Without the hype of influencer marketing, indie skincare brands often struggle to get noticed. For many of these brands, search serves as a key tool for building awareness.

The most frequently searched skincare terms are broad, covering topics such as skin types, ailments, and active ingredients. This helps brands like Tatcha and The Ordinary acquire consumers through the use of educational content and methodical SEO strategies, driving significant site traffic from unbranded search queries.

According to L2’s Indie Index, 38% of search traffic driving to tatcha.com comes from unbranded search queries. In comparison, most beauty brands generate less than 15% of search traffic from unbranded search terms. Tatcha.com offers a guide to help users identify their specific skin type based on common search terms (dry, normal, oily, etc.), increasing its search optimization. Consequently, the guide regularly appears on the first page of results for Google searches about skin types, and “What’s my skin type” and its variations all rank among the top terms referring organic search traffic to Tatcha.

“What’s my skin type” is also the largest driver of organic search traffic, making Tatcha’s guided selling page the ninth most visited page on its brand site. This is unusual: most beauty brands’ guided selling tools don’t rank among the 10 most visited site pages. Additionally, Tatcha’s SEM strategy targets unbranded search terms, using its skin type guide as a landing page.

With in-the-know beauty enthusiasts demanding greater transparency from the brands they put on their face, another burgeoning trend in skincare is educational content. The Ordinary has been able to capitalize on this trend by including specific active ingredients in product titles and descriptions on product pages. For example, the product page for Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion contains the word “retinoid” 29 times and “retinol” 17 times, enabling the brand to capture outsized organic visibility for searches related to these trending ingredients. As a result, 90 of the top 100 keywords driving traffic to The Ordinary’s website are ingredient terms, and they’re responsible for over 60% of total organic traffic.

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