We use Google, Yahoo, or Bing for hunting down a variety of places, items, and information and probably don’t really concern ourselves with how the info at the top of page one got there. Or why, for that matter, the sites that we expected to find aren’t there.
The art of getting found in a search engine’s results is big business. Depending on the type of site, organic search traffic is usually one of the biggest traffic drivers — the art of which is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Optimization is a mouthful, but don’t let the title put you off. Sure, if you read up on the subject, it can seem very overwhelming, but SEO is actually a simple series of steps that can make a huge difference to attracting free traffic.
Are you ready to get started? Here are four simple steps for increasing your chances of being found in search engine results pages.
1. Know That Content Is King
Search engines love unique content — they use it to determine what a web page is about and then match up a page to a search query. As an Etsy seller, there are several main content components areas you need to concentrate on:
- Create unique and strong product titles. Think about keywords that shoppers would use to search for your product and include them in your product titles. If you carry similar products, ensure that each product title is unique. For example, if you have two black tote bags featuring slightly different patterns, don't call them just “black tote”; instead, add details, such as “Black Tote Bag With Blue Diamond” and “Black Tote Bag With Red Design.” Be obvious about what you’re calling something and use standard terms. If you’re unsure what people are searching for, Google’s keyword research tool can help you find out.
- Flesh out item descriptions. Use less obvious terms to describe your shop items and expand your product titles.
- Fill out your About page. This will tell the search engine all about your shop.
2. Get Link-Happy
Because search engines use links to determine ranking order, links have always been one of the most important elements of SEO. There’s no rule on how many links will help, as each link will have a different value. For example, a link from CNN to your Etsy shop might be worth more than 10 (or 100) small blog links. But all links (big and small) help. Here are some simple tips to help draw in links:
- Do you have a blog? Don’t be shy about self-promotion — don’t go overboard, but certainly link to your Etsy shop/listings where possible.
- See your items featured outside Etsy? If the blog doesn’t include a link to your item, contact the editor to request a link; they might say no, but no harm in asking!
- Link between listings on your site. Internal linking helps pass link authority from one page to the next, giving search engines signs that pages are also related or grouped.
- Network. If you know sites that are seeking content and guest blog posts, volunteer to put your content on other people’s sites.
- Don’ts: Never buy a link and don’t use spammy techniques such as third-party forum postings or directory listings — search engines can see through dodgy link building practices.
3. Put Your Social Media to Work
Social media’s not just great for being social; it’s a great way to showcase your shop listings. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ are great ways to show search engines that people are talking about your shop or listings. Yahoo and Bing particularly use social signals as a ranking signal, so if you have one of these channels running, use them to promote yourself. The other secondary bonus is people may link to you from your social promotion. Read our tips for using social media to promote your shop.
4. Be Patient and Don’t Obsess
SEO can take time to take effect, so be patient. Also, you’re not the only Etsy seller tweaking pages, so you might see your pages start to rank slowly and see some ups and downs. While search engines like fresher content, don’t think this means you should tweak your pages each day. Keep pages reasonably static (for example, no changing unless you have to). Also, try to use pages several times; if your listing sells out and you’re able to restock, try to reuse this page when it’s back.
Importantly, don’t stress about Google’s PageRank value. This is a rather old way of viewing pages and is too generic to mean much in today’s SEO. PageRank is often misunderstood and not necessarily accurate now.
Want to learn more? Here are some great resources:
- SEOMoz’s Beginner's Guide to SEO
- Search Engine Land’s SEO section
- Search Engine Journal’s SEO Beginner's Guide
Have you learned a thing or two about how to get found on Etsy? Share your insights in comments.