Established in 1894, Barbour continues to call the North East home. Today, Barbour remains true to its core values as a family business and encompasses the unique values of the British countryside, whilst bringing a touch of glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.
As Barbour’s digital partner, it is our job to work alongside Barbour’s in-house marketing and digital team to enhance the brand’s online presence.
The British heritage brand has been our client for eight years, entrusting their PPC spend with our expert Paid Search team and since then, we have expanded our services to include the development and implementation of a technical SEO strategy into Barbour.com.
Last year, the Barbour team came to us after the launch of their new Magento site and emphasised that after seeing so much success across other channels, they wanted to partner with our SEO team to improve organic performance across the board.
Post launch of the brand new site, a full SEO audit was conducted and uncovered a number of technical issues, from simple HTML errors and heading tag issues, to faceted navigation and CMS issues.
As such, we worked on a number of projects including coordinating technical SEO upgrades, improving website accessibility, resolving issues, drafting SEO content and sharing expert advice and coordinating an overarching organic performance strategy with the senior team at Barbour. This saw the Venture Stream team work across multiple departments within Barbour, as well as work with external agencies to ensure that tasks were completed efficiently.
This case study demonstrates the results achieved so far from the SEO service delivered by Venture Stream to Barbour. Although this project has achieved excellent results in the short-term, it is an ongoing project which will continue over the coming months and years as part of a long-term strategic partnership reporting to Barbour’s Global Ecommerce Director.
FIXING DUPLICATE CONTENT
Technical audits revealed that there were various issues that were impacting not only search visibility, but user experience and conversion rate too. Barbour is an international brand with multiple storefronts, which led to issues with duplication. Incorrect language tags led to search engines showing the wrong version of the website, for example, prices were being displayed in the wrong currency. This was clearly having a negative impact on user experience and conversion. We implemented fixes by amending incorrect language tags to ensure every user is seeing the correct storefront regardless of their location.
We found that the most relevant URL was not being served for numerous keywords in many instances. We implemented redirects to guide customers to the category most relevant to their search query in order to improve their overall experience on the Barbour website.
In 2020, we undertook a taxonomy project with the intention of improving Barbour’s website menu structure. This began with a review of the current menu and category menu performance, followed by keyword research to suggest appropriate category optimisations and new category opportunities. We found that the menu structure at the time was not optimised for search, and created a poor user experience due to collaborations taking up the majority of menu space and products not being properly ordered with appropriate headers. We then took our findings to propose a new website menu for both desktop and mobile. After a successful launch across all devices in August 2020, we then rolled out a similar strategy for the Barbour US site ensuring collections were optimised for US search terms such as “vests” instead of “gilets” and “sweaters” instead of “jumpers”.
In 2020, we devised a new blog strategy for Barbour UK, driven by keyword research whilst remaining true to the Barbour tone of voice and branding. At the time, the blog was underperforming, with very few ranking keywords and content needing to be optimised for organic search. We began setting clear objectives and conducting a full blog audit.
With a strategy in place, we began to create monthly keyword and brand-focused blog articles, including solution-based content that answers commonly asked questions. We were then able to begin refining our strategy based on performance.
An ongoing task within Barbour’s strategy, we have optimised categories on the Barbour website that have dropped in search rankings over time. This entailed optimising page titles, meta descriptions and on-page content (collection descriptions). In 2020, non-branded terms accounted for only 5% of Barbour’s total keywords, so we knew we had to increase visibility for more generic terms like ‘waxed jackets’ and ‘lightweight jackets’. As of May 2023, 24% of the keywords Barbour ranks for are now non-branded, and the website has secured top three positions for several popular search terms like ‘wax jacket’, ‘quilted coat’, ‘overshirts’ and ‘casual jacket’, which has, in turn, increased search visibility and website traffic.
The fantastic results from the first 6 months of implementation are: