Easy Things You Can Do To Make Your Shop More Searchable
First off: what are meta tags and how do you use them?
Meta tags are just like the tags on etsy for people to find your site only they are embedded in the source code of your web site. Here's how to find them on any website: At the top of the page, click on "View" then on "Source." The source code will come up and it will say what the meta tags are. On my etsy shop (and all etsy shops because etsy does this for us) "handmade" will come up. But the next set of tags are the sections you've created in your shop. In my photography shop I have these sections: sale sets, nature, urban/architectural, etc. But it doesn't use photography anywhere! So, I changed the name of my sections to: Sale Photography Sets, Nature Photography, etc. Now it comes up as that in my meta tags. The next part of the meta tags is basically the first couple of lines you have written in your description of your shop. I had put the announcement of the sale in my shop with a lot of these at the beginning and end ****** What a waste! From now on I am going to put any announcements after my first couple of lines describing my shop. I changed the beginning of my description to "LilacPOP Photography features fine art photographs that are printed on metallic paper." That way I have "photography", "fine art", "photographs", and "metallic" all in there to be searched. On a side note, I also put all my links in one nice list. I've found that when I am looking at other people's shops I am more likely to click on their links to twitter and their blogs if they are all in one spot and easily accessible. People are busy and searching through your profile to find that stuff isn't something they are necessarily going to do. Another way to figure out what you should write in your description to be used as meta tags is to do a google search (or any other search engine) and see what comes up first. For example, I searched for "fine art photography prints" and a website called Studio 279 came up. Their meta tags were "fine art photography prints" (duh! I changed my first line to include this), "art photographs", "black and white photography", "photo art", and "posters and stock photography."
The way that search engines find websites and rank them is by using computer "spiders" to search, real people to search, or a combination of both. Our job is to let them find us. Some websites pay to be at the top but research has shown that most people skip over those results and go to the "organic" or unpaid websites first.
Here is a list of some great websites to help you keep track of the latest news on search engines:
searchenginewatch.com- provides the latest news on search engines
highrankings.com/forum/ a forum to discuss strategies
seochat.com Provides articles and info
dogpile.com is awesome. It searches other engines (google, yahoo, msn) and the results are the overall highest ranking. Plus every time you use it a donation is made to help animals. Win win. *By the way, artfire comes up before etsy in a search for "handmade jewelry" and etsy is the 16th ranked. Yikes. Get on that etsy people!!
By now you've probably already named your shop but something to consider is that your domain name (website address) is part of your search and you should try to have it relate to your shop. For example, my shop: lilacPOP Photography is http://lilacpopphotography.etsy.com/ so I have photography right there in the address, which will bring it higher in the list of searches.
Title Of Your Shop
You've probably already heard this but just in case I'm going to repeat it here. The title of your shop (what it says right below your banner) is SO IMPORTANT! A lot of people put "Crazy creations from my artistic mind" or something silly like that. Be as clear and concise as you can about what your shop is. Not only does it come up across the top of the window (the blue bar at the very very top) but it also is what comes up when people type in a search and it lists the websites. It will make you more searchable if you list what it is you are selling. Yes, you can be creative in order to have your shop stand out and as a way to get people to click on your link but it also has to tell them what in the world you are selling! Also keep in mind of using keywords here. I make sure it says "Fine Art Photography" and since my shop is unique because I only print on metallic paper I've included that as well. So they will see "LilacPOP Photography: Fine Art Photography On Metallic Paper by Janna Bissett" in the list. I think my shop name is intriguing but it also explains what I do and it includes my name, which is important when you are an artist. Some people that I've met personally know my name but not my shop name and might just search for me that way.
Another IMPORTANT thing to consider is your titles of your items. If you are already quite successful and get a lot of repeat customers (you probably aren't reading this blog!) then you could name your items with quirky titles. But if you want to be searchable on google be precise and not too long either. You can check what will come up on google's search by clicking on one of your items and reading the very top blue bar and that is what will come up in a search. It's very enlightening to do this! It will only use the first 5-10 words or so and not anything beyond that. So it may be tempting to call a stuffed animal that you made "Colorful Bob" that won't mean anything to someone searching for handmade stuffed animals when they search on Google. Instead you could put "Colorful Bob Handmade Stuffed Animal." Forgive my dumb name example but you get the point!
*Here is another great tool and website:
http://monsterwebpromotion.com/ Click on "tools" and scroll to the bottom of the page. Enter your website in the "Search Engine Spider Simulator." It will break down your shop and show you exactly what your page title, meta description, and keywords are.
Now The More Complicated Things You Can DoKEYWORDS: super important! However, etsy does it's own keywords so you cannot alter them in the source code but if you have your own website this is very important. You can put your keywords in when you are in html mode. More on how to actually insert them here. Keywords are what people type in the search field when using a search engine (google, yahoo). These keywords are in your source code, not on your website or shop. This list is located in your source code and usually starts with the header meta name="keywords." (Remember to get this just go to your public shop, click on view at the top of the page, then source.) You will want to add misspelled words to this list in case people do that in their searches. It won't show on your website at all. For example, if you sell jewelry make sure to also put jewellry or jewellery in there too. The most important thing to do when creating your keyword list is to forget everything about your shop and pretend that you are a customer unaware of your shop who is searching for products. Something else to consider when picking your keywords (as well as picking tags on etsy--I learned this from the tagging virtual lab too) is that if you use a phrase instead of breaking it down into separate keywords/tags it will still come up. For example, instead of using "wool" and "scarf" you could actually do "wool scarf" and it will still come up when searching if someone just puts in "scarf." Most search engines scan about 15-25 of your keywords to grasp what your website is about.
This is an exercise in the book I am reading and I think it is very helpful. First write down 30 words or phrases that describe your business. Then ask someone else to write down 30 words or phrases to describe your business. Then close your eyes and pretend to be a potential customer who doesn't know anything about you. Write down the first 10 phrases that come to mind. Now you have 3 lists. Prioritize them into one list of 20 words or phrases and you have created your keyword list for your site!
Here's a website that will help you come up with keywords if you get stuck:
PopularityHere are a few great ways to get more traffic to your shop and it involves popularity! Try to get your link to your shop in as many places as possible. A lot of people post in the forums that they don't really want to learn facebook or twitter or start a blog but these tools are invaluable and free. Blogs attract search engines, especially if your keywords relate to your website. But they don't do you much good unless you use them and most importantly LINK them all together. Link, link, link. If someone goes to your main page on twitter (check out mine: twitter.com/lilacpop) you should have the link to your shop right there so they can easily look at it. Quite a few etsy sellers have started following me on there and when I click on them, their site is no where to be found, or worse there isn't any link at all. I hate having to click on someone's blog and then find their shop link somewhere on their page when all I want to see is what they are selling. There is nothing worse than making someone "work" to find your shop. Most of the time they will give up and go back to twittering. I could write an entire article on twitter and will later! Basically, just keep links to your shop easily accessible everywhere.
Another great marketing tool is to get your website linked with another website. Ask people with blogs if they will add your link to their link list and tell them you will add theirs as well. Because every time that you do this, the search engines recognize that and that will help you get to the top of the search list too. But it has to be relevant. Having your cousin add your handmade site link to his/her blog about fishing isn't going to register with google. It has to be relevant. However, crossing over into different target audiences is good to do! If you sew and make really cool clothing, you might want to try to cross over to the music scene since they may be the ones that wear your clothing. A great and free way to do this is to leave comments on other websites. And ALWAYS leave a link to your shop. The more times you add links to your shop, the better. But be careful of spamming. Make a comment on a blog or website that is relevant to that site and just add your link at the bottom. Try to think about other markets that might be interested in your products. Are there any Mom type websites that might be interested in your products? Fashion? Music? Home Decor? Do a google search using a keyword and see which ones come up a the top of the list. See if it's a website that you can leave comments on. Sell supplies on etsy? Leave comments on Martha Stewart's website so other crafters might buy from you. Selling wearable fashionable items? Leave comments on Elle or In Style magazines blog. I've gotten some views from that before. And even if you don't have the time or effort to create your own blog, follow other's blogs. Your avatar will appear on most blogs after you start following and if it looks interesting, people may click on it that way too.
Another way to get your link out there without using a computer is to buy a window decal for your car. Advertise anywhere you go. Go to webdecal.com. You can get a basic 1" one for $16.95 plus shipping or a big 2" one for $33.95 plus shipping.
After you've tried all these techniques you are ready to have your site evaluated and ranked by google. to do this go to to google.com/addurl. Add your website (it's free) and then do the same with yahoo, msn, aol, and ask.com.
Here is something else that is helpful and free if you use a web designer or design your own website: ebootcampbook.com/freearticle. It's an article on the five things your web designer might have missed when designing your home page.
A lot of the info above is from the book "eBoot Camp" by Corey Perlman so I have to give him mad props for all this useful info. And he lives in Royal Oak too!
Don't forget to subscribe to my blog. Every time I learn something new I post it here. And be sure to let me know if this generates any new traffic (you can register your shop on google/analytics to find out specifically) by leaving a comment---with your LINK too!! I may end up featuring you in my "Friday's Favorites" too.