An apparel company focused on selling patriotic t-shirts and ugly Christmas sweaters came to us looking to sell more apparel. They were committed to spending a healthy sum on social media ads, which was helping attract new customers and create semi-viral sensations from comedic and controversial patriotic swag.
The original thought was to use Markitors for email marketing. With a growing base of new customers, email automations and ongoing campaigns to promote new releases and sales made sense.
But what about SEO? With patriotic shirts being searched 6,300 times per month, was there a greater opportunity to sell more apparel online?
There’s more than a few challenges when it comes to selling apparel through SEO. All of these challenges were prevalent in our engagement with this patriotic t-shirt company.
Here are the main challenges that SEO needs to overcome and plan for:
- Competition. Apparel companies need domain authority to outrank competitors.
- Target keywords. Selecting the right keywords with sufficient search volumes enable a company to build a business from SEO.
- Technical structure. Websites built on popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento come with a host of technical SEO issues.
- Inventory changes. T-shirts often sell out before they have the time to rank organically. With an apparel company built to capitalize on the moment, taking on inventory after demand has passed presents a big risk.
Taking all of this into account, we set off to optimize an apparel company who had built some positive momentum through social media ads.
The SEO solution for an apparel company consists of three areas: Content, Links, and Technical SEO.
For Content, we focused on areas like:
- Keyword Research. Selecting the right keywords with sufficient search volume and low ranking difficulty could help category pages rank organically. We targeted keywords like “patriotic shirts” and “semper silkies” and “dd214 blanket.”
- Page Title Tags. A critical part of an ecommerce SEO engagement is optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions of priority pages. Without an optimized title tag, users won’t click and pages won’t rank. Implementing optimized title tags and meta descriptions, while time consuming, is a critical step early in an engagement.
- Blog Posts. Creating content that targets higher search volumes is done well through blog posts. We targeted keywords like “X” and “Y” to help increase organic search traffic.
For Digital PR, we focused on:
- Competitor Success. By reverse engineering how competitors received backlinks, we were able to make sure our apparel company client appeared in the same places with the same links.
- Reverse Image Search. Some blogs feature a t-shirt without knowing where it can be found online. Using a tool like TinEye we were able to identify several blogs that had featured a t-shirt, but had not linked back to where a customer could purchase the shirt: on our client site.
- Internal Linking. By consciously altering internal links to product pages and collection pages, we could communicate to search engines what a page was all about.
For Technical SEO, we focus on:
- Duplicate Content. A common culprit in eCommerce SEO, duplicate content can confuse search engines on which page to index. By setting proper canonical tags, we could communicate to search engines which page to crawl.
- Broken Links. Inventory moves fast in an apparel company. Sometimes, the removal of inventory means lots of broken links that are left behind. By implementing 301 redirects for 404 pages, we could communicate to search engines that our apparel company site could be trusted.
- ALT Tags. Search engines can’t read images. But, they can read ALT Text. By optimizing every image on the site for size and ALT Text, we could better our chances of appearing in Google Images – a critical element of search engine results pages for apparel related searches.
We sold more patriotic t-shirts and ugly Christmas sweaters.
More specifically, we started our SEO journey with the site when it was attracting 500 visitors a month. Now, it receives more than 60,000 visitors per month. And more importantly, SEO is a reliable source of sales.
By creating value through SEO, we were also able to reduce our paid advertising costs.
Much of the SEO success could be attributed to building domain authority through referring domains:
All in all, the company has been very successful in becoming a clothing brand and selling apparel online.