11 June 2019, 08:42 AM
  • Liz Rosling of SME Loans explains how to get your products flying off the virtual shelves
Mastering SEO for food and drink

Selling speciality food to foodies is a piece of cake, right? Wrong! While your speciality food might be the best in the business, it can be quite a challenge getting fine diners and taste connoisseurs to take a bite. Marketing efforts fall by the wayside, money seems to bleed from your business and still, your speciality food range isn’t on the top of everyone’s menu just yet. What are you doing wrong?

Many speciality food experts do what they think they should be doing to market their brand, instead of doing what they have to do. Nowadays, a brand can’t make it in the competitive market place without having an online presence. And an online presence means nothing if you don’t have the right SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy in place. So how do you take your speciality food brand from where it is now, to where it needs to be using SEO?

When helping small to medium businesses grow, the digital marketing team at SME Loans often notice business owners seeking answers to questions like this all the time. Foodies and those in the food market want to know how to get their products flying off the virtual shelves, here’s some top tips to get started:

Create a feast for the eyes
Optimize your site. It’s no secret that foodies love to gaze at beautifully crafted and well-presented dishes placed before them. Nothing can quite grab the attention of a foodie as a mouth-watering picture can. Use high definition images to your advantage. Ensure that all of your online content includes visuals that are enticing. Choose contrasting colours and publish images that are of a size that cannot be overlooked. White space is a great element to use on your website and galleries and it’s a good idea to keep décor simplistic, so as not to take away from your range.

Spark interest
It’s not only foodies and fine dining experts that love to talk about a great dish they have tried. Everyone loves to tell someone else about something they tasted that completely blew up their taste buds. Social media makes it possible to strike up this kind of conversation and keep it alive. Make sure that you have an active presence on social media platforms as part of your SEO strategy. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn to strike up conversations with your audience about their favourite products, treats and so on. What’s more social media sites like Facebook have PPC (pay per click) advertising tools built in so take advantage of that to increase visibility of your site. Encourage clients to post their thoughts and opinions on your range and suggest recipes or food pairing advice. The more you encourage your audience to engage with you online, the more their connections will notice and your popularity will start to grow. Google will notice your online activity and your

Go mobile-friendly
If you sell specialty foods, you can stand to gain a lot by operating an e-commerce website. According to statistics posted by Drum, 25% of grocery shoppers in the UK actually do their grocery shopping online, via their smartphones. That’s a large percentage of shoppers buying food products on their phone! If your website isn’t geared towards catering to these shoppers, you are going to miss out on thousands of pounds in sales. A mobile-friendly website must have quick-loading pages that display correctly on various screens and a safe and secure online payment gateway that’s simple to use. The idea is to make it as quick and easy to buy your speciality food products as possible. Google ranks websites and content that provides value to consumers and a mobile-friendly website does just that.

Focus your attention to niches and keywords
Trying to sell your speciality food to anyone that eats is not going to be as much a success as trying to sell your food to people who specifically have a taste for what your range has to offer. Niche or keyword focus is actually quite important when it comes to speciality food SEO. If you are selling fine cheese for example, make sure you focus attention on trying to create content that hits that keyword (fine/ rare cheese in this case), and includes the keywords for products you are selling. Researching what keywords to use and how competitive they are is crucial as you don’t want to waste time targeting a niche that is already saturated. you can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush for that. For focusing your attention that keyword will also help you to create content that is fine-tuned to what your target audience is interested in. Once you have narrowed down your niche, you can post blogs, articles, images, videos and updates that appeal to a certain segment of a broad market. SEO experts at Dojono recommend that the more interesting and informative your content is to your niche market, the more Google will rate it and the more chance it stands to rank well in a search engine result. You stand to make more sales and will easily position yourself as an expert in the industry if you are appealing to a specific group of people and not just everyone.

Reviews: let people talk
There is no doubt that your speciality food is something worth talking about, so why not encourage your customers to start writing reviews and be active on social media. Review websites are considered reliable sources of information and as such, Google ranks reviews fairly well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). You can encourage customers to write reviews for loyalty points, online mentions or discounts. Share your reviews and display them on your product pages – they provide great exposure and show that you are willing to allow people to be honest about what they feel about your products.

Offer tasters to the right people
There are a number of foodies, fine diners, and food critics that frequent the UK food industry. A great way to boost your SEO efforts is to use these much-respected experts to your advantage. Connect with those who will appeal most to your industry, send samples of your speciality foods and ask them to write a guest post or review on your range, based on their personal opinion. Their honest opinion will be respected by others – in fact, just having their name attached to your brand will be great online publicity enough!

Create a Successful SEO Recipe
Piecing together a strategic SEO plan is like creating a delicious recipe for a dish that everybody can’t help but love. Take the time to follow each of the steps correctly and ensure your content (the ingredients) of a high quality and you should be able to watch your speciality food products grow from strength to strength.

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