Modcloth's SEO & Content Strategy from BrightEdge's Share13 Conference

ConferenceBrightEdge's Share13
Track: Aligning Content and SEO
Speaker: Holland Dauterive from Modcloth

If I could name one company that does an excellent job of understanding their customers and caters to their community at every level, it would be Modcloth. I've been a fan of Modcloth since 2008 and have worked with them in the past when I was working at Kaboodle. I've always admired their approach on community; they truly involve their customers in their business decisions and make them an integral part of their business. 

I had the pleasure of sitting through a great presentation by Holland Dauterive, SEO Manager of Modcloth, where she talks about the importance of content and what processes are taken within the organization in order to have a successful SEO program. 

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Here are the main takeaways from her presentation: 

  • Figure out what to sell: Modcloth adds samples of what they may want to sell on their site and involves their customers in the decision - they can "pick it" or "skip it", and later Modcloth incorporates the feedback/comments to take into consideration. 
  • Content and conversation: The community is always involved - Modcloth likes to create stories and they like to talk about cool designers - basically, things that their customers take an interest in. 
  • Talk to people who use the site: Modcloth has an evangelist program called "Modstylists". Modstylists tells Modcloth what their customers are looking for and what they are inspired by. 
  • Be where your customers are: Modcloth wants to be accessible everywhere their customers are, so if they're on any social media networks, Modcloth will have a presence there. 
  • Research: The user experience team brings customers and super fans in to figure out what inspires them, what issues they have, and incorporates feedback from customers for site design. 
  • Modcloth knew that SEO was important and the first step was to start integrating it to all parts of the business and train all parties involved on SEO 101, such as writers, product team, UX designers, etc.
  • Use the whiskey approach: Take your co-workers out for happy hour to get them talking. Learn from one another and build relationships. Forming relationships is most important. 
  • Create content for your customers and not the web spiders. 
  • Don't create content around topics that just have high traffic - think about the user experience first - what do they want to hear about? 
  • What kind of questions are people asking Customer Service about? Use the common questions to generate ideas for content - this helps increase visibility and decreases workload for the CS team. 
  • Know when NOT to optimize: Just because you have content doesn't mean it will be better to SEO optimize. If the content sounds off brand or inauthentic because of optimizations, users will not interact with it. Technically, good writing and good content IS optimizing content.
  • Listen to your customers, understand what they like - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.