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Shane O’Neill: Online Magic

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Shane O’Neill: Online Magic

Avoid the SEO Kool-Aid and just create great content.
BY Shane O’Neill | Published in the September 2014 issue.

Emails, phone calls, even the in-store visit: Your friendly SEO (Search Engine Optimization) business helper is everywhere you look. But before you chug his magic marketing elixir, you should know what it’s made of. For most local, independent jewelers, it’s probably not the solution to their online marketing dilemmas.

One of the most misunderstood buzz-terms out there is Google Search Rankings. It starts simply enough, “Hi, I couldn’t help but notice that you’re not listed on the first page of Google search results,” or something to that effect. That doesn’t sound so good, and you immediately want to change it.

And so begins the SEO journey, chock-full of high-value phrases like “search algorithms,” “meta data” and “keyword density.” Most of this jargon is used to create this magical unknown called SEO.

The truth is that search algorithms change all the time. There are many ways SEO companies can improve your search rankings; some are good, but some are tricks that provide impressive short-term results with negative long-term effects that can actually hurt your site rankings — just like those sweet-but-bad-for-you powdered drink mixes.

Having a well-built site from the start should address a large portion of your SEO concerns. Just remember, when pricing website development, cheap usually is just that, hidden behind an otherwise nice-looking site. It’s what’s under the hood that matters most.
For most jewelers it would be wise to look at the state of your current website first. Is it mobile responsive? Does it have great product galleries? Do you have content that is being continually updated and managed? Do you blog to keep content fresh and users engaged? These are the real questions you should be asking.

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Your website has never before been more vital to your business, and it’s only becoming more so. It’s the face of your store and the central hub for new customers.

Ultimately, SEO is a rather simple process: Create great content.

Do blogs help? Yes, but if the content is copied from somewhere else, it can be much less successful than your own generated content.
Will everyone have the same search experience? No. Search engines can display results based on where you’re located. Results can also vary based on your own personal search history. In fact, Google deploys what it calls Personalized Search that bases results on both relevancy and your own search history.

For most local independent jewelers, a well-built site is the key to high search rankings. Add other strategic digital marketing initiatives that drive traffic, and most jewelers will see improved results organically without paying for ongoing SEO. SEO does have its place, but it’s just one small part of the digital marketing mix. Stick to quality marketing ingredients, avoid the SEO Kool-Aid, and you’ll have a much healthier website presence … sugar-free.

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