Does the world of SEO seem completely overwhelming? You’re not alone! For creatives and small business owners, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin.
For our fourth IG Live of our Week of Visibility, Pedddle founder Nicki chatted to Liane at The Content Creator about breaking this down and overcoming the fear of getting started with SEO for creative businesses. As a small business owner herself, Liane gave us some great tips on where you can get started, whether you run a product or serviced base business. She shared some simple instructions you can follow to get started, and showed us it’s not as complicated as it might seem!
We’ve included some of the best take-aways from our chat with Liane below, with important areas of SEO from keyword research to blog writing and a few things that are worth remembering along your creative business’ SEO journey. Read on to find out more about SEO for creatives, or scroll down to the bottom to find the full IG Live chat…
Let’s start with some SEO terminology and why it’s important!
What is SEO? SEO stands for search engine optimisation. When we talk about this we primarily mean Google, as this is the search engine that is used most across the world. Other places, such as Etsy, have their own search engines built in. For a small, creative business, SEO is all about making sure your product, service or site gets shown to the right people. Google takes into account thousands of different elements when it decides who to rank on its pages.
What is a keyword? Keywords are the words and phrases (not just single words!) someone types into a search engine during a search. We want our website or products to include the same, or similar, keywords that people are searching for to be able to appear to them. It’s important or Google to understand what you’re selling and what it’s about.
Keywords tell Google what a page is about – for example, if someone sells scrunchies, or someone offers a copywriting service, it needs to be able to recognise this. One thing I see product based businesses do is come up with really fancy creative names for their products, which only allude to the product they’re selling, rather than including keywords which will help the product to get found. Say you are selling a dress, which you’ve named “The Vera”, Google won’t be able to pick up exactly what this is from those words alone.
Where are the primary places to get keywords in on a product?
Titles are important, so you could use a structure like The Vera: Silk tie dress.
Descriptions – this is a core place to get them in. You can use flowery language and describe it in a creative way, but make sure you’re getting those keywords in somewhere.
Alt text on product images – If an image doesn’t load properly the alt text shows up to describe it, it’s also there for accessibility, say, if someone was visually impaired and used a screen reader. You can include the keywords in your alt text.
- SEO titles and descriptions: these are different from the ones we just described. These are the title and description that show in search engine results.
- Don’t go on for pages and pages to describe one product.
- Longer keywords don’t always necessarily have to have the words in that exact order. Your products can still rank if the keywords are slightly alternatively ordered, they don’t always need to be directly connected. Google is clever, and it knows how people speak! It’s best to sound natural. It’s all a balancing act between writing for Google and also writing for people who need what you’re selling.
- In product ranges, think about niche keywords – what is specific to each variation of product?
Keyword research means finding keywords to use that are relevant to your business and getting an idea of what people are actually searching for. I would split this into shorter, core keywords that you want your business to rank for as a whole, like “craft kits” that you want your business to rank for, but also some which more niche and specific to your products, like “craft kits for toddlers”. This is because the shorter ones are likelier to have a higher search volume each month, but a lot of other businesses will be competing with you on them too. Slightly fewer people will be searching for the longer “craft kits for toddlers”.
Where to start:
- Look at what keywords your business is ranking for at the moment. Use an online SEO tool like SpyFu or Moz – there are lots out there with free features, it’s worth trying different ones out to see what you like best.
- Next, look at what your competitor’s business is ranking for and take note of this.
- Think about what other ways people might be talking about or searching for these things. This takes a bit of brainpower!
- Ideally, you want to create a spreadsheet with all the relevant keywords in it, broken down to categories – let’s say for example you have a jewellery business. If you have collections of rings, necklaces and bracelets, some keywords will only be relevant to the earring category. You can start to gather clusters of keywords that will be relevant to this category in particular, and so on.
Once we have our keywords planned, what next?
If you have you own website, here’s are some top tips on optimising it:
- Include keywords in every SEO title and description on every page of your website.
- Weaving is the core word – do not cram keywords where they don’t sound natural.
- Use keywords in your H1 titles. Google reads page text in a hierarchy, H1s (primary title), H2s (secondary) and so on, and then the paragraph of your page.
- Blogs are important, even for product based businesses, and a great place to get in keywords.
What are backlinks, and why are they important?
Backlinks are any instance where another site on the internet links back to your site. The power of them is if they come from sites that are seen by Google as good/valuable sites, i.e they have authority, it shows google that your site is valuable too. It takes time to generate SEO goodness for your site – in the early stages of optimising your site and its content its important to use your other channels to drive traffic – Google will recognise this, as it will show that you are working on your SEO and that people are already enjoying your site.
I don’t have a website for my business yet. What can I do to broaden my digital footprint and visibility for my creative business?
If you’re not at the point of running your online store yet, it’s worth purchasing your domain name and creating even just a landing page. This is a starting point, and you are already beginning to add value to the domain for when you have the means to put a shop on your website. Marketplaces such as Etsy are great, but they might not be there forever. It’s good to have your own place on the internet, where you can link to your Etsy in the meantime!
Being found on Etsy and other online marketplaces also comes down to keywords:
- Have attractive titles that include keywords and good product descriptions that are engaging
- You can have great photography, but if your product description sounds too corporate, it’s less attractive to customers.
- Draw people to your Etsy page using your social media platforms, newsletter and being active in as many places as you can!
If you could sum up the top take-aways from today, what would they be?
- It’s not as complicated as it sounds! It’s all just a case of chipping away at things and doing it little and often and being consistent with it.
- The importance of having your own space on the internet that you own. If a lot of your sales come from Instagram or Etsy, do carry on using them. But if those platforms disappeared overnight, would that mean the end of your business? And if it would, then you need to think about how to fool-proof your business for the long term.
- Consider blogging for your product based business. Things like inspiration behind a particular product is a great way of getting a lot of keywords behind the post and linking to your product. You can find creative ways to collaborate too, for example with another business, or gift guides linking to other people’s products, and you might get some in return.