Search Engine Optimization

Madame de Pompadour Needs Skin Care

As I mentioned in my first post in this series, Developing Legendary SEO, I believe I’ve come up with a way to make the subject of search engine optimization more understandable to those who haven’t spent as much time pondering the subject as we at Adroyt have. For the series, we’ve lined up a historically significant roster of characters to use as examples of nailing excellent SEO on a website or blog, such as this week’s protagonist Madame de Pompadour.


Madame de Pompadour and Her Skin Care Needs

Madame de Pompadour’s dressing table
Madame de Pompadour’s dressing table in her apartment in Versailles.


One of the most surprising facts of Madame de Pompadour’s story is that the infamous mistress of Louis XV was in dire need of skin care. David Mynders Smythe describes her struggles with the cosmetics of the day in his book Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France when he explains she would sit at her dressing table in her apartment at Versailles each morning, “charmingly disordered in a loose negligée,” and try to repair the ravages of the night before.


Madame de Pompadour painted by François Boucher
A portrait of Madame de Pompadour painted by François Boucher in 1750.


Among the plethora of “cosmetics” that the Marquise “so assiduously applied to her porcelain complexion” were pastes, scents, vermilion rouge, vegetable rouge, mineral rouge, chemical white, blue for veins and Maille vinegar for wrinkles. “They contained poisonous red lead and mercury, and the carmine with which she rouged herself caused itching and headaches,” Smythe reports. “The itching she could alleviate with an ivory scratcher, but the headaches remained chronic.”


Skin Care Manufacturer to the Stars

Pompadour as Diana the Huntress
“Madame de Pompadour as Diana the Huntress,” a portrait by Jean-Marc Nattier circa 1746. Note the inflamed, um, I mean rosy checks!


Let’s say you owned a company called Little Cabinets Cosmetics that manufactures the perfect products to alleviate the Marquise’s challenges and you want to sell them to her. How would you get her attention given you are a complete unknown to the court of Louis XV and you’d have a tough time getting through the front gate at Versailles, much less into the boudoir of this famous femme with dreadful skin problems? If you’ve done the upfront heavy lifting of branding yourself and installing all of the tools you’ll need to created excellent SEO practices, you’re well on your way to becoming the next big sensation to be discussed along the galleries peopled by the ancient régime!


 Pompadour & Marquis de Marigny
This 1754 painting, “Madame de Pompadour & Marquis de Marigny” is by Alexander Roslin.


If your site is on WordPress, you will have installed the SEO Yoast plugin right away, of course, as it is the first of the important tools we recommend. If it’s an e-commerce site, such as our adroyt LABS on Shopify, it’s even easier to plug in content that fills the different pieces to the SEO puzzle. Among the most important on WordPress are the Focus Keyword and Meta Description (or Snippet) for each page featuring the potions that make rashes and headaches disappear. If you have an e-com site, you’ll only need to compose a snippet. Let’s call the product the Madame so desperately needs Mercury Repair since it is a veritable antidote to the poisoning she has been experiencing. Choose the Focus Keyword Mercury Repair and create your snippet, which is limited to 160 characters (with spaces). If we were writing it, it would sound something like this: Little Cabinets Cosmetics’ Mercury Repair serum is healing shin care that relieves lead and mercury poisoning experienced by the most fashionable courtiers. [It is 156 characters with spaces.]


Engage Madame de Pompadour and Her Courtier Cronies

Pompadour in the fashion of her day
François Boucher painting this portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the Mistress of Louis XV, in 1758.


To give your WordPress pages more punch, have luscious photography done of your products and make sure each has alt and descriptive text filled in, even if you don’t need captions. On e-com, you’ll only have to deal with the alt text. Then be sure to do a blog post featuring flattering images of her wearing the latest fashions—strategizing the alt and descriptive text to make sure that when she is mentioned online her “Google Alerts” will flow into her inbox. We discuss the issues relating to this in detail in our Alt and Descriptive Text downloadable tutorial on our LABS site. You will also want to tag the influencer in social media, and engage with her courtier cronies once you’ve put your post up. Say she has a Tumblr blog she populates religiously: make sure you engage with her there. But watch your analytics closely to understand from which platform your most valuable traffic is pouring in from this fashion-forward crowd all the while.


A learned Madame de Pompadour
This portrait of Madame de Pompadour is also by François Boucher, her favorite court portraitist.


We’ll end today with a caveat that most of you won’t want to hear: amassing valuable organic SEO gains is a slow burn; it takes persistence and patience mixed with heavy doses of quality and intelligence to be relevant in a search engine’s criteria. We’d love to know if this post was at all helpful to those of you creating content so leave a comment if you feel it was (or not).

If you would like to know more about the woman behind the skin problems, there is a wonderful profile piece titled Madame de Pompadour, More than a Mistress on the NPR station WNYC:



Text of Madame de Pompadour Needs Skin Care © adroyt, all rights reserved. Unless otherwise stated, the adroyt blog is written by adroyt’s CEO Saxon Henry. If you haven’t done so, check out our initial launch of our downloadable knowledgebase tutorials on adroyt LABS. We’ll be debuting more of the interrelated subjects in the months to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *