The fashion industry is highly competitive, dominated by mainstream brands with near-unlimited marketing budgets. Getting decent rankings on Google can seem like an impossible task for small to medium-sized fashion houses. However, with a little creativity, there are ways to fill the empty voids and possibly even outrank the bigger players.
Stop Overlooking On-page Optimization
We’re told time and time again that SEO is 90% backlinks. While this is true to a certain extent, that’s no excuse to ignore on-page optimization altogether. While you may assume that your time could be better spent elsewhere, that 10% is still a big part of the puzzle. In fact, when you’re working in the fashion business, on-page optimization is often key!
Granted, you will never acquire as many backlinks as the mainstream fashion brands – whose SEO budget is likely higher than your annual gross revenue – however, on-page SEO will give you a fighting chance of sneaking into the cracks. A substantial product description, backed up by META information could be all it takes to get ahead. Think about it, as a small retailer you may only have 100 items to optimize, while companies like Primark or H&M will have many 1000s.
Produce Skyscraper Content
Ranking for product and home pages may be tricky, but you have just as good a chance as anyone to rank for informative pages. Let’s take Bikerringshop (who sell men’s rings and biker jewelry) as a case study. This company is already quite niche; therefore, their product listings probably perform better than most “generic” fashion houses. However, in order to get that valuable link juice they also created a comprehensive ring size conversion chart: https://www.bikerringshop.com/Ring-Size-Chart_a/256.htm. While the page itself has little internal SEO value, the content attracts external links simply because it’s helpful. Bikerringshop have since managed to outrank many of the bigger brands for “ring conversation” specific keywords.
While skyscraper content doesn’t drive sales directly, it can serve as a viable gateway to your website, and make the whole link-building process a lot easier. Fundamentally, long-lasting quality SEO (in my opinion) is about contributing to the Internet and giving something back. Businesses that take, take, take may perform well on the short-term, but they will eventually suffer the wrath of Google!
Engage With Your Followers
Social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, are extremely powerful tools in the fashion world. While they won’t boost your website rankings, they will certainly bring in visitors. And what’s more important? Sales or keyword placements?
Run promotions and competitions, try to grow your Instagram, and encourage customers to take an active role in marketing themselves – even if they don’t realize it. Encourage past customers to post pictures wearing your items, respond to their comments and feedback, and try to give your company a “human,” rather than corporate, image.
Look to the Past
One of the biggest mistakes smaller companies tend to make is taking a broad approach to marketing. They often try to rank for keywords and products that, quite simply, aren’t worth ranking for. Instead, focus on the items that sell the most, have the highest return on investment, or are currently “in vogue.”
Listen to your accountant (they can do more than just crunch numbers) to get some insight into what’s working and what’s not working. In addition, keep constant tabs on your website’s analytics and try to capitalize on the trends and the traffic sources that deliver the highest ROI (Return on Investment). After all, what’s the point in spending cash on reporting software or accounting if you’re not going to use it?
If you’ve been pouring money into backlinks and generic search engine optimization techniques, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and rethink your strategy. When you’re a small player in a competitive industry the standardized rules that govern the Internet might not be the most effective, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try things that don’t conform to the norm. After all, if you always go with the grain you could end up with a website that’s forever trailing behind the corporate giants.