Whether your business is 100% online or your storefront is a physical spot, chances are good that you do all you can to boost sales. Here, we’ll review what we regard as the top 20 ways to do just that. We’ve broken things down into categories for Etsy, eBay, Instagram and Twitter. Regardless of whether you’re comfortable with online promotion or you have to ask your high-school sales clerk how to run certain aspects of your smartphone, read on – we’re sure you’ll find tips and tricks to drive your next sales report through the roof!
What is SEO?
Before we begin, let’s make sure you’re clear on the basics of this all-important sales tool. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the practice of tailoring the words in your online posts or website in order to make it easier for customers to find your business.
Google and Bing are two of the biggest search engines. Imagine that you’re a customer searching for a product or service that your business offers. For example, if you sell handmade wooden toys, you might search for “wooden toys,” “handmade toys,” or even “handcrafted toys.” The closer the wording on your site matches what a customer types in, the more likely that your shop or business will be closer to the top of the search results. With great SEO and a decent amount of traffic, your business can turn up on the first page of a Google search. With poor SEO and little traffic, your website might be listed on the 5th, 10th or even 15th page – and we all know how often anybody searches past the first page – never.
With our tips, we’re confident that you’ll be well on your way to taking your business ever-closer to that coveted first-page spot!
SEO Tips for Etsy
Etsy is one of the hottest websites for entrepreneurs and crafters of all kinds. With everything from handmade bath and body products to clothing and artisan jewelry, it’s easy to see why both creators and shoppers alike flock to the site.
If you operate an Etsy shop and you’re reading this, you may be wondering why you’re not getting the same level of sales as some of your contemporaries. Your products are amazing and you take great pictures to show them off – what’s going on? Chances are good that your SEO could use some work. Read on for how to up those sales and start keeping up with top sellers!
- Load Your Titles with Keywords Without Sounding Repetitive – We’ve all seen product descriptions that read like a never-ending stream of keywords. An example of this for a piece of jewelry might read “Beautiful Womens Ladies Ring Rose Quartz Crystal Jewelry Wire Wrapped American Sterling Silver Handmade Handcrafted Artisan”
Not too much fun to read, right? A properly optimized title for this same piece of jewelry might sound something like “Rose Quartz & Sterling Silver Ring – Crystal Healing Ring – Traditional Wire Wrap Design – Handmade Artisan Jewelry.” It’s easy to see the difference – and a lot easier to read! All the same keywords are included, but they’re not a jumble of words. They flow, just as though you were verbally describing your jewelry to a customer face-to-face.
- Use Tags to Your Advantage – On Etsy, tags are an incredibly helpful way to include keywords that you might be tempted to put in your title, but which make it sound crowded. Sticking with the jewelry example, you might choose to put “Healing Jewelry” in the tags section instead of the title. You might also want to include words like “Crystal Energy” or “Soothing Stones” for shoppers who believe in the power of crystals.
You know your products best – Etsy currently allows thirteen tags, so use up every last one to optimize your sales potential. Using tags like “gift for woman” are also great if your products are fairly gender-specific, and “Christmas Gift” is great for snagging those holiday sales.
- Optimize Your Shop Name – If your shop’s name doesn’t make it extremely clear what you sell, change it! Slightly ambiguous or mysterious names are great for drawing a customer in, but they should always hint at what you actually sell. “Cathy’s Cute Creations,” for example, says nothing about the products in the store. “Artisan Jewels by Cathy,” however, broadcasts your products loud and clear.
- Include Keywords in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Posts – Even though we’re focusing on Etsy, you may (and should!) be running several social media accounts for your Etsy shop. If so, be sure to use your strongest keywords (jewelry, crystals, handmade) in every post. Remember to keep it conversational.
- Don’t Forget About Descriptions – Etsy gives you loads of space for product descriptions, and while they rank lower in search engine results than titles or tags, they’re still a great place to insert your keywords. Remember to keep it conversational instead of crammed, but take advantage of all that space and tell potential customers all about a particular piece of jewelry. Even if you’ve used tags like “Christmas Gift,” you can still add a line to your description saying “Would make a wonderful holiday gift for the special woman in your life.”
SEO Tips for eBay
While lots of sellers – especially those who work with vintage goods – utilize both Etsy and eBay, the two sites are very different in many ways. There is far less opportunity for promotion on eBay; sellers have to rely on a smaller set of tools in order to promote their goods. This does not mean, however, that you should put less effort into your eBay shop than any other platform for selling. In fact, it means that you should utilize every last opportunity available to turn your shop into a star and earn top-seller ratings. These ratings not only automatically boost where your shops ends up in a search result, but they drive consumer confidence and therefore lead to more sales.
- Broadcast Your Goods – Whether you have a shop on eBay or you list without signing up for a shop, utilizing social media is a must for driving buyers to your items. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent for this purpose. As with Etsy, use all your keywords when you list a new item for sale, announce a discount or let buyers know about virtually anything in your shop.
- It’s Okay to Stuff Your Titles with Keywords – eBay is less formal than many similar sites, and more like a flea market. It allows buyers and sellers to haggle over price, for example, and shoppers are used to seeing titles stuffed with keywords – a red flag on many other sites. Use this to your advantage. For the sake of maintaining a professional appearance, do your best to keep titles sounding conversational. However, you can worry a bit less about it than on Etsy. Use dashes to separate keywords – this makes your titles easier for shoppers to read.
- Fill In All Item Specifics – If you’re not familiar with Item Specifics, you’re losing out. This is the section which allows shoppers to pare down their search to find what they really want. It’s one of the simplest ways to optimize SEO for eBay. You can fill in specifics like color, size, brand, features, materials and many other options, depending on the section in which you’re listing. Shoppers regularly rely on the Item Specifics section to narrow their searches, so do your part and make it easy for them to find what you’re selling!
- Fill In Your Profile Page – Your profile page is how buyers get to know you, so don’t leave it blank. You can use this space to add keywords relevant to what you’re selling, tell buyers important information about your business, and much more. Establishing yourself as a seller buyers can trust is paramount, so include anything that shows off expertise in your niche.
- Follow Best Practices – eBay regularly updates what it considers “best practices,” and following these will help your rankings on the site. Currently, they place a high priority on free shipping, short handling times (less than one day), competitive pricing, high-quality pictures, returns accepted, quick question response time and discounts.
Be aware that the site reviews your practices, makes sure that you are sticking to them on a regular basis and will raise or lower your ranking accordingly. It’s not enough to simply advertise fast shipping times – you must consistently get packages out the door in the time frame you advertise. Best practices are also more likely to earn you five-star feedback from customers. eBay is notorious for placing an extremely high level of importance on customer feedback, so you need to earn five stars from every single customer. Sometimes this may mean bending over backwards for a difficult customer or taking a hit on shipping charges to keep a buyer happy, but customer service is the backbone of every successful business!
SEO Tips for Instagram
If you’re not utilizing Instagram yet, it’s time to get up to speed! This social media powerhouse is not just for teens swapping pictures and vying for the most followers. It can be a powerful tool for driving sales if used correctly.
Instagram is different from our other featured sites in that it is entirely mobile. You can view Instagram photos on a computer, but the vast majority of users post, view and interact using their phones. This sense of spontaneity helps your business to feel fresh and new, even if you’re selling vintage goods. Instagram can also be a great way to connect with potential customers who don’t frequent other platforms or websites. For example, a teen who spends their time glued to Instagram might not be your target market for handmade specialty foods, but if they spot you on the app, they may be inspired to purchase from you as a gift. The possibilities are endless, so create an account today!
- Check Out the Competition – While copying another similar shop reeks of unprofessional conduct, checking out shops and businesses similar to yours is a smart move. Take a look at shops which are like yours or which offer a similar service. How are their photos? Which hashtags do they use? Check out those with lots of followers as well as those with barely any, taking careful note of the differences. You can then apply those differences to your own account, emulating the successful accounts. This step can provide you with invaluable information regarding SEO, letting you see what sells, metaphorically speaking, and what doesn’t.
- Link All Your Accounts – One of your first steps toward optimal Instagram SEO is to be sure that all your social media accounts – including your shop’s web address if you have one – together. A shopper needs to be able to access all your accounts easily – this conveys a professionally run shop. Link Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and any other accounts so that Instagram followers can check out your information easily.
- Use Hashtags Carefully – Instagram is one of the social media giants most famous for hashtags, so use them wisely. Choose tags which represent your shop or business, utilizing the keywords you’re already using. Don’t make viewers guess what you sell or offer. Ideally, each photo you post should contain about half description and half hashtags. Keep them short and easy to read – nobody likes deciphering those sentence-long hashtags.
- Stay Active and Engaged – Once you’re set up on Instagram, be sure to follow and like others’ accounts and posts. This can build up a network of contemporaries from which you can draw tips and advice. It can also lead to their followers following your account.
- Discounts and Contests – Offering discounts, running contests and announcing flash sales is a great way to boost sales through Instagram SEO. You might offer a followers-only percentage off, offer a free item with purchase, heavily discount items for just a few hours or set up a contest which can be entered through Instagram and shared on the app.
SEO Tips for Twitter
Next to Facebook, Twitter may be the social media platform with the largest following and most recognition. This means that a Twitter account is a virtual must for your business. Setting up an account is easy, and it can be a wonderful way to boost sales and attract new potential customers. Read on for our best SEO tips for Twitter, designed to help you get the most out of each and every tweet!
- Account Name – On Twitter, your account name and username are different. This gives you an extra opportunity to tell the world about your business! Be sure to include the name of your business and, if possible, something about what you sell or the services you offer. You’re limited in the number of characters you can use, so think a bit about this step.
- User Name – This is your next opportunity to let fellow users know who you are and what you do. You want others to be able to tweet your name easily, so keep your character count down as much as possible.
- Ask for Followers – The Internet is no place to be shy about asking for favors! Use your website and any (and all) other social media sites you utilize to ask customers, fans and followers to follow you on Twitter as well. Some business owners are still stuck in the old-fashioned idea that asking for this is somehow unprofessional. Not true! Think of the last YouTube video you watched – the content creator probably placed a link to their Twitter account directly in the video, or at least included the link below. Asking for a follow is nothing in the world of social media, so don’t be shy about it. Your Twitter link – as well as all your other social media links and website – should be easy to see and click on in every post.
- Follow Your Competition – Just as it’s nothing to ask for a follow, it’s really nothing to follow others in kind. In fact, it’s the polite thing to do. Follow others who are selling or offering the same types of goods and services you are – this is an online version of networking. Feel free to follow just about everybody, because this encourages others to follow you. A customer who sees that your account has a huge following is more likely to trust you – and therefore buy from you – than they might be if your account has only a few followers. Some selling platforms have teams which specifically follow each other on Twitter, tweet each others items, and engage in other forms of mutually beneficial promotion.
- Word Your Tweets Carefully – Obviously, with such a short character limit, this rule is automatic in the world of Twitter. However, if you’re concerned with SEO, it’s even more important. Let’s imagine that a potential customer runs a Google search for a piece of jewelry you created and put online. Of course, you tweeted your posting (right?). A potential customer may or may not see your tweet – depending on what you put in the first 42 characters (approximately). This is the number of characters a typical search engine will display in its results. If you began your tweet saying “Look at this amazing wire-wrapped pendant I just made,” you’re not likely to show up in anybody’s searches. Instead, you could have led with “Rose Quartz Wire Wrapped Pendant – Brand New Listing in My Etsy Shop!” This option is far better as far as SEO is concerned.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to increase sales through the careful use of SEO. If you’re brand-new to this aspect of online business, it can feel almost overwhelming – don’t give up! Once you start implementing a few “best practices,” it will begin to feel like second nature. As an added bonus, you’re likely to start seeing your sales numbers rise, which is the best motivation in the world!