As an online business owner, you would have to be living under a rock to not have at least heard about SEO. Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process by which you optimize your site for search engines so it can rank higher in Google searches related to your product and niche.
Being on the front page of Google for your niche can drive enormous amounts of free traffic and sales to your site. It is said that the first page of Google captures about 71% of all web traffic. This can be great news for a subscription box entrepreneur like yourself. But the question remains, what can you do to actually get your website to rank higher in search engines?
How does SEO work?
Believe it or not, there are over 200 different variables that go into Google’s search algorithm. 200! That means that getting on the front page of Google is not as easy as putting some keywords on your website and hoping for the best. The good news is that there are three areas which have been revealed to have the most impact on your ranking and those are: on-site optimization, optimizing web content for search & link building. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how SEO works, it’s main components and how you can optimize your website or Cratejoy marketplace listing to drive traffic to your site from people who are looking for your services.
Let’s start with keyword research
Before you can do any search engine optimization to your site, you need to understand what your ideal customers are searching for in Google to find your products. For example, if you have a subscription box geared towards children’s toys. Keywords like “Toy subscription box”, “Gifts for children” can be relevant keywords that you can try to target on your site. BUT because you don’t want to have guess at what these keywords might be, you can use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to get a better idea of the words & phrases that are currently being searched.
Open up Google Keyword Planner and put in a keyword relevant to your niche. If we are using the example above, you might want to use “toy subscription box” as your keyword.
As you can see in the screenshot above, not all keywords presented in the tool will be relevant to your business. So, you’ll want to do your best to select the most relevant keywords from the list.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to optimize your site through on-site optimization, content optimization & link building.
Cratejoy members: Be on the lookout for ways that you can optimize your marketplace listing at the bottom of this blog post!
While much of Google’s algorithm is a mystery, there are a handful of things that you can do to your website to optimize it for search. These things involve adding relevant keywords & descriptions to your site and producing relevant content using target keywords. Some of those areas include the metadata of your website, URL structure, & on-page content,
Each website has what is called metadata. This is information that Google uses to determine what your website is about. The metadata of your website consists of the title, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and URL structure.
The title is a clickable element in search results that indicate the webpage’s subject matter. The best practice is to make the title at least 60-65 characters, use relevant keywords & describe exactly what the website is about.
Meta descriptions are built upon a title tag in explaining the content of the webpage. This is an opportunity to give a 100-300 character description of what your website is about. Keywords and full sentences should be used in the description.
Since Google cannot crawl images, alt-tags provide an opportunity for you to describe exactly what the photo is depicting. For example, if your website has a photo of your bath bomb subscription box, you could alter the code of the image to describe it by using the following website code <img alt=”bath bomb subscription box”…>. This tells Google that the image is of a bath bomb subscription box. The more identifiers your website gives Google, the better understanding it has of your site. The better the Google understands your site, the more it will deliver it as a search result for relevant searches.
The URL is the web address associated with the pages on your website. The structure of your URL can be helpful in letting Google know what the page is about. The URL should be short, easy to read, and effectively convey the webpage’s content. For example, if you have a page on your site about dog toys, you might want to use “http://www.yoursitename.com/dog-toys” as the URL of your page. This will tell Google that your page is about dog toys. In order to have the biggest impact, you’ll want to make sure that all of the URLs on your website are keyword rich.
Warning, if you already have a current website with URLs, unless they are non-sensical, it’s not recommended that you change the URL structure of your pages because you could lose any ranking you already had for those pages. What you can do, however, is hire a web developer to re-direct old URLs to the new ones. It’s not guaranteed that you will preserve your ranking, but it is a more preferred way to change URLs.
Optimizing Web Content
When deciding which types of content to put on your website, you’ll want to rely heavily on your initial keyword research. Crafting content around those keywords will not only help you rank in Google searches, but it also allows you to create content that is also relevant to your audience. We’d recommending taking the top 10-15 keywords that you identified during your keyword research phase to create your content creation calendar. Once you’ve identified your top 10-15 keywords I would encourage you to also take a look at the long-tail keyword phrases that people are using. You’ll want to use those long tail phrases as the titles or headlines on your site.
You’ll want to make sure that you are creating content in a conversational tone that reads easily. Google is highly sophisticated and can quickly determine if the content is poorly written and stuffed with keywords. Creating interesting and easily readable content means that your site’s visitors will stay on your site longer. Time spent on your site, also happens to be one of the factors that Google uses to determine whether or not your site is worthy of its search ranking.
Besides using keywords in your content, you also want to keep in mind that Google loves long-form content. Long-form content is usually characterized as content that has at least 1200-2000 words in it. Research shows that long-form content not only ranks better in Google but is also shared more across social media platforms. The idea behind long-form content is that you are providing the website visitor with all of the information they need on a topic, which makes you look like an authority. Google likes to place authoratative pieces higher in the search results.
Before you start to fret, no, not every single page on your site needs to be long-form content. At the very least you want to be sure to have 100-300 words per page, so that the page offers both value and substance for your readers and Google.
Freshness or newness is another one of the factors that Google takes into consideration when determining the quality of your content. It’s a good idea to create new content for your site in the form of sales copy, blog posts, videos, or other compelling media on a regular basis to ensure that Google crawls your site regularly. You’ll also want to make sure to update content that isn’t performing great in the search.
One of the content pitfalls you want to avoid is having duplicate content on your site. This can be very easy to overlook. For example, if you have a boilerplate template for your box’s description and have that on several pages, you are guilty of having duplicate content on your site. Google can see duplicate content as spam, therefore you’ll want to make sure that the content on your site is unique on every page.
What are inbound links?
Inbound links are links pointing to your site from other websites. Google sees these inbound links as ‘votes’ for your site. The more inbound links to your site the better. We should note, all inbound links are not created equal. Inbound links from high authority sites are given more importance than other sites. For example, an inbound link from Wikipedia to your site would be given more importance by Google than an inbound link from your friend’s blog.
How to get Inbound Links for your Subscription Box website
As we learned above, getting links is an important part of optimizing your site. Each link to your site counts as a ‘thumbs up’ from the internet community which Google pays special attention to. Getting links to your site can be time-consuming, but if you are looking for a long-term SEO play, it’s wise to invest some time into quality link building. Here are a few ways that you can get links to your subscription box website
- Create epic content
- Guest Posts on relevant websites & blogs
- Influencer reviews
- Press releases & media mentions
- Vendor relationships
1. Creating Epic Content
Every SEO knows that creating killer content is the holy grail when it comes to getting links. If you can create some sort of content that people in your niche find valuable and want to share with their network, then you are sure to get lots of inbound links to your site. Epic content comes in many forms, and depending on what your niche is, can be anything from an e-book, an infographic, a comprehensive guide, a video or even a meme. YES, even a meme can earn you links to your site.
2. Guest posts on relevant websites
One thing you can do is provide content in the form of blog posts or articles for sites that are relevant to your niche. For example, if you run a meal subscription box, then perhaps contributing an article to a site like FoodGawker would be a great way to get in front of your target audience, but also to get some links back to your website. Psst..here’s a list of 55 sites that accept guest blog posts. The higher quality sites that you can guest post for and get links back from the better that you will do in search rankings.
3. Influencer Reviews
As a subscription box entrepreneur, you already know that influencer reviews can be especially valuable in driving new customers to your product. While many of you may be focused on Instagram & YouTube influencers, it is definitely worth your time to consider getting reviews from bloggers specifically for the backlinks. As we mentioned before, it’s very important to get reviews and links from relevant sites. The more relevant the site is to your product, the higher quality score Google will deem that link.
4. Press Releases
We’ve previously written about ways to score PR opportunities for your subscription box, and while those are great for publicity, the backlinks from the right media mentions can be golden. Because media outlets like newspapers, magazines and news stations are deemed credible by Google, securing a backlink to your site can be a great way to get a boost in organic rankings.
5. Vendor Relationships
Another way to get inbound links is to ask your vendors if they will put a link to your site on their site. Some vendors will publish links to their preferred partners or successful customers websites. The first thing you can do is visit your partner’s websites to see if they have a place for partner links. If they do, it’s as simple as sending an email and asking them to link to you.
Now that you’ve gotten a crash course into optimizing your site, we encourage you to download the Subscription Box SEO Content Checklist here.
Cratejoy Merchants: How to Optimize your Cratejoy Marketplace Listing?
Now that you know the basics of Search Engine Optimization, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into practice. The Cratejoy marketplace allows you to optimize your site right in the backend of your website.
You have the ability to input the Page Title, Keywords, and Page description. As you learned in the last section, these are the most important areas of SEO.
Once you’ve done some keyword research you can log in to the backend of your Cratejoy website and optimize your list. Once logged into the designer, you should see a section to input SEO information. You’ll want to create a unique page title and description for each page on your site (not just the homepage).
If you’d like step-by-step directions, feel free to refer to this article in the Cratejoy Knowledgebase.