Is it possible to improve your search engine ranking without ever actually implementing basic SEO? Absolutely.
By focusing on other areas of your business, you can improve your search engine ranking passively thanks to back links (when another site links to your website) and keyword-rich phrases.
How? I have six tips to share with you today, and six to share with you in a future post.
1. Create Something Unique
When I sold jewelry on Etsy, my pieces weren't even close to unique. I had no experience in jewelry design, so I learned different techniques on YouTube, bought a bunch of parts and pieced them together without much thought.
At first, this didn't bother me. I felt strongly that I was a "creative", fulfilling a life-long dream to be part of the "in crowd" in the arts community (since my sales took off quite quickly).
But, after a while, it did bother me. Between the heated forum threads that referred to my style of jewelry as being 'just parts', to realizing that I would never be a featured seller since my work was so cookie-cutter, I sought ways to make myself original, which included taking silversmith and resin classes.
If you are making something that many others create, I encourage you take a step back and think about how you can turn these items into something more unique. If you are having difficulty, think about whether your materials can be used to create a new product.
I'm not saying you can't build a business around a normal product, in fact I was in 12 stores within a few months and definitely could have gone further if I had the interest. However, I think you will feel more confident and passionate about your work if it's something you have created that no one else can duplicate.
2. Create Consistently
I'm not saying you need to make a new piece every day, I'm just saying the more you turn out, the more interest you'll create. If you manufacture designs or create in batches, that's fine too, but do try and create on a consistent schedule so new items come out around the same time or at the same speed.
What if you subscribed to a fan page of a hot indie designer who brought out a new line every 3 months? Then, 6 months go by and nothing new has come out. You start to wonder whether this designer is still creating.
Schedule your work in an effort to bring out new items as often as you can. Many artists and crafters start their business on a whim and probably have a day job, but that isn't an excuse for creating sporadically. This is your business and if you have dreams of making it more than a hobby, you'll need to put in late nights or weekend hours.
3. Create Awe
Make your photos and copy superb and you'll increase online sales, have more people linking back to your shop and people commenting on how amazing your products are.
You don't need to be an expert to master photos and words, I took 30 pictures per product for a long time before I mastered 5 perfect shots per item. Subscribe to a blog like CopyBlogger or Men With Pens for incredible copywriting tips.
4. Be Yourself on Your Blog
Telling your story is all the rage these days and for good reason. People like Gary Vaynerchuk, who rose to stardom because of his Wine Library TV, shares how to cash in on your passions and story in his book Crush It.
Scoutie Girl's Tara Gentile started seeing a significant increase in readers, business and fans when she started letting her personality loose in her posts. She saw the need to help other creative entrepreneurs with their storytelling. She created an e-course and e-book based on storytelling for creative business success in order to help people share their stories and true voice.
If you're unsure how to get your story out there and mix it in with blog posts, sit down and jot down things like how you became an artist, or the time you went to the grocery store and that interesting encounter happened.
Beside these stories, jot down the first thing that pops into your head about relevant lessons learned, or ways you think it relates back to your business. From there, expand these ideas into blog posts and start spreading the word about your life, art and business in a more personal and provocative way.
5. Think Logically
You don't need to be a SEO master in order to bring organic traffic to your blog. Just think logically.
If you sell feather earrings, think about what you someone who has or likes feather earrings would search for on Google. How do you care for feather earrings? What's the best way to store them? What clothes do they look good with? That's just off the top of my head.
If you start blogging about these topics, people are going to start visiting and from there, notice that you also sell feather earrings, something they love and want to buy.
Action Tip: Sit down with friends and brainstorm related topics that your target customer would Google. You'll end coming away with months worth of killer SEO optimized blog posts.
6. Create Your Own Path
Enough with the giveaways already! Many new blogs host giveaways and it's downright annoying. Holding a giveaway on a blog that you started in order to attract buyers will most likely attract the opposite – people who are not interested in paying for anything.
If you're lucky and do get a potential buyer on your blog, how would you interest them in buying from you when you are actively promoting someone else's work and products?
"Don't Blog for Your Peers" is great advice from Michael Martine, who specializes in blogging for business. That's something many artists fail to understand about blogging. Blaze your own trail by coming up with outside-the-box ideas to encourage your ideal customers as readers.
Sure, there will be some overlap in terms of audience, but how would you feel as a customer if you landed on the feather earrings blog to find business tips for jewelry designers or an interview with another artist. You'd be confused and these posts wouldn't interest you, so why would you buy?
Justine Smith is an Etsy success story who used her experience selling online and turned it into a full-time wholesale business. Her real passion is helping handmade sellers find success marketing their craft products. She offers tips on advertising, branding, social media and growth via email through her blog Handmade Marketer.
Photo courtesy of Greg Westfall.