Online promotion is hard work. There is much competition out there, and it takes a lot of work to be found. One of the things that really help in the online world are keywords. In this article I’m going to explain the basics of keywords. I’m going to try to keep it short and practical, and provide links to useful external articles, as there is really tons of info on this subject on the internet. It is what makes your online business found.
Recently we started promoting using online ads, both with Facebook ads and with Google adwords.
We found that for reaching the correct audience, i.e. the people that are interested in the products we sell, correctly identifying and using keywords for your business is, well, the key to success or failure online. And this not only applies to the ads, they are very important to use on your website and in your products if you want to get found by the right audience.
What are keywords
You could think of keywords as your business titles, describing you business in just a few words, as precise as possible. Think of doing a search on the internet for exactly your products, on images or in text. Your keywords should enable the search engines to show your products in the search results, preferably on the first page.
The closer the match between the text used for the search and your keywords, the more chances there are you will be on the first page.
Why do I use keywords
Well.. you want to be found, right? This might sound silly or obvious, but this is the one and only reason you’d use keywords. Especially on your private website. The big platforms (e.g. Amazon, Etsy, Dawanda, etc..) have millions of products out there, and to be found these are your competitors. Choosing and using your keywords wisely will bring you natural results (=visitors), and if your keywords exactly match your business these visitors will be coming back, and hopefully turn into clients.
Where do I use keywords
You should use your keywords everywhere, in your posts, item listings, with your images, when you share anything at the social media platforms, in your tags, your descriptions. Everywhere.
And try for unique keywords for every post or item. Ideally you would identify 10 to 20 different keywords, unique for your business, and use 1 of these per post or product.
For Handmade in Europe we have installed the SEO plugin by Yoast to help you out. The tool will give immediate feedback on your keyword usage, and the second tab, page analysis, will give you some more details. It will also tell you when you are overdoing it too.
What is important: identify 1 keyword per post or product, and focus on using this keyword with this post or product. Use it also when sharing the post or product on social media as tags or in the titles.
See our post on the use of the SEO tool here.
Image tag keywords
I cannot tell this enough, but naming your images and using your keywords in both titles and alt text is a big help to be found. There are millions of people doing web-searches on images only and, if you have not named your image correctly with the title and alt text, you simply will not be found.
Also, when you share the image to social media, e.g. Pin, Tweet or Instagram, the alt text is often used as the text.
So whenever you upload a photo take these few seconds to make sure the title and text contain keywords for your business.
For Handmade in Europe shops: visit your media library, select the image, and you will see the Title and Alt Text fields. Copy/Paste your keywords, and use the arrows to go to the next image, the text will be saved automatically.
Google looks at titles a lot, they matter for the search results, and are saved in their databases as highly relevant for the search. So please try to use the keywords in your titles, the further at the beginning the better the results.
If you promote your post or items on social media, make sure to add the keywords there as well. If you use a photo, make sure the Alt text is in place, and make use of the hashtags wherever possible. The more your unique keyword appears, the higher the ranking.
How do I find my keywords
There is several ways to figure out your keywords. Actually now would be a good time to mention that ‘keyword’ is not a 100% correct term. Keywords is. Keywords are a combination of a few words, getting closer and closer to a precise description of your products/posts.
See it as an address. I am from Holland. So are 15 million others. Too broad for a search term, but good to start. I am from Amsterdam Holland. Better, only 1 million others. I am a male white boy from the 60s from Holland Amsterdam. Good. Still quite a few thousand, but you should get it from this sample. If you want to narrow it down further, add musician and web-designer, and now the list grows manageable.
So, when defining your keywords, start with your main category, and then narrow it down until it is really you. Ask yourself questions anybody will ask you when you tell them what you make.
You make jewellery? What jewellery? Modern? Baroque? Hippy? What materials do you use? Silver, gold, metal, precious stones? What stones? And then what? Bracelets, necklaces? Big ones? Little ones? For weddings, for men, for women?
As every of your items are unique, so should be the keyword string. Sometimes it can be easy, like ‘Copper bangle bracelet for her’, or ‘custom engraved silver locket pendant’.
Search for an unique string for each of your items, and tag, use in titles, images, social media, repeat all over.
Some help: I use the Google Keyword planner, and hey, this is a hot topic coming back regularly at Yoast as well. I inscribed to their blog, they’re cool.
How do I know if they are effective
I’m afraid that with so many things regarding online business the work is never done, and as you should constantly and consistently be working on your titles, descriptions, and for online selling especially your photos, so you should also be monitoring and revising your keywords regularly.
I am using Google analytics, have web-stats installed for all Handmade in Europe shops, Statcounter, and have been running Google adwords campaigns, which for me are the ones I check most, as they give a direct overview on the keywords customers clicked on, and thus found me
You can immediately see the amount of times the ad was shown, and how many people clicked on the add. Lots of impressions may be good, because it means many people are searching for this, but the 2nd keywords, where people still click, is more specified and better for me. With the most general ‘art gallery’ term 1 out of 30 people clicked. The second is better though, because we are a contemporary art gallery, and this is specified in the keyword. We get less clickers here, 1 in 45, but the traffic from there is, I think, more our target audience, exactly the people we would want to reach.
I have about 20 keywords set up for this campaign, I check every few days, and will remove keywords that are not effective, and add others. And I make sure that the most effective keywords will be used on our website in different articles and posts so I will get found without running ads afterwards.
The web-stats should show what your most popular pages are, study these to see why people are landing there, do you use keywords, and so yes, which ones? If people land there, there must be something interesting? Analyze the content, see what makes them effective, and try to publish more of the same kind, using the identified keywords that worked for the adds.
You can also look at the posts that don’t get many visitors, and revise these, using the effective keywords. And check again in a few weeks to see the difference.
And that’s it in a nutshell
As my favourite team leader always said: every product you list, and every article you post, is a door to your shop. The key, so people can find and open these doors, are your keywords. Beyond these doors your work is displayed, and should wow the visitors so they will share, talk about it, and become your fans. But first they’ll need to find you..
I hope this article will help you understand the basics of keywords, and will enable you to use these to promote your website and business, and to get found.
I’m always happy to help out, think with you, and advice where needed, just let me know.