Friday, January 21, 2011

SEO Made Easy Part 1: Get Your Online Shop Found

There is no EASY way to explain SEO. But if I can keep the chunks bite size, we may all be able to digest the myriad of tips and suggestions to a few chewable pieces.

SEO Made Easy Part 1
A tutorial in layman’s terms about getting your online shop found.

The Definition.
S.E.O. When I first heard the term, I was like “es - what - ti - oh” ? Then, I found out it was an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” Um, that’s nice, but what does it REALLY mean?

It means: how to make better (optimize) the way Google (a search engine) finds a web address online.

The Why.
Why is this important to you (and by you, I mean me), Ms. Online Shopkeeper?

Scenario 1: Imagine your potential customers searching on Google. Your shop comes up on the results as the number 5 link on Page 1. They click on links 1 through 4 on Page 1. They are frustrated since they are looking for something handmade. Links 1 to 4 are all commercially made wares. Then they click on link number 5. Well since you sell handmade wares, viola! The customers find you. They buy from your shop. They become big fans and lifelong clients.

Scenario 2: Imagine you are the last link on Page 3000. Yeah, it just does not have the same warm and fuzzy ending.

It’s all about being found first. The easier Google locates your shop and puts it on a page closer to number 1, the better for your shop’s visibility. Better shop visibility translates to more views for your merchandise. More views usually results in more sales. And, we all want more sales since we are selling stuff.

Lesson 1. Better SEO equals more sales.
The How.
As you can imagine, SEO is a huge business in the world of online shopping. There are hundreds of techniques to go about implementing it. However, it still boils down to the same thing as any good marketing campaign: narrow down and find your target market.

A lot of us indie shop owners do not need to get the whole pie to be happy. We just want a slice of it. If you’re bent on dominating the world, then you still have to start somewhere and somewhere is always better than nowhere. So, I am going to focus on one tip that will get you somewhere.

The Key.
Compete in a smaller market versus trying to compete for the whole world.

So, what does THAT mean?
It means you have to narrow down your market from everybody to some bodies. Narrow down the people who are trying to find you. Instead of competing for the larger search words like “art” or “handmade” or in general “jewelry” or “bags” or what have you, compete for the people who are using specific search words instead.

An example.
There are people who will type “bags” to search on Google and be willing to go through oodles of pages to find what they are looking for. These people obviously have fast internet connections and high paying jobs which allow them to search the world wide web all day long. As for me (and possibly you), I have a satellite internet connection and I am self employed. Therefore, I need to work fast and efficiently to try to find the things I am shopping for online. No time to go through oodles of pages, and definitely no one paying my wage as my hamster run satellite dish crawls.

So, how do I and many other intelligent busy people like me search online? We search specifically. If I am looking to buy a handmade purse made with designer fabric, I would not search for simply the word “bags”. I would search for “handmade designer fabric purses”. This would give me the best results for what I am looking for and I don’t have to wade through pages of non fabric, non handmade purses.

The point is, if you sell handmade bags using designer fabrics. You don’t want everyone looking for plastic bags to find your shop. You’d rather have the person looking for handmade bags to find your shop.

Lesson 2: The secret to better SEO is to narrow down your target market.

A Hint.
Google is not a rocket scientist. Think of Google more as like a 2 year old. For the most part, Google can only repeat what it is being told. You tell Google to look for “bags”, Google will just return results which has the word “bags” in it. So what is the problem with that? Google does not know whether you are looking for a handmade bag, a Gucci bag, or a brown paper bag. All sorts of bag results will appear. So, you need to tell Google, I want “handmade designer fabric purses”.

In the same vein, you need to tell Google that your shop sells “handmade designer fabric purses”. Since Google is like a 2 year old, you need to repeat this to Google a lot. This means you need to identify your shop with this phrase. This is also known as your keyword phrase.

The Rub.
You need to choose the keyword phrase which will narrow down the people looking for you. Keyword phrase. You’ve heard of it. But WHAT is it? This is the phrase which will explain to Google what your online shop is all about. Remember, Google is like a 2 year old. You want your phrase to be fairly simple and easy to remember, as in use a 2 to 4 word phrase.

Some examples of keyword phrases.
“handcrafted gemstone jewelry” - shop which sells handmade jewelry made with gemstones
“acrylic textured art paintings” - shop which sells acrylic painted art with textures
“hand dipped confections and chocolates” - shop which sells handmade candy and chocolates

Google uses the keyword phrase as the identifier for your shop. So, in order to move forward, you need to figure out your shop’s identifier, your shop’s keyword phrase.

A suggestion.
Asking yourself a few questions will help you figure out your keyword phrase. Who is looking for my shop? What would they type in the search bar when looking? What do I sell that I can say is unique to my shop? What phrase can I use to sum up my shop’s merchandise? Is this phrase to be likely used by my potential customers? How would I search for my own shop online without using my shop name?

Lesson 3: Your shop identifier or keyword phrase is critical to better SEO.

In conclusion.
Our goal is for better SEO since better SEO equals more sales. The key is to narrow down our target market. The solution is to tell Google who our target market is with our keyword phrase. Our keyword phrase will help our target market find us. Once our target market finds us, we get to eat pie.

Next post, I’ll tell you where your keyword phrase needs to go (yeah, don’t say it).

If you find this tip helpful, share it with your fellow online shopkeepers.


  1. Amazing tutorial, thanks for sharing.

  2. You've got me. I've had an Etsy shop for only a week, I am so coming back to see where the keyword phrase should go! That, and adding items, adding items, adding items!

  3. Great SEO stuff - I actually understood it!

    (here via Handmadeology Team thread)

  4. exactly what I was looking for...Thanks!