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Domino’s Pizza Delivers SEO

Domino’s Pizza. The one everyone knows, whether they like the pizza or not. Domino’s is a franchise. Each Domino’s Pizza is independently owned and operated, but buys from the main business and kicks back a percentage of profits towards an advertising and marketing fund.

I don’ t think I am ancient, but I do remember when Domino’s Pizza went national. I was a kid. Believe it or not, it was the first high-profile big brand pizza to go national. One-eight-hundred-dominos (1800-D-O-M-I-N-O-S). I hated it, because it wasn’t at all like New York pizza. By the time I moved into a dorm in Ohio, it was very popular. When I visited friends in NYC, they liked it for the take-out expediency, but didn’t consider it “real pizza”.

When we think of Domino’s, we think of the pizza we like (not necessarily Domino’s pizza), and we think of Domino’s advertising, and that Domino’s delivers in 30 minutes. Red white and blue box.  Big lighted signs. Coupons in the mailbox. Little cars with big plastic Domino’s signs attached with rubber bands. Television commercials. Whether you like Domino’s pizza or Sals’ or Tony’s, you may settle for Domino’s simply because “Domino’s Delivers”.

Did you see the  latest “Domino doors” advertising? It’s great. Domino’s Pizza Delivers, so now Domino’s is putting doors (delivery points) in parks and other public spaces, so people can order pizza and have it delivered in 30 minutes or less, even though they aren’t home. Back to basics, a brilliant move for our cell phone era.

In August, Marketing Direct interviewed Robin Auld, Domino’s Marketing Director in Europe. The killer question asked? What is the most important marketing channel for Domino’s. Would you believe the answer was search marketing?

Q: Email, direct mail, door drops, what’s the most powerful acquisition channel for Dominos?

A: In terms of acquisition I would have to say search marketing online; we do pay-per-click (PPC) and also search engine optimisation as well. People go to Google and search for pizza so it’s important that Domino’s is up there.

Search engine optimization (SEO) at the top of the list of most important marketing channels. And this from the guys who produce all that amazing advertising, beautiful branding, direct communications like door-to-door coupon drops, dedicated promotional trucks sent to community events, and the clever “Domino Doors” campaign sweeping Europe (helping us forget that  that US Domino’s employee arrest fiasco earlier this year).

Take away? Search marketing is essential, even for the biggest budget brands. Read the interview to see a bit more about Domino’s PPC and SEO targets.


  1. Gareth James wrote:

    I would love to know if the carry out their search marketing centrally or empower/train the franchisees to carry out their own local search marketing. I’m currently working on a project where this is the issue – it’s a great deal of work if you have to carry out all the individual local campaigns (and I’m only doing 600). Domino’s have 8000 franchises worldwide.

    In that interview, Gareth. I think it said they provide centralized services using the common funds, which makes sense since they benefit from the scale and don’t have separate web sites to optimize. 

    Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 2:09 am | Permalink
  2. John wrote:

    Sure enough, there they are at the top of Google for pizza. And it only took 200,000-something backlinks!

    When I went looking around to see how they got the edge over other well-known pizza brands, I couldn’t help but notice how many paid banners they’re buying with clean links & title text optimized for “pizza.” There are also hundreds of domains that seem oddly fixated on Dominos and linking back to them with optimized anchors.

    So… pretty much everything that Google tells us not to do, and things that small publishers get crushed for all the time. Go figure.

    Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 5:24 am | Permalink
  3. Jeremy Luebke wrote:

    It’s very much a chicken and egg thing. Search is very important, but they will be truly successful with search long term because they are a brand.

    Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink
  4. Dan Perry wrote:

    Love or hate the pizza itself, I couldn’t agree more; Domino’s is ubiquitous. Thanks for bringing the new campaign (pics above) to my attention. Got to love their out-of-the-box advertising; very impressive.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  5. Stever wrote:

    Pizza is local, and so is search related to it. Where Domino’s should be, and probably are focusing their SEO is in Google Maps. If you search pizza in just about any mid-sized to small city in the USA chances are Domino’s is showing in that local 10 pack at the top of the page.

    In the bigger centers though they can’t quite compete with those independent pizza makers who make amazing pizza and garner lots of reviews in Maps and other local review sites like citysearch, yelp, urbanspoon, etc… For the same search in Seattle I don’t see Domino’s till page 4 in maps.

    It actually looks like Domino’s has been seeding reviews in many of those smaller markets to help boost maps rankings. I just searched for pizza in Spokane WA, and for Wilimington, NC. Both have the same review, word for word, scraped from citysearch. Check on the username who submitted the review and she has submitted the same Dominos review for many many many locations in citysearch.

    Of the only 4 reviews the Seattle location has received, compared to the 80, 70, 50 or 20 some reviews the top ranked pizza listings are getting, 1 of them is of course that same spammy review added to what must be every location on the citysearch website.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Guru Crusher wrote:

    Wow, brilliant strategy by Dominos. Who would have thought to deliver to public areas. I wonder how much research they had to do to figure out where to place those doors? Did they go to Google and find out the populated areas around their areas, and then simply place these “doors” there?

    As for the seo adn SEM aspects, it just goes to show how little used DEX, and yellow pages and all those other directories are actually used nowadays. In fact, I have soem on my doorstep that are 2 months old!

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:44 am | Permalink