The Beginner's Guide to Google SEO
In this guide, we'll focus specifically on Google, the largest search engine in the world. By following best practices for Google SEO (search engine optimization), you can increase the chances that potential customers will discover your unique brand and products through search results.
Why Google SEO is Important for Your Business
SEO is a way to drive traffic to your pages without having to pay for it. Google processes billions of searches every day, and many online shoppers rely on the search engine to find specific products to buy. By optimizing your shop and listings for search, you can help your current customers find you again for repeat purchases and also attract new customers who may have never shopped on Etsy before. In addition, a website that is optimized for search engines is generally better for shoppers as well. Search engines want to ensure that users are finding the information or products they are searching for, and many SEO best practices prioritize the user experience.
It's worth noting that Etsy also has a team dedicated to SEO for Google and other search engines. This team works on improving organic search traffic for sellers and is constantly working on new projects to help drive traffic to your pages.
Glossary of SEO Terms
To better understand SEO, it's helpful to familiarize yourself with some key terms:
- Relevancy: This refers to how useful your page is to a searcher. Search engines determine relevancy by analyzing the content and links on your pages and determining how closely they match the search query made by the user.
- Ranking: This refers to where your page appears in search results. Google ranks pages based on various factors, including relevancy and context.
- Search query: This is the term that a user types into a search engine. It can also be referred to as search terms.
- Keywords: These are another name for search queries. Keywords can be individual words like "necklace" or phrases like "personalized gold bar necklace for mom." Researching keywords can help you identify the words and phrases to use on your pages.
- Search engine results page (SERP): This is the list of results that appears when you enter a search in Google.
How Search Engines Work
Your search ranking, or where you appear in search results, can change over time. Google frequently updates its ranking algorithms, but by following best practices for SEO, you can increase the chances that your pages will appear in search results.
When a user searches the web, the search engine scans all the pages it has "indexed," or previously discovered, looking for pages that match the user's search query and intent. To be indexed by Google, a page must be visited by the Google crawler (also known as "Googlebot"), analyzed for content and meaning, and stored in the Google index. You can think of the Google index as a massive database of web pages. Only indexed pages can appear in Google search results. If a page is not indexed, it will not be shown in search engine results.
When Googlebot scans a page, it looks for context clues to determine what the page is about. The page's content, as well as its title, meta tags, and other factors, can help the bot understand the page's subject matter. The bot also looks at the page's links, both internal and external, to see how they relate to the page's content and how they connect to other pages on the internet.
Based on all of this information, Google assigns the page a ranking and determines how relevant it is to a user's search query. When a user searches for a particular term, the search engine returns a list of results ranked according to relevancy and other factors. The higher a page ranks, the more likely it is to be clicked on and visited by the user.
Brainstorming Keywords for Your Shop and Listings
To optimize your pages for search, you need to use relevant keywords throughout your content. Keywords are the words and phrases that users enter into search engines to find what they're looking for. By including these keywords in your content, you can increase the chances that your pages will appear in search results for those terms.
To find the best keywords for your shop and listings, start by brainstorming a list of words and phrases that are related to your products and brand. Consider what words and phrases your target customers might use when searching for your products. You can also use tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner or the Etsy Search Suggestion Tool to help you generate keyword ideas.
Once you have a list of keywords, you'll want to prioritize them based on their relevance to your business and their popularity. You should aim to use your most important keywords in your shop and listing titles and in the first few sentences of your content, as this is where they will have the most impact on your search rankings. However, it's important to avoid keyword stuffing, or overusing keywords in an attempt to manipulate search rankings. This can actually hurt your rankings and make your content hard to read.
Optimizing Your Shop Pages for Google SEO
In addition to optimizing your listings, you'll also want to focus on optimizing your shop pages to improve your overall search rankings. Here are a few tips for optimizing your shop pages:
- Use your shop name and titles to include relevant keywords: Your shop name and titles are important because they appear in the first line of your shop's search results on Google. Make sure to include keywords in your shop name and titles that accurately describe your products and brand.
- Write clear and descriptive shop policies: Your shop policies should provide information about your business, such as your return and exchange policies, shipping information, and contact details. Use clear and concise language to help shoppers understand what to expect when they make a purchase from you.
- Include high-quality photos: Photos are an important part of your shop's SEO because they help shoppers understand what your products look like. Use high-quality photos that clearly show your products from multiple angles.
- Include relevant tags and keywords: Etsy allows you to add tags to your shop and listings to help shoppers find your products. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your tags to help your shop appear in search results for those terms.
Optimizing Your Listing Pages for Google SEO
Your listing pages are the pages that show each of your products in detail. To optimize your listings for Google SEO, you'll want to focus on the following:
- Use descriptive and keyword-rich titles: Your listing titles should accurately and concisely describe your products and include relevant keywords.
- Write detailed and informative descriptions: Your product descriptions should provide detailed information about your products, including their features, materials, and any other important details. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your descriptions to help your listings appear in search results.
- Use high-quality photos: Photos are an essential part of your listings, as they help shoppers understand what your products look like. Use high-quality photos that clearly show your products from multiple angles.
- Include relevant tags and keywords: Etsy allows you to add tags to your listings to help shoppers find your products. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your tags to help your listings appear in search results for those terms.
- Use variations: If you have a product that comes in different sizes, colors, or variations, make sure to create separate listings for each variation. This helps shoppers find the specific variation they are looking for and also helps with SEO, as each variation will be treated as a separate listing by search engines.
SEO Practices to Avoid
While it's important to optimize your shop and listings for search engines, it's also important to avoid certain practices that could hurt your search rankings. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Keyword stuffing: As mentioned earlier, keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing keywords in an attempt to manipulate search rankings. This can actually hurt your rankings and make your content hard to read.
- Duplicate content: Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content, so make sure to create unique and original content for your shop and listings.
- Hidden text or links: Google penalizes websites that use hidden text or links to manipulate search rankings. Make sure to only use visible text and links in your content.
- Buying links: Google penalizes websites that buy or sell links to manipulate search rankings. Avoid buying or selling links to improve your search rankings.
By following best practices for Google SEO and avoiding common pitfalls, you can help your shop and listings rank higher in search results and attract more potential customers. Remember to regularly review and update your shop and listing pages to make sure they are optimized for search engines and provide a great user experience.