In this episode, Richie and Gordon have a candid conversation about why a seller’s SEO can’t ever be “done.” If you’ve been in the habit of practicing set-it-and-forget-it SEO, you may want to stick around and rethink your strategy.
If you pull up this week’s Jam (which you totally should) you’ll notice that unlike other Jam’s, this one is black and white. It’s different….aaaand a little creepy (think The Blair Witch Project) which reminded the guys of Halloween. And because we’re all kinda random around here, we thought, who always wants Christmas in July anyway?? What about Halloween in July?! Believe it or not, this all leads right into what Gordon and Richie want to talk about in this episode. Only they could randomly connect the dots like that;)
It’s true that now might be a little too early for the end consumer to be prepping for Halloween. If you start thinking ahead though, you’ll realize that someone has to start prepping Halloween (or whatever holiday/event we’re talking about) way before the end consumer buys whatever the product is. When we walk into a store and think, “Oh gosh, it’s Halloween already?!” someone else has been thinking about this long before the idea to buy those little candy pumpkins ever popped into our heads. You can follow this rabbit trail a long ways back, too. Before that person ever started thinking about stocking their shelves, someone else was thinking about making those items.
Magazines, websites, anyone who is doing content pieces on a Holiday will be looking for products and shops to feature well ahead of when anyone will read them. They’ll compile all of this and organize a production schedule. So realistically, someone up stream is thinking about Halloween come July. As a seller you have to think about that too. So we’re reminding you!
On your side
Etsy sends out newsletters about three to four weeks ahead of anything that’s themed. They tend to leave a little bit of a buffer. They try have people think ahead for purchases they’ll need in the future. Etsy understands that it takes time for hand made items to actually be made, shipped and arrive to the buyer. They’re trying to allow for some of these time demands. This definitely puts Etsy on your side as a seller. Their editors are always thinking ahead and brainstorming what to include in these news letters or on their website and recommendations to send out for their sellers.
These ideas are being created well in advance of anything Etsy is actually sending out to buyers. SO, as a seller you want to make sure that your keywords and products are ready to go when that rush comes in. It doesn’t matter when Etsy sends out that “Christmas” news letter (it could literally be in July) you want to be ready to go when that happens. Be prepared for the onslaught of searching that will happen. This is also the whole way SEO works. Wanna know how to get featured somewhere? Plan ahead. Be there. Most of the time, it’s all about showing up.
A friendly reminder
We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it. Your SEO is never done. There will always be things to do with your SEO throughout the year. Seriously. Then, when the next year starts you keep right on going. There are a handful of reasons for this. The previously mentioned reason, staying ahead of the holidays, is a main component. Another reason is that there are things that come in and out of fashion. Things can be popular one moment and then gone the next. Hello, mood rings, chia pets, pet rocks and maybe even fidget spinners! However, you can definitely capitalize on things that are super trendy. When everyone is talking about the trends and people are looking for something clever to say about them, you can take advantage of that. Even if it’s a funny meme about fidget spinners or mood rings, that can be an opportunity for items like t-shirts and mugs to be sold.
This not only applies to trending items, but trending words and terms in our culture as well. Just like popular items to be sold, words can be capitalized on. But, this usually depends on the staying power of that trendy word or phrase. And this all leads back to your SEO. Let’s say you have all your listings set up and ready to go. You’ve picked out the best trending keywords to describe your items. Then, you let your keywords/SEO sit for five (or two) years. What happens? You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to use new keywords and trends to describe your listings!
If there are trending words that are constantly changing that means your buyers are constantly using new search words. You want to make sure you’re showing up with those trending terms. Which is another reason why your SEO will never be done. Make sure you’re on top of those new trending terms and that your plan of attack with this is always targeting how buyers will search for the items you’ve listed.
Think outside the box
Ok, so back to the whole fidget spinner thing. Why do you see them being sold in grocery stores? Why are toys sold there? Or pharmacy products for that matter? None of these things are food. They really don’t belong in a store devoted for groceries. Yet, there they are. That’s called brilliant target marketing. The store is anticipating what their customers MIGHT want and supplying it for them. This is exactly the way you should think about your shop. Anticipate what your buyers will want. Unless of course, you don’t want to expand and only want to stick with a certain item. And that’s ok, as long as you realize this is limiting your potential growth and success.
Understanding your customer
Another reason your SEO is never done is that your customer is always evolving. No matter what you’re selling, listing and what your keywords are, there’s usually room to niche down. You can always have a better understanding of who your customers are and what their needs will be. You can also get super specific with the keywords you’re targeting. This is important in attracting the type of customer you’re looking for. This also ensures that those customers are really interested in what you have to offer in your shop.
Now, when you find more specific keywords the engagement with them may not be as high as engagement on the bigger generic keywords. But remember, you’ll be competing with less sellers. And this is the balance you want to strike when you do this: finding keywords that are less competition, more niche, but still having reasonably high engagement that sellers are actually shopping for.
Also, keep in mind that you might get less buyers, BUT the buyers you do get will be further along in there searching process. These would be your more serious buyers. And if they’re more serious about what they’re looking for, you shouldn’t need as many of them to get a sale. For example, on a broad keyword you may need upwards of one hundred views before you make a sell. On more specific keywords, you may only need upwards of twenty-five.
One of our customers and an Etsy Jam guest, Joanna, helps people out with their SEO. One of the things she’s said is this: a lot of the time when she helps someone find the best keywords to describe their listings, they actually get less views but will end up with more sales. This is fantastic and will increase their conversion rate like crazy. Etsy will love this because they’ll see that you’re using great keywords that draw buyers in and this will improve your ranking.
The variety pack
Recently, Gordon’s friend Alex was looking for a gift for his wife. He was awesome enough to let Gordon watch him search around on Etsy so Gordon could get a better idea of how shopper engagement was. Alex started his search really broad. First it was “handmade gifts” because, he didn’t even know where to start. Then, after seeing a few things pop up, handmade soap caught his attention. Very quickly his search changed to “handmade soaps” which brought him to the realization about how many different kinds of handmade soaps are out there! It began to dawn on Alex that even though he knew his wife really well he didn’t know which scent she might prefer in soap. Well, what else to do then but search for a “variety pack” just to make sure she got what she liked! Now his search was “handmade soap variety pack” and as he continued, Gordon watched Alex get more and more and more specific in his search.
This is all exactly what the shopper process looks like. Walk by a window, something catches your eye, walk into the store, walk to a certain section of the store and suddenly you’ve found two certain things you want and there it is. You’re down to a choice of what exactly to buy.
The variety pack isn’t a new concept. We see it all the time in grocery stores. It might be a variety pack of chips, beer, cookies, whatever! The masses are already being conditioned to know that this sort of purchase is a possibility. You can definitely use this to your advantage in your own shop. Pay attention to where people go in the real world and what’s being marketed to them. Then, relate that back to your business and try to implement the ideas and strategies you’ve found there.