How ColourPop’s SEO strategy brings 5.7m monthly visitors
ColourPop's SEO strategy, driven by a substantial number of backlinks (1.1 million) and partnerships with lower domain authority websites, has been a key factor in its beauty brand success. They attract millions of visitors, maintain a low bounce rate, and prioritize branded keywords, combining navigational, informational, and transactional intent. By frequently updating content, launching limited edition collaborations, and optimizing the website with tools like Dynamic Yield, Findify, and Klevu, ColourPop engages visitors effectively and keeps them on the site for extended periods, contributing to their impressive standing in the industry.
ColourPop is a beauty brand like no other - it leverages on an in-house manufacturing facility to bring the ‘fast fashion model’ to the beauty industry. The company makes an estimated $100-500m in web sales.
The beauty brand itself is under a parent company named SEED Beauty, founded by siblings John and Laura Nelson in 2014. Their vision is to “make beauty enthusiasts’ dreams come true through continuous disruption”.
The founders are very low key and rarely do public interviews or profiles. John was CEO and Laura vice president of their family business Spatz Laboratories for over ten years before they co-founded SEED Beauty. Spatz Labs was a major supplier to large beauty brands such as L’Oréal. The siblings decided to incubate, launch and grow their own brands, creating brands such as ColourPop, Kylie Cosmetics, and KKW Beauty.
In this article, we do a deep dive into ColourPop's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. We will look at how they build domain authority using backlinks, drive traffic through partnerships and referrals, and keep site visitors engaged.
Build Domain Authority Using Backlinks.
ColourPop’s website has a relatively high Domain Authority score of 63, which allows it to rank higher in search engine result pages.
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater likelihood of ranking.
What helps the website rise above competition? Let’s look at their backlinks - of which they have 1.1m. (Source: SEMrush)
The number of backlinks going to their website increased steadily over the year and peaked in November, which is the same month as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. With 81% of their backlink types being text, the links likely came from articles or posts on other websites.
The majority (38%) of referring domains are low domain authority websites (in the range of a 11-20 score), indicating that ColourPop likely has partnered with many smaller or niche websites, mainly in arts & entertainment and beauty & fitness, to link back to their website as part of an affiliate marketing programme.
According to Builtwith, they use two affiliate apps:
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Drive Traffic Through Partnerships.
As a beauty brand pulling in 5.7m visitors to the website in January (and 7.4m visitors last November), they’re doing very well at winning over an audience. Site visitors are highly engaged, staying for almost 6 minutes per visit on average, and visiting an average of 5 pages. (Source: Similarweb)
The website bounce rate (for both desktop and mobile combined) is 40.5%. This is good compared to Shopify benchmarks, where the mobile bounce rate is 49.1% and desktop is 38.3%.
Where is their traffic coming from? Over half of their visitors (55.6%) come from direct traffic, with the majority of the rest (30.6%) coming via search. (Source: Similarweb)
Paid keywords only make up a quarter of their search traffic. (Source: Similarweb)
For the top 10 keywords, search intent for half of them was navigational (visitors looking for ColourPop Cosmetics itself), while the other half was informational (looking for the answer to a specific question) and transactional (a conversion event, in this case making a purchase).
All are branded keywords, meaning that visitors are already aware of ColourPop’s collaborations and are coming to the website specifically to find more details or make a purchase. (Source: SEMrush)
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Keep Site Visitors Engaged.
The average session duration benchmark for e-commerce is 2m 57s, but ColourPop’s stats are double that, with 5m 50s.
How do they achieve this? There are a few possibilities:
Refresh content constantly. ColourPop frequently refreshes the banners on their homepage, making every visit exciting and giving visitors something new to discover. With their ‘fast fashion model’ approach to cosmetics and complete control over their production line, they are able to launch two to three limited edition collaborations every month, driving most of their online conversation, while in the meantime still constantly producing their own collections.
Optimize your website with tech tools. ColourPop’s website is heavily optimized for a unique visitor experience.
Some of the tools they use on their website are:
Dynamic Yield - an app that automates conversion optimization and content personalization. One of the things it does is change and animate the browser tab title when the tab is inactive, alternating between “ColourPop Cosmetics” and “Hey, where’d you go? ✨” which encourages visitors to come back to the tab.
Findify - an app that offers real time personalized search, recommendations and collections.
Klevu - a search widget that uses AI to deliver the most relevant search results for a user.
In summary, ColourPop’s success as a business comes in large part due to their SEO strategy, which is built off a massive number of backlinks to their website through referral programs with low domain authority websites. They keep people talking about them through brand partnerships, driving traffic to their website. Once users are on their site, they work hard to retain their visitors with highly relevant and engaging content, optimizing their pages for conversion.
Their SEO strategy would certainly look different from, say, (ex) sister brand Kylie Cosmetics’ SEO strategy, where there are fewer backlinks (134k vs. ColourPop’s 1.1m) but many more referring domains (close to 22.5k vs. ColourPop’s 14.5k), with much higher domain authority - likely news sites, given Kylie Jenner’s celebrity status.
ColourPop’s story is proof that relying on a larger pool of smaller influencers, combined with a consistent production schedule and rapidly changing content including brand partnerships, is a strategy that works for non-celebrity business owners.