SEO Helps Cookie Giant Become Force in the Gift Basket Industry

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Traffic to Mrs. Fields website has increased 200 percent

Things were good at Mrs. Fields when the cookie giant hired SEO.com in April 2009.

Treats were flying out the door as usual, but company officials wanted everyone to know that Mrs. Fields also sold gift baskets. So they started spreading the word online. The business hired SEO.com, a Utah-based Internet marketing company that specializes in search engine optimization.

Since then, the number of people searching for gift baskets who visit the Mrs. Fields website has increased 200 percent.

And sales of gifts baskets have jumped about 20 percent each year since Mrs. Fields hired SEO.com, said Chris Kuhn, online marketing coordinator at Mrs. Fields.

“There was quite a bit of an increase,” Kuhn said.

According to Kuhn, “natural search is very important.”

“If you can get ranking high in natural search, which is free, I think that is important for any business,” he added.

Showing up in the search results on Google, Yahoo and Bing is critical for many companies.

But it takes work for websites to rank well in those search engines for competitive keywords.

“We’re ranked much higher than we used to be,” Kuhn said. “I would think organic SEO would work for any business that is trying to sell something.”

SEO.com helps its clients appear on the first page of Google for search terms people look for every single day.

“Search engines are the way that people find stuff on the Internet. If you have a business, but you’re not on a map, people are not going to find you,” said Dustin Williams, senior SEO analyst at SEO.com. “Search engines are like a map of the Internet. You want to show up for searches that are relevant to your industry.”

About 40 percent of the people searching for items on Google click on the top result. The top three search results receive about 80 percent of the clicks.

Two years ago, Mrs. Fields already ranked on the first page of Google for the search terms “cookie gifts” and “thank you cookies.”

But in the search results for “gift baskets”, “anniversary gift baskets” and “thank you gift baskets” Mrs. Fields was nowhere in sight.

“They really wanted to increase their presence in the gift basket market,” said Nick Bernard, an account executive at SEO.com. “We’ve increased Mrs. Fields’ visibility on page one for ‘gift baskets’ and a number of closely related terms.”

Before hiring SEO.com, Mrs. Fields did not rank in the top 100 search results for the term “gift baskets.”

“Mrs. Fields is now ranked No. 9 for ‘gift baskets.’ There is no doubt they have seen more business from this,” Bernard said.

He said the Mrs. Fields website appears on the first page of Google for more than 80 percent
of the company’s targeted search words.

Meanwhile, with summer just underway, Mrs. Fields is already looking forward to Halloween.
Sales usually increase in October as people buy ghoulish baskets decorated with monsters, witches and other festive characters.

“Lots of new products will be coming down the line starting in October,” Kuhn said. “I’m sure the catalog is being prepared right now for Halloween.”

Though holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day may generate more revenue for Mrs. Fields, Kuhn said the company is aggressively marketing its Halloween products because treat sales in October have been strong.

“We’ll have all sorts of new things: boxes, tote bags, tins,” Kuhn explained.

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Pat Parkinson
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