Has ASOS stolen the Holy Grail of Fashion SEO?

If you are searching for the Holy Grail of Fashion SEO, you’ll probably look to the big player: ASOS. So how has ASOS managed to become the most successful fashion e-tailer of our time in just a few short years? In this blog I will analyse what ASOS is doing right and share some actionable steps you can take to claim a bigger slice of the pie.

The Fashion Keyword Universe – What is the size of the prize?

The search volumes for fashion keywords are constantly rising and the industry is not only one of the biggest but also the most diverse search landscape out there with new styles, colours and trends every month. With a keyword set of 53k high street fashion terms and over 16.1 million searches per month, every little percentage of the market share is worth fighting for. It comes as no surprise that over 80% of the demand is for women’s clothing-related terms whereas less than 20% is for men’s clothing. The most significant characteristic of search demand for fashion is that consumers are starting their research journey with the most generic terms such as ‘dresses’, before narrowing it down to a particular style or brand search term. Whereas ‘dresses’ and ‘shoes’ were previously sneered at as overrated vanity terms, they are now serious contenders for the top traffic drivers. And this is exactly ASOS’s strategy. It simply monopolises these head terms.

What is ASOS doing right?

First of all, we looked at ASOS’s on-page factors and the website’s ability to create and interlink great content, to engage with visitors and build up a relationship with them in order to become returning customers. ASOS Overall SEO Health 2014 From a technical and accessibility point of view, their website is certainly one of the best. We just have to accept that ASOS has a good website. It could be improved further, but with Google’s constant changes this is to be expected. Google loves websites that offer great content and user-experience and have lots of endorsements on the web in a way that compels other websites to link. Consequently, we looked at content relevancy, thematic depths and the use of standard content elements such as micro formatting, URLs, metadata etc. ASOS Content SEO Health ASOS doesn’t only create great fashion content but also lots of it! The sheer amount of content on the website and the cleverly created thematic depths using fashion news is difficult to replicate quick and easily. This is one of the main reasons why the fashion industry is reigned by ASOS and maybe rightly so. What does this mean for you if you don’t have the ability to create this content? There are obvious options for you:

  1. You can engage a digital agency to develop content for you.
  2. You can use your own resources or hire experienced bloggers or fashion editors to start creating this content in-house.

Our white paper The Holy Grail of Fashion SEO goes into more detail about our analysis of both the fashion keyword universe and ASOS’ website.


1) Pick your battles – a clear target strategy is essential

If you can’t rank for head terms such as dresses, don’t waste time on these terms just now. Look at search volumes, your stock, AOV, click-throughs and where you convert best. You can take this data from your Paid Search campaigns on a keyword level. Then look at your ranks and group all attractive keywords into SEO campaigns. Once you have these clearly defined, it will be much easier to focus and you won’t get lost in the jungle of 53k keywords.

2) Get the basics right – Technical SEO in your DNA

Once you know your target terms, look at your site. Can you effectively target them or are they buried in the site? Do they have categories and how are these categories, subcategories, styles, colours and sizes set up? You probably use a facet menu that enables users and hopefully Google to deep-dive into your site. Your facet menu can be the No.1 culprit for duplication. Ensure that the same URLs are generated regardless of the order of the facet selection. Reduce irrelevant choices such as price or size. Online shoppers know that they can narrow down their search once they are on a website. Serve this with an AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) functionality (since JavaScript can be accessible these days) and don’t waste valuable Google bandwidth for nothing. If facet results return more than one page and are identical, tidy them up by using the canonical tag to show Google that there is another version of the page. SEO technology, like OneHydra, can help large e-commerce retailers to automate their keyword management and website accessibility, delivering site-wide optimisation at the scale necessary when a site has thousands, if not tens of thousands of categories.

3) Engage with your customers

Your customers are talking online and so should you be. Content Marketing is vital and compliments your other marketing efforts. On top of this it is important that you have access to the right influencers. The good news is that ASOS hasn’t stolen the “Holy Grail” of fashion; it simply is a good website and has a fantastic integrated online marketing strategy. Its focus is in the right areas and SEO is in its DNA. Download our white paper The Holy Grail of Fashion SEO for the full analysis of the fashion keyword universe and ASOS’ website.

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