Search Engine Optimization Today
Published October 15, 2013
As many of you may already know, Google recently updated their search engine algorithm to a new version known as “Hummingbird”. The goal was to make search results more meaningful and accurate for all of their customers, however the results may vary depending upon your point of view.
So how does it affect you? For starters, your rankings may not be as high as they were before, which can make it harder for you to be found by potential customers. It may also mean that you have to change how your promote and market your line.
Why would Google do this? Well, their number one priority is to deliver the most relevant results to a visitor when they search for something. They do this in a number of ways, most of which are kept under lock and key. If they did make them fully public, people would take advantage of this and attempt “pollute” the rankings with spam and other irrelevant material, which would make the service poor for everyone. So, it’s actually a good thing if you think about it.
Google does provide plenty of hints and advice though, and you should always use them to your advantage. One of the most obvious ways comes from a patent filed by Larry Page himself (a co-founder) for something called “PageRank”. This is simply outlines an algorithm that gives certain websites a weighted priority over others based upon how many inbound links that site receives - and from which sites are linking to it. Obviously, the more links the better, but there is a catch. A popular and reputable site that links to you will weigh more heavily in your favor than a relatively unknown site. Conversely, a “spammy” (or a link farm) linking back to you can actually cause your rankings to go down.
Another suggestion that Google offers, is to create a good structured website that makes it easy for their spiders to crawl and understand. Some of the things they look for are clean URLs, properly formatted HTML, internal hints within the page navigation, descriptive title tags and headers along with various other items. The good news for you is that Articents already takes care of this for you, and that you do not have to worry about it.
That leaves us with the final and most important aspect of SEO - the content itself. As mentioned earlier, Google’s #1 goal is to provide its users with the most relevant material it can find, but if you do not have good content, it won’t know what to make of it and you’ll be left out. Gone are the days when you could just stuff a bunch of keywords on your page and get ranked higher. In fact, those days have actually been gone for a long time. They’re now focused more than ever on good, quality, meaningful and unique content.
So what can you do? For starters, when you decide upon a name for your item, be creative and get descriptive. For example, It’s not a “Wooden Bowl”, rather it’s a “Hand turned 12-inch gently tapered Wooden Bowl”. As you can see, this provides Google with far more information that it otherwise would not have gotten. You’ll want to do the same thing with your descriptions as well. In addition, Articents also provides you with the ability to specify dimensions and weight for your item so be sure to include these as well.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “This will take some extra effort, but I can save some time if I copy and paste the names and descriptions on all of my other sites”. Don’t fall into this trap. Remember, one of the things Google is looking for is unique content and you could be penalized for this. In fact, it was for this reason alone that we opted to halt work on our Etsy import wizard because we didn’t want to encourage duplicate content and inadvertently penalize our customers. You can, however, tweak your product names and descriptions around a little by either interchanging some keywords around or substituting different words. In fact, that’s actually good practice in general.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Of course, there are many more details than what I outlined above. For those who are interested, here are a few links where you can learn more about Google’s latest change: