Print Shop SEO: 3 Steps for Beginners
How to Get Noticed and Get More Customers
Everyone talks about SEO (search engine optimization) and how you have to have it. The SEO experts shroud their work in a mystical fog, but it’s pretty straightforward to optimize your website and other online content.
Before you pay big bucks for someone to do your SEO research, see what you can find on your own.
People speak of Google in hushed tones whenever the topic of SEO comes up. Nobody wants to anger the search engine gods! But when it comes to identifying your best keywords, Google and other search engines are your friends.
The point of the exercise is to find the words that best describe your business and the things that make it unique. You can’t be at the top of the search results if you use super-general language.
When you find the search terms that perfectly describe an aspect of your business that makes you special, Bingo! You may have found the angle on screen-printing in your area that other shops don’t cover.
You will then want to target your content to these keywords. If a potential client uses these search terms and you are the only one with an answer, you win!
STEP 1: Set Up Your Tools
Open a browser tab to the search engine you want to use. In our examples, we use Google.
Open another tab to a thesaurus site – a place where you can find synonyms (other words that mean the same thing). In this example, we are looking at different ways to say “custom”:
STEP 2: Pretend you are a Customer
What if you were an average guy in Bakersfield who needs 50 t-shirts printed in a hurry. How would you find what you are looking for on the internet?
You would probably start with some form of the word “t-shirt”. But look at the differences in the suggestions depending on how you spell the word and whether you add an “s” at the end:
If you were a marketing guy, church leader, or an HR dude in charge of morale, you would add words that make sense to you based on the purpose of the t-shirts. Look at the different results for marketing t-shirts vs. church t-shirts vs. company t-shirts:
STEP 3: Decide What Makes You Special
Most of our customers operate in the apparel screen-printing niche, and you probably do, too. So it seems obvious that you should use keywords like “screen-print” and “t-shirt”.
If all screen-printers used those keywords, search engines would lump you all together into one, giant group. To get noticed, you have to find your sub-niche – the thing that makes you stand out among fellow print shops.
What about a fast turnaround on orders, or donating a percentage of all orders to a local food bank? Pull out all the stops to show the unique benefits of your shop.
If you want to appeal to a certain niche – like churches and charitable groups – you will want to use “church t-shirts” and “charity t-shirts” as keywords. Even if you serve a variety of industries, you should target the one or two niches that bring you the most business.
Adding your location is critical to your success, even if you do online sales with customers across the country. You will be more prominent to the local market, and your online customers like to know where you are in the U.S.
The bottom line: Get creative and look for things your company does to take care of customers better than your competitors. Keep the thesaurus busy while you search!
The Upshot of SEO Keyword Research
To this point, we have talked about using your search engine – for free – to see what comes up. To take it to the next level, you may want to use an online SEO application that gives you real-time statistics about the ranking of your potential keywords.
SemRush is popular, as well as Keywords Anywhere. Going back to Google, they offer Google Correlate and Google AdWords.
Some of these tools have a “free” pricing tier for limited use, which suits a lot of small businesses. In a future post, we will get into detail about employing these tools to build your business.
No matter how you promote your business, you need expertly crafted designs that will keep your customers coming back over and over again. Need great designs and fast turnaround? We can help!
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