We are all aware (hopefully) of the damage that the fast fashion industry causes to the environment and the lack of human compassion that comes with working for these brands.
A positive trend that has been carried by social media and adopted by the younger generation is second-hand fashion. Here at NOVOS, we are big fans of this new trend.
Check out our case study on how we helped pre-loved fashion brand Beyond Retro boost their revenue by 160%.
Could second-hand and pre-loved fashion help stall the impact that this overconsumption will eventually have on our planet? Who knows. But there is no doubt that it’s a trend that is here to stay.
We’ve put together our top tips on how to get your second-hand fashion site ranking in Google and draw in customers embarking on this new trend.
1. Stock Management – How to Manage Fluctuating Stock Levels
One of the biggest hurdles second-hand marketplaces face is stock management.
We often get asked the question: how do you manage products that you only have in one size and in stock for one day?
From an SEO perspective, we also don’t want to waste a large amount of crawl budget and resources trying to rank each individual product, particularly if they were to go out of stock quickly.
A). If you are a large site that doesn’t use Google Shopping, perhaps you could look at no-indexing all your products. This may sound counterintuitive, however, from an SEO perspective it would:
- Decrease the number of pages Google would have to crawl each time.
- Pass higher value onto the collection pages.
- Increase site speed.
- Give Google a better understanding of what pages are more important to the consumer.
- Give blog posts more light.
*Please note that we would not recommend doing this on a site that is big on Google shopping and performs better with indexable pages.
B). If you do use Google shopping, then perhaps look at your product naming conventions. Are they search engine friendly?
Keyword research shows us that users search for items via colour or category rather than a very specific search query like’ red small Chloe bag with purple writing on it with a short strap.’ Instead, we tend to see searches for ‘pre-loved Chloe bags’ or ‘red designer handbags.’
This isn’t to say that the product specifics aren’t always searching for, it’s just less of a priority and harder to target with fluctuating stock levels.
C). Create more category pages to match search intent
If you find that a lot of users are searching via colour or fabric, then consider creating category pages to target these.
- Women’s cashmere jumpers
- Red designer handbags
- Leather designer belts
If you have internal search functionality, take a look at what the data is telling you there. If several users are searching for a category page that doesn’t currently exist, then this is an excellent case to create on.
For more information on this approach, check out our blog post on ‘How to use internal search apps like Klevu to boost your conversion rate.’
2. Choose the Right Head Term for your Business, e.g. Pre-Loved, Pre-Owned, Second-Hand, Thrifted, Charity Shop Find
There’s no one size fits all approach to SEO. Organisations have to position themselves in the right search landscape to effectively compete in an ever-changing market.
We already have the terms preloved, second-hand, thrifted, pre-owned, pre-worn, etc., and who knows what other terms will appear over the next year.
To choose the right head term for you, we recommend looking at the existing search results for each term and run through the following points:
- Who is ranking in the top five positions? Can we realistically compete with these brands?
- Are those brands that are ranking a close match to the search result?
- Is it informational or transactional content that is ranking for this term?
- Are there many search features here? Does Google favour a specific type of content over another? E.g. image grids, videos, featured snippets, map listings etc.
- What is the search trend for this keyword? Is it on the rise or decline?
Based on this data, choose one term that you think perfectly suits your offering, is within your competitive capabilities and ensures you position the right content towards this term (category/blog). Then, aggressively go after it to dominate the niche.
Blog posts can be used to rank for the other head terms.
3. Use Style Guides to Start Ranking for Generic Keywords
Naturally, as the industry grows, a lot of second-hand fashion brands will want to rank for generic keywords like ‘leather coat’ or ‘black boots.’ However, the search results might not be ready to rank these brands here, and it’ll take a while to take on the more established brands like ASOS, H&M etc.
At NOVOS, we have started to use style guides to rank for questions on generics. For example, what to style with black leather trousers? Or, 10 ways to wear a camel cashmere coat.
Here is an example from Re-Fashion on ‘How to style every type of shorts.’
This way, you are ranking for terms related to the generics (black leather trousers) and getting SEO value before the search landscape starts to move in that direction. Once it starts to move, then you are able to go after the term more aggressively and don’t need to start from scratch.
4. Loan Designer Items to Fashion Magazines for Shoots
Select a handful of journalists you have a good rapport with, and offer to lend them designer items for their next shoots. This is a great way to build relationships with journalists and raise brand awareness.
Before NOVOS, our co-founder Antonio worked at the men’s publication Gentleman’s Journal and saw first-hand a great amount of this happening. However, there also was still a lot of “gifting in exchange for…” from fashion brands, so there’s definitely an opportunity for the industry to focus even more on loaning/re-using here.
5. Create Brand Guides to Introduce New Brand Ranges
This can be as simple as content like ‘introducing Gucci to our pre-loved designer collection.’
There are many benefits to producing this type of content, including:
- Ranking for long-tail keywords associated with the brand, e.g. when was Gucci founded?
- The blog can provide internal links back to the key collection page ‘pre-loved Gucci clothing’.
- It’s a great brand awareness exercise for your own brand.
- It’s a great example of E-A-T content.
Create a Reviews Page with the H1 [Brand name] Reviews
Reviews are incredibly important for winning over customer trust. Particularly in an industry where products are supplied by consumers and differ in quality.
As your authority as a brand grows, so does the interest in Google. As you can see from the below, 320 users a month search for Cudoni reviews, however, they don’t have a page ranking for it. Instead, users are directed to sites like Trustpilot and reviews.co.uk.
As an eCommerce brand, you want to own the narrative of your brand and have your site ranking first for this term. This means, that if users like what they’re reading, they can shop directly on the site and are more likely to convert than those shoppers accessing reviews via directories.
7. Consider User-Generated Content Platforms like Yotpo
User-generated content is a fantastic tactic for social proof, gaining customer trust and showing your products in different settings. It really helps the customer picture your products in real life, rather than seeing it on a perfectly polished, photoshopped model.
Companies like Yotpo are fantastic for integrating user-generated content onto your site and helping create a ‘buzz’ around your brand.
Here’s an example of user-generated content pulled through from a hashtag on the eCommerce website Revelry.
8. Size Guides are Great for Brand Awareness and Education on the Brand
One way to start dominating generic search result is to start producing content on a brand level.
- Detailed size and fit guidelines that answer customers’ questions in the Google search results, as well as the traditional sizing table.
- Here’s an example from pre-loved fashion brand Cudoni, who created a Burberry Size Guide and a Gucci size guide.
- As a result, Cudoni now ranks second for ‘Gucci size guide’ – a term that has 170 searches a month.
- Consider adding optimised images to these blogs too, as the search landscape for these searches often has image grids, e.g.:
9. Create Care Guides to Demonstrate your Expertise, Authority and Trust
There is a lot of interest surrounding how to care for, clean and maintain high-end/high-quality purchases.
Here are some initial examples:
- how to clean a leather bag: 480 searches a month
- how to clean cashmere: 70 searches a month
We recommend creating guides to answer these frequently asked questions.
Not only will these help you reach a new band of customers, but they are also a fantastic demonstration of expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
Once again, make sure to check the people also ask section for these searches to identify FAQs, e.g.:
Here at NOVOS, we are committed to helping eCommerce brands of all sizes reach their goals, particularly those that are socially and environmentally responsible.
We offer 10% off our services for brands that have sustainability at the heart of what they do.
For more information on how we could work with you, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here.
In the meantime, have a flick through some of our case studies.