SEO & Fashion: 3 major differences between the UK and French markets

When it comes to Google searches for fashion in the UK and France, the weather doesn’t hold all the answers! Which items of clothing hit the top search spot in each country? Which sites rank best for these searches? Are there any French companies snapping up market share in the UK and vice versa?

Comparing fashion-related keywords for France and the UK tells us a lot about the kind of products in high demand in both countries. This provides valuable insights for e-shops hoping to set up on the other side of the Channel, so they can target the most popular products and adapt their offer.

seo for fashion websites
WebCEO .com

Overall volume of fashion searches

In terms of search volume, the Brits use Google to top up their wardrobes more often than the French with almost double the number of searches for each item of clothing (for the same size population).

Is this the result of the distance of shops or a strong mail ordering tradition? We know the level of internet use is 6.2% higher in the UK than France, but the difference for clothes searches is striking.

If we take a closer look, a lot of difference can be explained by the keyword “robe” (dresses). The gap is much smaller for keywords like “manteau” (coat). However, one thing is clear. If you’re thinking of launching in the UK, make sure you set up e-shop first, before thinking about bricks and mortar.

British women head out all dressed up; French women are all wrapped up

Image seo fashion volumes global

The keywords for dresses represent more than double their French counter parts. The French prefer a more generic alternative (vêtement/clothing) and clothes that keep you warm (manteau/coats), which seems to go against the countries respective climates.

Jumper dress or party dresses, that is the question!

image article seo fashion dressFrench women seem to have a far more sensible approach to getting dressed up: “robe de soirée longue” (long evening dress), “habillée” (dressy) (12k), “chic” (9k) and “robe pull” (jumper dress) (49k); while the Brits are in the mood to party – “party dresses” (110k) and “going out dresses” (40k). In France, “robe de fête” (party dress) only gets 3,600 searches per month.

4 things to bear in mind:

  • The Brits are bigger on black dresses than their French counterparts
  • Bodycon dresses and sequins are a big hit in the UK
  • “Red dresses” and “sexy dresses” are equally popular on both sides of the Channel
  • There are far more searches for “maxi dress” in the UK (165k) than France (74k)

Buying coats online: “doudounes” (down jackets) are big in France

article seo fashion image volumes excluding dress

If we exclude dresses, the top searches in France are for “vêtements femme” (women’s clothes), “manteau femme” (women’s coats) and, in 3rd place, “doudoune femme” (women’s down jacket).

The keyword “suit” hits the top spot in the UK, but the popularity of the series of the same name and one of its leading actresses, will undoubtedly have skewed the results.

British women tap “women coats” 20k less times than the French, even though the weather would suggest quite the opposite. The difference is even bigger for the “doudoune” with 90K monthly searches in France and only 15K for “down jacket” in the UK.

To sum up, the 3 main differences are:

  • A higher volume of fashion-related searches in the UK market
  • More searches for dresses, especially for going out, in the UK
  • Lots of searches for coats, particularly down jackets in France

Website rankings

Let’s now look at which sites rank highly for these keywords in the UK and France.

Women’s clothes & T-shirts

ranking clothes tshirts

For women’s clothes, the only French brand to make it to the top 3 is Jennifer. ASOS takes 2nd place in France behind Zalando. While, Boohoo, New Look and Matalan rank well in the UK.

ASOS is strong on T-shirts in the UK, whereas specialists like Tunetoo and Monsieur Tshirt fare better in France and overtake generalist Kiabi.


ranking dresses

Zalando, Boohoo and ASOS rank well in France, as do French brands Kiabi and Bonprix. Missguided takes 2nd place for “robe longue” (long dress).

British brands Debenhams et Pretty Little Thing aren’t very visible in France for the keyword “dress”.

A number of British and German brands have successfully found their place in the French market. But, the same can’t be said for French brands.


ranking coats

As for coats, La Redoute, Camaïeu and Galeries Lafayette all make the top 3 in France. While Mark & Spencer is No.5 for “women’s coat”.

Fashion top 3 ranking are dominated by the British and German brands in France; while French brands don’t quite reach the top in the UK. The wrong strategy? Ill-adapted offers? Whatever the reason, French brands are struggling to take market share from the Brits.

However, not all British brands are maximizing their potential in the French market e.g. Matalan, Debenhams and New Look. And, other British brands already present in the French market have plenty of room for improvement for specific keywords e.g. and misguided.

Do you agree, disagree or have another point of view to share? We’d love to hear from you!

France Country Managers: 7 tips to boost your SEO

As a country manager for France you may well have grasped the importance top notch SEO to succeed in the French market. But, how much do you know about the state of your SEO in France? In this article, I’m going to show you how to analyze your SEO in relation to other European markets and give you 4 tips to optimize your SEO, whether your SEO is managed by your company headquarters or you’re recruiting an SEO agency in France.

Are you in charge of the French market at an international company? Country Manager France, Head of France, Marketing Manager France…whatever your exact title, you have lots of projects on the go, a small or inexistent team and very little time to spend on SEO.

Yet, for an ecommerce website, organic traffic represents more than 50% of its turnover. SEO is the most profitable marketing lever in the long term.

SEO is often mistakenly limited to the technical side and people therefore think that it can be easily centralized. In reality, for your SEO to be effective, you also need to focus on the keywords, content and link building on the “market” side:

  • Keywords should be chosen in relation to local behaviors and competitors
  • Content needs to target local populations
  • Backlinks need to come from French sites

How can you tell if your current SEO in France is effective?

Here are 3 simple tips to help you analyze your SEO:

  • Compare the organic traffic, conversion rate and turnover on your French site versus the other European sites on Google Analytics or using an internal tool – if you don’t have access to figures for the other European countries, you can get traffic estimates from sites like SEM Rush
  • Analyze your “brand” keywords carefully separately – the traffic from these words depends on your brand notoriety
  • Compare the ranking of your site for your generic French keywords versus the ranking for these keywords in other languages

So, how is your site faring in the French market? Contact me and I’ll provide a free pre-audit!

How can you optimize your SEO management?

If your SEO is managed in the country of your company headquarters, there is a risk this market will be privileged and that the recommendations will simply be translated without analyzing local SEO or monitoring the performance of the French market.

Inversely, if the SEO is managed by an agency in France, the Country Manager faces another difficulty: understanding and communicating the agency’s SEO recommendations with the headquarters and working with the different internal departments to ensure they are implemented correctly.

Graph Country Manager France Process – with SEO agency
Country Manager France Process – with SEO agency

Whatever your situation, here are 4 ways you can manage your SEO better:

1/If your SEO is managed in the country of your company HQ

  • Ask to be put in touch with the French-speaking SEO expert in charge of semantic analysis and send his or her a list of your competitors as well as local keywords to add to the audit
  • Organize regular meetings with your French-speaking SEO expert and teams at headquarters to ensure any recommendations are fully implemented
  • Obtain a report including organic traffic, rankings for the most important generic keywords in your local market, backlinks and technical analysis
  • Compare the SEO performance of the French site to that of the other EU sites

2/ If you recruit a local agency:

To avoid a “bottleneck” effect, try to delegate as much as possible:

  • Select an agency whose account managers speak English or the language spoken at the company headquarters
  • Ask for a full audit including competitors for the 4 key areas (semantics, technical, content, link building) with SEO recommendations written in English or the language spoken at the headquarters
  • Set aside a budget for technical support in direct collaboration with your headquarters (implementing changes, follow-up and checking)
  • Set aside a budget for local link-building initiatives and content creation

But, there is a simpler alternative. Why not call on the services of an SEO consultant (like me) to carry out an audit, make recommendations and implement changes? This way you can delegate all your SEO activities and focus on your priorities. I can help you manage your French SEO, even if it is managed in another country.

Graph Country Manager France Process – with SEO Consultant
Country Manager France Process – with SEO Consultant

Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

5 SEO tips for independent hotels to beat the OTA in France

What is the keyword “hotel” worth in France? What place do OTA occupy in the online tourist accommodation market? In France, who has the No.1 spot –,, Trivago or Tripadvisor? Read on find all the answers, as well as 5 top tips for independent hotels to ace their SEO.

We often accuse online reservation sites of bullying independent hotels by invading Google search results (AdWords and SEO) and taking ever higher commissions on hotel reservations.

When we look at the results for “hotel”on, we see that OTA (Online Travel Agent) dominate the SERP, in particular,,, Trivago and TripAdvisor.

SERP hotels france
“Hotel” results page

Continue reading “5 SEO tips for independent hotels to beat the OTA in France”

Everybody Lies, Except to Google!

The new book from Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are” makes for some interesting SEO reading. What do Google searches reveal about political bias and sexism in the United States, France and the UK?

Following in the wake of Freakonomics, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are is a gold mine of information for quantitative analysis fans, and particularly if you’re interested in SEO.

everybody lies - seth stephens davidowitz

Continue reading “Everybody Lies, Except to Google!”

The French SEO Airline Barometer

It’s time for the quarterly airline and flight comparison site barometer! Who ranks best for Paris-London, EasyJet or Air France? Who takes the top spot for the keyword “cheap flights”? Read on to find out…

The flight industry was one of the first to be revolutionized by the

Air Transportation Barometer
Air Transportation Barometer

internet. EasyJet pioneered selling 100% of its flights online from 2000 to avoid a costly distribution system dominated by travel agents, whose commission represented up to 20% (agency and GDS fees). Now that online reservations have become the norm, which airlines and flight comparison sites are faring well when it comes to SEO?

The top keywords for air travel in France:

  • Cheap flights (246K) – “vols pas cher”
  • Airline Tickets (200k) – “billets d’avion”
  • Flight comparison site (200k) -“comparateurs de vols”
  • Paris Barcelona (15k) – “Paris Barcelone”

Continue reading “The French SEO Airline Barometer”

SEO performance of mono-product mattress websites in France

Mono-product mattress brands – Tediber, Eve Matelas, Bruno, Casper & Co – are now developing in France. But, who is winning over the French market on the web: French startups or their European and American competitors? Who ranks best with Google?

Following in the footsteps of pastry shops, restaurants and accessories brands, mono-product websites offering online purchase and home delivery are now flourishing in the French mattress market. The main players are French Tediber, British Eve Mattress, German Bruno and American Casper. Let’s look at what Google thinks of these brands and to what extent they are disrupting this slightly sleepy market.

JDN - Matresses prices comparison France
Source JDN – Mattress price comparison, France

Continue reading “SEO performance of mono-product mattress websites in France”

Backlinks French presidential elections 2017: who get the media’s vote?

If we apply Google’s Page Rank methodology to the French media, where 1 link = 1 vote in favour, which candidates get the most votes? Read on to find out what the mainstream French media really think!

With the French presidential elections hovering on the horizon, I decided to take a closer look at the links leading from key media sites to the main candidates to see if they’ve picked their winner.

I’ve already delved into the links behind the sites of the right-wing primary candidates. But this time I decided to get a complete overview of the 5 main contenders before breaking down the results by media type e.g. regional press, magazines and pure players.

Curious to know who’s voting for who? Read on… Continue reading “Backlinks French presidential elections 2017: who get the media’s vote?”

The Left wing Primary 2017: keywords

Which of the candidate to the left wing primary gets more visits on its website? Hamon or Valls? Or is it the outsiders Macron or Melenchon? Will website optimization have an impact on the French presidential elections in May? Some answers to these questions in this article !

After analyzing the Right’s primary keywords, let’s now review the Left.   Of the major primary candidates from the left, who received the most visits to their site? Was it Hamon or Valls? Or was it the outsiders, Macron and Melenchon? Does site optimization influence presidential elections? Let’s see if we can find the answers to these questions in our analysis.

As with the Right primaries, Google Trends provides an interesting analysis of the different queries based on the trending popularity of the candidates. It is important to keep abreast of various news reports as they relate not only to the primaries and candidates themselves, but to also track regional specifics which include the popular requests of all things politically related – presidential poll, Pénélope Fillon, debate Hamon Valls, slap, universal income, etc. Continue reading “The Left wing Primary 2017: keywords”

Backlinks and 301 : How GoEuro diverts information to get links!

The backlink strategy at GoEuro provides a great example of a linkbaiting campaign that links to less “interesting” pages using 301’s redirect.

As a specialist in airline marketing and tourism, I am always interested in SEO strategies being used in the sector.  When last summer I found a interesting piece of content from Goeuro, a price comparator in transport, I said to myself “what a great example of linkbaiting: utilizing a comparative analysis of travel costs for each European country”.

I put that content aside, telling myself that I was going to use it later to write  an article about linkbaiting, or quality content that naturally leads to links, a backlink strategy. When I finally started, and much to my surprise, I realized that that analysis  could not be found on the net anymore. How was such content just trashed? Continue reading “Backlinks and 301 : How GoEuro diverts information to get links!”

Links to the Right Wing Primary in France : What links for which candidates?

Who has the most amount of links pointing to their sites, Fillon or Juppé? Neither of them ! Sarkozy is way above them both, and Le Figaro is generous in distributing links to those right wing candidates.

After initially reviewing the Primary’s keywords, our analysis of the primary’s SEO usage continues.  We will now analyze the link profiles of the different candidates who participated in the Right’s Primary. Google prefers sites with history and links, so the challenge for this type of site will be its lifespan. When to launch, when to cease, and what to do with the domain name and links once the election has past? Continue reading “Links to the Right Wing Primary in France : What links for which candidates?”