"Your website needs to be optimized for people, not search engines." That's the current mantra that Google has been pushing for a while, and everything they are doing seems to reinforce it.
You could hire a company to optimize your website for people, or you could do it yourself; it all depends on your budget. Today I'd like to give you some ideas on how you would approach "people optimization" if you did it yourself or hired someone.
Regardless how big your budget is, you need to set some goals for your website. Typical jewelry stores either want to drive more foot traffic to their store or sell online. Regardless which goal you choose, you need to understand what a jewelry buyer is expecting when they come to your website.
Understanding the needs of your jewelry buying customer is not easy. Consumer wants and desires are cyclical and influenced by many personal and social experiences. It requires perhaps a year's worth of Analytical data from your own website before you will see the cycles. Sometimes you'll need 2 years of analytics before you can confirm a cycle.
If you're on a limited budget you need to add Google Analytics to your website and monitor your Organic traffic reports. This is found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Organic.
After you have a year's worth of data (or if you have that already) you can then take a close look at the inbound traffic patterns. Naturally they spike in December, but you should see other less pronounced seasonal spikes too. There is a lot of information to digest in this Organic report, and you can come to understand a lot about your customer's intent if you dedicate at least one afternoon to reviewing it quarterly.
If you have the budget for a website consultant then it's their job to review your Organic reports monthly and simply tell you their findings. If you have 12 months of data it's also their job to review the previous year's results and make website change recommendations to prepare for the upcoming months.
Your Organic report will reveal customers searching for phone numbers, designer names, and designer stock numbers. Over the last 30 days I've tracked 6111 different keyword phrases that drive traffic to jewelry store websites. Most jewelers believe that their target keyword phrase is something simple like "engagement ring" or "diamond engagement ring." Truthfully that's not the case because 4671 of those keywords were unique. Here are four random phrases from the last 30 day of my own tracking:
"best place to sell diamond necklace to"
"3 stone diamond bezel setting"
"all black pearls with one single white pearl"
"artcarved forever warranty"
Any phrase with 3 or more words is called a "long tail search phrase." Part of the process of optimizing your website for people is figuring out how to better capture the attention of people searching for the "long tail."
Without a website consultant to help you, you could look at your Organic report every month for long tail phrases that hint at your visitor's intent. Usually these are phrases that had 1 visitor with 100% bounce rate, which means the customer hoped to find their answer on your site but didn't. You lost the customer this time, but you won't next time if you write at least 1 blog post related to that long tail topic.
On the other hand, if you're paying a website consultant, they should be looking at your Organic report and cross referencing your Webmaster Tools report to find more detailed information and even greater insights into what your visitors expected from your website, but failed to deliver. Again, the simple solution is writing more blog entries for your site.
Let's get down to the budget numbers...
It will take you at least 4 hours to review your Organic report and try to discover what your customers are looking for. You should do this at least once every 3 months, but it's better to do it every month if you have the time. Each discovery will probably result in the need for a blog post. You might make several discoveries on each Organic report, but let's say you find 4 really important topics.
Writing 4 blogs will take about 6 hours, added to the 4 hours of report review and that's 10 hours of your time. What's your time worth to you? If your time is worth $50 per hour that's $500 of website time you could pay a low grade website consultant.
Most mediocre website consultants will charge about $1000 monthly for website analysis for a small website. Actual monthly consultants will review your needs before providing a quote, but you should expect at least $1600 for quality reporting and business guidance.
I'm a big believer in knowing how to read these Organic reports so you understand how your website is performing, but you don't have to do the analysis yourself. Whether you are budgeting time or money just make sure you are feeding into your bottom line instead of taking away from it.