Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Keywords and Links

As an online presence and a store owner we rely on search engines to bring our customers to us. How can we use the search engines to our best advantage? I've written about keywords before, but they are important enough for another article and I will include links here as well.

Keywords are how our customers find us. What are keywords? Keywords describe your item. I make handmade clay jewelry, so the keywords, for my store items, would be, polymer clay, handmade clay jewelry, clay jewelry, polymer jewelry, North Shore Clay Jewelry, North Shore Clay, I think you get the idea. Use these keywords throughout the text of your site. What makes it tough sometimes is that some words are so obvious that they are only implied and are never stated often enough. Like your town name, state, or brand name. So let me go back to my keywords and revise the list now with the keywords that I left out. North Shore, Lake Superior, MN.
Be sure to use these "implied" words often throughout your text, certainly more than once.

Regarding links. Search engines consider incoming links as signs of popularity and will move you right up the list in a quick fashion. A successful tactic is to guest author an article at another site in exchange for a link. Exchange links with a fellow crafter. Etsy has many wonderful store keepers who help with this all the time.

A final word regarding your online profile. It is much better to use a few tools wisely and consistently than be spread so thinly that you can't keep up and have outdated information. Find out what works for you, what you have time for, and remember that keywords and links are, well, key!

Finding New Customers

Having an online store is simply not enough. But the question is, how do you find customers? The answer is simple, but it does take some work on your part. Go to the sites your customers visit. How do you find them you say? You ask. Then you go to those sites and engage in meaningful conversation with them. The operative word here is "meaningful". You are not trying to make a sale when you are visiting these sites that your customers visit. You are building a relationship. For example, if one of your customers frequents Flickr, and is interested in photography, figure out how it relates to your line of work and meet them there. Then you can decide which tools to use to best reach your potential customers. When you meet your customers on their turf and are interest in what they are interested in and can talk with them about those things, it will be a natural extension that your sales with climb.