Across devices for branded and nonbranded keywords, Google search results pages (SERPs) are dominated by organic links in the spirits industry, setting it apart from other consumer sectors. Almost 80% of results are organic for related spirits search terms, as studied in the most recent Gartner’s L2’s Digital IQ Index: Spirits US. Other, more mature markets continue to be dominated by paid formats as Google continues to prioritize them top-of-page. For example, 67% of results for branded fashion keywords were paid for, according to Gartner L2’s Intelligence Report: Search 2019.
This means brand sites for the 69 brands that make up the Spirits Index need to be optimized for search, as the dominant result type for search in the sector and top traffic driver to brand properties. Brands who fail to optimize for search miss a crucial opportunity to capture consumers that are increasingly using search for product research and discovery. Category publications and retailers are stepping in to fill the gaps, providing users with the content they are searching for directly and driving them to their own brand properties. Across educational, nutritional, recipe, gifting, seasonal and even local “near me” searches, these third-parties are dominating first-page organic visibility as compared to the rest of their peers.
Not to mention, with consumers spending more and more time browsing, swiping and searching on mobile devices, showing up top-of-page is even more critical due to limited real estate on the smaller screens. Some brands, like Absolut, understand this, and have mastered a mix of paid and organic visibility by optimizing site content around consumer search trends. The Gifted brand builds out extensive content around highly-searched nonbranded recipe terms, like “lime vodka drinks”, by creating content and landing pages to directly target these trending keywords. Absolut also earns its rank with this on-trend strategy across site and search. For the rest of the Index, optimization is a crucial next step to ensure visibility.