How to Reach Affluent Audiences through Organic Search
Paid advertising whether it’s on Google or the social media networks is one of the most effective sales and marketing tools available to luxury brands. So much so that organic search is often overlooked because it takes longer to be successful at and results can be harder to measure.
Paid advertising is not perfect, however. Sometimes, the demographic targeting options available to us with paid ads can be too broad meaning that we end up reaching the wrong consumers. Paid Advertising is quite simple. It’ll provide you with want you want when you feed it but, as soon as you withdraw the treats (i.e. your marketing budget), it’ll go off and trade its affection for food elsewhere.
However, organic search is different. If your brand secures a page one position on a relevant keyword, it takes a lot of effort from your competitors to take that spot away from you. You pay for new or updated content once and that’s it – organic search doesn’t demand a commission based upon page views.
But the benefits to organic search marketing are actually much wider and that’s what we’re exploring in this article.
Luxury brands are aspirational – be seen by people who aspire for more
The decisions within many departments of luxury brand companies are often led by what’s in their collection of buyer persona documents.
As you know, a buyer persona is a fictional description of the life of a target client. They cover everything from a target consumer’s career, education level, geographical location, marital status, gender, age, and more.
We give our personas names. We find headshots on Google Images of people we believe could “look like” our target client in real life. We think about their spending habits, what a day in their shoes would be like, and what their hope and dream for in the future as well as what they worry about and fear. We consider what and who influences them, the brands they love, and the technology they use.
It’s through this detail we get to “connect” with our target consumers. And this feeling of connection influences everything from our brand voice, where we choose to advertise, and even the new products we bring to market.
There is no doubt about the value of buyer personas but there is a problem with them.
The demographic data held on all of us by Google and the social media networks are often out of date and based on assumptions that can quite often be wrong. This often means that our adverts are seen by people we wouldn’t normally target but that’s not the biggest problem with paid ads.
What’s worse is that you may be missing out on these two important groups of people:
- Natural buyer persona fits and
- Aspirational consumers who may not fit your exact profile but who are interested in luxury brands.
Think about someone searching for “sunglasses” in the UK.
When searching for sunglasses on Google, they currently see links to discount sunglass e-commerce retailers dominating the first page positions.
While possibly the majority of people searching online for sunglasses may be in the market for a mass-market brand name at a decent price, many won’t.
Some will be looking to treat or reward themselves or buy a present for a loved one. They have the means. They have the desire. But your paid advertising never reaches them because of out-of-date data and flawed algorithms.
Ray-Ban knows this – see below:
According to Ahrefs, sunglasses are searched for 63,000 times a month in Britain. Ray-Ban first appeared in the top 10 results in May 2021 and their sustained investment in SEO means that, within 2 years, they’re now the destination of choice as determined by Google’s algorithm.
In the UK, their website is visited 293,000 times a month. In America, it’s 1.3m. Around the world, it’s 4.4m. Again according to Ahrefs, the value of this traffic, if it had been achieved through paid advertising, is $24m a year.
While it’s true that not everyone who visits their website will be able to afford their sunglasses, it’s great for branding.
And they will make sales from this traffic without a doubt.
The in-built advantage luxury brands enjoy
Much more so than mass-market brands, luxury brands rely on media exposure and public relations to build exclusivity and allure in their name and their products.
This comfort and familiarity with media and PR mean that their websites are much more likely to receive inbound links from third party sites.
Links to your sites from sites you have no control over are called “backlinks”.
Think of backlinks like a vote of confidence in a website. The more backlinks you get, the higher the authority, relevance, and credibility Google assigns to your brand’s website. And the higher your authority, relevance, and credibility, the higher your website and every page on it will rank.
But there are backlinks and then there are backlinks.
Not all backlinks are created equal. A backlink from a major news organisation like the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the BBC can be considered as a super-backlink, especially if they are a “do-follow” backlink.
Ray-Ban’s website has nearly 600 super-backlinks from websites with Domain Rankings (DRs) in the 80-100 (out of 100) range. Gucci has over 1,000. Rolex has 534.
Verb note – Domain Rankings are a system of measurement devised by Ahrefs to determine the strength of a website’s backlink profile. It scores sites according to the quality and quantity of all backlinks combined.
Mass-market or mid-market brands can not compete with this because they’re just not as newsworthy as luxury brands nor do they have ready access to internal/external PR professionals with impeccable media connections.
For your organic SEO strategy, keep or ramp up your continuous engagement with your PR teams and earned media agencies to win more backlinks.
So what other tactics should a luxury brand use to unlock organic search result opportunities?
Focus on your keyword spread
A keyword is a word or phrase used by people when they search the internet for information. It could be one word (like “sunglasses”) or it could be a string of words (like “clip-on sunglasses”).
The greater the number of keywords Google associates with your site, the more likely it is to consider your site as having greater depth and richness in content.
For example, ray-ban.com has content on and ranks for 11,886 individual keywords. Finishing in second place in the UK for the search term “sunglasses” is mass-market eyebuydirect.com with 9,645 individual keywords.
Each keyword associated with your site is an opportunity to rank in organic searches.
For example, Ray-ban ranks highly for all search terms containing the brand’s name as you’d expect but it also wins on thousands of more generic but related search terms too.
For “blue light glasses” with 66,000 UK searches a month, it gets 22,708 website visits a month – each visit is an opportunity to sell and to increase brand exposure and awareness.
For “prescription sunglasses” with 11,000 searches a month, it gets 6,477 visits. For “sunglasses men” with 2,600 UK searches, it finishes 6th attracting 126 visits. For “polarised sunglasses” with 2,900 searches a month, it gets 495 visits.
That’s 29,806 visits to Ray-ban’s website every month in the UK from just four keywords which they’ve not had to pay Google for.
Optimise and update existing content
The best analogy we’ve heard for Google’s attitude towards content is that it thinks like the reader of a newspaper. If it bought the same newspaper for the past two years and it contained exactly the same information day after day, it would stop buying the old newspaper as frequently before eventually switching to a different newspaper.
Google’s mission – its raison d’être – is to provide its users with the information they want as fast as possible. It’s so good at it that people are three times more likely to click on organic content than paid-for ads. Plus leads and conversions are generally higher from organic than paid-for searching.
Every now and again, Google, Bing, and the other search engines crawl your site using “bots”. These bots map out the structure of your website and record the content on each page. Every time a bot comes back to visit your website to find out that nothing’s changed, the less frequently it will visit your website.
Instead, it will spend its time focusing on websites whose content are updated regularly in the belief that the information on them is likely to be current and more relevant.
By updating the existing content on your website regularly, you’ll get more bot visits. But there are other opportunities here too.
The other two main reasons to invest in SEO-optimised updated content for your website are:
- A lot of content is created purely with human readers in mind and not machine readers. SEO copywriters are able to include the technical signals search engines look for in copy without degrading the quality of content from a human perspective and
- When your original content was created, you may have chosen the wrong keyword. For example, someone searching for “luxury marketing agency” is much more likely to be in the market for those services than someone just searching for “luxury marketing”. You can change the keywords you’re targeting and point the old URL to the new one.
Updating and optimising content allows you to refocus that content on the result that you want and the fact that the keywords people use to search for information changes over time.
Add new content regularly
In addition to optimising and updating your existing content, you should also add new content to your site in the form of blogs and articles.
Luxury brands occupy a unique position in the marketplace. Your influence over your client base often spreads well beyond the core range of products you offer. You are seen as a leader and an arbiter of style and taste by your consumers so they often look for directions and suggestions on other areas of their lives.
Whether on your own products or on lifestyle recommendations, new and existing clients will come back time and time again to read your content, especially when you signal the release of a new article for example on your social media channels and direct communications like email newsletters.
We love the “Universe” section on the Ferrari site and the “The Maison” section on the Cartier website for their constant updates and their sublime selling of both the brands, the histories of the brands, and the products themselves.
Internal structure and linking
The creation of new content also presents new opportunities to media outlets and influential bloggers to provide backlinks to your content.
But there is also an opportunity to internally link. An internal link – like this one to our blog on SEO for Hospitality – helps Google to understand the content on your site and the relative importance you attach to each piece of content.
For example, if yours was a luxury watch brand, “Men’s Watches” may be a prime keyword you want to rank for. You should then link every product with your men’s watch range to that page as well as linking to it from your blog and article content. The pages receiving the greatest number of internal links will be the pages that Google is most likely to prioritise for ranking for a particular keyword.
Working with Verb Brands
Winning high rankings for website content organically is technically complicated and it takes time. However, as a luxury brand, you have a head start.