Search Engine Optimization can be a hugely onerous and complex task for most online businesses, let alone the everyday garment decorator. At eTrader we often get enquiries from customers, asking for advice on all things SEO. Performing online is critical for most industries but even more so in the garment decoration game. Despite traditional decorators arguing otherwise, online enquiries, leads & sales can be generated for your business through your website. The rise of web 2.0 and 'Word of Mouse' generates huge amount of potential online traffic waiting to be converted to sales.

Most small garment decorators operating online face similar challenges, often asking themselves: How on earth do I improve my online sales? Or how do I take my website to the next level? I want to get ahead of my competition.

With the current economic climate and tight margins, small businesses are feeling the pinch (especially garment decorators), the need to compete online has become fiercely essential but highly competitive. Most garment decorators find themselves in the ‘catch 22’, the online version of fight or flight: Do you risk spending expensive amounts on SEO experts or do you just stand still online?

But, unlike previously, your online businesses destiny is in your hands. Most business owners previously relied on specialists - understanding and acceptance of SEO has led to more information and help being available than ever before. Whether you use a Moz beginners guide or Googles guidelines for SEO, there’s more knowledge being shared than ever before. As an owner, you have information and tools available to help you direct your traffic, optimise your content and watch your leads & sales progressively increase.

However complex the issue at hand is, simplify it. The essence of SEO is keywords and content. We often say to our customers ‘just put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself what terms would they have to search to find your website, even go as far as potentially asking your customers’.

Our eTrader Top Tip: Just list no more than ten key terms ‘Meta Keywords’ for each page and construct content around them.

But thankfully with eTrader SEO isn’t tricky.  With years of industry experience in garment decoration and extensive online knowledge (we decided to put it to good use!) eTrader websites for garment decorator’s development of an SEO friendly Content Management System (CMS) makes SEO for garment decorators a different ball game. This simple approach to SEO is highly user friendly offering garment decorators alike lower cost SEO for their business. Just ask our customers – they love it! 

Content is an easy way to make your business stand apart from the rest. We understand that it isn't every garment decorator’s main priority, but it’s a vital tool in getting your decoration businesses website noticed.

Many independent decorators think this is a specialist job, way out of their comfort zone. Save you & your business valuable time and money & create your own content. You have the most knowledge of your business, your products & your market!

Creating content is something that can be done by anyone from anywhere. With simple guidance, any business - however large or small can create effective content for their business. There’s no need to call in the experts - nobody knows the industry better than garment decorators themselves.

 

At eTrader, we provide our customers the tools required to make creating content simple but effective, laying out your content in a SEO friendly way aimed at improving your sites online performance with minimal fuss.

We offer all our customers, simple but effective advice on creating content for their website. We get asked similar questions by our customers, so we have simply put together our Five Key Tips to Quality Content aimed at garment decorators. 

  1. Be Clear & Concise: Focus on getting your businesses key points across
  2. Identify Your Keywords: Identify your main products/services keywords and build content around them
  3. Identify Your Audience: Tailor your content to your potential customers, put yourself in their shoes, and imagine what they would like to hear.
  4. Be Unique & Creative: Think outside the box, make your website stand apart from your competitors (Nobody wants to read boring content!)
  5. Finally, Thoroughly Proofread Your Work: Maintain a professional image; small simple mistakes can impact small businesses much more than if a larger business was to make a similar mistake.

Following these tips, taking a small chunk of time to create quality content is highly effective in developing your garment decorating businesses online.

It’s the simplest way to take your online business to the next level - setting it apart from your competition, generating more leads, increasing sales and enhancing your websites SEO performance.

 

What is Responsive Design?

Simply, when a website is responsive the website is adaptable across various platforms– based on the size of the screen viewing the website. A responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re viewing it on. Mobile Responsive Websites are aimed at all manner of sized displays – varying from small screen handheld devices to large widescreen monitors covering every other size in between.

Why Have Responsive Websites?

The need for garment decorators to deliver online is at an all-time high, the marketplace is intense and the competition is tough.

So garment decorators need to use any tool necessary to stay ahead of the fierce competition!

You want your customers to keep coming back; you want them to have the best experience possible through any means necessary. And this now includes your businesses website! Previously, businesses just create websites and the online platform will look after itself. However the continuous rise and development of tablet and mobile technology has meant viewing websites has become an ‘on the go’ experience – customers are not afraid to purchase using their phones and tablets anymore. The chances are your nearest competitor is not making use of responsive design, so why not make the most of this new development and stay ahead of the competition?!

What Does This Mean For Your Business?                             

We all understand Google & SEO are crucial for your businesses online performance. Google fully values responsive websites and the customer’s online experience. Google has recently not so subtly stated the desire for all websites to eventually go this way. It is much easier and much more efficient using responsive design from Google's SEO perspective - Google's bots find crawling websites, indexing and ranking pages much simpler using responsive design as it simple requires just one URL!

 The value for your decorating business is incredible – 24% of Google searches are now being performed on tablet and mobile devices and 26% of e-mails received are viewed on mobiles, with a further 11% on tablets. The development of handheld and compact technology has led to the fast tracking of mobile responsive design– it’s a new concept to web designers but customers from all sectors are already demanding it.

With the development of a responsive website, the sky is the limit! Decorators alike can rejoice – your business can now provide customers with quality online service wherever they are, whatever they’re doing 24/7, 365 days of the year.  The use of responsive sites can also generate greater leads; the multi-platform nature of the website furthers your reach to customers outside of your traditional audience!

Here are some of our favourite examples we have found from garment decorators around the UK. Try them out on different devices & see how they ‘Respond’ - giving you the best user experience possible!

Kustom Kits 

Kustom-Clothing

Axent Embroidery

 It’s a simple, but highly innovative concept. Mobile Responsive Design provides an all-round solution to your online services covering all your customers viewing devices. It’s beneficial for both your print business and your customers. Your customer gets the optimum online experience using your website and you simply provide them this using just one platform.

Using just one platform also allows you to reach wider audiences at a relatively low cost, but the greater benefits are in term of SEO – your campaign becomes much easier to manage.  Instead of managing each platform’s SEO, using responsive sites make managing a much simpler process – only one SEO campaign has to be managed instead of potentially having to manage several. Saving your business both valuable time & money!

Pros

Cons

·      A single website for three platforms

·      Expensive to Set Up

·     Only requires a single URL

·     Time Consuming & Requires Web Developers

·      Easier SEO

 

·     Wider Audience Reach

 

·      Enhances Customer Experience

 

 The customer experience is vital for any business but more so in the print & decorating business - retention is critical (See last week’s blog for more on that)Mobile Responsive Design on your site is a simple but effective way of providing your key customers what they want, when they want and wherever they want!

With so many facets of online marketing to choose from, it can be hard to know whether to use local organic or paid methods to bring search engine traffic to your website.

Ultimately the importance of local SEO depends on the size and type of your business, but it’s hard to dispute that it has a huge role to play in most optimisation campaigns. If your service people and business that are local to you, then the latest Google updates make it easier to show up on the results pages. 

Searches that contain place names (such as “Printed Clothing in Bristol”) now receive more attention than they did before, and with the right optimisation, you can take advantage of some very relevant traffic.

Venice Update- a move towards universal results 

The Google update codenamed ‘Venice’ was rolled out back in March and targeted local search results, meaning a big impact on all business owners. Unlike previous Google updates, Venice made local search results more prominent. Presuming users are allowing Google access to their location, the Venice update serves up the results it deems most relevant to their query and where they are.

Prior to this update, searches that did not involve place names (such as “printed clothing”) would return a page full of traditional organic results. Post-Venice searches now often return a first page dominated by Google Plus Local listings or with the websites of businesses local to the user. What this ultimately means is that, mean a Google search is performed, the user will receive results based on their location rather than general results about the industry in question.

So what can you do to rank better locally?

In this annual compilation of the opinions of the leading minds of Local SEO, David Mihm set out what are currently accepted to be the major dos and don’ts of ranking well in the local results

The five most important factors based on this survey are:

1.Having a physical address in citu of search;

2.Proper category associations;

3.Proximity of address to centroid (the central point of a city);

4.Domain authority of website, and

5.Quantity of structured citations (Internet Yellow Pages, data aggregators)

While these points may seem fairly self-explanatory, points 1 and 3 have the potential to cause problems if they’re not considered before embarking on a Local SEO campaign. For example, a business that provides services across all of Scotland but is based in the Outer Hebrides will need a well-structured local SEO campaign to also rank well in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In this instance, the company website will need to have references to the areas served, either on their contract page or on unique, keyword rich pages devoted to each separate area, and they will also need to arrange some kind of representation in each of the other locations and put a Google Plus Local listing in each one.

Potential pitfalls in local SEO 

In the same article, the most important negative ranking factors were also collated and the two most common mistakes were multiple listings and inconsistencies in the name, address and postcode (NAP) across the internet. Duplicate business listings are a problem as they can result in Google overlooking both entries entirely when retrieving localised results.

To avoid this, ensure that your business only has one listing, and that all the information contained on it is correct and mirrored on your website. When verifying a local page, Google seeks to corroborate the submitted contact information by crawling external websites to determine both the validity and importance of a page. Inconsistent citations across the web confuse the Google spiders and will be detrimental to a local SEO campaign.

Make sure there is a consistent message across the internet and that Google can easily see you are a genuine business at a specific address, as that’s what they are trying to find out.

 

According to Google, 95% of all online searchers never go past the first page of results.

Ask yourself these two questions:

1. Is my website on the first page of results for my industry’s major keywords?

If not…

2. What can I do about it?

If your website is not showing up on the first page of Google, Yahoo! or Bing for your industry’s major keywords then your website is not receiving the traffic that it should be and your business is not acquiring as many leads as it needs to be.

As far as online searchers are concerned, if they don’t see your website on the first page of results then it might as well not even exist.

Now, I’m sure that isn’t the kind of news you want to hear after you invested all that time and money into your website. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to improve your website’s rankings. Keep in mind that some of the things we will talk about in this article take time and patience.

The following information is free advice on how to improve your search engine rankings.

SEO Beginner Tip 1: Title Tags

Title Tags are one of, if not, the most important on-site SEO component. A webpage’s title tag is located at the top of your internet browser.

A webpage’s title tag tells the search engines, and the public, what they can expect to find on that page. Without proper title tags the odds of your page being ranked high for your industry’s keywords are extremely low.

What you want to do is place your keywords in the title tags of your site’s pages. Make sure that each page on your site has a unique title tag relating to the content on the page.

SEO Beginner Tip 2: Meta Data

Meta data is information that is hidden in the code of your site and that the search engines use to find out more information about each page on your site. This data, while not as important to search rankings as it once was, is still useful and should be added to each page of your website.

The first piece of meta information that you want to add to each page is called the “meta description.”

The meta description is literally a description of what can be found on the corresponding page.

Your meta description should not only describe what can be found on the page, but also include a call to action. Being ranked high in the search engines is good, but if people are not clicking on your link then it doesn’t matter how high you are ranked. You want to give people a good reason to visit your site.

Also, make sure that your meta description contains the keywords that you are optimizing that particular page for.

The next piece of meta information is your “meta keywords.” Meta keywords are not used by Google anymore in regards to how they rank your site. There is some indication that Bing and Yahoo! still use them, but the weight that they give them in their search algorithm is very low. We still suggest placing these keywords in the code of your site because things change so much with the three major search engines that it is better to be safe than sorry. We may wake up tomorrow to find out that meta keywords are now important again and having to go through all your website’s pages again to add them could take a lot of time. It’s better to add them now and not have to worry about it later.

Your meta keywords should contain all the keywords related to your SEO campaign and all industry keywords that are related to that particular page regardless if you are optimizing for them or not.

 

SEO Beginner Tip 3: Internal Linking

Internal linking is not only helpful for search engine rankings, but it also allows your visitors to find other pages on your site that may not be reachable through your main navigation or easily found. Internal linking can also pass along link juice from one page to another on your site, which can help with rankings.

You want to link the pages of your site together using anchor text links. An anchor text link is a link that uses a keyword instead of, for example, “click here.”

Anchor text links tell the search engines what the page that the link leads to is about. You want to make sure that you use this technique to link the pages of your sites together. For example, if you were to write a blog post talking about link building techniques, you may link the phrase “link building techniques” to a corresponding page because you would want that page to be found for the keyword phrase “link building techniques.”

 SEO Beginner Tip 4: Content

Content is extremely important. Search engines love content. The content on your site needs to be unique, well written and contain useful information. It also needs to contain the keywords which you are optimizing for, and which are relevant to each particular page. Your should also be adding to the content of your site on a consistent basis. Stagnant sites, ones that never add content, for the most part, will not rank high. The easiest way to continually add content to your site is by adding a blog and posting at least once a month. The more often you post the better.

SEO Beginner Tip 5: Back Links

Back links, at this point, are still the most important off-site factor when it comes to where your site ranks. Gaining back links, however, is a time-consuming process and something that needs to constantly be done in order to not only achieve high rankings, but also to maintain the rankings you have already achieved.

A few of the many different ways to gain back links are blogging, business directory submissions, article marketing, press releases, commenting in forums and on other blogs, creating content on your site that people want to link to as well as simply asking other webmasters for links. The one thing you should never do is pay for links. All three major search engines frown upon that and doing so will get your site penalized in the rankings.

The above tips are very basic and meant for beginners.