Tip Of the Day - SEO Q&A
Q: What is SEO?
A: Search Engine Optimization - the art of making a website/shop attractive for search engines.
Q: Why would I care if a search engine likes my shop/website?
A: Because they are the bridge between your shop and the shoppers. If you build a good relationship with the search engines they will send people who want to buy what you are selling right into your shop.
Q: What search engines do I need to impress?
A: Google before every other. Google is the ruler of the cyber universe - it can make a star out of you, or ignore you and make a job of selling t-shirts much harder for you than it needs to be. Yahoo, MSN and other smaller search engines are important, too, but they are used by less people, so they have a smaller potential in bringing shoppers into your store.
Q: How do I get on Google's good side?
A: By having a lot of fresh, keyword rich content on your site.
Q: How do I keep my website fresh?
A: By frequently updating it. This can be done in many ways. You could add new designs, sections and new products. You could go into old sections and change descriptions. You could change the layout of the site, shuffle sections and products... In other words keep tweaking the site/shop, even if the changes are small. That will keep Google aware that the site is active and it will give it more credit and better position in the search results.
Q: What is a keyword?
A: Keyword is a word or a group of words that shoppers use to search the web. "Monkey" is a keyword, "Love Monkey" is also a keyword, "Love Monkey t-shirt" you guessed it - a keyword.
Q: What do I do to make my shop keyword rich?
A: You use every given opportunity to add text to your shop. Write all titles, section teasers, section descriptions and product descriptions. Use the footer of the site to add interesting/funny/educational texts relevant to your designs. Use the headers of sections to give a good description of what is available in the section. While you are at it, fill those texts with keywords that shoppers would use when looking for the stuff you sell or that would attract people who are your target shoppers. Example: "Wide selection of unique and funny monkey t-shirt and gift items for a monkey lover." See how "monkey t-shirt" and "funny monkey t-shirt" and "monkey lover" all fit into one small section. Plus we have words gift and unique thrown in too... so if someone was looking for "unique gift for a monkey lover" your description would allow for your page to be listed in the search results.
Q: How do I know what the shoppers are thinking and what keywords they use?
A: Easy. Use Keyword Selector Tool. Type in a general keyword and it will give you more specific keywords to use in your descriptions. Example: search for "monkey" or "monkey shirt". Go through the results and find the keywords that will be most beneficial for your shop. The more keywords with a specific product name in it - the better. The more people search for the keyword - the better. Don't give up if the page doesn't appear. Just go back and reload. It's worth all the reloading.
Q: What else can I do to pimp up my shop SEO-wise?
A: Make the keywords in shop description, section descriptions and the footer bold. To make a text bold use html. If you don't know how to do that you can learn here: HTML Text Formatting. You should not use html in section teasers, product descriptions or titles. If you add your own images to the shop (banner, logo...) add alt and title tags to the html code for the image. Titles are very important for SEO, as they go into the title bar on top of the browser and they appear as links (both carry importance for SEO), so make sure to pick really good titles - both section and product titles matter.
Q: Anything I can do for SEO away from the site?
A: Yes! Build links from various parts of the net pointing to your shop. Use every given opportunity to do that. Post links to your shop in blogs, Squidoo, on MySpace. Don't spam, but be sure to use an opportunity when you spot one.
Q: Anything I shouldn't do?
A: You shouldn't try to fool search engines. They are smart and will bust you. You don't want that to happen, believe me! Don't use hidden text (same color of the text and the background). Don't repeat a keyword too many times on a page. Any excessive use of one single keyword is called keyword spamming and will get you in trouble.
Q: How can I know if my SEO efforts are paying off?
A: Get a StatCounter for your site, keep an eye on it, especially on the Keyword Analysis feature. Are the Search Terms that visitors are using those that you planed to be your main keywords? If not, you will need to work them into more titles and descriptions. Search terms are also great inspiration for new designs. It's reversed SEO. The shopper is already there and you know what s/he wants, so get busy, create and offer it to them.
Q: How do I find out if a search engine likes my website?
A: Use that very search engine and search for site:your shop's full web address (example: site:http://www.cafepress.com/cutestshopever). As a result you'll get a list of all the pages from your site indexed by the search engine. The more pages - the better, but they need to be in the main list. Those results that have Supplemental Result in the bottom line are not all that useful.
Q: Is there anything else I need to know about SEO.
A: One always needs to keep learning about SEO.