Use this SEO Marketing Plan to WOW your Boss.

Since “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Likewise, your SEO strategy can easily stay in the clouds without formulating a proper SEO Marketing plan. Through the following detailed process I will be walking you through advanced planning developments by breaking down some important steps when looking to dominate search engine optimization within your industry niche.

I’m about to let my inner geek show a bit, but that’s okay! As long as my being a geek helps you  improve your websites search result rankings, it will be totally worth it! The  E-book “SEO: The Free Beginners Guide” by MOZ goes into much greater detail of the “why” behind what I will be addressing.  I’ve decided to focus on the” how” since that’s more practical when it comes to putting your SEO plan into place immediately.

The following SEO keyword determination tips can be replicated on multiple business models to reach the desired conclusion. But for the sake of an example I chose to use Starbucks. If I currently can’t be drinking coffee I would at least like to think about the deliciousness of a pumpkin spice latte. But, feel free to improvise with a brand of your own as you begin your SEO Marketing Research planning process.

1. Start by choosing a  multinational company.

2. Before making any discoveries (or using Google’s Keyword Tool) I chose 10 keywords that I “think” Starbucks should possibly be ranking high for in an organic Google search.

The words I picked were: Coffee, Frappuccino, Best Frappuccino, Pumpkin Spice latte, Coffee Shop, Barista, Grande, Coffee Queen, WiFi, Coffee mugs

3. I then conducted my own organic search to see if, or in what order, Starbucks ranked for the previous keywords.

This is what I found:

Coffee -Page 1,  5th spot, below sponsored ads. However the first mention of Starbucks did not link to their site, rather it showed me on the map where the closest Starbucks was located.

Frappuccino -Page 1, 2nd spot. Landing page was the Starbucks menu and the remaining results on page 1  were recipes on how to replicate a Frappuccino from home.

Best Frappuccino- Page 1, 1st spot. Followed by the 10 most Popular Starbucks Secret Menu Frappuccinos

Pumpkin spice latte- Page 1, 2nd spot. Notably, Starbucks pumpkin spice latte dominated the photos feed under this search result.

Coffee shop – Page 3, 10th spot. The link landing page brought visitors to Starbucks’s homepage.

Barista – Not found. But there was a search related suggestion with a link to Starbucks barista on the bottom of every page.

Grande  – Not found. But there was a search related suggestion with a link to Starbucks barista on the bottom of every page.

Coffee queen- No references, links or recommendations related to Starbucks. Sad because their logo looks like a queen and could potentially be considered the “coffee queen.”

Wifi – No links, references or recommendations. When I refined the search to Free Wifi spots in Derby, KS Starbucks wasn’t even listed as a local location option.

Coffee mugs- No links, references or recommendations. Not even under the shopping or images tab.

This is notably a good time to point out how even big businesses tend to miss words that potential clientele are using. That’s why the use of the Google’s Keyword Planner is so important.  It’s also not a bad idea to creatively use social media to collect keywords that  customers are currently using to find you in an organic search.

But if you go the social route, don’t forget to make it a fun acquisition of information!

4. The last step is to review the code of the company’s website you are researching. This begins your Qualitative Research process allowing you to make sense of how the complex situation search results presents itself.

This video is a visual tutorial on how to find the code and keywords you are researching within an existing site.

Were you able to point out any of they high ranking keywords that were allowing Starbucks to show up on page 1? If you had quick eyes, you also probably noticed their were not keywords present in the code for the words they did not rank for.

5. Make sure the keywords you are looking to rank for are found both in your meta data and alt tags.

Although I was able to clearly see that Starbucks higher ranking keywords were found in their code, some of the words I originally chose were not present. This discovery reveals the direct impact keyword placement in website code have on how intentional keywords  rank on an organic Google search.

Where Starbucks keywords were rich in Niche specific jargon they are lacking in more broad keywords that could potential help win over un-converted prospects.

By ranking very low on words like Barista, Grande, Coffee Queen, WiFi and Coffee mugs it seems Starbucks is a bit out of touch with what ordinary people are actually typing into the search bar when probing the internet for their coffee related whims. It really is a quick fix for such a major oversight.

Furthermore, After a quick review of Starbucks’s Facebook Page I found only about 1 in 7 posts highlighted their fan-base. As a big brand I would rank them a 5 out of 10 for their over self promotion and lack of listening or showcasing their amazing fans.

Yes, even big brands can miss step the basic objective of Social Media Marketing.

This is a lesson to business’ everywhere.  When used properly, analyzing Social Media tools can essentially level the online marketing playing field; when customers are understood as the multifaceted  social beings they are. As a business owner, don’t be afraid to use that uniqueness to create a strong bond with your fans.

This is the magic sauce when it comes to giving your competition a run for their money.  What are your ingredients?


10 thoughts on “Use this SEO Marketing Plan to WOW your Boss.

  1. Hey Sarah,

    I was completely blown away by the fact that “Barista” did not turn up any results! That is a term that I would also think is synonymous with the Starbucks brand and would be at the top of the search. I also do not understand how “coffee shop” would land Starbucks on the third page of search results–unless they do not have it in their body text of the pages enough. There has been so much chatter as of late about the Pumpkin Spice Latte being back for fall, so it is no surprise that it turned up high in the search results–with plenty of images. It also leads me to wonder if in spring time it would yield the same results when the flavor is “out of season.” What do you think about that?


    1. I was equally surprised Megan! I mean, they have a barista on the homepage of their website?! I guess someone forgot to add it in their body. Oops!
      I’m going to check back in spring, because if they are adjusting seasonally; then good on them!


  2. Hey, did you make up “coffee queen”? I’d never heard that before, and it makes perfect sense!

    Like you, I noticed when doing my searches – also for a beverage, though mine was Coca-Cola – that Google Images sometimes did a better job of “positioning” the item in question than Google search did. I think this may be a consistent phenomenon with companies that have a fervent fan base. (Of course, it can also backfire, as when my searches for “diet cola health” and “aspartame health” plunked a bunch of Diet Coke photos in the middle of some really scary content!)

    I guess I’m not as shocked about “grande” coming up empty, it being a big word (literally) in another language. But I agree with you that ignoring “Wi-Fi” seems to be a missed opportunity. People coming through an area are going to want Wi-Fi, and while Starbucks’ signage is recognizable enough to probably lure these people in anyway, it would be great if they could be steered there by searching for the term.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did come up with coffee queen Eric. I think? That’s what keyword came to mind when I was contemplating how I would search them based on a visual reminder. Glad yo liked that!


  3. Howdy Sarah,

    All I can say is wow! What an amazing presentation! Oh, I am so glad to run into super talents like you amidst my clever classmates. I enrolled in this UF program with the hopes of having the highly trained professionals teach me right. I’m actually going to follow you I’m that impressed.

    I really don’t know how to further lend anything to your SEO strategy but with visions of Starbuck frappuchino in my eyes, I’ll do my best. First of all thanks for reminding me that the Google’s Keyword Tool is available. I know I read that this week but sometimes I have to get little doses to sink in instead of the drinking from the fire hose method.

    Seeing as I am a Starbuck aficionado, I may have used the term Refresher in the search just because I not only buy the drink at Starbucks, but at the supermarket as well and those that carry them are hit and miss. As far as the word frappuccino, that should only be a word associated with Starbucks and if any other coffee shop was using they would be honing in on a term Starbucks invented and considered mere cheap imitations.
    Super great job Sarah, especially the video tutorial touch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m totally with you! I too was most excited about connecting with like minded folks to work out some “field” kinks for our industry. I’m honored that you were so impressed with my presentation and look forward to learning from you as well.
      I’m curious, what’s the term “refresher” mean? That’s a new one to me. Happy sipping!


  4. I enjoyed your overview of Starbucks SEO and I now blame you for making me want a Pumpkin Spice Latte, lol. That will have to wait until tomorrow morning though.

    It was interesting to see some of the keywords that you chose did not even rank. Barista would be one that I would possibly search and definitely associate with Starbucks.

    I think it was an excellent idea to incorporate Starbucks Facebook page in your analysis. Not engaging your consumers? Shame on you Starbucks! For such a progressive company I would have thought that was a no-brainer for them especially considering their publics.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think we all need to go for a Starbucks run! All this talk of coffee is so hard to resist!
    I care a lot about what companies are doing to build a community so I had to throw that in. 😉


  6. Hi Sarah —

    As usual, I love the creativity behind your posts! Your mention of Pumpkin Spice lattes was also particularly relevant. It’s hard to believe that it’s already September! Curious – as a self proclaimed “Starbucks aficionado” – how much Starbucks do you ACTUALLY drink? It has to be a ton with the amount of work you manage to handle every day! Thanks for taking the time to craft this well-written and insightful post. Like the other posters, I was surpassed that “Barista” did not yield the anticipated results. Hey – maybe you could bring it to their attention! Perhaps they will reward you with a few Starbucks gift cards! Here’s hoping… keep us posted. 🙂



    1. Oh my goodness! I love your idea!! Starbucks is a treat for me. Their yummy goodness is a little heavy on my hips. 😉 With a barista on their homepage I think they are really missing the link to that keyword. I’ll bring it to their attention and let you know how it goes over. Who knows, maybe their will be enough of a “reward” to share with you all!


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