What were your expectations when you first created your website? I remember when I was exhibiting at jewelry trade shows in 2004, most jewelers assumed that a website would bring them business merely by virtue of its existence. Those expectations were unreasonable back then and they still are today.
Your website is like an island and it will remain an island until you build bridges and lead people across to visit. Those "bridges" take the form of shared links to social networks, blog posts with links to pages inside your site, and print ads with your domain name on it. The strongest bridge you can build is getting Google to rank your website in search results.
Google doesn't make it easy for you to build that bridge. In yesterday's Nugget I explained the 4 Google Blogs I read and why. That Nugget explains how to pay attention to what Google wants you to do to make your website really great. Google will gladly build that bridge to your website if you make it great.
I suppose that's enough of the analogies for now. It's time for me to mention some specifics...
1. Your website should be designed well.
This means you should spend the time creating a site that is intuitive to use, and interesting to use. Take caution though, because sometimes those interesting designs have clunky usability. The most annoying are the dropdown menus that close just as you were about to click a link.
2. You need to extensively test the usability.
Google wants your website to work well on all devices. The only way to make sure of that is to test how it looks and test how the navigation functions on a desktop, tablet, and a smartphone. Now, this is not as simple as testing your own smartphone, tablet, or desktop. You need to test the popular devices. What does your website look like on a Windows desktop, a Mac, an iPhone, an Android, an iPad, and an Android tablet? Take it one step further and find out how your website appears on a Kindle Fire and a color Nook! Programming for usability is tough.
3. You need to keep your e-commerce process updated.
It's pretty difficult to get your product catalog indexed and appearing in search results. A few years back Google started reading special HTML code according to the guidelines on schema.org. These special codes provide a better chance for your online product catalog to be indexed. There's a Catch 22 when you use this schema codes because Google will know how often you are updating the prices on your website. Slapping up a product catalog and then forgetting about it will work against you. If you take this programming approach you also need to commit to keeping your online prices updated.
4. You need to add value to your website, and to the internet.
I can almost guarantee that every retail jeweler's website will have a page dedicated to the services they provide. That page usually talks about repairs, appraisals, engraving, and everything else that's normally found in a jewelry store. This is the perfect example of BORING! If you are saying the same thing as every other jeweler then you really aren't adding value to the internet. Over the last few years I've started to notice a drastic drop in how Google ranks these "services" pages. Think about your own website and how you can explain yourself and your services to your local market. That's what Google wants.
These are just 4 ways to help your website rank better. The old methods of SEO were all about exploiting programming holes in the search engines. It used to be as simple as saying "you can have X links with Y keywords" to get ranked. In the past you could also get yourself ranked "if you used Y keyword on your page Z number of times." It was cheap to exploit those methods, but that's not how SEO works any more.
Now it's all about doing the right thing to attract the right customer. In other words, it's all about customer service. If you accomplish good online customer service you will have a happy byproduct of high search engine ranking.