Published: March 07, 2021Updated: September 24, 202216 min read3 Comments
One of the most important things you can do for your brand as a new start-up is dedicating time to working on your SEO. Utilizing fashion SEO, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful FREE tools to help you get in front of your target customers. Each month alone my website virtueandvice.com gets over 20,000 unique visitors from Google search alone! That's all organic traffic that I don't pay a penny for. My SEO efforts might even be the reason you ended up here on my website, and are now reading this article!
In my 6-month mentorship program, I teach a full week that is dedicated to SEO. And, that is where I share all my super-secret tips on how I was able to get ranked in the top 5 for terms like fabric sourcing and sustainable manufacturing.
For now, I am going to give you 10 quick and easy, but powerful tips that you can implement today to increase your SEO for fashion ecommerce.
What Is Fashion SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Ok, but what does that even mean? If you don't already know (and that is totally ok if you don't) search engines are things like Google, Bing, and back in the good old day's Ask Jeeves, ugh I miss that dude. The point of fashion SEO optimization is to get your website and your content to the first page of search engines so when people are looking for what you are selling you pop up first.
Honestly, I don't know why more brands don't focus on SEO. I see so many founders worried about Facebook ads, and manipulating the Instagram algorithm, or doing silly dances for TikTok, they forget to go old school and tap into one of the most powerful FREE traffic resources out there.
Tip 1 - Learn How SEO Works, Like, Really Works
A lot of people think that the point of SEO is to get as many people as possible to their blog. And, while yes, measuring the number of visitors to your blog, also called click-throughs, is an important metric to determine if your SEO efforts are working, there is something even more important you should be tracking.
That is how long those people are spending on your website. Before you get started on your SEO journey make sure to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Keep in mind they both do different things. Google Analytics will tell you how much traffic you are getting your website, where is coming from, and how long people are staying on your site. Google Search Console will give you insight into the search engine keywords people are typing in that land them on your pages.
Pay Attention To Bounce Rate
You want to specifically look at a number called bounce rate. The bounce rate tells you how many people clicked on your website and quickly jumped off because your page didn't have what they were looking for. You want to keep this number as low as possible.
So, remember, it's not just how many people land on your pages, it's how long they stay on your page. And, if they click around to other pages, Google thinks that is even better.
The good news is I have a few strategies for you to get people staying, and even clicking on your site. So, save your cash, skip the SEO services and experts, and let me teach you how to go the DIY route.
First - Create Helpful Content
Remember how I said it's not so much how many people come to your website, but more about how long they stick around? The way to get them to stay longer is to create something helpful and captivating that they want to read.
There are companies out there that you can pay for "optimized" blog posts. But, the thing is those posts always sound like they were written by computers and/or people that might not really understand what you and your brand are all about. And, they often use old and outdated keyword stuffing techniques that end up actually hurting your SEO efforts (more on that later).
My recommendation to get started writing good content is to write it yourself. And really think, what would you want to read. Hint - I am sure it's not another round-up with the title "Top 10 Sustainable Fashion Brands". Get creative, and write about new things that are not only exciting for your readers to learn about, but also relevant to your brand.
Second - Be Keyword-Rich, Without Keyword Stuffing
The keyword is the search term you are targeting. For example, your keyword might be navy sustainable sundress. So, you definitely want that search term to come up a few times on your page.
When the keyword is in more than 1 place, that signals to Google that your article is about that topic, and maybe deserves to be ranked.
The first place you should definitely have the keyword is your main title. You should also put it in at least 1 subtitle. Lastly, the keyword should be included in the meat of the article a few times, but not too many. When the keyword comes up too many times this is called keyword stuffing and Google will penalize you for it.
A safe rule that I like to use, is to have the keyword a total (including heading and subheading) 3-4 times per 1000 words.
Third - Get Started Right Now
It takes time for Google to rank you. Generally, websites that have been around for longer tend to rank easier. So, even if your product is not ready, get that website up and running asap, and start creating content. The content you create can be about anything - lifestyle or your startup journey are two great topics to start with.
Really, as soon as you can start writing and start posting, because the sooner you do, the sooner you will rank.
Lastly, SEO Is A Marathon Not A Sprint
The other thing to keep in mind is that SEO takes time. Like, a lot of time, and that is why many people get discouraged and stop their efforts. On average it takes 6 months or more for an article to rank on the 1st page of Google. So, don't feel discouraged and give up. Remember you are in this for the long haul, and I promise your efforts today will pay off 1 year from now.
Tip 2 - Learn To Think Like Your Customer
This is a time when you should go back to all the branding and customer avatar work you did. It is going to be super helpful for this next exercise. Learning to think like your customer is the beginning of your keyword research.
What is your target customer typing into google? And, don't say sustainable fashion. This keyword is almost impossible to rank for because of the high competition. Think about the long-tail keywords they might be searching for.
A longtail keyword is just what it sounds like, a keyword with a lot of words in it. So, instead of sustainable fashion, you might try sustainable fashion sold in Boulder, Colorado.
Let's look more at the fashion ecommerce store example of navy sustainable sundress I gave earlier. Navy dress is a super competitive keyword because it is generic, but the longer and more detailed your keyword gets, the less competition it will tend to have.
The other thing is that by focusing on long-tail keywords you are helping your customer find exactly what they need. They don't just want any navy dress, they want a navy sustainable sundress, and you just so happen to be selling exactly that!
If you are having trouble thinking of longtail keywords to focus on, Google can help you with this research - here's how.
Finding Longtail Keywords
Type into google the keyword you are thinking about. Let's keep using the example navy sustainable sundress.
Look At The Titles
The first thing you want to do is look at the websites that are popping up on page 1. Read their titles, and analyze them. Do they maybe all have something in common? You can use the titles of the search results to find even more keyword phrases to focus on.
The articles that come up for navy sustainable sundresses are -
15 Affordable Ethical Dresses for Summer — The Honest …
22 Affordable Ethical Dresses for the Minimalist — Sustainably …
12 Fair Trade & Ethically Made Dresses We're Eyeing For …
12 Best Sustainable Party Dresses - Good On You
7 Online Stores Offering Stylish, Sustainable and Ethical …
8 Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy Update for 2020 – DoneGood
Navy Bodycon Side Split Dress: Fairtrade and Organic – Know …
Reformation: Sustainable Women's Clothing and Accessories
Here is the interesting thing with this search - non of the websites that show up for navy sustainable sundress are brands. They are all bloggers, magazines, and online publications. The second interesting thing is that none of them actually contain the keyword navy sustainable sundress in the title.
So, what does this mean for you and your SEO fashion plan? By writing optimized content with your keyword in the title, and specifically about your keyword only, you might just be able to rank for this!
Ideas For New Content
The other thing you can do with this info is to use it for research on other keywords you could, and maybe should be targeting. I good idea might be to write a listicle of 10 Sustainable Dresses and include yours on the list.
But, there is, even more, we can take from Google to learn about how our customer thinks.
Make Your Keyword A Question
The first thing to do is turn your keyword into questions. So, instead of navy sustainable sundress, now try googling, "where can I buy a navy sustainable sundresses".
Scroll down past the first couple of results and you will see a section called "People also ask" with about 4 alternative questions. For this example they are -
Where can I buy ethical dresses?
Where can I buy eco-friendly clothing?
What brands are sustainable?
What are the worst fast fashion brands?
Google is literally telling you what your ideal customer is googling! And therefore, what you should try to rank for.
And, pro-tip, if you click on each question, even more, will show up. Use these questions that people are also asking to help guide you to create more longtail keywords to target for your SEO plan.
One Last Place For Keyword Inspo
There is one more place on google to find keywords. Next, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. And, you will see a "related search" section.
For this example of we learn that other similar searches would be sustainable dresses
affordable sustainable dresses
sustainable womens dresses
affordable ethical clothing
sustainable cotton dresses
From one single keyword that you thought of (navy sustainable sundress), by using google search you now have now found 11 more keywords to help create a super targeted SEO campaign. And, all of them are highly relevant and exactly what your customer is searching for in Google.
Tip 3 - Optimize Your On-Page SEO
What Is On Page Seo?
On page SEO is what you can do on your website to increase your chances of getting ranked on Google's algorithms. For more advanced on page fashion SEO you might need to know a bit of coding. But, here is the good news, I am going to teach you the basics and you can implement them into your website and content immediately.
Follow The Rules
Google likes you to follow their rules. There are rules for how long your title should be, how you should break down your post with subtitles, writing a meta description, and even how you craft your URLs. If you follow their rules on your website, the chances of your ranking greatly increase.
Here is a secret. Even though I use Shopify for my website, I have a secondary WordPress account that I use to help me with on-page SEO. I then transfer everything over to the Shopify site once I create it on WordPress.
I am not an SEO expert, but I have not been able to find a tool for optimization quite as powerful and WordPress Yoast. Please, if you have suggestions for Shopify, let me know.
When you plug your content into Yoast, it tells you exactly what you need to change to make Google like your content.
If you can't or don't want to get Yoast, here are the basics of what you can do right now.
Use short sentences, and write like you are talking to a 5th grader, no fancy SAT words here. Keep sentences 15 words or fewer.
Write A Lot
For me, the minimum word count per post I use is 2,000 words. That is because on average, on all of google, pages that make it to the first page, generally have at least 2,000 words in them. If you can, try to write even more.
Use Your Keywords In Different Ways
For example, if your keyword is fashion SEO, you can also use terms in your article like SEO for fashion ecommerce. Get creative, and instead of using the same keyword over and over again, try using variations of it.
Use Lots Of Subheadings
It keeps your writing organized, and it helps keep people reading. Also, google does not like long chunks of text. The general rule is at least 3 subheadings per 500 words.
Tip 4 - Make Friends To Increase Your Off Page SEO
We just talked about what you can do on your own page to increase your SEO performance. Now, here is what you can do off your page to help boost your SEO ranking power even more.
It's All About Backlinks
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links on other people's websites that link back to your website and content. Getting backlinks, for many, is one of the hardest parts of fashion SEO. But, I have developed a 3 step plan to help you get them.
Step 1 - Create Really Good Content
Like I said earlier, it's not just about how long your content is, it's about how helpful it is. When you write really good content, and not just more of the same old stuff, people will naturally want to share what it is you are creating.
That is actually how I got featured in Sourcing Journal for the first time. My article on deadstock fabric completely changed the way the sustainable fashion community thought about deadstock fabric. It was so unique it was able to rise to the top of Google's search results and become number one. Once it was number one, publications including Sourcing Journal, started reaching out to me for quotes.
Pretty amazing right? Not only did good fashion SEO help me get to the top of Google, but it also helped me to become a go-to media expert on the topic.
Step 2 - Include Links To Others Websites
It's not all about you. I think that to succeed and be a leader in a space, you often need to give more than you take (that is why I give away so much free stuff on this blog).
So link to other relevant companies on the topic you are writing about. Spread that backlink love. And, I promise there will be something in it for you too.
Step 3 - Make New Internet Friends
Write an email to everyone you mentioned in your article and let them know you are talking about them. Often, when you are talking about other people, they want to let everyone know what people are saying about them and end up backlinking back to you and your content. #meta
Not only have I gotten a ton of backlinks using this method, but I have also made some new friends!
Here is the email template I send.
My name is _. I am the founder, product developer, designers, etc (who ever you are) of the brand _. I just wanted to let you know that I featured you in my latest blog post __ (blog post title, and hyperlink to it).
(keep the rest of your email short, and follow this general guide)
Sentence one, intro: Tell them why you respect them and why you chose to feature them in your article.
In sentence two: Tell them what you featured them specifically about.
Sentence three, be friendly: Tell them you would love to stay in touch.
Sentence four, closing: Ask (nicely + politely) if they would not mind sharing your article and spreading the love.
Thank you for your time,
your name website link social media link press link
And there you go, it's that simple to get backlinks. Create great content, link to people and brands you admire, then reach out to them and try to make a new friend.
Tip 5 - Speaking Of Off-Page Fashion Seo - Make Your Content Easy To Share For Even Better Results
The easier your content is to share the more it will get shared. It's really is as simple as installing a button, and asking your audience. Tip 5 is one of the easiest tips to implement with only 2 steps, but is also one of the most powerful.
Step 1 - Install Social Sharing Buttons
Shopify will do this automatically for you. But, if you are coding your own custom website, make sure to tell your website developers to code this in.
This way sharing your content becomes as easy as someone clicking on the icon.
You will see at the bottom of virtue + vice I have icons to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Step 2 - Don't Forget To Ask
Just because you have the buttons there, it doesn't mean that your readers will know what to do with them. So, let them know. At the end of our articles direct them to click the icons, and please share on social.
Personally, I feel like at least 80% of my google searches are on my phone. But hey, that is just me.
Google realizes that more and more people are using their smartphones, so they are starting to prioritize web pages that are mobile-friendly.
I know, I am a big fan of Shopify (at this point I feel like they should be paying me), but they make it super easy. All of Shopify's templates automatically integrate to make near-perfect mobile experiences.
Again, if you are having your website custom made (which I really don't recommend doing, because Shopify is so easy to DIY) remember to let your web design team know that the mobile experience is extremely important to you.
Google tends to favor content that sounds like a person talking. A few years back companies started trying to have AI write their content. They thought they could hack the algorithm and produce a ton of content without any effort. Google realized what was going on, and now they are really good at recognizing what it sounds like to "be human".
A great way to "write" content that Google will love is to actually use a voice-to-text translation service (it's free on Google Docs). This way you can speak like normal, and your words will be transcribed into text.
I think a big part of my fashion SEO success, is that I take really complex topics that I learned while getting my degree in textile engineering, and break them down so they are super simple for everyone to understand.
Not only does google like my easy to read, and relatable writing, but my actual readers like it too, and keep coming back for more.
Tip 8 - Get The Conversation Going
Engagement is important.
End Your Post With A Call To Action
Ask your audience a question and encourage them to leave a response in the comments. The comments section is a great way to strengthen the relationship between you and your readers. When you get to chatting via the comments your readers really get to know you, and you, your readers. And, that keeps them coming back again and again.
And, remember what I said all the way back on Tip 1? It's all about getting people back to your site and having them stick around.
Tip 9 - Drive Your Own Traffic
Use all of your platforms to drive traffic to your website. Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn - all of those places.
The trick is to post teasers of your content, and then encourage readers to click the link which will direct them to your website to learn more. By doing this you not only get more traffic to your page, which, as I already mentioned, Google loves, but, you also create backlinks via social media channels.
Now, these social media signals don't count as much as backlinks from a website. But, they do count for something and they do help.
The other place that it's crucial to share your content is to your email list. Think about it, your email list is literally a list of people who decided to sign up so they could hear more from you. Of course, you should keep them in the loop with the new content you create, and encourage them to pop back on your website to read it.
And, as a bonus, not only are you getting traffic to your website, but you are getting repeat traffic. This is another thing the Google Gods favor. They like to see that the same people are coming back to your website time and time again.
Tip 10 - Be Patient
I know it's hard. But, I promise if you do the work, eventually it will pay off.
I am going to get personal for a moment. My family has always been very supportive of everything I do, but when I started investing my time in writing content to work on fashion SEO strategy, they just didn't get it. I spent months, writing, and writing, and writing. And, all they could say were things like. Why are you writing so much, it doesn't make you money? And, do you want to work in the fashion industry or be a writer?
They just didn't get it.
But, I told them, talk to me in a year, because this was all going to pay off. To be fair, I didn't know if it would, but I believed it would. And a big part of the reason I believed in fashion SEO so much was because of my friend Rachel of the blog Hippie In Heels. She grew her blog over a few years from zero to almost a million readers a month just by focusing on SEO. She gave me hope that I could do it too.
And, I did it!
Let me be your case study - this is possible! You don't need a digital marketing degree. The truth is, you can do this for your own company to help grow your business to the next level.
1 more tip, because you know I always like to give you more than I promised. Here is a list of some of my favorite fashion SEO tools that I use myself to help get you started!