Wednesday, 8 February 2012

SEO: my first steps in search engine optimisation

Most people do things like painting, reading or playing computer games in their downtime. I sell scarves. Or rather I try to sell scarves. I have an online scarf shop called Scarf Envy, filled with beautiful neck candy. It looks good, functions well, but if no one knows it's there, those scarves are going to gather virtual dust on their virtual shelves.

See, doesn't it look pretty?

I have dabbled with Google Adwords in the past, but I've put that on hold for a while until I have time to really get to grips with it. I don't want to be spending money on something without understanding why it is or isn't working.

I know that SEO - search engine optimisation - is important. I've read up about it in great detail, even reading a top secret e-book by a supposed SEO guru that was smuggled to me by a friend. I've changed my page titles and rewritten my product descriptions. The result? If you search "scarf envy" I come up first. Big deal.

Sadly, if you search "scarves" or "scarf" my shop doesn't show up even in the first 30 pages of results (I gave up after that and had a cup of tea). Doesn't help restricting to UK results either. Ho hum.

So, I am now setting myself a goal. I want to be in the top 5 pages of UK results by the end of March for "scarves". I'm going to start by changing my page titles, having noticed that the top results all had quite lengthy titles along these lines:

Shop Name | Women's scarves and wraps | Accessories 

Wish me luck and please feel free to pass on any tips in the comments!


Here's a few tips: The most influencing factor I've experienced is getting terms in the url and filename. Your page titles appear to be included in the url, which is good, but a quick win would be for the product pages to be in a folder named using a keyword. 'Scarves' seems like a good candidate for this as it's a keyword you're interested in but is hardly mentioned in the copy/titles. So for example make the urls be

not just

. Also you're not using heading tags in your page markup. I'd recommend your page titles be h1s and and the short descriptions h2s. Also the meta keywords don't appear to be working, they're empty on the product pages so you'll want to get that sorted. Finally, you'll need backlinks. Getting people to link to product pages will be tough, so starting a blog pushed over the usual social media would be good - perhaps a weekly digest of celebs pictured wearing scarves, with your opinions on them or something. This should be hosted on your main domain, not on a sub-domain or on a third-party's domain. Once your established offering to do guest blogs for other fashion sites will help too.

Thanks so much! I'll get right on it. Some might need a bit of lateral thinking to get round restrictions of the platform I'm using, but my mind works in mysterious ways.

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