Skip to Store Area:

Tuesday, May 13

My Love/Hate Relationship with Google

When I started Sandbox Threads last year, I did so with little experience building websites and no experience with getting found by search engines. Boy, has that changed.

Now let me be clear, without Google most of you would have never found Sandbox Threads, and for that, I am thankful at how efficiently Google indexes site. At least 70% of our traffic comes from Google searches & Google Ads.

But over the past year, I'd learned a whole bunch about what is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The most simplistic explanation of SEO is building your site so Google likes you and ranks you high. There are many, many factors, but for this post, I'm focusing on keywords, and in SEO the more keywords on your page, the better (but not too many, Google is finicky and will penalize you for TOO many).

Strangely this sort of optimization goes against basic marketing & name-branding principles. Look at the above image with the top ranking sites in Google for "cool baby clothes." Look at all those "keywords" stuffed in the title, but where's the business name? Look at the description, again, where's the business name? It's not there. Only when you get to the web address do you see the business name.

Now what happens if Google changes the search criteria, and these business lose ranking. Will anyone remember what the business was called that had those great shirts? I say no, not with the aggressive SEO they are using.

Are these sites doing anything wrong? Nope! They are just using SEO to rank high, and with one exception, I have a working relationship with each of the sites at the top of the Google rankings, and like them.

Sandbox Threads has just decided to take a little different approach. Do we rank as high? Most times no. For "cool baby clothes," we rank somewhere around 25. Does that cost us money? Probably, but I'm just not willing to sacrifice establishing our name for the sake of SEO.

Below is how SBT shows up in search results. We stuff keywords in the results too, but first and foremost, we're Sandbox Threads.

Whether folks will remember us or not because they see our name in search results is hard to know, but we do get quite a few visitors searching for Sandbox shirts, so maybe so.

One other quick note, one of my favorite kid shirts site, Fooey, has not fully given over to SEO either. I remembered their name because, guess what, it was in the search results. I like that, and the SBT title is modeled after them. Ben has a couple of shirts purchased at Fooey, and we love them. (One other SEO aspect is having other site link to you, so here's some unsolicited link love to the cool baby clothes at Fooey).

No comments: