We'd like to ask you a question about your earliest website experience. We'd love to hear your answer, but this is really an exercise to get you thinking.
What was the motivation that made you first decide to build your jewelry store's website? Then once you built it how long was it before you started updating it on a regular basis?
It doesn't matter if you own a small business or a large one or where you are in the world; most likely your website's first incarnation was more simple than today's and had very little SEO thought and marketing support. Perhaps it took a while to realize that you couldn't just set up your jewelry website and then forget about it forever.
Some type of marketing is needed to get people to your website. Most of the time that marketing is online; but it should also be reflected out in the real world by including your web address in your business cards, POS receipts, gift cards/certificates, and anything else that has your company address on it. Depending on your level of cross-branding, you may even match every element of offline marketing (color, placement, style) with your online version.
Computer neophytes may feel that online marketing is complicated, or maybe even an impossible task, but it really isn't. Just like offline marketing, all you need to do is find the right place to put your ad so your target market will see it. Just like offline ads, your online ad will attract attention if done well. The advertising medium has changed but the methods remain the same.
As part of our routine testing here at jWAG, we frequently create demo jewelry websites where we can test new SEO concepts that we couldn't otherwise do on a real jeweler's website. One of our jWAG readers sent in a good question about our demo website which we'd like to answer publicly.
Here's the question:
"Doing some web browsing today, and I felt compelled to ask. How in the hell did you get a first page ranking for "Solitaire Ring" on a fake jeweler website with a page with almost no content. [website URL omitted] Completely surrounded by the usual 6-figure website gorillas. You don't have to tell me, but it's impressive nonetheless."
We love these questions! And we love to answer them too!
First, we had to omit the website address only because that testing site will be taken down soon and we didn't want to have broken links in this Nugget, but here's a screen shot.
We had to dissect the SEO of our own site to figure this out. Perhaps you can use our blueprint to do the same. Our steps are not listed in any particular order.
1. The solitaire ring in question is one of our featured items linked to from a few other pages of our website. That means it's easy to find from our home page. The Google spider was able to find it quickly instead of needing to crawl deeply into our product catalog. Using this strategy you should create featured items and strategically place the images around your site. We don't change our featured items, but you should change them monthly on your own jewelry site.
2. We also set up a Google Places account, and even a Google+ Page for this demo jewelry store. We've been updating the Places account a lot recently because Google's been changing the format. We routinely get calls from people using their cell phone who found our mobile Google Places page. Again we refer them to one of the local jewelers, but that account is very active. If you've been reading our Nuggets for a while then you already know how important it is to keep your own Google Places updated.
3. Several of the pages on this demo site are shared on Facebook and Twitter right now. Through the magic of Google it's very possible that our shared pages influenced the SERP of the jWAG member that asked this question. For you this means you have a chance to influence the SERP of all your Twitter Followers, Facebook Page Likes, and now Google+ Page Circle members.
4. We don't actually maintain the SEO of that site. As a test we set it up using every single SEO technique we knew when it was set up in August 2010. This means we have unique page titles for every page, unique meta descriptions for every page, and internal HTML coding that follows all of Google's rules. This took a lot of work, probably equivalent to 80 or more hours of labor. For you this might mean $15,000 or more in SEO fees if you were to hire a qualified company.
5. As another test, some time after the initial creation of the site we added Google Rich Snippets to the code. For a brief discussion of this topic please refer back to Daily Golden Nugget #85.
6. The bounce rate of the website is lower than the average for luxury websites. The overall design of the website isn't too fancy, but the navigation is easy and people tend to browse around a while. Our office does get a few calls every week from people all over the US and even Canada because of this demo site. With our apologies for misleading the caller we always referring them to other appropriate jewelers. The only way to lower your own bounce rate is to keep reviewing the popular content on your site and how people click through your site. This is a never ending process of content rewriting, link restructuring, or website redesign.
Put all that together and we have a well rounded SEO plan and online marketing strategy in place. You should be able to take action using items 1, 2, and 3 without hiring anyone. Item 4, the SEO of your website, should be manageable through your existing CMS with some time and effort, if not then it's time to upgrade.
Items 5 and 6 will require programming and usability analysis. Ask your current web programming person if this is within their talents, otherwise find someone good. There's a lot of online chatter about usability design (now called UX design) but few people understand it. Refer to our Live 1 DVD for an introduction of Heatmaps and read Nugget #244 to get yourself started.
Just go do this stuff!
Have your own question about your website or something you've seen online? Send it in! We monitor all our channels: