How to Get the Best Out of Your Online Shop
Looking back at New Years’ Eve 2019 – which, if we’re honest, feels like a life time ago – it’s hard not to feel overcome by feelings of confusion over having celebrated the entry into what would turn out to be one of the strangest, most devastating years many of us have ever witnessed. Strange, because we are still in the throes of fighting an “invisible war” against a virus that is not only threatening our physical health, but in denying us what comes natural to us – namely, social interaction and physical contact – it is also affecting our mental health. Not to mention the increasingly bewildering news reports no one can make neither heads nor tails of. Devastating, not only because we are losing, and are being isolated from loved ones, but also because in the fight against this pandemic, many of us are struggling to keep our businesses afloat, let alone to put food on the table.
Things have definitely been looking up somewhat since the strict months of lockdown earlier this year, but businesses are still having a hard time paying catch-up, and with all the new safety measures and laws in place, it is not at all easy to operate on an entirely new model. Having spoken to various small businesses and designers from all over Africa and abroad about how to positively adapt business models in times of Corona, Fashionomics Africa has identified one clear trend: the way forward is online. Shops, boutiques and services that were formerly only – or mainly – operating on a brick-and-mortar level, are now starting to sell their products online. This has allowed them to keep on working even throughout the lockdown, and has even opened them up to a wider customer base.
Seeing as online shops and businesses are the way forward, we decided to offer anyone who is currently contemplating the same move the tools and advice necessary to get the very best out of their online shop. Here are the three best things you need to know to get your shop ranking high on search engines such as Google, Bing, etc. and maintaining top position.
Hire an Expert to Offer a Keyword Analysis Report for Your Website
If you’ve already been using blogs as a marketing tool for your company, you’re likely already familiar with the importance of using keywords. Keywords are the words, terms and/or phrases users use when they are looking up a specific product, business or service on search engines. So, for example, a potential client for your Gauteng-based tailoring service might type in “tailoring service Gauteng” or “tailors in Gauteng”, “tailor near Gauteng”; these searches involve both the main service keyword – i.e. tailor(s) or tailoring service – as well as a locational keyword, in this instance, Gauteng. The locational keyword helps to narrow down the search field, helping potential clients find the service they require in or near their local area. An expert in the field of SEO such as Sustainable Digital, can conduct a detailed analysis and help you identify the best keywords for your business and local area to ensure potential clients can easily find you using simple search terms related to your service and/or area.
The More (Fresh!) Content, the Better
One thing many online businesses seem to forget, is that Google gives preference to websites and platforms with a good amount of content across all pages – at least around 300 words per page. It may seem strange to someone offering tailoring services or ready-to-wear garments online, that they should have to offer in-depth descriptions and explanations about their products and services – after all, the work of a tailor seems pretty self-explanatory, right? And, provided there are plenty of images of the garments you are selling – which any successful online shop will have – what more is there to say? Potential clients simply need to click through the photos to get a good idea of the product.
While this is all true, each page on your website gives you an opportunity to add the keywords that were identified as particularly important throughout texts, and the alt tags on all images. For example, if you are selling clothes, you could create different categories for each garment – one for dresses, one for shirts, etc. At the top of every section, add 300 words about each section including the keywords. Say, your focus is on cotton dresses, this might be your main keyword. So, the introduction to your dresses category might read, “take a look at our new range of cotton dresses, the colours of which we have selected to complement the season...” Google also likes to see that websites are keeping their content fresh, by posting new blogs or texts on a regular basis. The best way to maintain a regular stream of fresh content is by ways of a blog, but you could also choose to post a monthly newsletter, for example.
List your Website on Google My Business
Think of online marketing a bit like the good old word-of-mouth approach: the more people you tell about your business, the more you mention its name, the more interest it will spark. The same is true in the online world: the more mention there is of your business online, the better Google will rank it, the better the impression potential customers will get of it. So, think of yourself as a graffiti artist who tags their name all across town and every city they visit for recognition. List your online business and link to your website wherever you can, especially on important platforms such as Google My Business (GMB) and all social media channels including LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. When users Google your business, they will see it popping up on all the trusted channels which is bound to heighten their confidence in your products and services. Last but not least, get past clients to leave reviews on all these channels – potential clients love to read testimonials! Read our special article dedicated to GMB here.