If you’re a maker with a website, you need to know about SEO! In this post I explain the basics of Search Engine Optimisation, in words that Makers understand!
In this article I cover
- What is SEO
- Why you need it
- How to do it (or at least where to get started)
- When you will see results
Got a cup of tea? Let’s get started!
SEO. What even is it?
It sounds scary right? But it’s not really. The basics are actually pretty simple and anyone can do it!
Have you ever thought about how a search engine works? Like what magic happens when you hit enter on a search to find the coolest shops in your city and it brings up several of your favourites? Search Engine Optimisation baby!!!
Here’s Google’s explanation of how Search Algorithms work:
“To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location and settings.” – Google.
So let’s break that down. To give us the most useful info the algorithm looks at
- The words you searched
- The pages that are relevant to those words (does the webpage include the words you searched for?)
- The usability of the webpage the info is on (does the website follow usability best practices?)
- The clout of that webpage (is it a reputable source?)
- And your location (it wants to show you things closer to you where are which are more relevant)
So then, Search Engine Optimisation? It’s optimising your content for search engines using the rules they have set out for us. If we know the rules, and we have the tools to follow them, then we have as much of an opportunity to show up in people’s search results as anyone else!
Why do I need it?
If you’re a maker who is trying to sell online, there’s lots of ways to drive traffic to your website. You can use social media to build your audience and push through leads, you can use email marketing, you can use paid advertising like Facebook and Google Ads, and you can use Search Engine Optimisation, which is free!
As a human living in the 2020’s, you no doubt turn to your smartphone or computer whenever you’re searching for information, and your go to is probably Google or another search engine! By making sure our content is optimised for search engines, we’re making sure not to lose any potential leads and making ourselves stand out from the crowd!
How do I do it?
The more pages you can add to your website targeting different keywords the better. But you also need to make those pages count. Your entire website will modify your SEO score, so having one awesomely written page when you have 10 others which are less than awesome is not going to be the silver bullet you need to become an earring making millionaire! But you can start slow, do one page at a time. Let’s break it down a little.
Start with looking at the pages you already have. You have a home page, but what about an about me page (yes people want to read about you). You have a shop page, but do you have a separate page for each category of item you sell on your store with a snazzy introduction and some awesome imagery of people wearing your stuff? Do you have a contact page, a portfolio page, a page listing your stockists and events you are attending? Do you have a blog? All of these pages will help bring people into your site.
Once you’ve decided the first page you want to work on (I suggest starting with your about page) it’s time to move onto the next steps!
Get the right tools
Whether you’re using WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace or Etsy, your platform will usually have a way to optimise your site for SEO. Many platforms come with this built in. For WordPress, you can add a plugin such as RankMath or Yoast. These tools are free and do most of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to doing your SEO.
Research your keywords
OK so you want to come up in search. Rad.
Now I want you to think to yourself…. If I were looking for my products, what would I type in. For example, If I was looking for colourful and quirky earrings made in Melbourne I might type in…
- Colourful and Quirky Earrings made in Melbourne
- Fun Earrings Melbourne
- Cool Jewellery Melbourne
- Melbourne Jewellery Designers
- Cool Earrings Near Me
You get the idea… already, we have five different phrases we can start trying to rank for!
Set your meta descriptions
Most SEO tools will have a section called SNIPPET, which gives you an example of how your page will show up on search engines. If you click on the snippet you can open it up and tailor the content to get the best result.
Some tips for your meta descriptions
- Be conversational in your copy. Don’t write for the robots!
- Give a realistic idea of what will be found on the page if the user clicks through
- Make sure to include a call to action (CTA) to encourage users to click
- Use keywords you want to rank for in your title, slug and description
The snippet tool will usually give you a green light once you’ve hit all the marks!
I like to do this bit first as it helps me work out what I am going to write about.
Write engaging and relevant content
The next step is writing up your page. When writing copy for a website, you want to make sure to be thoughtful of your reader and write copy they will actually want to read. This includes using proper spelling, punctuation, grammar and using a tone that is suitable for your audience.
A few SEO friendly ideas to help you when putting together your copy
- Include headers using the H1, H2, H3 tags in your text editor. Search engines will read these headings as important content on the page when working out how to rank your content.
- Write more than 300 words. The longer people spend reading your webpage, the more interesting the search engine is going to think the content is and the higher it will push it up in the ranking.
- Scatter your keywords throughout the content. But don’t overdo it either.
- Link to at least one external site (maybe your Instagram) and one internal site (maybe your shop or contact page)
Name your images and set your Alt Text
Images make content so much more enjoyable to read, but we need to show the search engines that they are relevant and tell them what the pictures are of.
When you upload your images:
- Make sure to add a title to them (this will make your life easier in the long run)
- Add the “alt text” which is a field usually available in your image editor on whatever platform you are using. This field describes your image and its purpose on the page.
- Upload appropriately sized images. Don’t upload pictures straight from your camera or smartphone as they are usually far too big for a webpage and will result in a slower site speed (which means less engagement as no one likes seeing images load line by line). Use a tool like Imagify to resize & optimise your images before you upload them.
- Side note: If the image is of your art, make sure to include your name / brand name in the title!
When will I see results from all the hard work I’ve done on my SEO?
It’s going to take a little bit of time to build up the data and see results, but keep an eye on your analytics (install Google Analytics if you can) and see if your organic search increases. You can also install Google Search Console if you want to keep an eye on what key words are bringing people to your website.
That’s enough to get started!
I know, it seems like a lot to take in, but once you get in the groove it’s actually a bit fun! There’s countless resources out there to help you with your SEO, but I hope this article put it into words which make sense for you.
Want help going through your website to identify ways you could improve your SEO? Book a mentoring session with Elle for one-on-one help with your website skills!