It’s common knowledge that SEO is ever-changing, and now more than ever should be carried out strategically and according to the limitations and boundaries to each industry and specific area of choice. What may have worked a few years ago, for example keyword stuffing and spammy links, now will get you penalised and are easier than ever to track. This might lead you to wonder – what works in the realm of fashion SEO?
You’re in luck, as today I will delve into 5 tips which are useful to both online e-commerce boutiques as well as independent labels that we recommend in order to not only boost your presence amongst search engines, but also generate a quality website that will have long-lasting benefits for your brand. In order to best optimise a Fashion strategy, we recommend you partner up with a respected and proven Digital Agency to ensure all your efforts are maximised and you can work together to develop a strategy best suited to your requirements.
1. Form relationships with bloggers
One of the best ways to get your brand name out there and generate more leads to your website is to partner up with a fashion blogger. We recommend you research some prominent bloggers that portray the style, feel and overall image that you are aiming for your brand, as it’s important to align yourself with an ambassador that will appropriately and genuinely represent your brand. When getting in contact with them, show some interest in sending samples, or suggest creating a “look book”, or even offering a special deal to their subscribers for a discount. For example, offering their readers 10% off a new collection will drive their followers to your site, although bloggers also usually ask for a portion of the sales that apply this voucher at checkout.
If you look at the most prominent fashion bloggers out there, they already form various partnerships with established brands, and they are essentially assigned as their brand ambassadors. Upon sending samples, once a piece is styled appropriately, on many instances a blogger’s followers will look for the specific piece – although many bloggers will link your website as a thank you for sending a sample. It is essential to acknowledge that sending a sample does not always receive a review or a mention, and that’s just a risk you have to take (unless you have a signed agreement prior).
Some prominent fashion bloggers that partake in relationships with various brands include bloggers such as Tuula, Serendipity Rose, Rumi Neely, and Style Milk. I would recommend personally searching for and contacting ‘up and coming’ bloggers that are still growing rather than established bloggers who already have a lot of connections with other brands and might be out of budget. It is also important that they convey the image of the brand entirely; otherwise they are unlikely to accept working with you or showcasing your pieces, which may mean that efforts will be put to waste.
2. Create Landing pages for Brands
If you are an online fashion boutique, create landing pages with the most prominent brands you carry will help significantly. Many times, potential consumers find themselves searching for specific brands they are drawn to rather than looking for online fashion boutiques, as they assume that the stores that stock the brands they are interested in are the ones that will be worthwhile. Make sure to put some relevant history of the designers, previous collections and perhaps sneak peeks of upcoming collections. Make sure they are effectively optimised, and assure you are effectively targeting the appropriate keywords.
You can also target the name of a specific brand through Google Adwords, which is commonly known as “pay per click” advertisement. A great example is shown below:
3. Sale Coupons & Shipping
This isn’t directly tied in with SEO, but in the long run will help with your image, word of mouth mentions and will encourage customers to return. In the competitive world of fashion, now-a-days it’s a given that online stores will provide free express shipping (usually with a minimum spending, e.g. $50.00+, but some stores provide this will all orders, such as Princess Polly as shown per image).
Usually, if a consumer is hunting for something specific, they will not buy the item from your site if it doesn’t offer free shipping, specially if another store is offering the same item to ship for free. If a consumer logs on to your website and doesn’t discover free shipping, then there will be a high chance that they will leave, affecting your “bounce rate” (discussed in tip #5) and therefore negatively impacting your fashion SEO efforts.
Another trick which seems to work are prominent discount codes that are clearly legible on the website, as it raises the question – “why should I buy this item from your store when your competitor has a 20% off coupon?”. These can be put on the website, sent via email notifications to your subscribers, or updated on Facebook as a special sale (“Treat yourself to a weekend outfit with 20% off, or “10% off long-weekend!”).
Online store Beginning Boutique displays discount codes and important updates on the very top of their page, so they are visible and provide a competitive advantage from other online stores at first glance. They are a great way to entice new consumers, and deem extremely attractive for returning customers too!
4. Social Media
Although it is a given that you most likely already own and frequently use a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, there are ways you can significantly increase their utility.
A wise man once told me that the key to making a well-balanced and interesting Facebook that was engaging but equally opportunistic was to divide your content in a 20:80 ratio. 20 per cent of your content can be self-promotion, including advertising new products or something that gains direct benefit, whilst the other 80 per cent should always be something that directly benefits the reader. This can range from a contest, to interesting content that is likely to get shared and generate conversation and topic – you want a positive discussion occurring on your turf! Post three outfits and ask your readers what their favourite one is (and perhaps give a lucky reader 10% off the outfit) or ask what your readers think about up-coming trends (and whether it’s worthwhile stocking them in your store).
One of the greatest ways is through “sharing contests”, by which you ask your followers to “share” a specific post and like it in order to be in the draw to winning a specific piece. The winning item does not necessarily have to be a fashion related item, but can also be tickets to a fashion or music festival, an accessory, or something of value to your followers.
As mentioned previously, the key to doing anything on social media is that it benefits your followers as well as yourself; so being in the draw to win something appealing will generate the sharing of your content, therefore more exposure to you – it’s a win-win situation. It’s important to do this in moderation and according to how many followers you have, otherwise it might get annoying and defeat the purpose.
Additionally, whenever you update a new product, announcement, discount or any relevant content on your website, we recommend sharing it through all your platforms [you can use something like Hootsuite to effectively manage all your social media platforms].
If managing your social media platforms is a bit too difficult and you’re not getting any results, we recommend you partner up with a Social Media strategist that can answer all your concerns and help you develop the most appropriate fashion SEO strategy for your business.
Above are some examples of interesting, relevant content that Boutique store Dissh undertakes on a frequent basis. Note the number of likes, although it is not linked to self-promotion and has high share rates – exactly what you should be aiming for in your 80 per cent time.
5. Optimised Website
Why is having a functional, user-friendly and responsive website so essential? Simply put, because otherwise all of your hard work and marketing efforts will be put to waste. Any Digital Agency will tell you that in this day and age, responsive web designs are a MUST – but what does this mean? Asos provides an excellent example of a fashion e-commerce website expanding into this area and optimising their layout for any browser. Whether you view it from a computer, to an iPad or tablet or even on your phone, it will be optimised for easy use and you will be able to navigate according to the platform you are using.
A responsive design is often linked to reducing your “bounce rate”, which has an impact on SEO. A “bounce rate” essentially measures those who visit your website and leave quickly after, rather than taking the time to browse through your website. Google measures how engaging your website is through this bounce rate, and considers websites with high bounce rates to not be very popular or relevant, therefore preventing you from having higher rankings.