Most people believe that simply having a website is enough. They believe that internet users will magically find their site on Google and they’ll be making money hand over fist. The truth is that it takes a lot of work to get a site ranked in the top 10. That is unless you have a bakery that sells awesome baked goods from a bakery or even from home. Having a physical location that sells goods locally means you don’t have to target nationwide audiences and compete against big chains and TV celebrity bakers.
Step 1: Proper SEO for Your Bakery Site
Using search terms correctly for the best SEO
Search terms are what people type into search engines to find things. This is where you have to dig deep and imagine what your customers are searching for. Great SEO starts with a great keyword or phrase. Not your name or your gimmick, but the most basic and simple search possible. Some examples would be “custom cakes”, “gourmet cupcakes”, “cookie bouquet”, etc.
This search term, or phrase, is very important. It provides you with a guide to making your site searchable and should be used to determine your site’s name and it’s content. When I optimized our site we targeted the term “custom cakes”. We named the bakery Lulu’s Custom Cakes and bought the domain luluscustomcakes.com. Our site intro included words like “custom 3D cakes” and “wedding cakes” and “custom birthday cakes” which support out search term. Our menu included links like “Custom 3D Cakes”, “Wedding Cakes”, “Birthday Cakes”, “Custom Decorations” and so forth. Notice how the words “custom” and “cakes” are spread throughout the site’s title, navigation, content and even in the domain name? This is how SEO is supposed to work. No gimmicks. No tricks. Just good, searchable content.
Read this great article about researching keywords and phrases.
Give Search Engines More Targets To Find with SEO
You can use SEO to target multiple search terms by creating special landing pages within your site. Use these SEO techniques on all of your landing pages. For example, your home page could target “custom cakes” and a special landing page could target “fancy wedding cakes”. You can have as many as you like. Actually, the more special landing pages you have the better. You can even use custom domain names for each of your landing pages making them even more searchable!
If you have multiple landing pages, especially if they have their own domain names, be sure to cross-link your home page and your landing pages for even better SEO results. This helps search engines to “trust” your content by showing them links to similar sites. Again, not a gimmick, just good, searchable content. If you don’t plan on using multiple landing pages you can also link to other bakery sites or forums so you have some relevant links.
Make Your Photos Work For SEO
Having plenty of photos on your site helps your visitors to decide if they like your products, but be sure to add the proper information to your images so that search engines can “see” your photos too. The <img> tag has two parameters that should be added, alt and title, to the most out of SEO.
The alt parameter helps people with vision disabilities to “see” your image. Screen readers read the content of the web page and when it gets to images it will read the alt parameter. Be sure you think about how that will sound and be sure to put your search term in there.
The title parameter enhances the user experience further by displaying the title after a user briefly hovers over the image. Google also looks at these title parameters when ranking your site so be sure to user search terms responsibly.
Optimizing your site may seem like a lot of work and you might not see the results right away or ever. Don’t let this discourage you because the next step will take advantage of all your work.
Goal: Find a search term that you can target on your site and make it work for you.
Secondary Goal: Create landing pages in order to target specific search terms.
Step 2: Getting Your Bakery On The Map
When I built our bakery site I focused our SEO on the search term “custom cakes”. After a few months I was ranking so low that the only way I could find my site on Google was to search my full domain name. We couldn’t afford the lofty fees for advertising and getting in the top ten seemed impossible. Then I found Google Places.
In 2008, Google listed the top few global results and then listed the top ten local results based on the location of the device. After signing up for a Google Place we started showing up in the local search. After a few months we were at the top of the local search. Our site traffic grew 300% and we started getting more orders through the site. This was about the time when I started working on our customer management system which Bakery Butler is based on.
Now, Google lists the local search results first. This puts your site above the national bakeries; even the ones on television! Now you can see how optimizing your site can pay off for a local merchant. Don’t worry about getting to the top of Google; just get to the top locally. SEO helps, but using the tools at your disposal can take it to the next level.
Goal: Set up a Google My Business account and be sure to use your search term.
Step 3: Connecting Your Bakery with Customers
Extend your bakery’s reach with social networks
There are a number of social sites you should be on, but Facebook is where your potential customers are. Give them a place to go by creating a special page on Facebook. Don’t forget to use these SEO tricks on your Facebook pages too!
Having a business page on Facebook allows your customers to “like” your bakery. This means that you can send out announcements, polls, funny stories and special holiday deals easily and, more importantly, for FREE. I actually received a few orders via Facebook messages because of a photo I posted on our Facebook wall.
Find out more about how Facebook can help your business here: https://www.facebook.com/business/overview
Goal: Create a Facebook Page.
Reach more potential bakery customers by sharing
The best way to get folks to help you grow your business is to give them tools so they can easily share on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. I had to manually add “like” and “share” buttons to my site, but now there is a great tool called AddThis that allows you to add share buttons to your site easily and it’s FREE.
Be sure that you set up your AddThis buttons with SEO keywords and phrases so these links help your site’s rankings!
Did you take my advice and create multiple landing pages? Great! You can create multiple domains within AddThis so you can track the activity of each page individually. This can help you determine which pages are making the most impact. Are you getting more shares on a page with video? Add a video to your other landing pages. Boom! You just increased your reach using shares.
Goal: Sign up for AddThis and put some sharing tools on your site.
Great! I Have Traffic Now What?
Once you have traffic coming in you need to give them what they are looking for. This is where Bakery Butler can help by providing an online order form and a place where you can receive, respond and track your orders. Bakery Butler will also alert you when a customer needs attention. No customers will go unnoticed, and you can focus on making awesome goodies. Learn more about how to increase online sales.
Goal: Sign up for Bakery Butler and start taking online orders!