biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: understanding search engine optimization

by Stephanie

rosie_the_riveter1
i am happy to introduce you to danielle maveal, aka daniellexo, etsy’s education coordinator. danielle works to help artists, crafters and makers make a creative living selling their work.  she shares tips on etsy’s blog, in etsy success (a biweekly newsletter), and hosts live workshops through etsy’s online classrooms, the virtual labs. she started making and selling her etched jewelry on etsy four years ago and since then she’s been featured in magazines, shopping blogs, and her work has been carried by over 50 galleries and boutiques worldwide.

today danielle is helping us to fully understand search engine optimization and utilize it to our advantage. thanks danielle for the very informative and helpful advice!-stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!


SEO stands for search engine optimization, which means getting found by Google. So you’ve poured your heart and soul into your craft, art or design, but what good is all that work if you aren’t getting found; and not just getting found, but getting found by the right people? Presenting yourself to the world wide web in the right way is imperative. You need to optimize. I’ve seen the power of Google, and it is a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. Let’s not forget about Google’s fast growing siblings, Yahoo! and Bing. How do you attract and tame those search engine’s web crawlers? I’m here, like an SEO cowgirl, to help you wrangle your way into the top echelon of search engine results.

Never write your item or work descriptions or blog posts online. Instead, open up a text editor, and write your first drafts here. This will encourage you to go through and edit your copy before uploading it to the internet. Not only will this help with SEO (I’ll give you some tips in this article) but you’ll also cut back on typos!

Cut The Fat
“Welcome to my little corner of the web. I hope you enjoy your stay. Put your feet up and have a sip of tea!” Sure, sounds cute, but in terms of SEO this is a deadly waste of an introduction to your little corner. The first sentence of your Etsy shop announcement, or the first line of text on your website, is shown in a search result, so make it count.

The Inverted Triangle
Now that you’ve removed the superfluous language, it’s time to organize your copy.  The most important keywords and intriguing information about your product should be first.  The first part of a title or description carries the most weight in the eyes of those search engine crawlers. So instead of titling a fine art print, “Rosanne’s First Crush – Limited Edition Silk Screen Print”, you’d want to trim the fat and reverse that (and I’m going to add a style keyword), “Modern Silk Screen Print – Rosanne’s First Crush”.

Offer an Alternative
Anytime you insert an image in a blog post or on your website use the alt text option to add a description of that image. Alt text is what shows up when you hover over an image.  Use the right keywords and you’ll gain some more SEO traction. CuteOverload.com uses quirky comments as their alt text, just hover over a few images to see what I mean.  This is not great for their SEO, but they are usually incredibly funny, and I think they have the cute animal market covered anyway!

Build Links
Keep in mind that even if you are doing everything you can to optimize your shop, search engines also look at the “interestingness” factor of your website or online shop.  Inbound links are any links directing traffic back to your website and can help search engines deem your site “interesting”. Here are a few ideas to build inbound links:

  • Be a guest contributor for a popular blog
  • Share a How-To on Instructables.com (or a similar site)
  • Collaborate on a project with another artist and link to each other’s websites
  • Make sure you are linking back to your website in your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Kaboodle, etc)

Make a Statement
Have you ever noticed a quirky or amazing Etsy item become viral (a.k.a. a popular Internet phenomenon)? (Here’s an example.) I bet there’s something you’ve wanted to create (or have already created but haven’t yet put it out there), but you haven’t because you thought — it’s too much. No one will buy it. Whether “too much” means too wild, too bright, too weird, too expensive, too large, I would say, just go for it! Even if that item doesn’t fly out of your shop, it may bring in a ton of visitors who are just curious about this amazing item. I know the first thing I do when I find something completely out-of-the-ordinary is share it with my Internet friends, and this creates inbound links to that interesting item. Check out Etsy Blog’s Keep It Weird series for inspiration.

A Few No No’s
Yeah, a lot of people are searching for Justin Bieber, but adding Justin Bieber as a meta tag or keyword isn’t going to get you very far.  Google is pretty smart; it knows when it’s getting played and it doesn’t like it.  Even if you do slip by and manage to get your handmade tote bags into a Justin Bieber search result, what a waste!  Justin Bieber fans just want to see photos of the doe-eyed pop star and aren’t looking to spend their allowance on intricate handmade tote bags.  (Ok, so I’m using Justin Bieber as an amusing example, same goes for adding keywords like “backpack” to your tote bags.)

Lastly, don’t get too artsy fartsy. Instead of whimiscal item titles that don’t describe your work (like “Lola Daydreams”), make sure to have a descriptive title that uses a few keywords shoppers might search (like “Large Modern Lola Daydreams Oil Painting”).

As I finish up this guest blog post I have one more tip for you: Think about SEO when you write a guest post of your own or any of your own blog posts! Here’s an article by Modish Biz Tips to help: Blogging for Your Business.

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