With the U.S. fashion market expected to exceed $295 million in revenue by 2025, brands in the industry are doing everything they can to increase their reach and stay ahead of the competition. With so much business moving to digital storefronts, SEO is vital for modern fashion brands. At the core of any SEO strategy is keyword research. Not only do keywords offer a window into how your target audience thinks, but they also help you craft content to meet that audience’s needs, bolstering your chances of climbing the ranks of organic search and capturing valuable revenue in the process.
While keyword research can be time-consuming, the payoff is more than worth it in the end, as it gives you a foundation upon which to craft more quality content, optimize your website for users and search engines, and ultimately bring more qualified, conversion-friendly traffic to your website. Here are all the steps you need to begin researching the best SEO keywords for your fashion marketing campaigns.
There’s a lot that goes into effective keyword research, but the best way to begin the process is to start with a list of questions and topics related to your business. You need to put yourself in the shoes of one of your fashion customers. Once there, ask yourself the following questions:
While these are just a few questions among many possibilities, their function remains the same: to understand your target audience, what they’re interested in, and what questions they have.
A list of seed keywords can help you define your niche and identify your direct competitors. To begin finding your seed keywords, start by jotting down the phrases that best describe your products and services. This will help break down your business into general topics, letting you pick the most valuable and research-worthy keywords from each. Once established, you can build entire strategies around seed keywords and spin your research out into variations and long-tail phrases.
For fashion brands, an excellent method for going about this process is to head into your website’s navigation menus and look for keyword terms in the catalog. These might include words like “Swimsuits,” “Jackets,” “Dresses,” “Tops,” “Pants,” “Footwear,” etc. Throw a few modifiers into the mix, and you’ve got “Men’s Jackets,” “Women’s Footwear,” “Women’s Swimsuits,” and dozens more options. From there, you can go about exploring some of your website’s subcategories, product filters, and company descriptions, finding even more variations for your list.
Google is always aiming to provide users with the most relevant results to their queries, and they base their rankings heavily upon which websites can provide that in their content. As part of your keyword research, you should always be looking to match your keyword strategy to the intent of your target audience. For fashion marketers, that means focusing on three of the four different kinds of searcher intent. These are as follows:
Informational: This person is hunting for information, likely to answer a simple question. Common fashion examples might include “What color should I wear with white shoes?”, “What’s the top print for Spring?”, “What are the top fashion trends this year?” Keywords with informational intent can help to establish your brand as an authority in the fashion business, especially if you’re adding landing pages or blog content that answers common fashion questions.
Commercial Investigation: This person is looking for a specific product, but they’re on the fence about purchasing it. In other words, they’re probably looking for reviews or comparisons first. Fashion examples might include “best cocktail dress,” “Gucci vs. Prada,” or “best heels for date night.” In general, these kinds of keywords help you to make content that convinces potential customers that you’re better than the competition.
Transactional: This person is clearly looking to make a purchase. They likely already know what they want to buy, so they just need a place to buy it from. Fashion examples include “handbags for sale,” “buy floral dresses,” or “sleeveless romper.” These types of keywords would mostly tie into your current product line, as they’re used to optimize your product pages and local SEO content.
Important Note: Even if your fashion business is primarily eCommerce, don’t just focus on transactional intent. You’ll build a more complete sales funnel and stand a better chance of reaching customers at every stage of the buyer journey if you create content that appeals to each type of intent.
Effective keyword research also requires picking the right keyword research tool for your business. While there are lots of free and paid alternatives to choose from, we’ll focus on a few of the most popular choices below. These include:
As one of the most widely used keyword research tools, Google Ads Keyword Planner is also one of the easiest to jump into, helping to generate a sizable list of words and phrases based on your chosen seed keywords. You can then evaluate the data using metrics like search volume, competition, and bid ranges, following up your evaluation by removing any negative keywords (words you wish to exclude from your campaign). By the end of the process, you should be left with a shortlist of keywords that are similar to your seed keywords.
That being said, you’ll want to remember that Google Ads is primarily aimed at advertising forecasts. This means that if keyword A has 3,000 queries per month and keyword B has 1,000, we can’t be too sure about the accuracy of those numbers, but we can reasonably assume that the first keyword is likely to bring in more traffic than the second. Similarly, Google Ads will display the total number of Google forecasts for that keyword across the web, while Google Search Console will only show queries that returned your pages in Google Search Results. With that information in mind, it’s also worth noting that while Google Ads is a powerful keyword research tool, pulling search statistics directly from Google, the stats it provides are pretty basic. It’s also intended for advertising campaigns and is best used for transactional keywords likely to result in a conversion. You will want to use supplementary tools to assist with research for other types of keywords.
Different from Keyword Planner, Google Search Console (or GSC for short) is used to search for keywords you already rank for, giving insight into the keywords and phrases people are typing to get to your website. In other words, GSC helps to establish a baseline for keyword performance. From there, you can use the data you’ve gathered on your existing keywords to separate them into two categories: well-performing keywords vs. poor-performing but worthwhile ones. While Google Search Console can help in several other ways to measure and optimize your fashion website’s performance, its use for effective keyword research is one of its biggest highlights.
Once you have a list of seed keywords and data from your chosen keyword research tool, you’ll want to look at the search volume of each keyword. This is usually measured in average monthly searches. Ideally, you’re looking for keywords with the highest search volume, as ranking highly for these terms means more potential traffic or conversions for your business.
That being said, higher search volume keywords come with a caveat: they’re tougher to rank for, especially if you’re a smaller fashion brand going up against more established ones. That being said, you don’t want to go too low on search volume, as you risk creating content that fails to convert anyway, wasting a lot of valuable time and research effort. You want to find a balance between volume and difficulty scores.
Remember the advice above about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes? This ties directly into a valuable trick for fashion and eCommerce marketers, and that’s long-tail keywords. What are long-tail keywords? They’re highly targeted search phrases that specifically serve searcher intent. Usually comprised of multiple words, they tend to have low search volume and low competition but carry higher clickthrough and conversion rates.
This is because they communicate a clear customer need that you can solve. When you understand that searcher intent, you can create content to address very specific queries. As a result, you’re in a better position to convert from those opportunities, as these types of keywords also have a higher commercial intent. In other words, these kinds of keywords flash a sign that says “this person will take some kind of action,” whether that’s inquiring about a product, gathering more information, or purchasing it outright.
To give an example, let’s say you have someone searching for dresses. A user searching “short sleeve dress for parties” indicates a clear intent to find a dress for an event. On the other hand, someone searching “dresses” or “short sleeve dresses” is a lot less clear. That searcher might simply be checking out what’s available or searching out of general interest.
VELOX Media is constantly on the lookout for new clients, especially for industries we specialize in, like fashion. As a result, we’re always looking for ways to make ourselves stand out on Google and other search engines. When fashion companies look to bolster their advertising, we want to show up at the top of the list when they search Google for words like “fashion marketing agency” or “fashion digital marketing.” Our process to make that happen begins with thorough keyword research, wherein we target that user intent. If we’re lucky, these companies find our website right away, are impressed by our case studies in the industry, and decide to find out more. While the conversion process is a bit more involved, our success hinges upon Google and other search engines recognizing that our services matched that user intent, giving us the chance to try and convert those customers before our competitors.
Speaking of competitors, it’s important to remember that while search volume is important to consider in keyword research, ranking difficulty is equally, if not more important in the long run. In an industry as fiercely competitive as fashion, it’s very difficult to rank for competitive keywords without help. In an ideal scenario, this means that you’ll want to focus on keywords with a high search volume but low competition. While these will be understandably hard to find, requiring some real work, patience, and perhaps a bit of luck, the payoff will be worth it in the end. If you’re interested in ranking for the higher-difficulty transactional keywords, VELOX Media can help. Read this fashion digital marketing case study about how we outranked key competitors for keywords around wedding dresses and gowns.
Checking out the competition is a part of every business, and that includes SEO keyword research. You’ll likely compile a lot of keywords during the process, so it only makes sense to check out every avenue you can to determine where to begin prioritizing first. Your strategy might include going after high-volume keywords your competitors aren’t currently ranking for. On the other hand, you could also check which keywords from your list your competitors are currently ranking for and prioritize those instead. The former strategy is great for when you want to take advantage of your competitors’ missed opportunities, while the latter is a more aggressive strategy that can potentially set you up to compete for keywords your competition is already performing well with.
At the end of the day, effective keyword research requires a lot of moving parts which, if implemented properly, can help your brand rise above the ranks in organic SERPs and capture valuable revenue in this wildly competitive industry. By digging into your core audience, you can set actionable SEO goals that you can build on over time. That being said, if you don’t have the resources or time to manage it all in-house, we’d love to help! By partnering with the digital marketing experts at VELOX Media, you gain an experienced team that can analyze your target consumers and develop a custom strategy that not only reaches them but engages them and compels them to action.
Reach out to VELOX Media today to learn how we help grow your fashion business with effective keyword research and a campaign tailored to your brand’s needs, voice, and target audience.