|Matt Cutts of Google Webmaster Help announced changes last spring.|
One of the most talked about topics on Etsy is the changes that Google implemented that have affected sellers and brought their sales to a near stand still. Sales are generally slower in the summer months but in an improving economy vintage sellers are scrambling to figure out how to get their products back into the top spots on Google search. I'm not sure that Google fully understood how many millions of people depend on these sales for an income when they implemented the changes. I'm fortunate that I don't depend on vintage sales as my primary source of income. But I do need the additional income and I love selling on Etsy. The goal was to target more spammy types of web pages that redirect viewers to lists of links instead of the actual sites your searching for and to place more emphasis on "Sophisticated Websites" or websites they deem as "Higher Quality". Although we all appreciate the big online sellers like Pottery Barn, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond individual vintage resellers are now being lost in the shuffle. Is there a common ground that we can reach with Google? I hope so. We have to face the fact that the days of being tops in Google searches may be gone for ecommerce sellers. So until we get this straightened out here are a few tips I've picked up for vintage sellers that may help you. And if your a shopper, like me, and were once use to searching and finding vintage products on Google you may have to adjust your search habits.
Here is a link to the Google video announcement made last spring by Matt Cutts explaining the changes coming from Google.
What changed that affected resellers the most?
- Penguin and Panda Updates
- Sophisticated Link Analysis
- Advertising Spam
- Boosts in Algarithm
- Link Spammers
What can you do until this all gets sorted out?
1.) Google Shopping is now the best way for both vintage sellers and shoppers to be seen and found. To make sure your items are showing up there do a search using your shop name with no spaces in between to see if your listings are showing up. If not you'll need to explore the reason why.
2.) Do not add the words "F- r- e -e - S -h -i -p- p- i- n- g" to your listing title or your listing information. Notice I don't even want to add those words to this post. Google does not recognize it as "sophisticated". If you still want to offer FS include an image in your listing or add the words to your first listing image. Google is not capable of reading words in a jpg. I'm including a free graphic for your use until Etsy gets this figured out.
3.) Etsy sellers continue to use Twitter, Facebook, tumlr and blogs to direct traffic to your site. Find a couple of other sellers that are willing to share your items on their social media sites and be sure to do the same for them. A group of 10 organized sellers can do a great deal of advertising for each other rather then a group of 2000 random sellers. Organize and go for it. Focus on creating traffic. We're all in this together.
4.) Use the tools Google provides to help you with your listings and tags. Google AdWords is essential. Book mark it and use it often.
5.) Sellers help each other out a little by viewing and favoriting other sellers items. Reciprocate when someone favorites an item in your shop. Believe it or not I have purchased items from my activity feed that a follower has hearted. I've also found items to feature in treasuries, and to share Pinterest and twitter using the activity feed.
*It's come to my attention that some sellers feel this to be a waste of time because it hasn't led to sales for them. I think you as a seller will have to determine what works best for your shop. If your time is better spent pursuing other avenues of marketing then do so. This list is by no means a guarantee to sales.
6.) Optimize those listing titles for the best results. The first 3-4 words are the most important so make them count. Google will search all the words in your title but keep it simple and direct. The first 3-5 words are what the buyer reads first and what hopefully entices them to click. Keep your titles to a minimum and cut out punctuation and overly descriptive wording. Save that for your listing. Repeat the key words in your title in the first sentence of your listing but do not copy and paste the title as your first sentence. That's a big Google No No. In fact don't copy and paste anything into a listing. It's simply not going to pass the sophistication test.
7.) Check your listings to see how they are indexed on Google. You can do this by typing: "site etsy.com: name of your shop" in the url box. Mine would look like "site etsy.com: gsarcheologist". What should come up is a variety of links to your shop, feedback, individual links. Check the wording in the definition below. Have you shared enough in the first sentence to entice a buyer to click on your link?
8.) If you haven't started developing a brand it's time to get cracking. Selling is more then just listing a product, your customers are going to want to know "who, what, where, when and how". These are the basic fundamentals of telling an enticing story. Work on your "About" page and "Shop Description". Ask yourself "have I made the buyer feel welcome here" ?
9.) Work on your "back links" and "internal link" structures using only the ones that work.
Below is a great list of Fact and Fiction posted on Etsy for all of us trying to make it through the SEO jungle.
Why is Matt Cutts wearing a Firefox T-shirt?
The Garage Sale Archelogist