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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
Spend any time researching online businesses and the term “SEO” will eventually come up. You’ll probably see this acronym over and over again! If you’re not sure what SEO is or how it affects your handmade business online, then this SEO 101 article is for you.
And while it sounds like a hair band from the 80’s, SEO is actually one of the most important components of selling online.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech genius to understand and use SEO 101 tactics. Once you learn the basics, you’ll have enough information to make progress.
So grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back and let’s rock some SEO!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s not a “thing”, but rather the process you use to make sure what you post on the Internet is in a form that search engines like.
When someone asks if your website is “optimized”, they want to know if you’ve applied SEO to your site.
With the amount of competition in the online space, being optimized for search engines is just a part of doing e-commerce these days. Without it, your website or product listings are likely to sit on page 50 of a Google search. Which means, no one but maybe your mom will see it!
SEO can be applied to whole websites, individual pages of a site, and product listings on websites such as Etsy.
(There is such a thing as Etsy SEO, which is a future blog post topic that goes beyond SEO 101.)
As makers I think many of us cringe at the “business stuff” we need to do, especially for online selling. The truth is, if you want to grow, you need to know this stuff.
And while SEO seems daunting, there are specific rules to follow. So, once you know these rules, it becomes a “rinse and repeat” process that you will do almost automatically.
Plus there are helpful websites and apps out there that can help! For example, if you have a Shopify shop, you can add on the Yoast SEO app to make the process SO much easier.
It can be tempting to resist change and ignore things like SEO, but I’m here to tell you that your ecommerce efforts will most likely fail if you do not have a basic understanding of how to optimize your site and listings.
If you have a website such as a Shopify shop, then here are some basic SEO 101 guidelines that you should know and follow.
For even more guidance, I suggest Yoast’s SEO blog – they have a lot of SEO information that is very helpful! And definitely look into an SEO plugin or app for your website.
We’ve talked alot about how to write your content so it’s readable, don’t do any “keyword stuffing”, etc. so you may be a bit nervous about actually USING keywords.
But this is where you’re going to capture the attention of someone searching for the things you make. Knowing the keywords that are being used, and then using those keywords, gives you the competitive advantage when it comes to being found online.
There are several paid keyword tools that you can use, one that I think is fairly helpful is Keywords Everywhere, which has an extension on Chrome that lets you see a keywords rank right on Google.
A free keyword tool that you can use is wordtracker.com.
The trick is to find keywords that are being used for search, but that are not highly competitive. For example, if you make wreaths, and you search for “wreaths” on Wordtracker, here are the results that come up:
We’re going to focus on the “volume” and “comp.” numbers. The word “wreaths” has a high volume of searches, but also is the most competitive word on this list.
You want to find a keyword that has a decent amount of searches with a low competitive rate. On this list, that would be “front door wreaths”.
(Side note: keywords with more than one or two words in them are called “long tail keywords” – they are the best types of keywords!)
So when you’re creating or updating your product pages, instead of using just the word “wreaths”, you should use “front door wreaths”. You’ll target a keyword that has decent search volume but much lower competition.
Go page by page and find these types of keywords for each product page you have.
Now it’s time to “sprinkle” these keywords into your copy in a natural way.
You want to use your keywords for that page in a way that makes sense for a human reader. Make sure it is in your title, meta description and in the URL for that page. Then, work it into the product description and use it in the alt text of at least one of your product images.
Try to use different keywords for each page. So if you sell a lot of wreaths, try to find different keywords for each type of wreath. If you used “front door wreath” for one page, find a different keyword from the list you could use.
Here’s another search example, as you can see there are many choices you can use.
You might want to create a simple spreadsheet for yourself, where you track the keywords you’re using for each page.
All you need to do is copy the URL for each page, then have a column for the keyword for that page, and maybe copy and page the search volume and competition scores for that keyword.
As time goes on, you can see which keywords are bringing in traffic, and which ones might need to be updated. (You can track this information using Google Analytics for your website.)
If you want to read more about improving your handmade business website, check out my blog post:
SEO takes time, so do not feel like you’re failing if you don’t get this all done in a week. Make some SEO work part of your daily or weekly tasks, and over time you’ll turn your website into an optimized powerhouse!
It also takes time for the search engines to see the work you’ve done. It can take months for Google to recognize your website or new product pages, so you must be patient. The work you do today will begin paying off 6 months from now.
If you want to grow your website traffic without spending money on ads, then SEO is the way to do it. It’s worth your time and effort to learn as much as you can, and apply those skills to your business.
I am here to help you build an online handmade business that you love! My signature course, Get Online, Grow Online is opening for the Summer on June 9th, 2022. It is a full, hands on class that will help you sell your creations online.
Find out more about the course here! Doors close on June 17th so don’t miss this opportunity to create your own online business doing what you love.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!