What is SEO and How Does it Help Your Online Store?
Everyone talks about SEO and tells you that you need to work on it, but what is it and why is it important? Here is a general overview to get you pointed in the right direction.
What does SEO stand for? Search Engine Optimization
What is it? It is the act of optimizing your online store and product pages for specific terms and keywords related to what you are making and selling.
How can it help you get more sales? The key with selling handmade items online is having people find you. If you optimize your store for keywords that relate to what you sell, people will be able to find you when they search. The goal of optimizing is to drive targeted traffic to your store through organic search. More targeted traffic means more sales.
What if your store is not optimized? You will be missing out on a huge amount of traffic. On a site like Etsy, people can browse categories and possibly find you, but that is not possible with regular search engines like Google. People will be searching with specific words looking for something specific to buy so you will need to have the correct keywords for your store if you want to be found. The majority of traffic on the internet comes from the search engines.
SEO on Etsy vs Personal Website – SEO is SEO and the same general guidelines apply to any website on the internet. Etsy has designed their site to allow you to easily optimize your store and listings.
Is SEO hard to do? It can involve research to find the ideal keywords, but the process of optimizing is not too difficult. It used to be more difficult when you had to edit the code of your website but now you usually just have to enter text into boxes. If you optimize each new page or product listing as you go along, it doesn’t really take too much time either.
Do you have to hire someone to do your SEO? It is usually better to do it yourself. Not only is it important to learn but you know more about your specific handmade items than anyone else. You know what they are, what they can be called, and the terms that relate to them. There are often multiple terms associated with each item and you would be more aware of what those are and which are most commonly used. The key is to use the keywords that the vast majority of customers would use when searching for your items.
Is it a one time event? SEO is also an ongoing process. You will want to optimize each new page or item that you add to your store.
What are you optimizing? When you work on your SEO you are writing good titles for your pages, adding description paragraphs, naming your images, putting keywords into your url’s, and adding good written content to your site. You will also be giving proper names to each of the categories on your store.
What about off site optimization? SEO is not only about what you do ON your website. The key element of OFF site optimization is backlinks, or links on other websites that direct people to your store or specific items. Search engines like to see that others have considered your store or items important enough for them to link to you. Links from Social Media are very important right now. That would be links from sites like Facebook and Twitter.
SEO and content – Content is the text on a page, usually paragraphs. Blogs for instance have a lot of content. Because of that they rank for a variety of keywords. On your store you may have a couple paragraphs on the home page that describe what you make. Be sure to use some keywords that describe your items but make sure that the text reads normally. You do not want to add keywords just for SEO sake. As Google recommends, write for people, not search engines.
How long after optimizing will you see results? It depends on how frequently search engines scan your store or website to look for changes. Very popular sites are checked multiple times per day while others may be checked every few days. You may not see instant results after optimizing.
Things to avoid – Only use terms that closely relate to your handmade items. You may have seen sites that have paragraphs of unrelated words, usually at the end of the page. This is called stuffing. Some people fill their pages with as many words as possibly thinking they will rank for everything. That does not work and is frowned upon by the search engines.
Images including text – Search engines read text to know what your website is about. If you put all your text in images, it is not readable. A rule of thumb is if you can use your cursor to highlight your text, the search engine can read it. A banner, like the one at the top of your store is an example is an image. You cannot highlight any of the words. It is perfectly fine to use banners, just don’t use images like this all over your site instead of regular text.
What you ultimately want – Targeted traffic. You want people to search for something specific that they want to purchase and you want your specific handmade items to show up. When a person clicks to view your store you want them to find exactly what they were searching for so you stand the best chance of getting a sale.
What are you struggling with in regards to SEO? Let me know.