Back in March, I wrote SEO for Beginners: 3 Tips for Online Vendors. Now that you've had time to digest (and hopefully implement) those ideas, I want to get into a meaty SEO topic: Keywords.
As the creator of Handmade Marketer, the site with a weekly action email helping sellers achieve success through small, manageable tasks, I thought it would be great to showcase ways you, too, can take action by improving your search engine ranking through proper keyword methods. So, let's get started!
1. Pick the Right Keywords
Keywords are fine and dandy, but only if you pick the right ones. As I mentioned in the last SEO post, if you start using keywords over and over, it will definitely help your search engine ranking, but if you use a term that's too saturated, such as "goat's milk soap", your business is likely to fall to the bottom of the search results.
How do you find the right ones? Here are a few methods:
A) Ask For Help
Ask peers and fellow craft business owners what they think of when they look at your work and site. This way you can get an outsider's view and find out what they would search for to get your products.
Take Action: Send an email to a few friends and get their take on what your business says to them. Ask specifically for keywords they might type in to find your product and what topics they would be interested in as a consumer before they bought your goods.
B) Use a Keyword Tool
As mentioned in the last SEO post, a keyword tool is a great way to figure out the right keyword string for you. I liked Naomi Dunford's tip of using Wordtracker best, because it has a free option and gives you valuable information without making you jump through hoops. It also shows you which keywords are most popular (so you can avoid them) and which can help you more.
Take Action: Head over to Wordtracker and enter different keywords (perhaps the words your friends gave you) to see what is too saturated and what has more potential to help you. Then start adding them into your site!
C) Google It Up
What I love about Google is you can search for something and, as you type it, a bunch of popular searches come up that are similar to what you are typing. For instance, if you go to Google and start typing in "goat's milk soap", a drop-down list shows related searches, like:
- goat's milk soap benefits
- goat's milk soap recipe
- goat's milk soap babies
- goat's milk soap base
So, now you have additional popular searches using "goat's milk soap", but that are potentially less saturated. I used the Google method to get one of my two sites to #1 on Google for two popular (yet less saturated) 4-word phrases in a week!
Take Action: Go to Google and type in different strings using words you've brainstormed or ones that were recommended to you by friends. Then see what else drops down as popular and use it not only in your site but in blog posts until you raise your ranking.
2. Use Keywords Wisely
Okay, so now you have some great potential keywords, right? Rather than just splashing them anywhere and everywhere hoping to make a difference, try saving yourself a lot of time by using them in the right places.
Where are the right places?
A) In Blog Posts
Remember those keywords on goat's milk I looked up in Google? If you start using those phrases in blog post titles and in every paragraph, Google is going to start recognizing that YOU have quality information on that topic and they will raise your ranking when those phrases are searched for.
So instead of writing a blog post about your latest product, try a post like "How Goat's Milk Soap Benefits Babies". Now you'll have moms who search for "goat's milk soap babies" and find you have helpful information on WHY goat's milk soap is good for babies and hey, you also happen to SELL goat's milk soap, so they may consider buying it from you!
Take Action: Go through your list of potential Google phrases (related to your keywords) and brainstorm a few blog posts that your target customer would want to know. Then use that string in the blog post title and content in order to draw them in.
B) Near the Top of Your Site
It's important to use your keywords at the top of your site more than anywhere else. At the beginning of blog posts, at the top of your website (such as in the header image and in the html box of your first widget) and even in the alt tag for your header image (which is right at the top of your site).
Take Action: Go through the 'top areas' of your site and see how you can add keywords naturally. Then do it!
C) In Images
I've talked about this a lot before, but it's very important to start using your keywords in your image alt tags. You can read a lot more about SEO for images in this great post by Web Distortion.
Take Action: Before adding photos to your website, be descriptive with their names. Instead of "image1", try "goats-milk-soap-babies" if that's the string of words you want to use as keywords.
3. Do More Than Sit Around
You've got your keywords and are using them wisely. Now what, you ask? Simple: forget sitting around and start figuring out what's working and what's not in order to move beyond keywords.
How do you do that? This will help:
A) Watch Your Analytics
After you start using your keywords frequently, start checking your Google Analytics account on a daily or weekly basis to see how people are finding you. You may also discover new keywords and phrases are helping you get found that you didn't even try to use, so this will be key information for determining how to map out your SEO success.
Take Action: Log in to your Google Analytics account and check out the keywords list. Besides seeing the string of keywords, also note how long people are staying on your site (with those keywords, the longer the better) and how often they are searching for those words.
B) Make Changes
It's time to use that Google Analytics information and start making small changes. If you see certain keywords are not giving you any traffic, tweak them in order to accomodate ones that are. While the ones not working may be searched for more often, you should concentrate on what will get you the most traffic effectively, rather than waiting around for potentially nothing to happen.
Take Action: Go and tweak keywords in your pages and certain images (such as your header) in order to bring more traffic from the best keyword sources. Don't feel the need to redo blog posts, but start a few new posts focused on the more effective keyword strings.
C) Move Beyond Keywords
After all is said and done, keywords will help your SEO, but it's not the be-all and end-all of your website's success. Once you have decent keywords in place, don't obsess over things you can't control (such as waiting) and invest in things you can control, such as advertising, social media, networking and community building.
Take Action: Once you've gotten all your keywords in place, go out there and improve your SEO by taking part in other forms of marketing that will showcase your links on other sites (through advertising, press, guest posts and more). These will all go a long way to helping your organic traffic improve, while giving you some great exposure as well.
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.
Main Image courtesy of Shutterstock