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How to Improve Your SEO on ArtFire Posted On: 04/06/2011 Last Updated: 11/28/2011


How to Improve your SEO on ArtFire

If you are unfamiliar with the basic concepts of SEO, please check out our Intro to SEO guide in the Help Guides section of the Chatterbox Forums. This guide is about improving your SEO for certain keywords using the tools and techniques available to you on ArtFire.



The Title Tag

The title tag for a page is important because search engines tell us it is important. Search engines give a lot of weight to what's in your title tag (meaning this factor is more important that others). To a search engine, the title you give to a page says A LOT about what the purpose and content of a page is. One distinction we should make now is between the title tag as it is used in the source code of a page and the "title" you give to one of your items. Technically the contents of the title tag don't show up on a web page, however you'll see that your item's "titles" do appear on your items. ArtFire is creating the title tag based on what you use as your item's title.

The title from the title tag for a particular page is displayed at the top of a web browser, you can also find the title by looking between the title tags in the source code for a web page.





The Freedom You Have on ArtFire

The most important way you can influence your own on-site SEO at ArtFire is through your titles. ArtFire generates title tags directly from your item listings. When you list an item for sale on ArtFire, you are asked to give that item a title. The title of your listing is what ArtFire leads with in the title tag for each of your individual product listings. When you write your title you should keep several things in mind:

Be Accurate - You need to accurately describe your product; misleading information in your title won't help your SEO in the long run, in fact it may damage your shop.

Think like a Shopper - Consider what someone would search for if they were looking for your product. Your product might be a "Howie the Cow jumps over the moon coffee mug" but more likely than not, somebody who is searching for this product would only be searching for a "Hand painted cow coffee mug" or just "Cow coffee mug."

Lead with Keywords - Start your titles with your most important keywords. For example, if I was listing a pair of red African opal earrings, I will enter "Red African Opal Earrings, very pretty" as the title instead of, "very pretty Opal Earrings, Red African." If I was listing a necklace I might include its length, if I was listing a product and its size or dimensions were very important I might include those numbers in the title.

Use Proper Grammar - Remember that search engines prefer simple, accurate titles that are grammatically correct as opposed to titles stuffed with weird punctuation, capitalization, acronyms, "leet speak," or other writing methods that don't add to describing the content of a page accurately.

Concerning title length, search engines only display between 65-120 characters (depending on the search engine). Google displays the first 65 characters in a title; anything after that is represented by a simple "..." When you are writing your title you should keep in mind how ArtFire generates a title tag for your product. The formula for your title tag is: "Title of listing : Username - ArtFire Main Category." So for every title tag there is somewhere between 20-35 characters (on average) added to the end of your listing's title depending on the length of your username and what category you post in.


If you want the full title to show in a search engine result for your item's page you should aim at keeping your listing title below 30 characters (with spaces). If you want just your listing title and your user name to show, then you'd need a listing title closer to 55 characters. If you want just your title to show then you would need to write a title around 65characters (Google displays 65 characters, other search engines may display more or less so the 65 character recommendation only holds true for Google searches).


When you write your title for a listing, remember that ArtFire uses your title to lead off the title tag for each of your items pages.

*Note: We also use your title as the alt text for your product's images. Alt text is what is displayed to users who have images disabled in their browser settings (usually due to connection speed problems) it is also used to aid visually impaired individuals who use the internet but cannot see pictures and therefore need a description for each image that would otherwise not be displayed.


You can check all of your own meta information and title tag information by looking at your site's page source. In Firefox the easiest way to check this is buy hitting CTRL+U on your keyboard , in Internet Explorer you can right click on a page and select "view source." Either way a notepad should open up with the website's source code on it.





Writing Good Content

Content writing is a big topic for SEO. For each of your item pages, you have a product description to work with as far as content writing is concerned. You should use that section to try and answer as many potential buyer questions as you think of. Make sure you give product dimensions or size if they are important. Brainstorm and ask yourself, "What would I ask this seller if they were trying to sell me this product?" Once you have the questions you can address them in your product description to give people interested in your product as much information as you can.

Meta Data
At ArtFire we have tried to give you as much control over you own meta data as possible. We have changed the way our pages generate meta tags to pull as much of the information from your listings as possible within potential limitations and the changing requirements of various search engines.

Meta Author
For your shop and item pages, we list you as the author for the meta author tag. We generate that tag as "Username on ArtFire.com" so you get the credit for your own shop and items, we're branding your pages with your username. While many search engines may ignore the author tag, for those that include it, this may boost your overall brand SERP for your shop name.


Meta Keywords
For the meta keyword tags, we generate them from what words you use to tag your product during the listing process. Our guidelines for those tags are as open as possible. We allow you to use up to 10 tags to help describe and label your product. Our only guideline is that you do not use the same keyword multiple times. An example of this would be, "beaded necklace, jade beads, beaded necklace, pretty, beaded necklace" using the same keyword multiple times will hurt your SERPs, not help them. After 10 keywords from your tags, we add "ArtFire" and "(Main Category)" so keep in mind that you do not need to add the keyword that is also the category name. Use the tags to describe and label your product. Don't add "ArtFire" or "(category posted in)" we'll be taking care of that for you.

Meta Description
For your item pages, ArtFire pulls the first paragraph of your product description and uses that as the meta description for each item page. Keep in mind a few factors: - Your meta description is what a search engine user will see underneath your title when they have searched for a keyword that is also in your meta description. - Make sure that the keywords you are optimizing for are in both your title and your meta description so that if somebody finds you in a search engine, you are the one controlling the description they see from your page. - A search engine will only display the first 155 characters of your meta description. Try to sum up the product in 1-2 sentences and you should be good. - If a user has found your page in a search but the keyword they used isn't in your meta description, the search engine will pull a more relevant "snippet" from your page and use that as the description.

We pull the first paragraph of your product description and use that as your meta description. (Special thanks to KristiBowmanDesign)




Tying it all together; your Freedom to Choose

Keep in mind that the most important aspect of SEO is trial and error. When you are testing titles and keywords for your products, go ahead and try a few new things on some of your items to see if you can find a great niche search term that drives good organic Google traffic to your items. Remember though, SEO is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The changes you make today probably won't show a huge effect tomorrow (although its great if they do), so you need be patient. SEO changes can take weeks even months to show real results, but testing what works now will set you up well for the future. ArtFire has made these changes to how we generate page source information to give you the freedom to control your own SEO. We want to see you succeed and we believe the best way to do that is to give you the tools you need and to try and offer some guidance in using them. We are always looking for feedback so that we can become a better venue, if you have any additional questions or comments we would love to hear from you! Drop us a line here in the forums or you can email SEO questions privately to caleb@artfire.com.