ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Branders.com Grows Its Revenues Via SEO
Problem: Branders.com, the largest online seller of promotional items in the world, needed an integrated solution to manage its growing SEO operation and provide comprehensive competitive SEO intelligence.
Solution: Partnered with an enterprise-class SEO platform provider.
Results: Since launching its new SEO platform in 2008, Branders.com's revenues have increased over $3 million per year, with a 20 percent increase in the productivity of its SEO team.
Founded in 1999, Branders.com is the lowest priced and largest online seller of promotional items in the world. It estimates that online now accounts for over 15 percent of the industry's $15 billion annual revenue, with a significant portion coming from organic search referrals. Branders.com has led the industry in its adoption of SEO, accounting for approximately 50 percent of its online business (the other 50 percent generated from traditional pay per click).
"SEO economics are much better than those for PPC," says Jerry McLaughlin, CEO of Branders.com, in a press release from BrightEdge, the retailer's SEO platform provider. "However, SEO does need more effort — particularly early on to establish a high position in the rankings."
Branders.com has a dedicated team of SEO specialists who currently manage a portfolio of over 100,000 search terms or keywords across a variety of search engines. It traditionally relied on spreadsheets to manage its SEO operations, as well as a number of different analytical tools. However, none of these tools were integrated and all required a significant amount of manual effort every week.
An Integrated Enterprise-Class SEO Platform
Branders.com realized its current infrastructure couldn't scale to support its growing SEO operation. The company needed an integrated platform that could handle large keyword volumes and provide comprehensive competitive SEO intelligence. After a review of the alternatives, Branders.com contracted with BrightEdge, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of on-demand, enterprise-class SEO platforms in 2008.
"There are a lot of search marketing tools out there, and they're not all the same,” said McLaughlin. "BrightEdge's SEO platform gives us the ability to manage large keyword volumes at scale. It gives us the opportunity to see what our competitors are doing and what works for them. BrightEdge gives us precise visibility into the value of SEO opportunities along with actionable intelligence into the most effective strategies to attack these opportunities."
SEO as a Competitive Advantage
Branders.com also sees other strategic benefits from the BrightEdge platform: It recently acquired Promopeddler.com, the No. 4 player in its industry, with BrightEdge's platform playing a critical role in the evaluation. "BrightEdge gave us a better estimate of what potential acquisition candidates would be worth to us based on the analysis of the value of their now known organic search traffic," explained McLaughlin.
Branders.com's strong position in the natural search rankings can be attributed in large part to its new SEO platform. This is a key competitive advantage given how difficult it is to move up in search rankings. However, in the long term McLaughlin believes such capabilities will become a competitive necessity, not just in his industry but for all e-commerce companies.