Arbonne: Skincare and SEO

*This post is for educational purposes only.

 

Arbonne search engine optimization

This week’s focus in MMC5427, Research Methods in Digital Communication, is search engine optimization.  What follows is a brief SEO analysis of Arbonne’s United States (English) website. Let’s see if Arbonne does search engine optimization as well as it does skincare (and multi-level / network marketing, of course).

 

Potential Keywords / Key Phrases  for Arbonne

Taking into consideration the company’s story, mission, and products I compiled a list of ten relevant keywords / key phrases that could be used in optimizing the company’s website for search engines:

  1. Swiss skin care products
  2. Swiss skincare 
  3. Botanically based skin care products
  4. High quality skin care products
  5. Anti-aging products that work
  6. Anti-aging products for men
  7. Green skin care and cosmetics 
  8. Quality skin care for teens
  9. Multi-level marketing companies in skin care and cosmetics
  10. Network marketing opportunities for women

 

Keyword / Key Phrase Research

Venturing to Google for a little research, I assessed Arbonne’s position within the search results for each individual keyword or key phrase.  (Note:  In order to ensure my results were not based on my previous browsing history, opened a different browser, Mozilla FireFox instead of Safari, and enabled the “Private Browsing” option.)

For the first two keyword phrases, “Swiss skin care products” and “Swiss skincare,” the Arbonne website came up within the top three listings, excluding ads.  This is to be expected for this company as these key phrases define its niche market, however the coveted number one spot even in a very specific product market is certainly an accomplishment.  Good job, Arbonne.

Swiss skin care products keyword search

 

“Botanically based skin care products” also earned Arbonne another page one appearance on the search engine results page (SERP) at number four.  Arbonne did pretty well with some other phrases landing on page two of Google results with the phrases “Green skin care and cosmetics” and “Multi-level marketing companies in skin care and cosmetics.”  Then dropping a little to page three, slot number four with “Anti-aging products for men.”

Sadly, the Arbonne website did not even show up within the first ten pages of Google results for the phrases “High quality skin care products,” “Anti-aging products that work,” ” Quality skin care for teens” and “Network marketing opportunities for women.”  (I stopped searching after page ten.)  With this information, Arbonne could focus on optimizing its website in order to help search engine ranking for these more specific, long tail keywords.

 

Arbonne Website Content SEO Analysis

Overall, the Arbonne website has a very clean and minimalistic approach.  This is great for the consumer experience, but can pose a bit of a challenge with regards to SEO.  (If your words are few, you must be extremely selective and purposeful with them.)  The Arbonne homepage offers some text blurbs across the bottom:

Arbonne homepage image

While the copy is a well-crafted and clever display of alliteration proficiency- (“Perfectly pretty presents to give at a pretty perfect price”)- it appears to be lacking in keyword usage.  “Amazing products at a great discount” could be considered a key phrase, but it is not specific enough to be relevant, and therefore would be difficult to rank for.  Additionally, the content pages that give the company’s history, mission, and career opportunities are also nicely written, but again are generally missing out on maximizing potential for keyword usage.

The content on the website that seems to be most optimized are product categories and titles, followed by less-optimized product descriptions:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 10.53.29 PM

 

SEO Analysis – The Finer, Behind-the-Scenes Details 

Arbonne has also done well with optimizing its images’ alt tags with the names of its products as seen in the example below.  (Note: The yellow box contains the alt tag and appears when hovering the mouse above the image.)  However, the tag could be further optimized by including a likely search phrase along with the product name as part of a description and/or call to action.  For example, Arbonne could use something like “Discover how to get soft and glowing skin with our RE9 Advanced Hydrating Body Lotion.”  “How to get soft and glowing skin” is something a consumer looking for a product like this might type into a search query box.  Of course, leaving in the product name is important because consumers who search for the specific name are most likely doing so with the intent to buy the product.

alt tag example for seo

Arbonne’s website title tag appropriately includes relevant keywords that are central to the brand’s products:

Arbonne Website title tag

 

One area of metadata that could use some work, though, are the meta descriptions for some of the individual pages.  Below are some examples of the descriptions as they appeared in Google results:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.38.07 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.31.12 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.26.40 PM

 

In the first two examples, plenty of keywords are listed, but they are not woven together into meaningful sentences that draw the searcher into clicking based on the description.  In the third example, sentences are present, but they are lacking in a clear and concise description of the page as well as keyword inclusion.  (It’s possible a meta description was not created for this particular page and, if that is the case, Google simply selected some text to put in the place of the description.  This is is a good example of why it is important for a brand to control what the searchers see rather than leaving it in the hands of the search engines.)

 

Overall, it is clear that Arbonne is implementing some good practices in their SEO endeavors but, as with most things in life, there is still room for improvement.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Angela, first and foremost I love that you do this as a solid narrative. I am a fan of writing and I find that you do it well. Secondly, this is a very thoughtful analysis and shows your experience with this work. As someone relatively new to this, I learned from this post – language, construction, terms, placement. So thank you for that.
    Third…I hope Arbonne takes notice of this. They could learn and benefit from what you write here. I am stunned they do not take advantage of “Anti-aging products that work” – I imagine that would bring in a deluge of customers being such a hot market with a demographic that will spend.
    This is a good post and I will be flagging you as one to read every time. Thank you.

    • says

      Kelly, I have such a great amount of respect for you, your writing, your talents, and your work that you have absolutely made my day with your positive feedback and kind remarks. Thank you :)!

  2. says

    Hi Angela,

    FANTASTIC post! I totally agree with Kelly — you are a very talented writer! Thank you for your thoughtful analysis and insight. ‘Your post was very enjoyable to read and provided a wealth of information in regards to SEO. I also appreciated the many uses of visuals and graphics you included throughout your commentary — great job! I was impressed by your ability to really jump into the mind of prospective customers. For example, “How to get soft and glowing skin” is something a consumer (myself!) has actually tried to search before in Google. I, too, hope Arbonne takes notice of this. I have used Arbonne products in the past and look forward to trying them again. Cheers!

    Kim

    • says

      Kimberly, thank you very much for visiting, reading, and sharing your perspective. I’ve also seen some of your work already, and look forward to keeping up with what you do this semester ;). You’ve got great blog skills, girl!

  3. says

    Hello Angela.
    I enjoyed your research results and great narrative as well! I agree with Kelly Frank Green that you not only compiled great research findings but also gave a nice tone to shape your message. I come from a network marketing background and have seen so many companies really miss the target on overall brand awareness and education, as well as to general marketing. Arbonne had a very good strategy compared to many other network marketing companies. Interesting that they focused to heavily on the products that they did not attach “network marketing opportunities for women”. Due to the nature of the set up of multilevel marketing, they normally target stay at home moms too. That would be interesting to compare to.
    I liked your suggestions for Arbonne’s future strategies. They do have a good plan and I was impressed that they actually used tagging. From my research, the company I chose did not have much alt tagging. I heard from some friends of mine in the industry that they too don’t use alt tags as much as they did when they first became available.

    • says

      Cassandra,

      I very much appreciate your feedback and perspective, especially considering your background in network marketing. You know, after writing this I began thinking more and more about how much value Arbonne may even place on SEO considering its goals as a network marketing company. Yes, the company offers quality products, but it’s growth is primarily contingent on the growth of its network. So yes, I’m a little surprised that goal was not optimized more, but perhaps that is also part of Arbonne’s strategy?

  4. Rick Cole says

    I enjoyed the post. You really took advantage of the visual power of this media.

    I am curious about how you developed your keyword list. What is the genesis of these choices? What product knowledge influenced your word choice? Are terms common in magazines, dermatology clinics, boutiques or other places people might learn about skin care?

    I think one of the greatest challenges to communicating across the web is understanding your potential audience. This is a challenge in all communications. But, when readers are so dislocated and dispersed it is hard to know concepts, phrases and words that help form shared meaning.

    Optimizing SEO can be difficult for those creating communication if they are not steeped in the environment they are representing. If I had this company as a client it would require a lot of stakeholder interviews and cross-market research to approximate a fictional milieu to write into. I know nothing about skin care.

    • says

      Rick,

      Thanks very much for your kind words and thoughts. To answer your questions regarding how I came up with my keyword selections, I already had knowledge of Arbonne products. For a brief time I was an independent consultant within the Arbonne network and educated others on the company, their products, and product benefits as well some of the basic scientific concepts behind product formulation and how they work. Additionally, I of course drew from my own schema and personal experience with skin care. I glanced at the website briefly, but as the assignment was to think about the keywords searchers may use, (and not necessarily perform a content analysis or keyword search), I stayed away from doing too much research in case it skewed the results of what I was meant to gain from the experience. Lastly, yes these terms would be common in various media forms related to skincare, (with the exception of the Swiss formulated niche and multi-level marketing companies).

      I understand and agree with your statement about the challenges in understanding a brand’s target market. For this reason, I have given great consideration to a simple statement I heard in a Podcast by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers called “The Psychology of Language (with Michael Fishman).” Fishman reminds us, “Don’t think of the market, think as the market.” This probably seems like a pretty basic statement that belongs at the fundamental levels of marketing, (which it does), but I used to always think about what the members of my market would want and what they would say. This is certainly beneficial, but I find it’s easier and more effective for me to humanize the consumer’s experience and empathize with him or her by putting myself that consumer’s shoes in the online marketplace.

      Thanks again, Rick, and I hope to chat more in the future!

      Angela

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