This is the Friday Jewelry Website Review to help you learn more about your own website by looking at a review from another jeweler's real website.
Every week, I set my Google Chrome browser to incognito mode to find a website review candidate. Normally I search for jewelry stores in a specific town name, but this time I took a slightly different approach and searched for "jewelers in Olmsted County, Minnesota."
Google understood how to interpret Olmstead County as the largest city within in Rochester. I find these search results rather interesting:
The first organic result is quite interesting because it's a directory website that's trying to make some money through affiliate marketing. I don't often see these types of sites appear in the SERPs, let alone ranked in 1st place. These types of sites do rank well with unusual search phrases, which is what I used.
The second result is also quite interesting. It's the Foursquare listing for the Fred Meyer store in Rochester, MN. I've not written about Foursquare in some time, and you might not even consider it worth your time as one of the social networks to be involved with. But something about that listing is very important to your local SEO...
The organic Fred Meyer Foursquare shows a 3 star review. Looking closer, you'll notice it says "Rating 6.4/10 - 1 vote." This is a hint that Google is capturing the Likes and Dislikes of the people checking in at that venue because Foursquare is feeding that information to Google intentionally.
From your point of view, this clearly shows why you should claim your Foursquare venue listing and invite your customers to check-in, but more importantly, Like your store on Foursquare.
The 4th organic listing is a jewelry store's Facebook page. The meta description for that organic listing shows "Rochester, MN" in bold, which is Google way of explaining why that result appears on the page even though it doesn't include "Olmstead County."
Each of these top organic results show how different things can be when users search for unexpected keyword phrases instead of the typical ones we all expect. According to this Bloomberg TV report from May 2013, Google says that 15% of all internet searches are previously unheard of queries. If you look closely at your Google Webmaster Tools, you'll find some unusual queries you've never thought of either.
It's those random queries that make your content building process very important because your random content published through your blog and social networks has a really good chance of capturing the attention of the random search query.
Here's the website I ended up looking at: http://sjjewelers.com/; you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
Here's what the home page looked like at the time of the review:
(click to enlarge)
This is an older looking site and when I checked the internet archive site here I found that they've had the same design since 2008, except that they changed from a read background to a dark blue background in 2013. They need an updated design.
On the other hand, as I look through the archive of their website I did notice that they are changing the information on their home page a few times every year. More competitive jewelers should think about updating at least once per month, or even weekly depending on the local competition.
Sadly though, I think they forgot to change their home page in the last 6 months because it still says "Summer Hours." I'm pretty sure that's a holdover from the summer of 2013. Don't let yourself get caught in the "hours trap." They could have said "Store Hours" and not suffered the fool like they are now. Even if the hours are wrong, at least their website wouldn't look abandoned.
What's even more foolish is that this contact page here:
seems to show their current store hours. The difference is their Saturday hours.
The internet has come a long way since 2008 when they first set up this website. E-commerce has never been an easy task, but it is easier to set up today than 6 years ago. Back then they chose to use vender supplied website plug-ins that allow catalogs to appear on a site without any work.
SJ Jewelers is using this technique for all their jewelry on their site. It looks like their main jewelry supplier is S. Kashi & Sons ( http://www.skashi.com ).
Click here to see an example of how the S. Kashi jewelry looks on the SJJ website.
Then click here to see the same item on the S. Kashi & Sons website.
While this product catalog technique does save a lot of time and energy from you having to set it up yourself, it doesn't give you any long term value for improving the SEO of your website.
I've heard from a few jewelers recently that want to tap into these vendor supplied plug-ins, and the trend is surprising me. If you do take this approach with your website, you just need to realize that you are creating a long term SEO benefit for the vendor, not yourself.
That lost SEO could be recaptured with content marketing and social networking I mentioned above. There's no real way to balance the time requirement needed to upload and manage your own product catalog and also produce content that your customers will be interested in. I suggest you start with the product catalog, figure out a plan to keep it updated, then move on to the content marketing that brings customers to your site to browse that catalog.
That's it for this week's basic review.
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm doing a review. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this review if they examine their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This review is completely impartial and all my comments are listed in the order that I discovered them.