Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How To Get Noticed By Google

There are several threads a week on the Etsy forums started by sellers wanting to know how to get Google to crawl their shops. When I started my shop on Etsy 2 months ago, I was on of those sellers. I had no clue about anything search engine related and was flying by the seat of my pants. Then I attended a Virtual Lab hosted by Etsy about Search Engine Optimization featuring Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEO.moz a consultancy firm used by Etsy. The whole conference was a series of "Ah-ha!" moments for me. I had never put much thought into how search engines work. They just did. Type in a search term and get a result, right? I really had no idea what happened behind the scenes or how to go about harnessing the power of Google to benefit my site.

I have learned that in a way Google is a popularity contest. The more people you have searching for you, the more "rank" you have with Google. Better still if you have popular, creditable sites hosting links to your site. This again increases your ranking with Google. Google also like sites that are easy to find and contain numerous keywords. A key word is a word that people will likely use to search for your site. So since I feature hand knits and crochet in my shop, it behooves me to use the words "hand knit" and "crochet" as much as possible. There is a fine line though, between keyword optimization and the point of sounding incoherent and spammy. You must be judicious in your use of keywords. It takes some experimenting to find the sweet spot, the amount of keywords needed to draw in customers without losing the cohesive feel of your text. This is why it is important to use your Shop Title and Shop Announcement, along with your Section titles. These are prime real estate for keywords, the first 160 characters are what Google is interested in. I have seen many struggling sellers that have low views are also the sellers that neglect to post meaningful content in their shop announcement.

Etsy recently unveiled a new tool for sellers. When listing or editing your items, you can now preview what the listing will look like on a Google search. This helps you to place your keywords and in exactly the right spot and you can know what customers see when you come up in a search. Again, it is the first 160 characters (letters) that Google is most interested in, so use them wisely!

You can also point Google in the right direction by manually uploading your URL to Google's data base. Go to www.Google.com/addurl and type in your site address. This is like adding your name to a phone book, Google won't guarantee that it will call on you, but at least it knows where you are.

Google Analytics is a free program that measures traffic on your site and gives you daily reports. Using this tool you can learn where your visitors are coming from, how many come from searches and what keywords are used to find you. There is also a map overlay that shows you how many hits come from different countries. Google Analytics will show you what your bounce rate is,that is how many people enter your site and "bounce" out in less than 30 seconds. A good bounce rate is anything below 60%. Your bounce rate is likely to improve if you frequently update your site with new content, causing visitors to stay longer to admire your work.

Frequent updates are vital for SEO. Google likes to offer fresh content to searchers so keep your site current. My site gets crawled roughly twice a week, and knowing when to expect a Google spider to crawl your site helps you know when to update your content for maximum exposure.

The above paragraphs outline what I have learned to be true about Google. I hope by reading this you are able to maximize your site's efficiency and get the exposure you want!


Rose said...

Thank you so much. I can't believe how much you clarified the gogle search for me. Your blog is amazing. I'll be back

Stitches In Time said...

You are most welcome Rose!

Karen said...

Nice explanation!