E-commerce sites often have inherent qualities like duplicate content, deep product catalogs, and shallow copy that can make it difficult to gain traction on Google, Bing, and other search engines. However, many brands are proving that this whole e-commerce thing can be done right including Bonobos – the largest apparel brand ever built on the web in the U.S.
This rapidly growing and rabidly followed online men’s fashion retailer, known for well-tailored preppy clothes with an edge, differentiates itself from other online retailers and apparel companies by boasting a better fit and a better shopping experience. Since Bonobos launched in 2007, the company has focused on perfecting two incredibly important areas that heavily impact e-commerce and SEO alike: user experience and content creation.
Bonobos prides itself on providing outstanding customer service to improve overall shopping experience. But the online retailer also uses some SEO best practices to improve the user experience for both customers and search engines on their website including:
- Unique product descriptions – Without product text, it is almost impossible to rank and drive organic search traffic to e-commerce product pages. Bonobos has crafted unique product descriptions personalized to solve the specific problems of their customers.
- Dealing with product variants – Some products are almost identically but exist in different colors and patterns. If not handled correctly, these product listings can be seen as duplicate content and may lead to cannibalization between product variants. Bonobos takes care of this issue by ensuring each product variant correlates with a unique URL and product description.
Same shirt, different color.
- User-friendly URLs – URLs should help customers and search engines to figure out where they are and what they’re looking at. They should include real words (like your keywords) rather than a string of numbers and gibberish. Bonobos uses a URL structure that combines just enough detail and keywords to provide strong signals to both customers and search engines.
- Optimize for mobile – By now, you know that mobile devices comprise a significant portion of traffic to most websites, especially e-commerce sites. ShopVisible recently released a report examining the state of e-commerce in 2013. According to the report, 30% of total e-commerce site traffic came from mobile – either a smartphone for tablet device. As this percentage continues to grow, the need for responsive mobile designs will become increasingly dire. After initially experimenting with a mobile site design in 2011, Bonobos found that the average order on their responsive site was more than 40% higher than the desktop site.
- Leverage social media – As the digital shopping experience continues to change and more consumers look to friends and peers for advice on what to buy and where to buy it, the power of social media cannot be denied. Bonobos not only makes it easy for their customers to share their favorite styles on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ but they also use Instragram to their full advantage. With 150 million monthly active Instagram users, this image-heavy social network was made for online fashion retailers. Bonobos knows their audience and they strategically Instagram photos that will resonate with that audience.
There’s certainly no lack of blog posts on the web focused on the importance of content. However, many e-commerce sites have a difficult time creating meaningful content for their target audience. Bonobos, on the other hand, has created some pretty genius content on their blog and YouTube channel to become both an online retail destination and information source.
- Optimized YouTube videos – Bonobos has created (and optimized) videos that speak directly to their audience. Take the video, “A History of Pants – Bonobos Trousers Evolution Remix” for example.
- User generated content – Allow your customers to easily review products on your site. Reviews and endorsements from happy customers will not only enhance product pages by adding unique content and keywords but also have potential to boost sales conversions.
- Useful guides – The Bonobos blog does much more than simply create meaningless content to get lost in the white noise of retailer websites. It offers information to help their audience achieve a desired look – like the Quick Guide to Necktie Pairing and the Wash and Learn Guide to Denim for an American.
Bonobos may have deeper pockets than some, but the basic principles used by this online retailer should be used by e-commerce sites big and small. Know of a smaller online retailer doing e-commerce right? Let us know, we want to see!