SEO for Fashion Brands & eCommerce Websites
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Exploring the importance of SEO for fashion brands
Many luxury brands have traditionally de-emphasised fashion SEO. They didn’t attach the same importance to it as they did social media and pay per click (PPC) advertising. In a way, that makes sense. After all, with social media and pay per click, you can set up a campaign quickly and analyse whether it’s getting the results you want within a day. SEO takes much longer to bear fruit and is harder to track.
But, in the last 12-18 months, we have seen renewed interest from fashion businesses in ecommerce SEO. That’s because 44% of people now use Google search to start their online shopping journey. 23.6% of eCommerce orders come from organic searches. To see the long-term benefits, check out this article on how Tiffany drives significant traffic to their e-commerce site via SEO by making it easy for their target audience to find them via organic search.
We’re VERB Brands, a London SEO Agency for Luxury & Premium Brands, and, in this article, we cover:
- The fundamentals of SEO strategy for fashion ecommerce businesses
- Why backlinks matter for your business
- How long search engine optimisation strategies take to work
When It Comes to Fashion SEO, the Fundamentals Remain the Same
Google is intentionally vague about its site indexing policies because it doesn’t want people to game the system. Its exact algorithms are commercial secrets. That said, it makes it clear what it does like through press releases and what it focuses on when it does update its algorithms.
Our SEO experts at VERB have years of experience experimenting on how to get the highest possible rankings for online stores. Through trial and error, we have discovered which low-hanging fruit online businesses should target first so that they get the quickest results. We then follow this up by embedding proven SEO techniques at much deeper technical and creative levels to ensure long-term consistency of results.
Below, we share with you seven SEO tips to make sure your category and product pages are as thoroughly optimised as possible to rank highly on Google:
1. Keyword Research
A keyword is not just a word. It can be a string of words. So, in the way that “skirt” (120,000 searches a month in the USA) is a keyword, so are “mini skirt” (44,000 searches) and “satin skirt” (9,000 searches). Diving further in, there are other keywords like “tennis mini skirt” that gets 1,200 searches and “satin skirt with slit” that gets 350 searches.
Key to choosing the right keywords for your site is understanding search intent. Search intent is why a searcher is looking for information. It could be that they want something and they’re doing research to see what options are right for them. It could be they know their options and they’re trying to decide the right choice for them.
For e-commerce stores, the keywords with the best search intent are those which indicate that they’re ready to buy. More often than not, they are “long tail keywords” like “satin skirt with slit”.
Keywords that feature greater detail like style, colour and even era are much more commercially valuable than short keywords like “skirt” for two reasons:
- By being so precise about what they’re after, they have made their choice. Now the decision is who they buy from.
- There’s a lot less competition for long-tail keywords meaning that they have a much better chance of landing an immediate page one finish.
From the perspective of the user experience, it’s better too. Someone searching for “satin skirt with slit” wants to get their results straight away and not have to sift through page after page and site after site to find what they want.
2. On-Page SEO
If it’s hard for potential customers to find what they want on your site, it’s hard for Google too. Google has a “crawl budget” – that’s the amount of time it spends indexing pages on an individual website.
The best way to ensure Google indexes as many pages as possible is to keep your site structure simple. The more pages it indexes, the more opportunities you have to compete for rankings.
Keeping women’s, men’s and children’s wear separate as well as accessories is a great start.
Go for a structure like “Home > Womenswear > Clothing > Skirts”. This has four distinct and logical hierarchical levels and is much easier to navigate for Google and your visitors than a fashion site with eight or nine levels.
Bake structure into your URL structure as well. This echoing emphasises the structure Google finds when it’s crawling giving it more confidence on what’s actually on a page. In this case, it would mean a URL like “fashion.team/womenswear/clothing/skirt/(brand name)_(garment name)”
Complete the title tag and meta description for every page. This is important because this is the text that potential customers see on the search engine results page.
One thing Google looks out for when crawling sites is internal linking – when one page on your site links to other pages on your site. You can tell Google which pages are more important by internally linking to them more often.
3. Site Speed
Google has always considered technical SEO and its effect on how quickly a website loads in its rankings. This is even more so since the introduction of the stricter Core Web Vitals set of standards.
Your site needs to be fast, especially in the ultra-competitive fashion market. Potential customers should not have to wait long for your site to appear, whether they’re visiting you via a desktop or a mobile device. The more they wait, the higher your bounce rate (how many people visit your site and leave without doing anything, including visiting a second page). Conversion rates on slow websites are lower across the board too.
Because more of us access the internet on our phones, Google now prioritises users’ mobile experience so make sure that your site is “responsive”. Responsive layouts automatically present web pages to fit different screen sizes.
WordPress, although a very popular web building tool, can be very slow. If you have to use it, spend extra on very fast servers or, better still, a content distribution network.
If you can, consider a more modern design platform like Shopify, Webflow, BigCommerce or Magento.
4. User-Friendly Product Pages
As well as fast downloading, you need to provide your user with a quality experience on your site.
Use the highest-quality images and videos to showcase your products. Make sure the name of the product is clearly displayed. Make it as easy as you can to choose different pattern, colour and size options ensuring that the price refreshes upon the selection of a variant.
Always use “alt tags” on the images contained on your product description pages too. These tags describe to users who have impaired site what the image is showing.
On a related topic, brands should optimise for Google Lens. Google Lens is an AI-driven image recognition tool. In April 2022, it was used 8 billion times around the world. Users open Google Lens and use the camera to frame the object they want to identify. Google then returns results of objects it believes match the image sent by the searcher.
Accurate “alt tagging” helps Google understand better what an object is as does adding structured data.
5. Image Optimisation
Nothing can slow down a website more than uncompressed images. Remember that your images and videos are being displayed on a pixel-based screen – they don’t need to have the same depth as a printed catalogue or brochure.
There are a wide range of compression tools available, many now built into web design and development platforms like Webflow. If possible, go for newer file formats like “webp” instead of the more traditional “png” or “jpg” formats.
6. Creating Enticing Copy
Pay as much attention to creating high quality content for your product pages just as much as you do for the other pages on your site.
Give the fullest description possible of each product, if possible marrying it to the heritage and history of your brand and the lifestyle customers see your brand as a gateway too.
The use of FAQ can help a webpage rank. To get inspiration for what to include in your FAQ, open an incognito window in Google Chrome, search for your product and use the “People Also Ask” questions.
Many retailers are now shaking up their product selection pages. For example, check out the third row on this Under Armour product selection page where they provide a quiz to help visitors find the ideal footwear for them. Brands should also consider replicating Fleetfeet’s inclusion of text describing product categories at the top of their selection pages for SEO purposes.
7. Colours, Fonts and Brand Consistency
Particularly important for online fashion retailers are colours and fonts. Remain brand-consistent across your site so that it matches with your offline brand expressions (like on store fronts, shopping bags, on-the-page advertising and so on).
Make sure that your call-to-action buttons stand out on the page. If possible, colour-code buttons so that one colour signifies making a purchase, another colour booking an appointment, another colour leaving an enquiry and so on.
Regarding appearance, keep pages uncluttered and elegant. Question the value of everything on the page before upload. If something on the page is a barrier to your desired outcome, consider leaving it off. For example, does it help you sell more by having a list of recommended blogs on a product page? Perhaps not because if they choose to read one of the posts, the buy button won’t be on that blog page.
Keep Adding New Content
Earlier, we mentioned Google’s “crawl budget”. The greater the number of new pages and volume of revised information it finds every time it visits your website, the more budget it allocates. If you don’t keep the site updated, then traffic will generally fall after an initial burst.
Blogging offers fashion brands an excellent opportunity to target more relevant keywords not covered by their product range. Blogs also provide great internal linking opportunities to showcase particular products you want visitors to see.
As well as covering lifestyle information, keep visitors up to date on the latest fashion trends and news about your company and the products you’ll be launching shortly.
Building Authority With Backlinks
While internal linking is very important, link building from third party websites is even more important.
Every time an established fashion blog links back to your website, this benefits not only the page they’re linking to but every page across your entire site.
The more high-quality blogs and articles you feature on your website on the latest trends, the higher the chance that fashion bloggers will link back to you. Digital PR is also a highly effective way of doing this.
Remember, SEO Takes Time
It can take 6-18 months for SEO to have a transformative effect on the number of visitors your site receives. You can track how you’re doing using the following SEO tools:
- Google Analytics. Add the analytics tag to your website to receive live reports on traffic and where it comes from.
- Google Tag Manager. These code snippets allow you to track conversions, marketing campaigns, Facebook Pixels and more.
- Google Page Speed. Provides suggestions on how to improve page speed on both desktop and mobile versions of your site.
- Google Trends. Previously called “Zeitgeist”, Trends allows you to track the relative popularity of keywords and search terms over time.
- Keyword research tools. Use Ahrefs and SEMRush to better understand which keywords to target.
- Writing tools. Although the jury is currently out on AI-generated script and Google’s ability to detect it, tools like SurferSEO and Clearscope can help your copywriters decide which keywords (including long-tail) to include in text.
- Heat mapping tools. Understand better how visitors interact with your site by understanding where they scroll to, what they click and what they look at the longest.
Although social media has no direct influence on SEO, it’s a highly effective way to market and amplify your site while you’re waiting for your pages to climb up the rankings.
Work with a luxury brand industry specialist
For over 10 years, VERB Brands has powered SEO campaigns for online fashion retailers, helping to drive traffic and revenue.
Monthly search figure metrics quoted in this article derived from Ahrefs in December 2022.