Six Tips to Build an SEO Strategy for a Direct-to-Consumer Brand — Rise Marketing

What is a Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Brand?

A direct-to-consumer brand manufactures, distributes, and markets its products/services. The brand avoids ‘middlemen’ that are common in selling products and services. A typical D2C brand would ship directly to its customers. It may do so via partnerships with retail locations or by running pop-up shops to sell products. D2C strategies can follow a subscription-based model and offer a hyper-focused range of products compared to traditional retail marketing.

Since the ‘middlemen’ and different parties are not part of the sales project, there’s greater control over marketing. The brand can also reduce marketing costs and maintain personal relationships with end customers. There’s more freedom to create direct conversations via digital channels with a better grasp of influencer marketing. Word of mouth for such brands is also often stronger.

Why Is SEO Important for D2C Brands?

The website for a D2C organization is their most important online asset. It is more than an e-commerce site. Besides converting willing shoppers into buying the product, it also helps to improve awareness. But, that’s only possible if a brand can successfully engage with its customers through all stages.

To that end, crafting an intelligent content calendar around different keyword searches is essential. Keeping your personas in mind when crafting messaging and content marketing will help introduce your company effectively.

According to a survey, search engine optimization is the 2nd most crucial acquisition channel for D2C brands. It’s also the primary channel that’s free and organic. Let’s now look at how a direct-to-consumer brand should form its SEO strategy.

How to Build an SEO strategy for a D2C Brand

Understand Branded vs. Non-branded Searches

Branded searches contain within them the name of the brand. Think about ‘Nike footwear,’ or ‘Nike shoes.’ These searches come from users who are familiar with the brand and need more information about the company’s products. Typically, these are your existing customers. They can also be potential consumers who are contemplating buying from you.

Non-branded searches, on the other hand, are queries that don’t carry your exact brand name. These searches come from people who are usually unaware of your brand but need a similar product(s) that you offer.

After collecting the search data around these keywords in a Google Sheet, you need to categorize the clicks and organic search impressions across non-branded and branded searches. This way, you’ll get a better idea of the organic search traffic, its nature, and how effective your SEO strategy is.

Understand All the Major SEO Metrics

There are four main SEO metrics you need to focus on:

  • Using Organic Keywords: This is a list of the top 100 positions and keywords for which your site ranks.
  • Organic Search Traffic: The amount of estimated search traffic you wish to attract every month naturally.
  • Domain Score: This score measures how trustworthy your domain is. You can check your domain authority here.
  • Backlinks: This is the number of links other websites have pointing to yours. Backlinks are the leading factor that determines the domain score.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis

You can use tools like Google Analytics to see who your competitors are. Go to the ‘organic keywords’ tile to learn who your competition is. You can also type in the domain name of a competitor. One by one, you can retrieve their data. Then by comparing the reports, you can quickly get a grasp of where you stand.

Map Keywords for Different Stages of the Customer Journey

Before you dive into keywords and keyword research, you need to familiarise yourself with the customer journey and its different stages. This will mainly comprise all the steps that a visitor usually goes through before making a purchase and repeating it. The map of the customer journey keeps evolving as new information becomes available.

The map can take all kinds of forms. But, here’s a quick breakdown of its four main phases:

  • Brand Awareness: This is the stage where a potential customer discovers your brand and sees its value.
  • Conversion: This is when a potential customer has become a paying/repeat customer
  • Relationship Building: This phase is about maintaining relationships, so your brand continues bringing more value to the table.
  • Word-of-Mouth: You encourage customers to promote the brand on your behalf at this phase.

Build a Target Keyword List for Each Customer Journey Stage

Here’s how you can build a list of target keywords for each phase of the customer journey:

  • Stage 1: At this point, you need to utilize a combination of non-branded and short-tail keywords. The customer journey usually begins with these keywords. They explore a range of products using these terms to see if the product meets their needs or not.
  • Stage 2: In the second stage, you must use long-tail and non-branded searches. The customers have a rough idea of the brand and what they need. From there, they would narrow their options and look for specific products.
  • Stage 3: Use a combination of branded and short-tail keywords. Once the consumer has learned about product availability they need, they go deep into exploring the brand’s reputation, what they have to offer, its vision, etc.
  • Stage 4: Go for branded and long-tail keywords in combination. At this point, the customer has found a particular product they want and is learning more about it. They are close to finalizing a deal.

Personalize Customer Experience

There was a time when a single marketing strategy worked out well for all kinds of buyer personas. But that’s not the case anymore. Today, the marketing journey revolves around understanding customer sentiment, their emotions, what encourages them, and how different demographics respond to marketing techniques.

Over 59% of buyers feel that finding an attractive product at a personalized online retail store is far more accessible. About 56% think they will likely return to a site that offers custom product recommendations.

Some of the tried and tested personalized techniques for a D2C brand include - cross-selling, using data-driven upselling, creating a custom product bundle based on previous purchase history, and coming up with offers relevant to different online behaviors.


Having solid D2C marketing can make the difference between attracting and retaining clients versus losing them. From lead generation to lead nurturing, influencer strategy, SEO, and email marketing — there’s a ton you can do to boost your brand’s visibility, reach a wider audience, and build a loyal following.

The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.

Sunny Popli
Guest Contributor

Sunny Popli is the owner of SPOPLI Web Development & Services. He loves to learn and grow. His key interest areas are to learn and implement the latest & impactful ideas in the field of digital marketing.

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