Hey, I'm Neville.
I'm a former podcast guest, former multiple eCommerce store owner, copywriting teacher.....and firm believer that Steve Chou is the long-lost brother of Kim Jong Un:
awww brotherly love!
From 2001 to 2011 I owned a rave company called HouseOfRave (I sold it in October of 2011 so if it looks weird, don't blame me)! But I did make a good living off it, and learned some tricks in the process.
I'd say the absolute #1 method to get more sales for my online store was to rank higher in the search engine results.
Products that ranked #1 made a lot of money. HAPPY :-)
Products that DIDN'T rank never made as much money. SAD :-(
People are most likely to buy right as their searching for a product. So obviously dominating the search engine results for your products would be optimal.
Well, here's my top tips to help you dominate the search engine results!!
1.) Use proper "Title Tags" and "Description Tags"
This is the thing that shows up on Google.
For example, on Steve's website MyWifeQuitHerJob this is how his Title and Description tags show up in Google:
Those are basically the ONLY TEXT GOOGLE SHOWS in the search results, so you better make sure it's relevant!
This will not only make for better SEO rankings, but also get more people to click.
So if you're selling a USB Rubber Ducky, you better make sure you at least have those words in your Title Tags and Description tags so they compete! Checkout all the results, they ALL have "USB Rubber Ducky" in the Title AND Description tags:
2.) Make your link URL's easy to read:
You know the actual product link for each page? Those are pretty important too.
It's best to call your page something like:
It's NOT best to call your page:
If you're a robot trying to crawl through a website, which of the sites above would you think is more relevant for a USB rubber ducky? Obviously the one with a nice usb_rubber_ducky.html kinda name.
I won't go deep into this SEO stuff here, but having clear URL's is generally best practice.
3.) Make product videos to get 1st result:
Guess what Google loves more than giving users relevant search results?
Giving relevant search results with their own properties such as YouTube!
I remember the first product video I ever made was for Oggz.
I did NOT want to be on video at the time. So I made some dumb video of these Oggz Eggs being surrounded by fire. Then I set the soundtrack to Journey. Check out how ghetto it was:
I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed of the video! But gimme a break....this was my first product video ever and it was 8 years ago....BUT ALMOST OVERNIGHT I JUMPED TO THE FIRST SPOT ON GOOGLE FOR IT!
Simply because no one else had a video, and YouTube video results are super-favored by Google. Even till this day, you can dominate the search results by adding a video with a relevant title. You can even take ghetto videos with your phone and upload them.
4.) Properly name your product images:
This is another simple thing you can do.
Make sure your images are named and tagged properly. So if we are selling Finger Lights, make sure the names are clear, something like:
Basically don't call your image:
People love images.
Google also loves images.
Google puts them in the "Images" results, as well as the normal search results, which means free exposure:
Make sure your title tags on your images are relevant too. So for finger lights we'd obviously set the "Title" (or "alt") tags to "Finger Lights" or "Color Changing Finger Lights".
5.) Re-naming products:
There was a product from a manufacturer called "The Fantastic Hand Held 2 Headed Light Show"
I thought the name was lame, plus wanted to dominate the search results. So I followed my own advice and:
- Changed the name to "Double Sided Spin Show"
- Named the images along the lines of: ....double-sided-spin-show.jpg
- Named the image title tages: Double Sided Spin Show
- Made a YouTube video called: Double Sided Spin Show (
from Oct 2008)
- Made the URL: double-sided-spin-show.html
Within less than a week I had complete SEO domination! And when people would search the web for the same product.....guess who they found?? (hint: ME!!)
6.) Re-Purposing Products:
My favorite example was Rave Balls. I literally INVENTED the term around 2007 (bahaha....I actually Google'd "Rave Balls" and I'm STILL #1)!!!
There was this popular selling product that were actually light up golf balls.....but people were buying lots of them from HouseOfRave to use as super-durable (and waterproof) lights on the dance floor. I never thought of this!
So originally the name was boring and irrelevant: Light Up Golf Balls
Since these worked so well as a rave party toy, I called them: Rave Balls!
The image I used was a .gif image that showed these little golf balls could change color at the touch of a button:
People went bezerk for Rave Balls!! The new name was:
- Easier to understand.
- More fun.
- Had the word "balls" in it (which I personally thought was hilarious).
.....but the most sneaky thing about this change was:
If you Google'd the term "Rave Balls" I completely 100% dominated the search results. That equated to mo' money!
Let's just say I sold a decent amount of "Rave Balls" :-)
7.) USE .GIF IMAGES (Animated images)
I'm not saying use gif images for all your products, but sometimes a tasteful .gif image helps explain a product much better, like these:
I would only use these if your products would be benefited by a .gif. Sometimes they are really catchy on a website.
8.) Add some freakin copy!
I can't tell you how often I see a product advertised like this:
If you want some of that SEO juice from google, you're going to have to write some descriptions or have some text on the page. It helps your customers AND your SEO.
For certain products with lots of uses, I would post on the product page about them or in email. Like for the finger lights I wrote stuff like:
Once again.....this isn't just for SEO purposes, but also helping your customer out. They may have never ever thought about some of these creative uses.
9.) If you put it all together:
If a product is well SEO'd, the images are properly made, and you have a video linked, and you're selling a sort of unique product....you could potentially 100% dominate the search results :-D
This means way more money and exposure for your store. Always a good thing!
BONUS Real Life EXAMPLE Time!
So this list of 9 techniques is all good and dandy. But let's say our good buddy Steve Chou wants his eCommerce business to rank well for something like the keyword "Personalized wedding napkins".
So my best way of getting a competitive keyword like this ranked in the search engines would be......
Send samples to C-Level bloggers!
So the best way to get to the top of the search results is to get quality links from other websites.
But hooowww to do that?
Well you can either spam a bunch of blogs and say "HEY!!!!! PUT MY PRODUCT ON YOUR SITE!!!!!" ....or you can spend some time and effort and get crazy awesome results.
For these steps I'll use the examples of Steve Chou's business Bumble Bee Linens. Let's assume he's trying to reach the top of Google for "Personalized wedding napkins".
First Step.) Identify the target blogs you want quality links from.
No one is gonna write articles about your product all willy-nilly. It don't work like that. ESPECIALLY not the big guys! Don't ask the editor of Vogue Online to write about your napkins and expect it to happen.
However there ARE tons of C-Level blogs and sites always looking for fresh content. So go out and find some-o-those blogs and keep a big list of them in a spreadsheet.
I simply Google'd around for "Best Wedding Blogs" and found loooaadddss and looaaads of them:
Second Step.) Contact 5-10 blogs via email or phone.....and ask them where you can send them some fancy-pants personalized napkins.....for free.
Find their email or phone....and if that doesn't work....just find their Twitter contact and try over Twitter.
Send them an email saying:
From: Steve Chou
To: Practical Weddings
Subject: address to send?
Hey Meg, love the site. I wanna send your team some personalized wedding napkins. So far I've got:
The names are monogrammed into the napkins and they make awesome gifts.
Send me any extra names you want, and also the shipping address.
My way of saying thank you!
Steve Chou - Husband, father, and Asian Man.
Third Step.) Send them the gifts with a nice note (take pics of the products first)!
Go ahead and box everything up, write a nice note, don't TRY to promote anything. You don't wanna come off as pressuring them to write a post yet.
Fourth Step.) Followup with a pre-written blog post they can use.
Send this email:
From: Steve Chou
To: Practical Weddings
Subject: get the box yet?
Hey Meg, I sent off the monogrammed napkins!
I enjoy all the stuff you write on Practical Weddings, me and my wife are definitely followers.
Our business is all about making personalized wedding stuff (like the napkins we sent). Based on our sales (from about 2,000+ orders) these are actually for some reason SUPER POPULAR in Oregon and California for outdoor weddings. Weird pairing huh?
We wrote a blog post about this. I attached it in Wordpress format if you ever wanna use it.
Once again, love your stuff, thanks again Meg!
Steve Chou - Husband, father, and Asian Man.
P.S. Feel free to contact us if you need anything: 713.301.1546
In this blog post you would include:
- The blog post source code they would just paste into their wordpress and click "publish".
- Preferably it would an awesome blog guest post talking about the different uses for "personalized wedding napkins" or some examples of create "personalized wedding napkins".
- It would have pictures (that are linked from your site) in the blog post.
- The pictures would ideally be watermarked with THEIR site's name to make it look great for them.
- There will be ONE link in the blog post copy like this: "This set of personalized wedding napkins was sent to us from Steve at BumbleBeeLinens. Thanks Steve!"
Fifth Step.) Try to get at least half the places you send to post about you.
When I've done this in the past, my success rate was an astounding 5-out-of-7 places posted!!
It's how back in the day I dominated some search results like "Oggz" even over behemoths like Wal-Mart!
I know this last part seems like a lot of work......but if you have a profitable product category and want to be #1, this is actually a relatively small investment (I spent less than $300 to get a #1 spot that lasted years).
Now if STEVE could do this....you can too. You can AT LEAST do tips #1-9 in very little time.
Good job Steve!
P.S. If you wanna learn more about selling with good copy through your site, you can signup to site at copywritingcourse.com for free. Or you can download my little PDF file (12 minute read) about how I first discovered changing the words could better sell products:
P.P.S. Drop me the link to your store or a specific product below, and I'll go through and check it out to see how to improve it and leave you a comment back. Peace!
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