Shelter-in-place orders and the unprecedented number of physical stores shutting down during the Covid-19 pandemic have led to skyrocketing online sales, particularly in the food and beverage market.
The online grocery market is one of the fastest-growing in ecommerce. Almost half of grocery shopping in America is done online, according to data from the Food Industry Association.
It’s not just the young generation that turn to screens for their daily necessities. Recent statistics show that baby boomers have increased their online grocery purchases as well - even before the pandemic.
The food and beverage ecommerce market is quickly expanding, which means this is the ideal time to invest in a practice that will get your brand in front of new audiences: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In this article, we’ll show you how to apply some simple and effective SEO strategies that work best for food and beverage brands.
1. Create a keyword strategy that is specific to your industry
Choosing keywords for a company that sells wine is very different than selecting keywords for a brand that makes custom-made t-shirts.
Here are some tips for writing keyword optimized content, from landing pages to product descriptions:
Branded words. It might sound like a no-brainer, but many food brands don’t rank for their own company and product name because they don’t include branded keywords in relevant sections on their website.
Non-branded words for your product categories. “Spicy sauce,” “olive oil,” and “pesto” are all examples of generic names for your product categories. While it’s difficult to rank for these words, you can still get discovered by a reasonable number of new shoppers.
“Where to buy” words. Help customers land on your website by optimizing your store locator page. If you have both physical locations and an ecommerce store, make sure to specify that online shopping is an option.
"Ways to use” words. Maximize your blog (if you have one) by creating content that inspires customers to cook more with your products. An example: “5 Ways to Use Pesto in Your Favorite Comfort Dishes.”
Nutrition facts are another underused source of traffic. Nearly 90% of customers read food labels, so help customers make informed decisions by optimizing your content with nutritional details.
Here’s some more advice on conducting effective keyword research.
2. Focus on earning quality backlinks
Whenever authoritative websites link to your online store, search engines like Google give you a bump in rankings. It’s less about the quantity of those backlinks (although that used to be a requirement), and more about their quality.
Partnerships with influencers are one of the best ways to start accumulating backlinks. Ask them if they would be willing to mention your brand in an article or an Instagram post in exchange for freebies and product samples. Blue Apron, for example, became a well-oiled backlink building marketing machine by partnering with mommy bloggers and Instagram influencers.
Other options include donating to charities and sponsoring a local event such as a food festival. Here’s a list of food and beverage brands that sponsored the L.A. Food Fest in 2019 and received links back through social media posts and e-blasts.
Business partners and vendors can also provide you with a considerable number of links. At Americaneagle.com, we regularly link to our partners’ websites, whether in press releases or news. Our digital marketers help companies build upon their existing relationships and increase relevant traffic through various SEO tactics, including backlinks.
3. Optimize your images for search engines
Updating the images on your website can give you an SEO advantage. Chances are you have at least one image on each page of your website, not only of your products, but also of your team, partner logos, and stock images. To get promoted by search engines, ensure that those images are properly named and sized, and have an optimal alt text format.
Here are some best practices for optimizing web images:
- Choose JPEG for large photos or illustrations and SVG for logos and icons.
- Keep your image file size under 200 KB. Use a free online image compressor to shrink JPEG and PNG images without sacrificing quality.
- Place photos close to the related written content to signal relevancy to Google.
- Write captions, but don’t overstuff them with keywords in order to avoid being penalized by search engines.
- Add keyword-rich, descriptive alt text to every image to rank higher on Google Image Search.
Image optimization goes beyond keywords. Invite buyers to click on your photos by getting creative with your presentation and lighting. Brewdog, a multinational brewery and pub chain, does a great job of enticing its audience with unique pictures of the brewing and tasting processes. To make your product stand out, show a close-up of the product in use, in as much detail as possible.
These tips should help you get a better understanding of how SEO can boost your sales during and after the pandemic. If you need a reliable SEO partner for your food and beverage brand, Americaneagle.com is the one. Contact us today to learn more about ourdigital marketing services.