italian stoneware mug is a great gift for any hot cocoa or coffee drinker! If you want to go the extra mile, include a bag of coffee beans or hot chocolate mix.

Phillip Jackson

Cofounder,
Future Commerce
GIFT PICK
Tile Mat
by Letterfolk
I’ve waxed poetic about Pattern Brands over the last few years—and I’ve quickly fallen for one of their newest brand acquisitions. The Letterfolk Tile Mat is a unique gift for any host. It looks on point in any home. Plus, it’s endless fun to customize!

Maier Bianchi

Founder,
Bemeir
GIFT PICK
Haitian Moringa: Hair, Skin, & Nails Vitamins
by Kreyól Essence
Haitian Moringa vitamins are a versatile gift with multiple uses and beneficial health properties. I love giving the Pineapple Rhum Punch flavor! Introducing items from diverse cultures, especially ones from black-owned businesses that deserve recognition, brings me joy.

Never miss an update from Tydo

Thank you! Be on the lookout for updates.
Hmm, something when wrong