Smoothie King Digital Marketing Takedown

Digital MarketingTakedown
By Janet Lee | May 6, 2021 | 10 min read

They may be the king of smoothies, but are they the king of digital marketing? Our experts conducted an extensive site audit on Smoothie King to find out. 

Smoothie King

Smoothie King, is a privately held smoothie franchise with stores in the U.S., Korea, Trinidad, and Grand Cayman. Driven to “inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Smoothie King is all about boosting people’s health and fitness journeys with high-quality ingredients. 

Of course, to impactfully communicate their mission and brand, they need a stellar digital marketing strategy. There’s always room for improvement, so our digital marketing team dissected their site to identify ways they can solidify their online footing. 

The Audit

Overall, Smoothie King holds a pretty good standing against their competition, coming in second on website traffic. However, while they had a large jump in traffic in January 2021, it began to drop in March. This might be due to a lack of competitor keyword rankings and backlinks—key factors that can bolster their online standing. 

Let’s get into this more by diving into the finer details of the audit. Our team looked at nine areas: 

1. SEO Strategy

Though we do not have access to their KPIs and goals in Google Analytics (GA), we were able to analyze their SEO strategy.

Smoothie King’s traffic mainly comes from branded terms (“smoothie king”), but most of this traffic comes from paid search rather than organic search. They do have organic keywords, but a majority of these keywords rank for terms that pertain to their menu and smoothie items. 

Therefore, Smoothie King’s SEO is not as robust as it could be. The franchise could bolster its organic efforts more by targeting unique and competitive keywords that focus on branded terms and the queries of its target market. 

2. Site Architecture

Site architecture plays a crucial role in the user experience—88% of consumers won’t return to a site after having a negative one. 

Is Smoothie King’s site structure making or breaking their potential in winning the trust of prospective customers? Here’s what we found. 

URL Structure & Site Navigation

When it comes to URL structure, it’s essential to have a clear site hierarchy. This allows search engine crawlers to properly index your site, as it defines how authority flows from one page to the next. 

Fortunately, Smoothie King’s hierarchical structure is on par with best practices. The structure and navigation make sense and are simple (you should never overthink your sitemap). Their navigation bar has drop-down links for each section and they don’t have too many subfolders. 

Descriptive & Dynamic URLs

Smoothie King’s URLs are descriptive and easy to understand. This is good, as the more descriptive and unique a URL is, the better search engine crawlers can make relevant connections between different pages of your site. More importantly, descriptive URLs help users know exactly what the page is about, making navigation a whole lot easier. 

Smoothie King does not have too many dynamic URLs either—something that can hurt your SEO rankings and engagement rates if not taken care of. 

Internal Link Structure

A good internal link structure helps pass authority between your pages, and it encourages people to stay on your site.  

Smoothie King’s internal link structure looks good. Specifically: 

  • Their most important pages are properly linked internally, with most of them linking to their home, contact, story, and product/smoothie pages. 
  • They don’t have a click depth (number of clicks it takes to get to a page, starting at the homepage) of more than 3. 

3. Crawling & Indexation

We dove into Smoothie King’s site crawling and indexation. Overall, things are looking good: 

  • Their robots.txt (a text file that instructs search engine bots how to crawl and index your site) is set up correctly. All of their relevant pages are not blocked.  
  • There are no server errors, but there are a few 404 error codes that should be fixed. 
  • They don’t have any index bloat, meaning they’re not wasting their crawl budget on unimportant pages. 
  • The site is secure with a current SSL certificate.  

4. On-Page Optimization

Is there anything on Smoothie King’s site pages that can be tweaked to improve their SEO rankings? Here are the key areas we dove into:  

  • E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust). E-A-T refers to page quality. How much expertise, authority, and trust does Smoothie King’s site illustrate? The company has a news page that highlights its authority and expertise in the health and fitness industry. However, they don’t have author profiles for their articles—something that can help elevate Smoothie King’s E-A-T even further. 
  • Schema. The business does have a schema markup set up on their site (LocalBusiness, BreadcrumbList, FastFoodRestaurant, and FoodEstablishment), but it has several warnings and errors that need to be addressed. 
  • Canonicalization. All good here. Their site pages are canonicalized correctly. 
  • Redirects. Things are pretty spot on here as well. All of their site redirects are set up correctly. 
  • Cannibalization. Multiple pages are ranking for the same keywords. But many of these keywords have weak rankings and are pretty broad topic-wise, so there might be fewer cannibalizations than meets the eye. 
  • Mobile UX. Smoothie King’s site passes the mobile-friendliness test. Their content is not too cluttered nor spaced out in the mobile format. 

5. Content

Content communicates your message and informs your customers. Not to mention, strong content fuels your SEO strategy, helping you win Google’s trust and a coveted spot on the first page of search results. 

We looked at five areas to evaluate Smoothie King’s content strategy: 

  • Metadata. Smoothie King’s main landing pages have relevant meta titles and descriptions that are within the character count. However, some of their meta descriptions could use further massaging to include CTAs. 
  • Headers. Each landing page has a clear header structure that is user-intent optimized.
  • Long-form content. Smoothie King currently has a news page that offers engaging content, but their news content does not target many relevant keywords that can bolster their online rankings. With that said, building a blog page could help fill this gap without having to change their current site structure.

  • Duplicate content. There isn’t much duplicate content on their site; most pages have unique content tailored to user intent.
  • Images & videos. About 37% of Smoothie King’s images are over 100 KB, and 43% are missing alt text. These areas can be improved to help boost their page speed/user experience and SEO. 

6. Off-Page Optimization

What are things that lie outside of Smoothie King’s website? How are they affecting the company’s online presence? 

When done right, off-page optimization tells search engines your site is credible. There are three main areas to assess off-page optimization: 

  • Backlinks/inbound links. Search engines see backlinks as votes of confidence; the more votes you have, the more your site will rank well for relevant search queries. Smoothie King’s site has over 143K backlinks, with 72% of them being “follow” links. The backlinks come from sites/sources that cover relevant topics on health, nutrition, and recipes. 
  • Referring domains. There are 5.4K referring domains pointing to the site, resulting in a spam score of 2%. While many of these referring domains are credible sources, there are some domains offering coupons and freebies that seem spammy.
  • Domain authority (DA). Their site has a DA score of 58, which puts them in second place among their competitors (first place is Jamba Juice that has a DA score of 63). 

7. Local SEO

“Where to buy and “near me” mobile searches grew over 200% in the past two years. 

If you offer your services or products in specific geographic locations like Smoothie King does, local SEO is imperative. Local SEO allows your company to show up for relevant searches happening in specific regions. 

Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) lists your business on local search results and Google Maps. The best of all? It’s free to set up!

Smoothie King has over 1,000 store locations. Our team analyzed a group of locations and found their Google My Business profiles to be in good shape and optimized well. 

Not only is each listing optimized for its specific location, but it also includes relevant images, descriptions, and NAP (name, address, phone number).

8. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Good CRO strategies bring companies a 223% increase in ROI. So we took a look at Smoothie King’s onsite elements. Are they compelling people to take action?

  • Their CTAs are prominent and well-placed throughout the site. If they haven’t already done so, Smoothie King could do some A/B testing to see how different variations (color and copy) of their CTA buttons might help boost their conversion rates. 
  • They have multiple customer touchpoints that promote their sales process. For example, they have a Health Rewards program and email/promotion sign-up list. 

9. International Languages

As we mentioned earlier, Smoothie King has international locations/stores. Rather than having a subdomain, these international stores have their own URL, except for Trinidad. Smoothie King could use more uniformity across their international sites. 

The Top 5 Takeaways

From our audit findings, we can’t deem Smoothie King as the king of digital marketing, at least not yet. But that’s alright—no matter how large of a business you might be, there’s always room for improvement. And with these improvements comes more growth and potential. 

So what are some ways Smoothie King can further elevate their brand online? Here are our top five takeaways.  

1. Target Unique Keywords

Nearly 75% of their keywords are not branded around the term, “king.” Rather, most of these keywords align with their menu items. 

To boost their potential in ranking for competitive keywords, Smoothie King could conduct keyword research. What kind of queries is their target market looking up? What types of terms are their competitors, like Jamba Juice, targeting? 

Tools like BuzzSumo and SEMRush can help them identify key terms and phrases. Not to mention, the data they collect through their research can possibly help them find ways to bolster their menu/services to better meet the needs of their prospects. 

2. Expand on & Leverage Content

Speaking of content, Smoothie King could use a blog. Though they have an engaging news page, this content doesn’t create much opportunity to target competitive keywords. 

Therefore, having a blog can help Smoothie King: 

  • Capitalize on unique keywords from their findings on takeaway #1 above. Doing so can help Smoothie King cover relevant topics and discussions that can sharpen their competitive edge in the industry. For example, having blog posts that focus on specific health and fitness trends can help grow their reach and brand.
  • Improve their sales process. By creating and promoting content pieces that target each stage of their marketing funnel, Smoothie King can effectively nurture their audience and build customer loyalty—a pivotal component to safeguarding the longevity of any business. 

3. Establish a Schema Audit

We discovered several schema warnings and errors during our site audit. Our team recommends Smoothie King run a schema audit to uncover exactly what those errors are and make the right adjustments in their HTML. They can use tools like Google’s structured data markup helper for guidance. 

Finetuning their schema will improve the way their pages get displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). It enhances the rich snippets that are shown under the page title, providing more informative results for users. 

4. Address the Cannibalization

We noted earlier there are multiple pages ranking for the same keywords. Many of these keywords either have weak rankings or are pretty broad topic-wise, so there might be fewer cannibalizations than meets the eye. 

This is worth investigating further—are there other types of keywords Smoothie King could take advantage of in place of the low-ranking keywords? 

Smoothie King should gather a comprehensive list of cannibalized keywords. With this, they can: 

  • Receive more direction on how to execute an impactful content strategy 
  • Focus on unique keywords they can implement for URL pages competing for the same term 

This should correct any cannibalization issues while improving their keyword rankings. 

5. Achieve Uniformity across International Sites

A majority of Smoothie King’s international sites do not have a subdomain (the Trinidad site is the only one with the subdomain). As a result, these sites carry different structures and functionalities that could use more uniformity. 

Achieving this uniformity will be a pretty large undertaking, but we have a few tips to help their team get started: 

  • For the Trinidad site, Smoothie King could create more content to offer more details on their location (how many stores in Trinidad do they have and where are they located exactly?). They should also illustrate differences or similarities their store location has with the rest of the franchise locations. Are there any special items offered exclusively in their Trinidad location? 
  • For the Korea & Grand Cayman site, the company should collaborate with their developers and designers to achieve uniformity in the structure and functionality of their site. This should present visitors with a similar experience Smoothie King’s other location sites offer.  

Discover What Big Leap Can Do for You

Now that we’ve dissected Smoothie King’s digital marketing, what are some ways you could improve your online potential? If you need a hand, reach out to us. We’ll get you started with a free audit. 

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