Craft beer is so in right now.
Over the last few years, it’s taken off in a massive way. From local pubs & restaurants to wine shops, festivals & supermarkets. It’s suddenly everywhere.
With a boom in a product or service, often comes an increase in competition.
So how can beer companies, breweries, bars and pubs stand out in a competitive market?
Well, quite simply, to compete, investing in digital marketing and in particular, SEO is a must.
In this post, I’ll be looking at the SEO opportunities available to craft beer companies, pubs & breweries and I’ll show you how they can take advantage of this boom in the industry.
The Growth of the Craft Beer Industry
Quite simply, the craft beer industry is on the rise. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s have a look at Google Trends.
Google Trends is a great place to find the latest trend data and visualisations for keywords and topics. Using the tool, you type in any words or phrase and you can see its popularity over time with a score given to express the increase or decrease in popularity of the term over the specified time range.
In the graph below, I’ve looked at the term Craft Beer in the UK over the last 5 years and as you can see, the term has continued to increase in popularity, reaching an all-time high score of 99 in February 2017.
By the looks of it, the popularity of craft beer isn’t going away and with more and more people searching for craft beer related terms, now is the time for craft beer companies, breweries and pubs to invest in marketing and take advantage.
An Example of a Quick SEO Win: Beavertown Brewery
One of the things that prompted me to write this post was looking around on the Beavertown Brewery Website. They make one of my favourite beers, Neck Oil and I love their branding and imagery.
If you aren’t aware of them (if you’re into your beer then I’m sure you are) then take a look at their website here. I love it. I showed my colleague and he thought it was weird so maybe it says something about me. I don’t know. Either way, I really like it. It’s bright, visual, interactive and has a great video!
Now, I’m not sure of Beavertown’s strategy when it comes to their website, perhaps they want to distance themselves from the term craft beer, but for me, there are some key opportunities for Beavertown to rank for it. As I’ve shown above, the term is proving more and more popular on Google, so there is a strong argument that the term should be incorporated into the site.
Searching for Beavertown on Google you are given the following result:
The first thing I noticed was that the term Craft Beer wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Not in the title tag, the description, or even under any of the sub-categories.
I immediately saw several opportunities for Beavertown.
- The term could easily be incorporated into the title tag so it reads Beavertown Brewery: Craft Beer is what we make and love. (You could even argue that this could be completely re-written for further optimisation).
- There also doesn’t seem to be a meta description in place, so there’s another opportunity here to add one to the homepage that targets the term, or at least other, related terms.
This got me thinking. If a relatively well-known craft beer company like Beavertown hadn’t looked at these opportunities when it came to their marketing, perhaps others hadn’t.
What else are they missing? What other marketing opportunities are there?
I decided to take a look.
Here are just some of the other SEO opportunities that I’ve identified for craft beer companies…
Local Search is Imperative to Craft Beer Marketing
To start my research for this post I simply typed the term craft beer into Google and one of the first things that I noticed was that the results that were returned were localised.
This makes complete sense.
With so many pubs choosing to stock craft beer, an increasing number of small breweries popping up all over the place and the increasing popularity and demand in specialist craft beer pubs such as BrewDog and The Craft Beer Co. many people searching for the term, will simply be wanting to know where the nearest pub or brewery that sells craft beers is to them.
Google Maps Marketing for Craft Beer
Let me give you an example.
When I was recently on holiday in Budapest, my newly acquired taste for craft beers meant that I wasn’t satisfied with the usual tourist traps.
Often, rather than searching directly on Google, I got out my phone and began searching for things like craft beer or craft beer pubs on Google Maps.
I’d have a look at the results, the star ratings and reviews, and then make my way to a bar, pub or brewery that took my fancy.
Today, this type of search is common.
With a demand for everything right away, people will skip searching on Google itself and simply use Google Maps.
So, what’s my point?
In short, Google Maps marketing is essential if you’re making or selling craft beer online.
My colleague Marcos has written a great post on How to Create a Google Maps Marketing Strategy to Dominate the Local Results. When you’ve got a moment give it a read.
For now, here are a couple of tips that you can take away and ensure you appear on Google Maps for those Craft beer related terms.
- Fill out your Google My Business profile.
This will ensure that Google has all the information needed to correctly display your data.
- Business name
- Phone number
- Hours you are open,
- Website URL.
Adding these and claiming your business will help to ensure all the correct details are shown in the results.
- Go out there and get reviews!
Luckily, when it comes to craft beer, the community is one that likes to share their experiences. Sites like BeerAdvocate and Beer Reviews and apps like Untappd encourage you to discover and share your favourite beers.
On Google Maps, star ratings and a link to your Google reviews appear next to results. As such, the more good reviews and ratings that you have will help you to increase your visits when people are searching on Google Maps.
Try and encourage visitors to your pub, brewery or shop to leave reviews on Google and soon you’ll appear at the top of the maps results!
Definition: What is Craft Beer?
When you type the term “craft beer” into Google and look beyond the paid advertisements and local results, you come across a number of pages that answer the question, What is Craft Beer?
The top organic result comes from craftbeer.com and it is a page dedicated to defining what craft beer is.
However, when you start reading through the content, you find that there are only 250 words of text on the page and that it doesn’t really provide an explanation.
Instead, you are given text about why it is hard to define alongside two infographics, providing an easy to read, visual breakdown of growth in the beer category. This doesn’t really answer the question that you’d expect the page to answer and in my view, provides the user with a poor experience.
The 3rd organic result is from the craft beer industry’s heavy hitter, BrewDog. Again, this is a blog post on their site dedicated to defining what a craft beer is. With no meta description to inform you of what the page is about, you may be forgiven for expecting to find a definition once you click on the post.
But no. Instead, you are given a post that talks about Why it is important to define craft beer.
I believe (and the search results seem to back this up) that when people search for craft beer, many will be looking to find out what it is. This idea is reinforced when you look at the related terms that Google throws up at the bottom of the page:
Here you can see that two of the terms are questions. Draft Beer Meaning and Craft Beer Definition UK are both informational terms that require an answer.
So what does this mean?
There’s a Massive Opportunity for Craft Beer Companies to Rank in Organic Search
I see this as a massive opportunity for anyone working in the craft beer industry.
There is a clear demand for content that explains what craft beer is.
As such, why not spend time creating a dedicated page to answering this question. For me, it seems that this is a winnable topic that craft beer companies could rank for.
Looking at the term what is craft beer? you find the exact same results mentioned above in both first and second place. Both don’t really answer the question and the BrewDog post is a few years old now, from 2013.
Can you write something more in-depth that answers the question better than these results? Could you create visuals to break up and make your content easy to digest?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then I’d highly recommend doing so.
*this tactic of looking at what ranks for a term and producing something better is something that Dmitry Dragilev discusses on our Internet Marketing Podcast: How to Rank for High Volume Keywords. Give it a listen here.
The result could be two-fold.
You’ll be answering a question that many people want to know the answer to whilst at the same time positioning yourself as a leader in the craft beer community.
Start Your Own Craft Beer Blog
A businesses blog is a great place for you to find your voice and get your story heard. And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to be the best writer in the world. If you’re passionate about craft beer, (and let’s face it, you probably are) start writing about it!
Write reviews of new beers you try. Tell people where you found your new favourite beer.
Writing on your blog is a great way to connect with your audience. BUT, there’s also another huge benefit, and that’s SEO.
Blogging is a great way to increase the amount of organic traffic to your site.
You’re able to target the keywords and topics that matter to you and you can enhance the SEO on your site through improved internal linking.
There’s a post that details 10 Reasons You Should Start Blogging here, but in terms of a craft beer blog, you’ll find the following benefits:
- You can write content that’s useful and interesting for your audience
- You’ll be producing fresh content, regularly, keeping your audience engaged
- You’ll be able to grow your audience and get your beers known within the craft beer community
- You’ll be able to build authority within the craft beer community
Ideas for Topics on a Craft Beer Blog
Often, the reason people shy away from writing on a blog is that they feel they won’t be good at it. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be a linguist to write about a topic you’re passionate about. Find your voice and start writing!
If you’re struggling for ideas, here are some topics that could work on a craft beer blog:
- Are you a brewery or pub that rotates its taps? Perhaps a Beer shop that regularly gets new beers in? Review new beers each time they come in. Let your audience know what’s coming up and what they can expect once it arrives.
- Tell your story. Craft brewers often work hard with new beers being created, attending festivals, installing new equipment etc. A blog is a perfect place to share this information with your audience and get your beers known.
- Collate and share the latest news in the Beer World.
- Talk about the best food and beer pairings (I’ll cover this more further on).
Example: The Beavertown Brewery Blog
As I’d done previously, I decided to have a look at the Beavertown blog for inspiration and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a brewery.
They discuss a range of topics on it including new beers, partnerships, collaborations and they even have a podcast, all of which is great. If you’re looking for ideas, it’s not a bad place to start.
Again however, I thought that there were opportunities for them. Steps that they could take to rank for the term craft beer if they wanted to.
I’ll explain how.
- They could change the title from The Blog – Beavertown Brewery to The Craft Beer Blog – Beavertown Brewery.
- They could include a H1 and further headings on the page that include the term
- They could include a meta description for the page including the term
To me, it seems like a quick and easy win.
Optimisation Opportunity: Craft Beer With…
Whilst researching for this post I did a lot of manual research and I spent some time typing a lot of craft beer terms into Google. Craft Beer with was one of them.
This is what I saw:
As you can see, the predictive results show that there are people out there searching for certain types of craft beer.
With the example above, you can see that the more health conscious of us out there are looking for craft beers with low calories and low carbs. Do you produce low calorie or low carb beers? If so, there’s an opportunity to rank.
The other suggestions showed me that people are either looking for craft beer that goes with certain foods or places where they can go to enjoy both beer and food at the same time. As I wasn’t 100% sure if the former was true, I decided to look one step further to make sure.
I went through the alphabet, seeing what came up when I typed in one more letter. Here’s what I found.
Type in Craft Beer with M and you’re shown Craft Beer with Mexican Food
Type in Craft Beer with P and you’re shown Craft Beer with Pizza & Craft Beer Pairing with Food
Turns out that people were searching for both.
There is a clear demand for people wanting to know which beers go with certain foods, as well as restaurants or bars selling both craft beer and food. Again, this presents a number of opportunities for craft beer companies.
If you sell beers on your website or brew your own, why not write about the ideal food partners to go with each beer in the description.
If you’re a restaurant or bar that also serves craft beer, think about the terms above. These are terms that you could rank/appear for.
To get started with this, you could simply repeat the kinds of searches that I have above, but a better idea would be to get started with some keyword research.
Craft Beer Marketing Opportunities Beyond SEO…
It’s important to remember that SEO can be a long-term play. Improving your results in organic search often takes time and investment.
Many craft beer companies are start-ups and may not have the money to set aside to work with an agency or invest in an SEO campaign and so there may be other marketing opportunities or strategies that can yield results faster.
Examples of things that are working well for others include:
- Getting involved with other beer sites & apps
- Beer blogs and magazines
- Could you reach out and write a guest post for one of the top beer blogs?
- Is it worth advertising in them?
- Get Social!
- The beer community is a social one. Set up social accounts for Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Consider others like SnapChat. Investing some time into your social media can help you to grow your audience and showcase what you’re about. Why not announce news, offers, and events through your social channels.
- Beer Festivals
- Get involved with events like The London Craft Beer Festival. They are the perfect get your beers discovered and to hand out merchandise.
Google Trends suggests that the popularity of craft beer isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Down here in Brighton, shops, pubs, breweries and restaurants are all getting in on the act. Old pubs are turning into craft beer pubs. Specialist shops are opening around town. New restaurants/pop-ups only seem to stock craft beers. It’s clear to me that now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities that the popularity of craft beer brings.
So, when it comes to craft beer marketing, here are my key takeaways:
- Consider the use of the term craft beer across your site if you’re a craft beer company!
- Invest in local SEO & get your Google My Business account set up
- Encourage your customers to write reviews
- Consider writing a long-form piece on your site defining what craft beer is
- Start blogging about craft beer
- Do some keyword research and look at the long tail opportunities
- Invest in other marketing opportunities such as events and social media
What are your thoughts? I’d love to know. Is there anything anyone is doing well in the craft beer world? Are there any key opportunities I’ve missed? Let me know, feel free to send me a mail at sean.nichols@sitevisibility or tweet us @SiteVisibility. In the meantime, I’ll be here sipping on a delicious neck oil!