Technical SEO issues
for luxury brands
The correct technical setup of a website is vital in SEO. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences; users may struggle to navigate your website, and search engines may not be able to index your pages.
Brands tend to employ developers to build a website and assume that they will consider search in the web build. However, this is not always the case, and while the site functionality is correct, the search best practices are often not taken into account.
Here are some common technical issues that are particularly prevalent amongst high-end fashion brands. Due to the nature of the sector, the website’s visual appearance is crucial to the brand, therefore the SEO considerations are lower in a web developer’s priorities.
Using Flash To Display Images And Content
Flash is perhaps the most common issue in fashion SEO. The Louis Vuitton website demonstrates how the brand has written unique, informative content but has focused on the visual delivery. The entire page sits within a flash file to accommodate graphics, but these cannot easily be read by search engines, if at all. To make them accessible to search engines, certain tags need to be used in the raw Flash files.
To see if your content has been indexed in a search engine; copy a piece of the content, place it in speech marks and search for it. For example:
“from one bridge to another, we cross over to one of the oldest suspended bridges in the US, and treasured landmark of the city of New York; the Brooklyn Bridge.”
We can see that the indexed URLs are actually taken from the mobile website. Most mobile devices do not support Flash, so mobile websites tend to have crawlable content. In terms of SEO, Louis Vuitton’s mobile site has been set up more successfully than their main website.
The best way to overcome the Flash issue is to use it sparingly. It is undeniably effective in making images visually pleasing, but keep your content out of them. Alternatively, using HTML5 allows you to add many features to your website without compromising your digital strategy.
Missed Meta Descriptions
Another common issue is a failure to make use of the Meta descriptions tag on product pages. Vivienne Westwood and Juicy Couture are prime examples of this. A content management system can be customised to automatically pull descriptions from other areas on the website, yet it is often overlooked.
Spaces and Characters in URLs
Spaces and characters in URLs cause issues with clarity. Search engines can still interpret spaces, but they will fill these gaps with URL encodes. This is a key that browsers and search engines use to prevent any special characters in URLs:
URL Encoding References*
Here is an example from Guess:
guess.eu/en/Catalog/View/Women/JEWELLERY/NECKLACES/PAVE CURVE FLOWER NECKLACE/JUBN21306JW
The URL contains spaces between the words that make up the product name, causing the browser to render the URL with %20 in each space. If you still intend to use characters in your URLs, it’s recommended that you restrict yourself to hyphens and do not include spaces.
In summary, the technical aspects of your website can have substantial implications on your search visibility. It can seem a little daunting because there is a lot of baffling jargon, but with the support of your digital agency, it’s worth the effort.
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