Testing Your SEO

Applying basic SEO (search engine optimization) to a web listing is one of the easiest ways to ensure gem or jewelry buyers find your gems or jewelry business online. But how do you know which search terms people will use?

Test the waters. The best way to test the effectiveness of a title is to Google it and see what pops up. Any time you list a new piece of jewelry, do a quick search first. Type in the words you imagine a potential customer might use if they were searching for this piece. What comes to the top and why? After a while, you won't need to do this every time to know how to word a title or choose your tags.

Remember: You're not just trying to stand out on Etsy. You're trying to stand out on Google – and Yahoo!, Bing, Ask.com, and every other search engine on the web.

Let's say I want to list a sterling and brass bangle. If I Google "handmade mixed metal bangle," the top listing is a gallery of "sterling bangle bracelets" on Etsy – cool stuff, but not really what I was looking for.

Number two in my search results is the Etsy homepage of Our Tree House Designs, a shop that's done a great job of targeting the market for mixed metal jewelry.

Number three is a bracelet by a German designer on Artfire. "Handmade Mixed Metal Bangle" are the first words of her title and her product description: a direct match. There is plenty of room at the top of this particular search, as long as you specify those terms.

Sites like Etsy, 1000 Markets, and Artfire make it easy for you to optimize each piece you list by giving you a form to fill out with title, tags, and product description. These sites are designed to help artists sell jewelry by maximizing search optimization. Fill in the blanks and you're automatically optimized to some extent – especially on a site with as much traffic as Etsy gets. But it's up to you to come up with a title and tags that will attract search robots and to use the most powerful keywords in your descriptions and image captions.

More information on SEO:

SEO Made Simple is a useful primer on meta tags, keywords, page rank and search engine robots.

Take a little time to educate yourself about SEO in general and, specifically, on the online marketplace you favor. A couple tweaks can send your jewelry listings soaring to the top.

NET PROFITS appears regularly in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more about optimizing your jewelry listings in "Attract the Bots with SEO," December, 2010.

Cathleen McCarthy is a freelance writer specializing in design, travel and business. Her stories have appeared in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. She has written for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1992.

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