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Family bakery ranks on Google’s page 1 for top buyer-intent keywords 6 months after launch

“Ranking #1 for ‘macarons near me’ was the key to our growth. We had a hard time keeping up with the orders. We were #1 before Yelp and other big websites.”
Anthony Rosemond, CEO of Pastreez

About Pastreez:

Pastreez is a French Bakery where you can buy macarons and crepes online. It is owned and operated in California by a French couple, both chefs from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. The macaron delivery service is available for the entire United States. Yami and Anthony handcraft their French pastries daily in small batches.

Business Challenge: Assess the market and create organic customer flow to a brand new business

Pastreez started in 2017 with a French couple’s desire to move to California and a dream of opening their own macaron bakery. But it wasn’t going to be just a local bakery - Yami and Anthony Rosemond were going to deliver authentic French macarons all over the United States. 

For them, it meant two things:

       1. They needed to build a strong online presence with the majority of orders coming from organic search. 

“To me, organic acquisition is the basis of an online business. The recent iOS 15 update has shown how fragile paid advertising can be. Organic, on the other hand, reflects the reality: you cannot fake testimonials and reviews, you’re being transparent with your customer. Any healthy business that is going to last should make it a priority,” Anthony explains.

       2. Before making the big decision, Yami and Anthony Rosemond needed to assess the U.S. macaron market, the demand for the goods, and the direct competitors.

Ami’s passion for baking and Anthony’s side hustle in digital marketing were a good cornerstone for the future business but neither guaranteed success unless there was a demand and the right market conditions. The couple was looking to explore all of those from Paris, before making the big move.
 

Solution:

Market Research

Anthony started by researching the niche market he was going after. To determine the market size, he found the average monthly search volume for the main seed keyword - “macarons near me”. Anthony made sure to include a direct buyer intent to only estimate the users who were ready for purchase and exclude any informational searches (definitions, recipes, etc.).  

He did this by putting the keyword into the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool and setting the search database to United States:

The tool showed good search volume, low average keyword difficulty and low Cost Per Click - just the right combination of metrics for entering the niche! 

Spoiler alert: “macarons near me” soon became Pastreez’ top revenue-driving keyword and the key to their business growth. But more on that later!

“At the same time we saw the world-famous macaron maker Ladurée enter the American market which confirmed our theory and proved we were not crazy in our dream. Luckily, they didn’t offer direct shipping,” Anthony says.
 

Competitive Research

Next, it was time to find out how many companies were competing in the macaron market. 

Anthony started by putting in his seed keyword into the Semrush Keyword Overview tool and looking at who was ranking for it. 

He then clicked on each competitor’s URL which took him to their Organic Research - the tool showed other keywords those companies ranked for.

Anthony collected those keywords, grouping them thematically, and started going after them by building better pages in terms of SEO optimization and site speed.
 

Offline Market Research

Now that the groundwork was done and the theory confirmed, it was time for the big step: moving to California and doing the field research. Anthony and Yami started by selling macarons at local farmers markets, talking to customers and noting their favorite flavors. Anthony used that feedback to build the company website. The farmers market sales became Pastreez’ first income source but didn’t stay the only one for long.

Next, Anthony ordered macarons from several of his direct competitors. This way, he learned more about their shipping options, product and packaging. 

He made a second order a month later and compared the order numbers to find out their monthly order volume. He used the collected data for future benchmarking. 

Website Launch and Keyword Research

The Pastreez website was launched in September 2017 with only 3 product pages. As he was collecting Semrush data and farmers market feedback, Anthony distributed the core keywords (“macaron gifts”, “buy macarons”, etc.) among the existing and new product pages.

Thanks to his efforts, the quick and optimized website started ranking on Google’s first page within 3 months - just in time for the Christmas demand peak. At the time, organic non-brand search traffic was bringing in 85% of all orders with the rest coming from referral traffic.

Within 6 month after launch Pastreez ranked #1 for “macarons near me”.

“It was the key to our growth. We had a hard time keeping up with the orders. We were #1 before Yelp and other big websites,” Anthony shares.

As the time went by, more and more big players were entering the SERP and now it takes much more effort to stay on Google’s first page but 4 years later Pastreez is still a strong top-10 player.

Starting a Blog

While ranking well for the core keyword is a great accomplishment, Anthony acknowledges that having such a significant traffic share depending on one keyword is dangerous. In 2021, he started diversifying Pastreez’ keyword portfolio through blog posts.

Each Pastreez blog post targets a specific keyword. When researching keywords for an article, Anthony types the seed keyword in the Keyword Magic Tool looking for its variations and questions people ask around it. He filters the results by keyword difficulty and sets it up to 30, so the results are reachable. 

The tool allows to filter keywords by questions and sub-categories. In the case of macarons, it may be a color, occasion, gift type, etc. Even if it’s a niche keyword with a volume of 3000-4000 searches a month it still pays to answer this question with an article in the long run. 

He went on to research other occasions that entice people to buy macarons and came up with keywords like “gift baskets”, “gluten free” “wedding”, “baby shower” and others. Their combinations then become blog post titles, for example: “5 gluten free gift basket ideas”.

Anthony collects this data for content briefs which he hands it over to a freelancer.

Pastreez recently started offering French crepes, which has brought a new set of keywords to target. Anthony is trying to duplicate the tried and true “macaron” strategy to the new product.

Link Building

For a better chance of ranking for the new keywords, Anthony started a link building campaign. To find relevant and achievable link sources, he checked which domains were sending referral traffic to all of Pastreez’ top competitors. For this, he ran each of the competitor websites through the Semrush Backlink Analytics tool. He then filtered the domains by authority score to get a list of high-quality sources that would encourage Google to trust the new Pastreez website and improve its site score. 

The list of a competitor’s referring domains
That’s how he found quality blogs to offer a free macaron box for honest reviews. This tactic has worked exceptionally well both for link building and gaining trust of the potential customers. Now that Pastreez has established itself on the macaron market, requests have turned around: many blog owners reach out themselves. To sort out the low-quality websites, Anthony runs their domain through the Domain Overview and checks if their site authority would benefit Pastreez.
Semrush Domain Overview of a referring site
At the same time, Anthony started running Semrush backlink audits to detect and get rid of any toxic links that could lower Pastreez’ authority and, as a consequence, its chances for high rankings.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

As we know, Google prioritizes websites that are technically sound. To keep an eye on his website health, Anthony checks for broken links and other site errors in Semrush Site Audit. The tool allows users to set up weekly audits and sends automated email reports.
Finally, after implementing all the changes to the website, it’s important to watch the changes to its rankings. Anthony uses Semrush Position Tracking to get automated weekly emails with a complete ranking report. If he sees a significant drop for a priority keyword, he checks who surpassed Pastreez on the SERP, looks at what they did to achieve it and tries to do something similar to regain the lost positions.

Results

Pastreez ranked #1 for “macarons near me” within 6 month after launch. Four years later, its website still holds the top-10 positions on Google for the top buyer-intent keywords.
Today, 55% of Pastreez sales come from non-brand organic traffic, and estimated organic brand search sales are 10-15%.
Following the online success, Pastreez opened its first brick and mortar location in March 2021 in Phelan, California.
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