Cling Gear is a start-up climbing apparel company using a drop shipping model. They’re based in New York and driven by founder Oliver Medcalf, a keen climber who has seen a niche in the market that he can fulfil.
However, the clothing and apparel space is extremely busy and competitive. Recent years have seen a plethora of drop shipping companies appearing on the internet – each trying to find a unique angle on the same market. This then is the main challenge for Cling Gear – finding a unique angle on an already crowded market.
Optimising a small e-commerce website
Whilst I’ve worked on e-commerce sites before, taking on a small start up site from scratch and developing a content strategy is a daunting challenge for anyone. Take the keyword research phase for example, Cling Gear does not want to compete against the likes of North Face or Patagonia and it doesn’t offer a full range of climbing equipment. Think ropes, harnesses and carabiners. This meant that we had to really focus on the intent behind specific search terms and focus on the lifestyle elements of climbing.
The natural competition then is the wide range of other drop shipping clothing companies, who are all vying for the same space in search and in consumer’s wallets.
Developing a content strategy
Working with companies like Cling Gear is always a joy; writing blog and category content about climbing is really enjoyable! The strategy here was to target the category pages and begin writing blog content. The client’s knowledge on the subject here was invaluable – providing a list of the best climbing centres in New York and information on the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan.
Optimising site navigation
Navigation on an e-commerce website is one of the fundamental challenges both from an SEO and User Experience (UX) perspective. The main menu needs to be SEO friendly, in other words it must contain keywords that users are searching for. However, the menu also needs to make it easy for your site visitors to find products they will be interested in.
It’s also key to try to avoid dead-ends in your user journey. What this means is that you need to avoid accidentally hiding products from users as they navigate the site and filter product views. An easy way to get round this is to put key products in multiple categories so they can easily be found. It’s worth noting that depending on the platform you’re using, you might need to implement rel canonical tags to avoid duplicate content and make sure Google indexes the correct version of the product page.
Want to find out more about indexing canonical URLs? Get in touch with SoftStone Digital today.
On the home page we also implemented product carousels giving visitors easy access to key products and categories.
When it came to on-page optimisation the key here was adding content to categories and optimising the headers for these key pages. On the home page for example, the addition of product carousels meant we could add sub-headings for key categories and links to these pages. On each of the category pages the main focus is to add more content, targeting specific keywords and adding opportunities for internal linking.
The template the client had chosen within Shopify also had some basic flaws when it came to on-page optimisation. For example, the home page was missing an H1 and there was no easy way to add one without updating the default CSS classes.
Restructuring the catalogue
When working with an e-commerce platform, the categories represent the majority of your pages and therefore optimising the structure of your catalogue and introducing keyword-driven categories is key to improving your website’s performance in search.
With Cling Gear we started by creating categories along the lines of Gifts for Climbers, Climbing Clothes for Women and Climbing Accessories. By creating these categories we were able to target terms that users are already searching in Google which has driven more impressions and clicks as a result.