Happy Holidays! There are only a few hours left in the 2016 holiday shopping season as I write this. Those still doing their last minute shopping are probably thinking a little outside the normal box in order to find something good for their loved ones.
For this week's website review, I will work through a search scenario in hope to illustrate how your customers use the internet and why it's so important for you to build out your online identity much further than you might imagine. For many businesses, this is the make-or-break week of their entire year. Those who properly prepared their online identity months ago will probably have more foot traffic and higher sales than those who have hopes that their website will attract customers.
For this week's scenario, I'll pretend that I'm a poor planner and procrastinated until today to buy my girlfriend a gift. I didn't mean to put it off until this late, but hey, this was a short holiday season of only 4 weeks and I worked a lot. Now it's crunch time.
It's late at night and I'm sitting at my home computer in Portland, Oregon looking for ideas. Can Google help me? I start my search with the very long phrase "jewelry gift idea for girlfriend near portland or" but the results seem to be all ecommerce shops. Take a look:
At first, I was drawn in to the ad for James Avery Jewelry (A). The website was easy to use but it turned out they didn't have any stores near me in Portland, and there wasn't enough time to order online.
The next set of ads (B) were not useful at all to help me find local gifts either, so I skipped them.
The title for (C) was a mismatch for my needs because my girlfriend doesn't think of herself as a hipster, nor do I.
I also skipped over the Etsy (D) option because I know that it would only be ecommerce.
The Top 101 Best Gift Ideas (E) seemed good, until I realized this was an editorial and not something that would help me quickly.
The listing for Shane Co (F) seemed interesting. Although a quick look at their website game me some ideas, it also seemed like the jewelry was more mainstream and generic. Nevertheless, I took a quick look at their Google Maps listing to see where they were. They are easy enough to get to in the Portland area. Google Maps also give me the times they are open and the busy hours. I also found a virtual tour in the Maps listing. Here's a screen grab showing the Maps information; the red arrows point to the buys hours and the virtual tour.
This might be a good choice, but I think I'd prefer to look for other, more interesting options. The rest of the choices in the SERP were not interesting at all. It doesn't seem like there are many websites that consider long tail phrases like the one I used above.
I decided to try another Google search, this time with the simple phrase "girlfriend jewelry portland or." Here are the results:
Once again I'm not impressed with the results because they are mostly ecommerce sites, blogs, and social networks. I need something local. Such is the struggle of the last minute holiday shopper that's trying to use the internet to save himself a bit of time. I suppose I could go to the mall and fight the big crowds, but there's got to be something easier.
It seems like only the large jewelry chain stores know how to get my attention!
Before I go to Shane Co., I'll switch over to Google Images search and get some ideas. I clicked the Images link at the top of the current search results to see this:
This image search gives me a lot of ideas for jewelry gifts that I hadn't thought of. These jewelry ideas are far more creative than what I saw on the Shane Co website. The only drawback of this image search is that most of the images are from Pinterest. I can see the pinterest.com website when I hover over each image, as shown here:
As I scrolled through the Google images, it was the photo that said "happy holidays" that eventually caught my eye. It was one of the few images not from Pinterest; this one was from Yelp. Clicking it revealed that the photo was from Portland, maybe even local to me, as you can see here:
Clicking the image jumped me over to the Yelp page for this local, Portland, OR, jeweler. This is what I saw:
According to the captions on the Yelp photos, Grayling Jewelry has a huge selection of handmade local jewelry. This might be more interesting for my girlfriend than the generic jewelry at Shane Co. It looks like they open at 10am on Friday morning.
I did a little browsing through their website to get some other ideas. This is what the website (https://graylingjewelry.com/) looked like when I clicked over from Yelp:
(click to enlarge)
A quick look through the Grayling Jewelry website has me sold! I will visit their local store before going over to Shane Co.
Technical Behind The Scenes of Google Images
All of Google's search results are proximity based, even the image results. Although it's difficult to quickly notice it, Google is trying to pinpoint my local search with images that originated from local websites and local social media accounts.
In the best case scenario, once the local results are displayed, Google switches over to their normal results based on keyword matching. When Google find images on your website they will use the text on the page to understand what the image is. They also analyze the image name, which is why it's so important to give real names to your images rather than keeping the image names that come from your camera, e.g. IMG_1234.JPG.
To illustrate this, I'm going back to one of the first images shown in the results. Take a look:
The title of this image includes "girlfriend gift" and the description from Pinterest also includes "girlfriend gift." For Google, this is a really good match. Here's the actual Pinterest Pin:
That pin links to this Etsy item:
Remember that I searched for "girlfriend jewelry portland or." Google somehow matched my girlfriend query to the Pinterest pin and the Etsy item that has the title "Girlfriend gift." Google is pretty smart with how it can match similar meaning words.
Yellping Those Photos
I've lost count with the number of times businesses have asked me if it's worth the time to keep their Yelp page up to date. What's interesting about today's example is that Grayling Jewelry isn't paying for their Yelp listing. I know this because paid Yelp listings will not display paid ads from other competitors.
Although the screen shot shown above does include 3 visible reviews from Grayling Jewelry customers, right at the bottom, you will notice the small "Sponsored" notice. That's because there were other sponsored ads appearing on that page, which wouldn't happen if Grayling was paying for their listing.
Even though they are not paying for their Yelp listing, they are keeping it up to date with their store information, and with updated photos. I would never have found them if it wasn't for the captions they included with their uploaded photos.
Again, they have a free Yelp account that they periodically upload photos and caption to.
Ideas to Improve the Websites
After working through the scenario explained above, I went back and simply searched for "jewelry portland or" and "jewelers portland or" in Google. To my surprise, the Grayling Jewelry website didn't appear anywhere in the first 4 pages of those results.
It seems like there are plenty of jewelers in the Portland, Oregon area, but none of them have tweaked their website for targeting of the "girlfriend" phrase.
Let's think about Pinterest again for a moment. The only reason those Pinterest pins appeared for my girlfriend search was because the phrase "girlfriend gift" was included in the description of many of those items. What do you think would happen if you took the time to include gift giving ideas on your own website as part of the product descriptions? Your own product images would have a better chance of appearing in the results as I detailed them above.
Very few websites include occasions or gift giving ideas as part of their product descriptions. The James Avery Jewelry website (http://www.jamesavery.com/) does this very well, which is probably why they appeared as an ad when I searched for those long tail phrases at the top of this Nugget. I feel these gift giving reason and occasions are website features that all jewelers should be striving for.
Once again, I've tried to document my own experiences as I worked through today's Golden Nugget. I did my best to record my first impressions as I went through each step while pretending to be a real jewelry customer.
My goal was to find a local jewelry store that was selling items that might appeal to my girlfriend. Unfortunately, one of the local stores had appropriate matching keywords on their website, and so my search results were practically devoid of local businesses.
Customers don't search always search the web using phrases that you'd expect. They are more likely to use long sentences or phrases that are very specific to their situation. Building a website that would match these types of long tail search phrases takes a lot of keyword research followed by appropriate content building, blog writing, bolstering of product descriptions, and an overall long term plan.
This is not easy stuff, but if this were a real scenario, I'm sure Grayling Jewelry would be very happy that they took the 5 minutes to upload a few extra photos to their Yelp account this holiday season.
That's it for this week Review Nugget. Those of you who know me will already realize the pure fiction of my search phrase used in this Golden Nugget, especially since my husband and I are celebrating the holidays in Bordeaux, France this year. I wish you and yours the very best over the holidays.
Be safe, and I'll see you next time.
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm giving them these flop fix ideas. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this Nugget if they use Google Alerts or examine their Google Analytics and Google Search Console. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This #FridayFlopFix is completely impartial and all my comments are based on previous experience in my website design and marketing agency, and from my personal research data.