When it comes to SEO, it can feel like big brands will always take the top spot simply by being well-known on and offline. However, our 2023 online beauty market report showed that brands like Superdrug lost 36% of their visibility when compared year-on-year, showing that no one is invincible. The online market is rapidly changing, and with (seemingly!) constant algorithm updates from Google, now is not the time to rest on your laurels.

So, we have decided to focus on a smaller brand with impressive performance to show you what it takes to become a force to be reckoned with. Over the last year, Spectrum Collections increased its visibility by 63%, taking the title for most growth in our beauty industry report. This shows they are sending users, and therefore, search engines, all the right signals. Their digital approach basically screams we have what you want! Join us as we dig into the site and highlight the main ways they are promoting visibility growth…

1. Organise your meganavigation

One of the most important aspects of your site is navigation, especially the useability of the mega menu (also known as the meganav). This is the first access point for users and crawlers, helping them understand your brand positioning, product catalogue, and the intersects of both. It’s important that the meganav is in priority order from left to right, as this is how both crawler bots and most users will read it.

The pages that you want to promote should be on the left side and descend in importance from there. In the case of Spectrum, we can see that their “sale” section is most heavily promoted, showing an understanding of their users’ priorities and providing quick access to this section. As price point becomes a bigger factor in most people’s buying journey, particularly with cost of living and inflation at such a high, sending strong signals around sales, offers, and bundles can provide a competitive edge when getting crawlers to rank your website alongside bigger brands.

The larger sections are also categorised by a drop-down, which provides even more structure and navigation to the site. Here you should promote your biggest sellers and opportunity keywords from within this category to your users, clearly showing product depth and authority in the space.

2. Never underestimate page speed

Although this is a signal that you can’t necessarily see, it’s one that can have a huge impact on the user experience of your site and, therefore, whether it performs well. Research into page loading speed shows that when time increased from 1 second to 3 seconds, there is a 32% decrease in engagement, and that increases to a huge 123% once page speed reaches 10 seconds. Therefore, keeping people on site and improving your conversion rates is closely linked to how speedy your site is.

Spectrum Collections took the top ranking when we looked into page speed across the digital beauty industry, showing that they have put a lot of TLC into the technical health of the site. Not only can users find the products that they’re looking for, but they’re being served the pages in a flash. That’s the ideal buyer journey.

How do you improve page speed, you ask? Take a look at our guide to why page speed is so important for more details on how page loading speed can impact your site’s performance, how to measure it, and where to get fixes for your issues. This can include optimising your images and video content, getting rid of unnecessary pages, and reducing the number of redirects happening across the site.

3. Slay the basics with on-page signals

While it might seem like SEO basics, we can’t tell you how many sites don’t get their on-page signals right. This refers to all the content that you control and is visible to users and crawlers, like the title tag, meta description, headings, structured data, and any copy.

Not only are these vital for sending the right signals to search engines, but they’re also essential for a professional, usable website that customers are going to trust. Never underestimate how picky modern web users are when it comes to where they’ll spend their money.

Overall, Spectrum Collections shows an understanding of their on-page signals with clear title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s with some heading structure that showcases the main points of the page. They pay real attention to their title tags and meta descriptions too, ensuring clicks from the search engine results pages (SERPs). Including a clear description of the page and the brand USPs gives you the best chance of attracting the right users, for example:

title tag and meta description example

This is the perfect way to get people interested in your site when browsing for their key terms; it hits lifestyle, price point, and product range in a snappy, approachable way. How do your meta signals measure up?

Of course, no site is perfect, so we’ve included some quick wins that anyone can do right now. Spectrum Collections have over 400 duplicate meta descriptions and H1 tags, as well as nearly 300 meta descriptions that are too long. These are super easy to fix and will help boost pages, especially PDPs that have unique products that could be optimised for longtail keywords. Duplicated content hurts ranking and performance because crawlers can’t understand which page they should promote, which reduces the strength of the signals from all of them. It also doesn’t look good to customers, who might be less trusting if multiple pages are described the same way – especially if the description is irrelevant!

4. Sing through the USP bar

Another signal that promotes trust and authority with your customer base is a clear, snappy USP bar. This should be on your homepage at least, but Spectrum Collections include theirs across the entire site to remind users at every part of the journey.

The first signal is the bar at the top of the page, which encourages users to join the loyalty scheme and advertises their student discount – this should a great awareness of their target audience. It shows that Spectrum is attuned to who is buying its products and who is likely to become a returning customer, which is a smarter long-term strategy than only focusing on new conversions.

The second signal is the USP bar at the bottom of each page, which goes into far more detail about what the brand stands for. This repeated content across the site is not only good for users, who can quickly access this information no matter which page they entered the site on, it emphasises trust to crawlers and demonstrates topical relevance to their brand values. While we usually don’t recommend duplicated content, this USP content is relevant to the entire site, so is less likely to confuse crawlers who are trying to boost more specific keywords.

When thinking about your own content and how well USPs are signposted, you want to make sure that the customer journey is thought about in its entirety. For example, when are signals like discounts, loyalty schemes, and shipping offers most relevant? And how can you ensure that all USPs are easily backed up, should a user want to find out more? Internally link USP buttons and bars to landing pages that give the user the relevant information and helps create more affinity with your brand. The beauty here is that this helps drive lifetime value of customers as well as single purchases.

5. Go full coverage on trust and authority signals

If you don’t have the power of brand name behind your site, then you can never put too much energy into making sure that your site feels professional and trustworthy. Big brands can get away with a multitude of SEO sins and still rank well for competitive keywords as well as get steady direct traffic. They can also somewhat get away without emphasising trust to users. For smaller brands looking to reach the top of the SERPs for head terms, you need to prove to crawlers and users that they can trust you with their money. We highly recommend getting familiar with Google’s E-E-A-T and Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) guidelines to learn just how important this is. But how do you send clear trust signals?

Reviews, reviews, reviews

One of the best ways of showing trust is by displaying your reviews! At this point, it’s a basic of any e-commerce or service site, so not having any reviews or difficult to find reviews is a huge red flag.

Spectrum shows the reviews for every product on the product tile, wherever it’s shown across the site. You can immediately see the rating and how many reviews this is based on, helping users make quick, snappy decisions on products. Each product description page (PDP) has an in-depth reviews section at the bottom, which displays every review and allows users to post pictures as well. They also include an “ask a question” feature, similar to Amazon, that adds another layer of helpfulness for users, allowing them to engage with the products and the customer base pre-purchase.

This could be taken to the next level if Spectrum displayed the brand rating on the homepage and perhaps partnered with something like Trustpilot that gives independent assurance on the validity of the reviews. Although this can be a bit tricky to navigate if you have a low rating or received a bunch of bad reviews. However, honesty is the best policy. Make an effort to be responsive to positive and negative comments. This will give people more comfort that you’re a real brand with genuine intentions.

Signpost socials

As a makeup brand, social media is huge for Spectrum. Their Instagram handle is included across the site with a call to action banner that encourages users to tag and follow them — a great, clear signal that they want to engage with their customers.

Social media can also show a lot more authority than the site in such a visual space. They have over 500k followers and post at least once a day to their grid, as well as stories. This consistent content creation shows there is a sleek, professional operation behind the brand, a fantastic way of enticing new customers and communicating with returning users.

Instagram also shows tagged pictures, so it’s a super easy way to collect and display user-generated content, which people often trust more than marketing material. Being transparent about who is using your products and the results they can get is invaluable when building trust.

Highlight your content

Building authority in your space can be difficult when you’re a smaller brand, but with a directed effort into creating supplementary content, you can see sparkling results in no time. The easiest way of doing this is through awareness and consideration content, which means guides and blog posts. These target potential customers at different levels of the buying funnel and get your brand name in their heads.

Spectrum does have a blog, which is well-populated with inspirational and educational content. From how-to guides, tutorials, trends, and product explanations, there is a wealth of content about the beauty industry and makeup in particular.

It shows knowledge about what you sell, the industry you operate in, and your user base. Supplementary content is also your ticket to targeting a wider keyword profile – aim for longtail variants and niche questions that will get the right person on your site for the best conversion rates.

Our recommendation here? Spectrum could do with signposting their blog better. It’s currently only accessible from the footer, which hides it away. Put it in the meganav. Link from PLPs. Post your new content on social media. Don’t let it fade it into the background.

Interested in more? Read our investigation into doing trust and authority right with SmartBuyGlasses.

The Takeaways…

Overall, we can see that Spectrum Collections are doing a lot of things right. They’re sending out clear signals through their navigation and content structure that makes it obvious to users and crawlers what the brand and site are all about. This makes it easy for them to rank for highly relevant terms, which has resulted in huge visibility increases, nearly 18,000 monthly traffic, and over 11,000 organic rankings. There’s great transparency about the brand values, goals, and product reviews that make it easy for users to trust them and become loyal, returning customers.

Is your site saying the right things, or do you need a touch-up? Get in touch with the team at Salience for a free audit to take your digital strategy to the next level.