In the battle for fashion shoppers in natural search, research by I Spy Marketing shows that ASOS is trouncing the competition.

The e-tailer appeared in the top ten for 66 out of 72 generic fashion search terms in Google – Amazon was the second best performing retailer followed by Debenhams.

The Fashion Sector Report found that fashion brands and luxury clothes sites, with the exception of Net-a-Porter, were absent from the results.

Wikipedia dominated the search terms, but as we have previously reported this is due to a number of reasons including its domain authority and unique content.

I Spy also estimated the amount of traffic each site would get as a result of its natural search rankings for 60 generic clothing keywords.

Again, ASOS led the retail sites with 8.2m clickthroughs, while Coast, Debenhams and House of Fraser continued to hold a top ten ranking with 3m, 1.8m and 1.8m respectively.

I Spy notes that while young fashion brands and luxury retailers fail to make an impact on the results, informational sites and niche accessory retailers perform well for SEO.

The report also examines which brands feature most in paid search results.

It found that e-tailers featured more prominently in paid search terms for womenswear compared to multichannel retailers.

“The stronger performance from e-tailers suggests that as they don’t have a physical store they need to work even harder than their bricks-and-mortar rivals through online marketing, such as paid search, to grab consumers’ attention.”

It is also notable that there are no luxury brands in the top 30.

Looking at menswear, the results showed a mixture of department stores, pure plays and high street stores investing in paid search.

In contrast to the paid results for womenswear, luxury e-tailer Mr Porter and Amazon achieved high rankings.

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

Similarly, our SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide 2012 contains profiles of 36 leading UK agencies, as well as advice about how to find the right agency.

David Moth

Published 30 April, 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 (5)

Tara West

Tara West, Senior Biddable Media Manager at Tara West

I think one of the reasons ASOS are performing so well is their social media strategy. They have a really strong presence on Google Plus and Pinterest as well as all the older social networks (twitter and Facebook) and those social signals really make a big difference. Their audience seems to be really engaged too and re-shares a lot of their content which has got to be giving them a hand in terms of SEO signals.

over 6 years ago


Christopher Regan

Uhm, then there's ShopBop, you know, "one of the leading fashion retailers in the world" owned by Amazon. Who, you might say? Well, you'd have to say 'who?' if the topic was natural search....

over 6 years ago


Andrew McGarry

I tip my hat to ASOS for what they're doing.

However, it does make a mockery of the notion of white-hat SEO which is essentially anything Google hasn't got round to clamping down on yet.

As someone who does SEO in the fashion niche I am acutely aware of ASOS' practises as I reverse engineer a lot of them.

They coped well with last year's Panda updates by rebalancing the amount of artificially built anchor text backlinks which completely overwhelmed the brand signal. Or so it appeared.

But make no mistake, white hat SEO is as much gaming the system as anything else. Sustainable SEO is not doing anything that puts too much risk into the equation. ASOS have managed this balance well.

Personally, given the size of ASOS' site and product range, I'm much more impressed with over the last 12 months. Now there's a rival who knows how to align great UX with SEO criteria.

over 6 years ago



Re the Menswear graph, is the retailer really called .....

over 6 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@claire, I presume it's supposed to be

over 6 years ago

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