GO Outdoors dominates Outdoor Clothing sector but trails behind in one key segment

By Lucy Dodds • 11 July 2022 • minutes reading time

As walking, cycling, hiking, and other outdoor activities became a newfound interest for many during the pandemic, many online outdoor clothing retailers reaped the benefits. Today, they are preparing to maintain their growth in 2022 and increase their presence in Google Search in the years to come.

During the various lockdowns, thousands of people increased their mileage on foot while exploring new areas in the great outdoors. With this, the outdoor clothing industry boomed as many online shoppers needed to acquire the right gear – some, for the first time. Therefore, it is no surprise to see rising forecasts for the outdoor clothing’s market value, increasing by the billions in just a few short years.

Now, more customers require high-quality, serious outdoor clothing and footwear to support them all-year-round in their new-found activities, from requiring a light summer jacket to waterproof, winter hiking boots. But it isn’t just the pandemic that has affected our rising interest in the outdoor clothing market; the rise of ‘athleisure’ sees shoppers looking for comfortable, casual outdoor clothing and shoes but without the high price point (although they will still buy multiple times a year due to seasonality). Outdoor clothing retailers must be ready to support both types of customers.

As outdoor activity has become the new norm for many, online retailers must react. But this does not simply involve increasing rankings and growing their presence in Google. This is about developing lasting relationships with consumers and building trust so that customers are willing to shop for something that they may have previously never purchased before.

Across eCommerce in all sectors, we are seeing Google Search market conditions return to something closer to the traditional status quo with the start of what will likely be a contraction from the previously inflated figures during full lockdown back to something in between the levels of the pandemic and the sectors pre-COVID normal.

GO Outdoors dominates 3/4 key segments in the outdoor clothing, but clearly trails behind in jackets

Our report found that the organic market value of organic search clicks is worth over £1.9 million per month in the Outdoor Clothing sector.

As you can expect, the larger brands lead the way in highly-competitive generic jacket, footwear, legwear, and accessory product category terms. GO Outdoors leads the market overall, taking most of the market share for footwear (28%), legwear (14%), and accessories (21%).

The only area in which GO Outdoors isn’t the market leader in is the jackets segment. Instead, The North Face dominates. Jackets are the most-searched product line, accounting for 70% of organic clicks in our report.

However, this disparity is heavily shaped by the dominance of brand keywords around jackets. Here the brand owner websites make up much of the traffic and clicks are generally cheaper due to the lower levels of competition.

All sites in the Outdoor Clothing industry are losing out on valuable SERP space by missing these Schema types

Our report found that no Outdoor Clothing websites featured utilise FAQ, How-to, or Video Schema, meaning that there is a lot of untapped potential.

While Schema does not have a direct impact on rankings, it does allow you to improve visibility in several ways, including improving the appearance of your search result, which can improve click-through rates.

Despite being one of the biggest players in terms of visibility, GO Outdoors does not tick all of the boxes for Schema. There is a lot of potential for them to use How-To and FAQ Schema to improve search result features, or they risk losing clicks to competitors who gain those Featured Snippets.

Instead, you can see how other sites not included in our report have utilised the How-to Schema correctly and obtained the Featured Snippet.

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Outdoor Clothing sites miss out on building topical authority with minimal content that gets links

Our report found that while many Outdoor Clothing sites are receiving some good links from Product PR, they are mostly from Tier 1 sites. These types of sites are characterised as being some of the top sites in terms of search visibility and audience levels, but they are not topically relevant.

To be the topical authority in any sector, sites must also gain topically relevant links from sites that exist to discuss issues in and around your products and services. They are often a source of inspiration for customers and a trusted website for researching their potential purchases.

Cotswold Outdoor was a hit with topical backlinks, securing the most out of any other site. The site’s backlinks came from a mix of product PR, business news, and expert commentary.

Other sites are not building topically relevant links by any means and no sites appear to be creating any successful content marketing campaigns.

Cotswold Outdoor could be losing out on £1.5m per year because of their current Page Load Time

In our report, we look at how Page Load Time (PLT) greatly affects the Bounce Rate of each website tested, and ultimately how companies are missing out on a significant number of sales from this lost traffic.

Just a -1 second reduction in PLT can transform the level of return delivered by people reaching the site through organic search.

Cotswold Outdoor stands out from the other brands in more ways than one. The domain has an enormous amount of estimated traffic – 4 million monthly organic visits. The site also has a potential SEO Value of £2.1m. However, when we begin to factor in our research around Page Load Times, we begin to see a truer figure for what Cotswold Outdoor could be losing out on £1.5 million.

We worked out that by reducing their PLT by -3 seconds, they could recoup a staggering £534k every month by reducing the number of visitors who bounce because of a slow website experience.

If you’d like insights into your sector, contact us now. 

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