Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Google Search Optimization : Boring ? You bet! V. Important? Unfortunately.

Get a cup of tea or coffee to sip as you read this.

You are going to need it. This stuff is dry...but very necessary.
From the Storque blog...first info is old but still good the bottom section is the update...

Tech Update: Upcoming Changes for Shop and Item Page SEO


UPDATE: We're happy to announce that the search engine optimization (SEO) changes described in the post below are now live on Etsy. It's important to note that the changes won't appear in Google search results immediately. Google checks web pages for updates periodically, so the changes won't appear in Google search results until Google visits your page again and updates the information it has about your page. If you want to see when Google last checked one of your pages, search for the page in Google and click the "Cached" link for your page.
At the top of the cached version of the page, Google states when they last viewed the page.

We're also excited to announce the launch of a tool that enables sellers to preview how their item pages and shop home page will appear in Google search results. When you list a new item or edit an existing listing, you can click a link to "View a preview of how your item will appear in Google search results."
This shows a preview that updates as you enter or edit your item title and description. You can simply enter your item title and description and instantly view how your item will appear in Google search results. This tool is also available on the Your Etsy > Appearance page where you can update your Shop Title and Shop Announcement and preview how your shop home page will appear in Google search results.


As we mentioned in the original post below, SEO is an ongoing process. We'll continue to make improvements and keep you updated on our progress here on The Storque.
[The following was originally posted on September 1, 2009.]

Etsy has been working with SEOmoz, a third-party consultancy, to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) for Etsy.com, including shop and item listing pages. Improved SEO means shoppers are more likely to find Etsy pages when they use search engines like Google and Bing. 
We're excited to announce that we’re getting ready to move forward with some changes based on the guidance of the experts at SEOmoz. (Big thanks to Rand, Lindsay, Jen and everyone at SEOmoz!)

We're pre-announcing these changes to ensure sellers have time to prepare, but it's important to note that you don't need to make any changes to your shop or item listing pages. It's your choice whether you want to work on SEO. We know some sellers will want the opportunity to optimize their pages and take full advantage of these changes, and we also want to explain what Etsy is doing to improve SEO.
These changes will take effect within the next few weeks, and we’ll update this announcement to let you know when the changes are live on the site.
We'll start with an overview of changes we're making and then dig into some examples.
Titles
Google and other search engines limit the number of characters displayed in the page title of links on their search result pages. SEOmoz has found that the likelihood of Web searchers clicking through on a specific link in search results increases if the page title appears complete in Google or other search engines. To prevent page titles from getting cut off, we will remove non-essential characters, such as periods and commas, and then truncate page titles at the end of the last complete word up to 66 characters. (If this sounds complicated, check out the details and examples below.)
It's important to note that page titles are only visible to search engines, on search engine search result pages, and at the top of web browser windows.
seo-example1-8282009.png
SEOmoz has also found that brand names tend to increase the likelihood of Web searchers clicking on a page title in search results, which is why we're putting "on Etsy" at the end of page titles. Familiar brand names help searchers quickly identify links they trust, and to the extent the Etsy brand has gained significant awareness, SEOmoz recommends including "on Etsy" at the end of page titles. However, sellers' shop, section, and item titles are likely most relevant to searchers, and will be prioritized at the beginning of page titles. In certain situations "on Etsy" will be removed to create more room for the seller's shop, section, and item titles. We're also making sure that the seller’s username, which is often the seller’s brand, appears in page titles.

And now for some detailed examples.

Shop homepage title

The current format is: <username> on Etsy - <shop title>
The new format will be: <shop title> by <username> on Etsy

In order to keep the page title tag to 66 characters or fewer, we created rules for how the content will be truncated. The rules ensure that the full username is in the title tag, remove "on Etsy" if the <shop title> is too long, and truncate the <shop title> if it's still too long after "on Etsy" is removed.

If the <shop title> + <username> is greater than 54 characters, but less than 62 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed.

If the <shop title> + <username> is greater than 62 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed and the <shop title> will be truncated to the end of the last complete word, up to 42 characters + (20 - <username>). If your username is less than 20 characters, there's more room for a longer <shop title>.

Here are a few examples:
<username>: littleblackrabbit (17 characters)                                                                                            <shop title>: vintage and recycled inspiration (32 characters)                                                                  <shop title> + <username> = 49 characters, so "on Etsy" will be included and nothing will be truncated Page title: vintage and recycled inspiration by littleblackrabbit on Etsyseo-example1-8252009.png
<username>: BettyTurbo (10 characters)
<shop title>: mostly involving cake ice cream and moustaches (45 characters)
<shop title> + <username> = 55 characters, so "on Etsy" will be removed
Page title: mostly involving cake ice cream and moustaches by BettyTurbo
seo-example2-8272009.png
<username>: iheartnorwegianwood (19 characters)
<shop title>: Harnesses cage skirts fringe leggings specialness (49 characters)
<shop title> + <username> = 68 characters, so "on Etsy" will be removed and the <shop title> will be truncated
Page title: Harnesses cage skirts fringe leggings by iheartnorwegianwood
seo-example2-8282009.png
Here's a tool you can use to calculate the number of characters in your <username> and <shop title>.

Because you have limited space in titles it's best to include the most important keywords at the beginning of your <shop title> and to focus on the unique value of your shop.
It's important to note that your <shop title> will only be truncated in the page title, which is visible to search engines, on search engine search results pages, and at the top of web browser windows. Your full <shop title> will still appear on your shop homepage on Etsy.
Item page title

The current format is: <item title> by <username> on Etsy

While we're not changing the format, we are adding rules for how content is truncated. The rules ensure that the full username is in the title tag, remove "on Etsy" if the <item title> is too long, and truncate the <item title> if it's still too long after "on Etsy" is removed.

If the <item title> + <username> is greater than 54 characters but less than 62 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed. If the <item title> + <username> is greater than 62 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed and the <item title> will be truncated to the end of the last complete word up to 42 characters + (20 - <username>).

Section page title

The current format is: <username> on Etsy - <section name>
The new format will be: View <section name> by <username> on Etsy

If the <section name> + <username> is greater than 49 characters but less than 56 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed. If the <section name> + <username> is greater than 56 characters, "on Etsy" will be removed and the <section title> will be truncated to the end of the last complete word up to 37 characters + (20 - <username>).

Canonical tags

We're going to use canonical tags on shop homepages, section pages and item pages.

What's a canonical tag? This is part of the code for your Etsy pages that lets search engines know when different URLs (web addresses) are actually the same page. For example, check out these two URLs: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sc_main_21&listing_id=29577528
and http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=29577528
The URLs are different, but they point to the exact same page. Generally, search engines assume that a different URL means it’s a different page, unless the code of the page uses a canonical tag to tell the search engine otherwise.
This change will only be visible to search engines, but is important because it will help improve the search engine rankings of sellers' pages. The number and quality of links to a page is an important factor in search engine rankings. If Google thinks those two pages are different, it will count the number of links to each page separately. If Google knows pages with different URLs are the same page, it will add up the links to the different versions of the page and give credit for all of those links to one version of the page, likely increasing the ranking of the page.


If you're interested, SEOmoz has more info on canonical tags.

2 comments:

The Well-Seasoned Nest said...

Hi - Found you through the Etsy Vintage Lovers team. Thanks so much for so many good tips here. I learned a lot: and also know now that I have a lot of work to do!

Really good of you to compile this in step by step easy-to-follow fashion!

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