Who's Behind NM?

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Nature Manipulated (NM) creates visual, wearable and practical art that reflects upon nature and all of its elements. At NM, we believe that everything is a part of nature, some things are just "nature manipulated."

NM specializes in one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, handmade greeting cards, nature photography and other unique accessories.

To read more about who's behind NM, please click here.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Search Engine Optimization, Increasing Traffic to your Handmade Shop

If you use Google Analytics to monitor traffic to your handmade shop, you may realize that the Google is the least common source of traffic. I'm sure you have all searched Google at some point and your search returned 20,000+ results. You probably looked through the first few pages, maybe skipped to the 16th page out a curiosity and then closed out of the window if you didn't find what you were looking for. Search "handcrafted jewelry" on Google. 687,000 results are returned and there are no Artfire or Etsy shops on the first few pages. Not surprising! There are TONS of handmade artists out there and many, if not almost all, use the World Wide Web to sell their work and promote their goods.

So what can you do to boost your Google page rank and increase traffic to your site? There are a bunch of things! ...

Optimize your Shop and Item Titles
The first thing that Google spiders look at when picking up your shop is the shop title and item titles. This is the title that appears at the top of the browser Window and turns up in Google search results. On Etsy, you can set the title for your shop home page under the Appearance tab in Your Etsy. Make sure your shop and item titles include key and descriptive words.

Tags used to be an important part of search engine optimization (SEO), especially metatags which are used to influence the description of your page in search engine crawlers. With so much pay-for and bidding on ranking these days, tags are less important for increasing your Google rank. Don't get me wrong though, tags are still important, in particular for internal searches such as on Artfire or Etsy.

Don't be scared to be creative with your tags. If you just tag your items "handmade", "jewelry", "paper goods" and so on, your items will probably get buried with items containing the same tags. In addition to these standard tags, use ones that describe who the item is for, for what occasion, shapes, colors, materials, inspiration, ... Use phrases and include your shop name and groups you may belong to. Including both singular and plural versions of a word is not necessary, and when Google does pay attention to tags, it is frowned upon. Use the singular for most tags unless the word is usually spoken in the plural. Think about how you would search for a item containing that tag! On Etsy, you are limited to fourteen tags but on Artfire, I think the limit is 10,000 words. Use as many as possible!

Item Descriptions
In addition to shop and item titles, and less so tags, Google also picks up on the first few words or paragraph in your item descriptions. Make sure your first paragraph contains as many keywords as possible. If you are listing a handmade carnelian necklace, you may want to start your description off with something like, "Handmade carnelian gemstone necklace with a brilliant orange color and intricate floral beads." If the necklace is one of a kind, add that into the sentence too! The first sentence of the example description is full of keywords such as: handmade, carnelian, gemstone, necklace, orange, intricate, floral, beads.

Submit your Shop and Listings to Online Directories
The more links there are to your shop or items, the better your Google ranking. This means you want to submit your shop and listings to online directories, and participate in link exchanges. There are a number of free online directories, some of them specifically for handmade. You can start by submitting your shop to the following directories:

- Handmade Directory

- Handmade Feed (Thanks to Timothy Adam, you can add your URLs to your Artfire, Etsy, 1000Markets and Dwanda shops, as well as add your blog, twitter, Facebook and Myspace URLs.

- Find it Handmade

- DMOZ Open Directory Project

- Search-O-Rama

Promote your Shop
Lastly (although there is probably a lot more), make sure to promote your shop. That means, do not limit yourself to the Etsy and Artfire forums. If you have time, start a blog, use twitter, build a facebook fan page, promote on myspace, add photos to flickr and participate on byhand.me.

Additional Resources
- "SEO" Tips for Facebook

- SEO 101: An Introductory Guide to Understanding Search Engine Optimization by Vanessa Ford

- A Beginner's Guide To SEO by Darlene Norris

Although Artfire's SEO is pretty good, and Etsy is supposedly working on theirs, it is not enough to depend on their SEO alone. Use all the tools available online to increase your traffic and boost your Google page rank.

Good luck optimizing your shop and listings. Hope this post makes it easier.

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