SEO Bonsai | Secrets to Ranking High
Posted on October 22 2018
SEO appears to many a mystery, being able to rank high on Google for specific search terms. These are the customers that you want: those coming to you with a specific demand. There is a lot of information out there, requiring hours on end to absorb, let alone understand. Then there are numerous paid consultants and “growth hackers”, willing to take your money but without any guarantee of results.
After a lot of trial and error and experimentation, we finally achieved a top ranking for terms associated with Norway and Jewelry, often outranking the local big-name Norwegian Jewelry brands as well as Etsy and Amazon. Appearing on top of the first page for a Google search led to sales for our members, wholesale leads with large organizations as well as valuable contacts in the jewelry industry. What we discovered is that SEO is a long slow process and not something that happens overnight. Moreover, it is something best done by yourself versus hiring it out.
There are numerous tools online, advising on how to improve ranking. After trying dozens of them, we found the following to be the most useful. Take the time to learn them, heeding their advice.
Nevertheless, there is one thing for sure with SEO; you have to enjoy writing prose that is descriptive and sometimes poetic, enjoyable to the reader as well as the search spiders that crawl your site. No tool can write passionately or convincingly for you. Moreover, like bonsai, it is a ten minute per day endeavor, working little by little towards your goal. Things happen slowly but once they do, the results are long-lasting.
These are the steps that we followed working around ten minutes per day or where time affords (on a train, waiting for a plane, riding a bus, attending a boring meeting, standing in line etc.)
Image Optimization: Google and other search engines consider site load times (page speed) as a factor in ranking. We made great efforts to minimize image sizes as much as possible without compromising quality. There are several paid and free tools available online, helping you both crop and compress images.
Title Tags: Otherwise known as H1 and header tags, these should contain not only your business name but also what you do if your business name is not intuitive. In Shopify, you will fill this in under the preferences along with a field to enter a description. Also, at the bottom of the product, collection, blog post, and other pages, there are SEO fields WordPress offers similar inputs as well as options to manually add them in the HTML code.
Image Alt Text: Every image (blog, product, frontpage etc.) in Shopify or WordPress has the option to add descriptive or alt text. It is meant to give the visually impaired an idea of what is on the screen. We discovered a dramatic jump in results using complete and grammatically correct sentences worked best vs. stuffing these fields with keywords.
Image Names: We generally change our image names from things like “DSC” or “Image” to something that contains the item name, item type, jewelry designer name, and the collection. That not only makes the image easier to find in our folders but also makes it easier for Google search algorithm to understand what our page is about (this is speculation).
Blog Posts: For a site to achieve high search rankings, it must be an authority on the given subject. To become that, it’s important to write original posts that are well written and easy to read. They should be at least 500 words in length with 2-3 images (with alt-texts filled in). It goes without saying that you should use your keywords in complete and coherent sentences throughout the passage but not too overtly. The crawlers and spiders have gotten smarter, becoming averse to word stuffing. Thesaurus.com offers synonyms to make your passage vibrant. We found that using keywords, similar to your primary ones, also helps with ranking.
Backlinks: Getting higher ranked sites (Alexa), within your category, to post a link to your site or blog post is difficult at best. However, this is the most important factor in rankings, determining your site's relevance and authority. These cannot be bought since Google requires paid blog posts and advertisements to have “no follow links,” which do not count towards SEO ranking. Therefore, it is important to build relationships in your field, hoping that others in your field and perhaps journalists will take your content or story onto their site, crediting you with a backlink.
A good place to start with backlinks is on Reddit, Quora, and Pinterest. When your post or answer gets shared, it will count as a backlink. After setting up Pinterest, pinning pictures from our own site to our boards, and taking the time to write detailed descriptions for each Pin, we saw a dramatic improvement in our ranking.
SEO is a comprehensive science, requiring an investment of time. This guide covers most but not all points with respect to SEO and it will take from 2 weeks to 6 months to see tangible results. Other factors like Java scripts and the use of CSS play a role in ranking. Yet, strong and well-structured content, respected by authorities and peers alike wins at the end of the day. It is also a continuous improvement process, requiring tweaks and experimenting to get things right. If you still have questions and need advice on how to optimize your ranking, please contact us via our website or social media channels at www.Norwegian.jewelry