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The Outdoor Clothing brands climbing up the SERPS thanks to Content Marketing

16/06/2022
A 7 minute read

Outdoor Clothing is a thriving eCommerce sector that has the potential to bring in millions of organic customers. In fact, overall traffic for our chosen Outdoor Clothing retailers totalled over 10 million in the last year, but content targeted at the consideration and awareness stages of the sales funnel only accounted for 0.6% of this. 

While commercial content that sits on category and brand pages is essential for attracting informed and returning customers, without being visible to new customers that may not yet understand which products they need, organic performance could quickly become stagnant. 

3.2% of pages that gained organic traffic were articles designed to inform and help customers along the consideration stage of their journey. We analysed the number of articles that have gained organic traffic and article-driven traffic compared to the overall number of pages that have gained organic traffic and the overall volume of traffic from those pages over the past year to see which outdoor clothing brands are investing in attracting new customers and which stand to see their organic performance turn stale. 

Quality Not Quantity

In a bid to reach new customers and stay visible, many brands will seek to produce as much content as possible for their blogs or help & advice centres. But our data shows that it’s quality, not quantity, that can make or break the performance of consideration and awareness-level content.

Outdoor clothing companies that have a high number of articles compared to overall URLs end up having a low share of traffic.

For example, 23% of Craghoppers pages were articles, but blog performance only accounts for 0.9% of traffic. Similarly, 12% of Rohan’s pages were articles, but blog performance only accounts for 0.8% of traffic. While it’s right that articles should account for a small proportion of page traffic in the context of the full site performance, this is a sign of a high time-investment, low-return content strategy.

By comparison, there are outdoor clothing companies that are doing a lot with a little. Winfields Outdoors blog traffic accounted for 7.5% of overall traffic in the past year, with only 7% of all pages being articles. 

Ellis Brigham’s performance tells a similar story, with 4.5% of overall traffic being attributed to the blog and 8.5% of those performing pages being articles. This suggests that their content strategy is more attuned to customer needs, ensuring that their time investment in creating article content generates a worthwhile return in organic traffic.

Queries & Featured Snippets

The SERP is a battleground for customer attention, and a sure-fire way to get it is by attaining a featured snippet. Appearing above all other search results (even paid!), the featured snippet is an important asset for your brand’s visibility. 

But Google doesn’t make it easy to gain a featured snippet position. These coveted spots are reserved for articles that their algorithm identifies as answering the question well, fully, and in a way that ultimately serves the querying consumer best. It’s therefore a sign of strong content performance if articles are gaining this important SERP feature in addition to top 5 positions on the SERP.

Our data shows a strong correlation between outdoor clothing companies whose blog traffic is contributing over 1% to overall traffic and featured snippets. Outdoor Clothing companies whose blog contributes over 1% to overall organic traffic hold featured snippets for their articles. For example, Winfields Outdoors’ blog contributes the largest percentage to overall organic traffic (7.5%) of all our outdoor clothing companies, and they hold the highest amount of featured snippets (11).

This indicates that they not only have well-targeted and well-written article content but that they have carefully considered search intent as part of their content strategy, too.

Search Intent

Producing content on any old topic is not enough, even if that topic appears to have good indicators of organic search potential such as search volume. Search intent should be your biggest consideration when creating content targeted at new or querying customers.

In fact, the query is the keyword. Most featured snippets are generated because they provide the answer to a question – whether that answer be a quick sentence or a step-by-step process. This is because customers that are at the upper stages of the sales funnel are looking to have their questions answered. They want to understand how to do something, compare two products to find out which is the best, or understand how a product would best serve their needs. 

It’s therefore unlikely that these customers will find your website because they want to read an interview with a famous climber or hear about your hiking holiday. Some brands address this by splitting their articles into two areas – a blog (for the lifestyle content) and an advice hub (for the more practical information). While this is by no means a bad thing to do, by analysing which of these performs best, it’s clear to see where the search intent of the audience lies.

For example, Go Outdoors have a separate blog and expert advice hub. There are 391 blog articles compared to 113 expert advice articles, but those expert advice articles account for a larger share of overall organic traffic. This indicates a strong preference for practical advice that likely answers queries and helps guide their customers through the content funnel. Though the lifestyle articles found in the blog are engaging for existing customers, it’s these expert articles that are driving additional visibility, conversion and then revenue for their website.

Content Strategy Winners & Losers

Though not the biggest name on our list of outdoor clothing companies, Winfields Outdoors have one of the strongest content strategies for consideration and awareness stage content. They have made a sensible time investment in their article content and have made sure that the content is doing the hard work for them by carefully considering search intent and winning high-visibility positions on the SERP because of it. Ellis Brigham, Tiso, Trespass and Regatta are also making similar returns on their investment in consideration level content. 

Those making a large time investment in article content that isn’t paying off include Craghoppers, Rohan and Montane. Each of these companies has articles that account for over 10% of overall pages, but are contributing less than 1% to the overall traffic.

However, there are brands that simply aren’t investing in consideration and awareness content at all. Whether because of a lack of available content, or a poor content strategy that means existing articles simply aren’t performing, Gaynors and Helly Hansen are outdoor clothing companies whose performance relies on commercial pages to attract new and returning customers. While ranking for product-specific keywords is the most direct route to revenue, without driving visibility and attracting new customers, this content strategy will quickly become stale and organic performance will stagnate.

Interested in finding out more?

If you’re concerned about the performance of your articles or simply want to understand more about how consideration and awareness level content can keep your organic performance growing, get in touch.

Our Outdoor Clothing Search Competitor Insight Report will be launching in July with a full breakdown of performance in the sector, with perspectives from technical SEO, digital PR, conversion rate optimisation, and UX, so drop us a line if you would like to receive it first.

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