Boohoo and ASOS stand out as the top performers in a report into search rankings among fashion retailers.

Search marketing agency Stickyeyes looked at how 20 online retailers ranked for a set of item specific and generic search terms.

Generic women’s clothing and fashion terms are highly competitive and are driven by a small number of variants.

For the purposes of this study, the analysis was based on the top ten terms, which include women’s clothing, women’s clothes, and ladies clothing. The results to not include informational sites, such as Wikipedia.

Organic search

Generic search terms are typically used to develop search exposure and initiate the search journey, while item and brand specific help drive conversions.

The report found that almost two-thirds (63%) of generic womenswear phrases are dominated by three phrases: women’s clothing, women’s clothes and ladies fashion.

For organic search, there is less than 6% separating the click share difference for the top five competitors for womenswear generic phrases.

Boohoo comes top with a total click share of 14.3%, underpinned by strong average rankings across all ten of the top volume terms. It is followed by ASOS (13.8%), and Dorothy Perkins (11.8%).

ASOS' second place finish is largely caused by the fact that it ranks in the bottom half of the top 10 for the keyword ‘women’s clothing.’

The results from this study show very different findings to a report published by I Spy Marketing in April. I Spy looked at the search results from 72 generic fashion terms and found that ASOS was the top performer, followed by Amazon and Debenhams. 

Boohoo ranked 28th overall, a stark contrast from its position at the top of the organic rankings in the Stickyeyes report.

The discrepancy is down to the fact that I Spy’s study looked at a far wider range of item specific search terms, such as ‘boots’, ‘cardigans’ and ‘lingerie.'

Paid search

The top ten performers for PPC are extremely different to those for organic search. For all generic phrases, Marisota leads the PPC index with a total of 17.18%.

This leading position is as a result of their consistently high share of voice for the top three phrases.

Albeit in second place, the report suggests that Very’s position could be significantly strengthened if it looked to improve its average performance for either the keyword phrase 'women’s clothes' or 'women’s fashion'.

Combined results

Looking at the combined results, the vast majority of retailers either target PPC or organic search but not necessarily both. Of the top 20 retailers analysed, only Boohoo appears to be targeting both paid and organic search.

This is supported by comments Boohoo COO Chris Bale made in a recent interview with us, where he highlighted PPC and affiliates as two of the company’s most important marketing channels.

For more information on search tactics check out Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide.

David Moth

Published 19 June, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (2)


mark rushworth

Whilst working on the All Saints campaign, we targetted the 'womens clothing' etc keywords and found them to be conversion red herrings in that they delivered high volumes of traffic but no sales... even the second and third click had poor results.

sure this could be because of the niche proposition of all saints but it does make you think!

about 6 years ago



The report above is very simplistic and doesn't take into account that ecommerce SEO needs to target customers at the acquisition and conversion stage.
Generic terms typically raise awareness for a brand (and brand SEO), whereas conversion terms are generally more product focused.
I have seen this across industries (although, granted, there may be exceptions) where most conversions are driven by brand or product specific terms. (Brand terms may derive from generic terms but typically the pattern I have seen matches the commenter above).
That said, good positions for both keyword types are important, so as to target users at different stages in the buying cycle. Quite often companies over focus on targeting high volume generic phrases, without considering the conversion angle. It is equally important to have high quality category and product pages, which index well, to ensure high rankings for more conversion driven phrases.

about 6 years ago

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