Search Engine Optimization. It's something we should all know about if we want our e-commerce websites to actually sell our jewellery instead of sitting on the internet gathering cyberdust, but how many of us start to glaze over at the mention of metadata, keywords and analytics?

Lesley H Phillips explores the fundamentals of shopkeeping in the first instalment of this series tackling SEO for busy jewellers.

Why don’t I get sales or enquiries from my website /online shop?
1.  Your website should be viewed by you as a bricks and mortar shop

Visit any retail outlet and what do you see? If you enter a shop which looks cluttered, poorly laid out and unwelcoming would you bother staying? Your website is no different. It needs to be inviting to customers and the search engines.  If the search engines or customers can’t find their way around or don’t like what they see, they will leave as soon as they’ve arrived at your landing page.  Bounce Rate is yet another factor which plays a part in SEO.  If they ‘land’ and then ‘bounce’ to another site because yours doesn’t offer them what they want, you will slip in the rankings.  The search engine spiders read text, but customers like images – you have to balance your customers’ needs with the search engine requirements.  If you have a page full of text to encourage the search engines, your customers will get bored after the first paragraph (or even before reading the first paragraph!) and leave. The search engines will recognise this and follow suit.

Competition on the internet is greater than that for a bricks and mortar shop.  A shop is only competing with outlets in the town in which they are situated; your website is competing with the rest of the world.  How many shops close down due to economic pressures? They have to market their shop and how well they do this, depends on their success.  Likewise, your website has to be marketed.  What’s the likelihood of you coming across a wonderful little shop with the most awe inspiring products in a dingy back-alley which is located miles from the town centre, which in turn has become an enormous success solely based on its product range?

It doesn’t matter how good your jewellery is, if people don’t know it’s available then they can’t buy or place orders for it.  The majority of customers will only view the first 5 websites visible in organic searches on page one.  Some will move to page 2, so it’s better to be at the top of page 2 than the bottom of page 1 – but if you’re on page 3+, then you’re that shop in a dingy back-alley and only if you’re lucky someone might stumble across you.

You’ve fallen in love with the bricks and mortar shop mentioned above, so next month you go back.  You walk in and the stock is dusty, the silver is oxidised and there’s nothing new to see.  Would you waste your time visiting in the future?  Search engines and customers need to be kept interested in your website.  New designs and up-to-date, innovative, fresh content is your way of dusting and polishing the stock in your virtual shop.  
Lesley H Phillips 

****'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' - Part 2 coming soon!****

****See the introduction to 'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' here ****

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