Take a look at this installment of the Volusion Ecommerce Marketing Checkup series to see what our team of marketing professionals thought about how Fiddlesticks can improve their visibility in search engines!


Each month, Volusion assembles a team of marketing specialists to evaluate a Volusion store and provide recommendations for boosting their online success. In this edition, our team looked over the website for Fiddlesticks, an online boutique that features adorable children’s clothing. Although the store has a terrific product offering, Fiddlesticks isn’t getting as much traffic or sales as it could. Our team sat down to determine how Fiddlesticks could optimize its search engine marketing approach and achieve more online success.
Take a look at the detailed recommendations below:

PPC: Getting Your Site in Front of Buyers’ Eyes

“Using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way to directly engage and speak to your target audience. By creating an account such as Google AdWords, Fiddlesticks can take advantage of great resources to quickly usher qualified traffic to the site by being able to easily bid and manage exactly who sees their messages.”

– Chelsea Cepeda, Search Marketing Specialist

The first step to Fiddlesticks’ PPC success is opening an AdWords account. Once the account is open and ready to go, use the following recommendations as a guide to help prepare Fiddlesticks for the exciting world of PPC:

Plan out campaigns by hand

There are several strategies to setting up an AdWords campaign, but one way for beginners to save time and effort is to take a step back and plan out campaign structure by hand. Think about what product(s) you want to focus on. Should there be a campaign focused on jumpers or dresses? Once campaign focus has been established, be sure to structure ad groups around unique categories. For example, Fiddlesticks can create a campaign focused on girls’ clothing, then consider ad groups focused on a specific type of clothing (dresses, onesies, jumpers, etc.). Planning out campaigns by hand saves you from creating unnecessary ad groups and provides the visualization needed to structure a highly relevant and performing account.

Focus on long-tail keywords

Next, use Google’s Keyword Planner to discover keyword opportunities. Fiddlesticks should maintain a keyword strategy full of long-tail keywords to reduce the amount of money paid per click and avoid competing with large competitors such as Babies”R”Us or Target. Long-tail keywords are beefed up keywords that can assist is in reducing costs while relating directly to the users search. Rather than bidding on general keywords such as “baby clothes,” Fiddlesticks should consider bidding on long-tail keywords such as “24 month baby dresses” or “toddler girl smocked short sets,” for example.

Use negative keywords to keep money in your pocket

Negative keywords are a great way to deter irrelevant traffic from triggering your ads. Fiddlesticks should consider adding a comprehensive list of negative keywords to the account while conducting positive keyword research. Make sure to stay away from keywords that are not offered on the site and add them to the negative keyword list to reduce money spent on irrelevant searches. Another great way to keep money in your pocket is to negate big name competitors from campaigns. Negate top competitors such as eBay, Walmart, Amazon, etc. Searchers may specify what store they’re looking to purchase from, which can also trigger Fiddlesticks’ ads if the account doesn’t list those brands in its negative keywords. Give the user what they want and allow those competitors to appear on those searches. Chances are that if a user is searching for that company, then they’re less likely to convert on a different site.

Use compelling ad text and point out unique selling points in ad text

When writing ads, focus on enticing searchers to your store. Think about what sets your store apart from others. Right now, Fiddlesticks is offering free shipping over $50. Try incorporating this and any other promotions into ad copy. Discover what copy is not converting and focus on creating new text to further engage your audience.

Test landing pages to find the better performer

Just as you would test ad copy, be sure to test landing pages as well. While Fiddlesticks may consider using category pages to land users on, it may also be important to consider landing users on a specific site search. The internal search function quickly and easily pulls all items related to the search made. For example, if Fiddlesticks created an ad group focused on clothing set keywords, then the landing page could be a search for sets, which would pull all sets on the site as specified.

Shopping Feeds: Add Additional Product Information

“Shopping engines’ success depends on data feeds that are filled with relevant product information, especially images. Personalized apparel shops like Fiddlesticks Children’s Boutique can make a big impact with shopping engines by appearing at the top of search results with tailor-fit product listing ads.”

– Sean O’Connor, Search Marketing Specialist

Fiddlesticks has the beginning of an excellent product feed, but, without additional product information, their data feeds won’t have the success they could otherwise.

Apparel is fairly competitive on Comparison Shopping Engines, but Fiddlesticks can leverage their unique customization to achieve success.

Product Titles

A long, descriptive title on custom apparel products can entice customers to click on the ad. A product title like ‘Boys Monogram Initials Onesie’ uses 29 of Google’s allotted 75 characters and accurately describes this product. Others, which often include jargon that might be confusing to people who aren’t experts in children’s clothing, should be updated to include phrases which will help trigger the ads. Synonyms work great as well, so the word “custom” doesn’t need to be over-used. Instead, experiment with words such as “personalized,” “unique” or “built to order” to diversify your product descriptions while still appealing to your audience.

Apparel requirements

Google has many category specific rules, especially for apparel. The following is a brief run-down of what’s required to submit clothing lines:
  • Product images must be at least 250x250 pixels
  • Brand is a required field if the product is mass-produced; however, if the item is custom, you can submit the field “Identifier Exists” with a value of FALSE
  • Gender, Size, Color and Age Group attributes must be submitted — this means that if the store uses Child Products to monitor stock on color/size, Fiddlesicks will need to submit those product variants
  • Pattern and Material are recommended fields and can help customers find exactly the style they’re looking for
By following these guidelines, as well as Google’s general best practices, Fiddlesticks can make a big impact and quickly drive traffic to their store.

SEO: Build an Organic Presence

“Take a cue from the kids! Use your imagination to create dynamic, creative content for your site. Having unique, keyword-rich content for every page not only boosts your site’s SEO crawl-ability but also gives you a chance to show your brand’s personality. Once Fiddlesticks allows their imaginations to run wild, they’ll be able to hone their brand voice and build a strong online presence.”

– Sherri Horton, Search Marketing Specialist

Category Structure

The structure of a website affects both the shopping experience as well as the search engine experience. Search engines reward sites with a clear and well thought-out category structure. By moving the product categories to the top navigation, Fiddlesticks will be able to guide customers to the products more seamlessly. As the conversion optimization section in part 1 described, the site would benefit from pulling the New Arrivals, Shop Boys, Shop Girls and Sale sections to the top navigation.

Within the top navigation, there is an opportunity to create drop down links off of the primary category button. For instance, if a user hovers over the Shop Boys button, the By Category and By Size pages would appear beneath it, giving the option for the customer to choose their individual shopping experience. In addition to the drop downs, I recommend directly linking Shop Boys to the Category page. Here, the categories should have pictures and content to accompany them to make it more informational and visually appealing. Another place for improvement in the category structure is the long click path to viewing and actually purchasing your products. In ecommerce, the purchase path should be as clear and short as possible without compromising shopper experience. By deleting that extra page between the shopper and the products Fiddlesticks will shorten the customer’s path to purchase.


Empty Categories

Not only can empty categories create frustration in the customer experience, but too many empty categories on a website will also hurt its SEO. We’ve always believed that one day empty categories would hurt a websites’ organic search ranking, and recently, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, spoke out to address this issue: http://searchengineland.com/googles-matt-cutts-seo-advice-unavailable-e-commerce-products-186882

It may make sense for certain personalized items to still be promoted on the site, so long as the site provides the customer with a clear timeline when the products will be available again. But if there are categories with simply no products, the site will be better off if those categories are hidden until they are populated with products.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Choosing just the right keywords for each page of your site can be a little daunting and some store owners may be tempted to put their hand in the cookie jar a few too many times and use too many keywords. Right now, Fiddlestick is doing a good job using fewer keywords per page, but the keywords used do not vary from page to page. SEO best practice is to use 3 -5 targeted unique keywords per page. Here are some great places to use keywords for the Fiddlesticks site:
  • Title Tags: Title tags are the most important piece of SEO real estate on a page. Make sure to include strong, relevant keywords in each individual page’s Title tag to help search engines know what the page is about.
  • Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions are geared toward the customer. This is where a store can make their initial sales pitch. Including a keyword or two naturally in the text benefits the search engines as well as helps users know that the page has what they’re looking for. This is also where you can set your company apart from the others by boasting free shipping or special deals.
  • Customized URLS: Search engines use URLs as one of the metrics to determine whether or not to show your page on the search engine results page. By having easy to read, keyword-rich URLs, your site will be sure to stand out in the pack.

Keyword-Rich, Crawl-able Content

Content not only fills out a page visually, but it also serves as the single best way for search engines to know what each page – and in-turn the whole website – is about. Including relevant, unique and high-value content on each of the category pages and product pages will help users better understand your products and improve natural search performance.
  • Start with the Home Page: As a site’s biggest landing page, having engaging, unique content is important for not only the user experience but also the search engines. This is how search engines view the Fiddlesticks site:
  • Category Content: Each category should have content built out to promote the products within it. For instance, the Shop Boys category contains Onesies, Short Sets, Shirts and more. Here we can target boy’s apparel and boy’s clothing to include all products in that category. Then, the Onesies sub-category page would target baby boys’ onesies or boys’ onesies.
  • Product Content: When creating product descriptions and implementing content for each individual product, the keywords should be even more targeted. The Boy’s Monogram Initials Onesie product is appropriately named and the content should target that product.

Build Natural Links

Building links within and to your site is an important factor in SEO. Inbound links from high-authority websites will help increase search engine trust in your site. Inbound links can be naturally created by blogging and creating strong on-page content. Be wary of using too much or too similar anchor text within your blogs and page content. Using the same anchor text over and over can lead to a spammy link profile and hurt your site’s health.

By implementing these recommendations, Fiddlesticks can see increased search engine visibility and traffic to their site. Looking for more information about online marketing for this apparel store? Take a look at part one of this installment, and keep an eye out for the final section next week.

See anything we forgot?

Is there another tip or trick you think should be added to our checkup? Leave us a comment with your questions or tips and tricks. If you feel like getting social, talk to us on Twitter or Facebook:

@Volusion and use #VolusionChkUp


Looking for some advice?

If you would like your store reviewed by our marketing team, write a comment below with your store URL.

Wish your store had the Volusion experts on your marketing team? Check out Volusion’s Marketing Services! We offer all of the marketing disciplines we discussed in our Ecommerce Marketing Checkup series, from Conversion Consulting to PPC Advertising and Shopping Feed Management to SEO and Social Media. Our team of experts looks forward to helping your ecommerce store find success online. Jumpstart your store’s success today with our industry experience!