SEO for retailers, including online clothing stores, can be tricky. Depending upon how much time/effort one puts into optimizing their entire website, Google can be very kind or very cruel. However, with national online retail revenues as large as $300 billion at stake, no one would blame you for wanting a slice of that pie. For those selling clothes online, fashion SEO really boils down to doing a lot of leg work: making sure your website serves original, useful content and that your products and content are being promoted across social media. In today’s blog post, we’re going to show you how you can dominate in the world of online fashion retailing with 5 effective tips.
1. Optimize Your Product Pages
The number one challenge for any e-commerce store in fashion SEO is having unique content. Search engines do not like content that has been duplicated again and again. This is because Google wants to return high quality content and information to its users, so if your website is using syndicated product descriptions taken from the manufacturers, which have been copied and reproduced on countless websites selling the same products as you, then it strongly dilutes the quality of the content. Getting Google to perceive your content as being “high quality” is pretty much your main goal with SEO for retail.
Moreover, not only will you have a hard time gaining traction in Google rankings if you’re running on borrowed copy, but Google can even go so far as to penalize e-commerce websites with their Panda algorithm. If a site is hit with Google Panda, it will not be able to effectively rank unless the quality of their content drastically improves. Being slapped with a penalty or algorithm issue is the primary pitfall of SEO for retailers today and is definitely something you want to avoid.
The solution to avoiding all of this is simple but time-consuming:
1) Write unique descriptions for all of your products. Do not copy these from other sources.
2) Create relevant and optimized meta titles and meta descriptions for each product. More info on that here.
3) Optimize the product images with relevant, keyword-optimized descriptions. See above link for more information.
Quick Tip: Blog, blog, blog! The best way to add unique and interesting content to your website is to maintain a blog. Write about topics in your industry, share your insights and your passion, and then be sure to promote your content on your social media pages/profiles. Following all of the above instructions and eliminating all traces of duplicate content on your website should keep you Panda-free!
2. Engage on Social Media
Social media networks have become a major part of our personal lives. Being on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is a great way to express yourself and keep in touch with the people in your life. It’s addicting and it’s fun. While there is an old saying that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, in the case of SEO for retail, it’s actually very highly recommended. Reaching out to people on social networks should be part of your business model, because Google does factor social signals into search engine rankings. Thus, it’s a necessary part of retail SEO.
That’s not to say getting getting new followers, likes and +1s will boost you to page 1 overnight, but you can be sure that true interaction and engagement on social networks will have a positive overall effect on your rankings, so it’s something worth investing in.
Get started and become active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. While you may be representing your company/brand, be sure to act like a person and don’t force your agenda on these communities. Interact and participate as though you’re just “one of the guys/girls” sharing interesting content you find and trying to provide assistance to those with questions. For networks like Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn, there are plenty of fashion and style-related groups you can join to provide this kind of advice. Here is an example on Google+ called “FASHION!” that has over 260,000 members and the items posted there get a fair amount of engagement.
With Twitter, you won’t find groups, but you can search for questions (you can add a question mark at the end of a search query to return relevant tweets in the form of a question).
Keep at it and be genuine. Over time, you will prove yourself to be an asset to these communities, and your authority and social ranking signals will grow exponentially.
Quick Tip: Don’t spam. It’s easy to sign up to a site like Reddit and post a link to your website and then move onto the next website. Anyone can do it, but that doesn’t make it good marketing or effective for retail SEO. If you are transparent in your agenda to advertise yourself, you won’t be welcomed for long in social network groups and communities. You may instead find your post(s) deleted and your account banned. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but believe us when we say that’s not the kind of impression you want to make. Stick around, interact and try to help people. It’s that simple.
3. Implement Rich Snippets
To illustrate, let’s say you want to search for “ruby red slippers” in Google. You enter the query and among the typical search results that appear, one of them shows a five star rating and pricing. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to click on that one first?
For this reason, we strongly recommend implementing rich snippets for user reviews. If your online store doesn’t already have user review functionality, then you should most certainly add that too. Submitted user reviews provide more unique content for your site, something that is a constant challenge for e-commerce stores in retail SEO.
The only downside to rich snippets is that it can be difficult to implement. Ask your web developer if thy can do it for you, or as an alternative, Google Webmaster Tools has a feature called “data highlighting” that acts as a substitute for rich snippet markup that doesn’t require any programming knowledge.
Quick Tip 1: Make sure that your product pages include the following information required by Google and use schema markup to implement rich snippets: Product name, pricing, and availability (i.e. in/out of stock).
Have questions or stories about fashion SEO? Share with a comment below or contact us.