Does SEO Work for Natural Food and Beverage Companies?

The honest truth about what it takes to make it work

The brutal truth is that only 10-20% of natural food companies are ready to engage in an SEO campaign.

Now, I’ve seen SEO do wonders for companies, and there are some really good brands out there that do it well (Aloha, Thrive, Honest).

Most CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand websites are just not ready.

The marketing team is likely not sophisticated enough to commit to producing content on an ongoing basis, nor are they ready to read Google Analytics reports.

The challenge in this industry is that there is a fundamental disconnection between online and offline activities.

If you get 20,000 visits to your organic juice page that’s great, but are you ready to track and convert that traffic into either online sales or track for offline offers?

The other challenge is that margins can be somewhat thin, and when margins are not thin, the purchase value of the products are low. If someone buys your $8 item online, there’s not a ton of room to test strategies that will

I’m a health nut myself, so I absolutely love working with natural and organic brands. It sure is more gratifying than working with insurance companies or lawyers :).

I want you to succeed. Let’s take a look at what that looks like.

1) Commit to Producing Content that Ranks

Content that ranks means producing blog posts, guides, and visual content that is build around keyword research.

This is NOT the time for you to talk about how great your brand is. This is not the time for you to write a quick recipe blog post using your product and call it a day. There’s a time and a place for that type of content but it has to be strategic.

Here’s what an ideal month would look like as far as producing content for a medium-sized brand:

  1. Blog post 1: Long form how-to post relating to your product, but more informational and keyword-researched
  2. Recipe post 1: A recipe blog post using your product in a creative way with lots of original photos
  3. Blog post 2: A new product launch from your company, shorter form content
  4. Recipe post 2: Creative
  5. Blog post 3: Interview with a brand ambassador
  6. Blog post 4: Another long-form blog post based on keyword research
  7. Content asset: An infographic based around your product type or industry, something compelling that others would share
  8. Ultimate resource guide: A fully-researched guide to doing one thing well, such as brewing the perfect cup of coffee or doing a 3-day juice cleanse

2) Promote Great Content

You created content that ranks, now it’s time to promote it.

This is more than sharing it on social media. You want links from other websites.

The process is to find bloggers and publishers in your industry that want to share your content. It makes their site better and they’re happy to publish. This takes real grit and stamina doing outreach.

It’s a form of tactical PR, promoting specific pieces of content rather than the overall brand.

3) Text-Based Content is Key

Listen, I know your branding and product is beautiful, but that’s not enough.

Having a nicely designed website and photos is great, but it’s not enough.

In 2017, Google is still not good enough to understand truly what a photo or a video is about. They’re working on it but they don’t know. You must produce text-based content. Just make it look good.

Even when Buzzfeed produces a 30 photo post, there’s still some text. And you’re not Buzzfeed either.

4) Align with PPC (Google AdWords & Facebook Paid)

I’m super biased, but it boggles my mind when I see outrageous PPC spend and little to no spend on organic.

I get it – PPC is super measurable and you can tell if it’s working or not right away. It should definitely be part of your marketing mix.

But I once worked with an organic CPG client that was spending five figures a month on Google AdWords on broad match terms with little to no conversions. That same company was hesitant at first to spend a fraction of that on organic. They both need to work together.

5) Align SEO with Brand Marketing

CPG brands are really, really good at branding and brand marketing. I’m not the expert there.

BUT, if you want to get your brand in front of new potential buyers, SEO can be a great channel.

If done right.

The wrong way to do it is to do it halfway and only try to push your brand.

The right way to do it is to build content around you generic product and industry and steal those eyeballs from your competitor. There’s no better way to steal share of voice from your competition than to rank on the first page of Google while they’re no where to be seen.

What do next

Let me back up a bit – yes you should consider SEO upon the launch of your site and make sure all the technical things are in order.

To really get SEO to work for your company you need a team that’s ready to invest in content, can be patient to reap the long-term rewards, and cares about getting a good long-term value from organic search.

Interested? Let’s chat!