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Nuts and Bolts: Keywords

May 11, 2011


How do people find your greeting cards at Greeting Card Universe? Usually either by doing an on-site search, or using a search engine, which is why your keywords are important.

When a user does a search, they enter words or phrases as their search terms, refining the terms as necessary to refine the results. Here’s an example: a shopper wants to buy a 59th birthday card for their aunt, who is a butterfly collector. They might search for “birthday card for aunt” or “59 birthday card for aunt.” Once they get the results for this search, they may want to refine the results further, such as “butterfly birthday card for 59 year old aunt.”

Are you starting to understand the importance of keywords? If you don’t use the right specific and relevant keywords when submitting your greeting cards to GCU, your cards won’t come up in search results, and you won’t make many sales.

Don’t use fraudulent keywords, though. Not only is it naughty, but I promise you won’t make many sales of misleading cards. GCU reviewers frown on the practice, too. You should be choosing keywords that are relevant to the card.

Do try to find unique keywords to help you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re stuck for keyword ideas, there are other free tools that may help point you in the right direction.

For example, let’s take this card of mine:

The title is very important to search engines, so I’ve titled this card Christmas Tree – Believe – Customizable Photo Card. That should hit some of the right buttons. Next, I need keywords. Obvious choices are snow, Christmas ornament, personalized photo card. Notice I used “customizable” in the title and “personalized” in the keywords? That’s because different people will search for photo cards using different terms. I’m covering my bases.

Now I’ll check to see how I did. Opening a new tab in my browser, I go to Google AdWords: Keyword Tool.

When I plug words and phrases into this tool, it will tell me how many people are searching Google for these terms on a monthly basis, and it may give me ideas on other keywords I can include on my card. For demonstration purposes, I’ll start with just “greeting cards.”

“Christmas photo greeting cards” is on the list of terms people are looking for, so good thing I’ve got that covered in my title. Going further to look at “Christmas cards,” I see “personalized Christmas cards” and “customized Christmas cards” rank high with thousands of monthly searches, so I was right to include both terms in my title and keywords.

I also see  “modern Christmas card” and “contemporary Christmas card” are being searched, so I’ll include “modern” and “contemporary” in my keywords, as well as “fashionable” and “trendy.” Not misleading, since the design is everything I say it is. A thesaurus is sometimes an artist’s best friend! To conclude, in my Artist’s Notes section, I’ll write a little blurb and use words like “stylish” and “up to date” to increase the possibility of shoppers finding my card. I could take my searches even further, but for now I’m done.

While valuable, this free service has its limitations. It’s intended to help advertisers placing AdSense ads with Google, but it can be used to assist you in targeting sellers who are looking to buy the kind of greeting card you’re selling.

Another way to get a general idea of keywords other artists are using on cards in the same vein as yours is to enter this into the Google search box:

site: yourkeyword

Your search results will contain every card on GCU containing that keyword. By seeing what terms other artists have used in their keywords, you may get a better sense of what you need to include when uploading your own cards.

Suppose you want to confine your search to just Christmas cards, for example. Your Google search terms will look like this:

site: yourkeyword

Refine it even further to subcategories:

site: yourkeyword

And that’s how you do it. You can easily find out the URL you want to search by going to the GCU homepage, scrolling down the list of categories until you find the one you want, then refining your search to the sub-categories until you get where you want to go. Once you have the unique URL showing all cards in that category or sub-category, you’ll be able to search among those cards for specific keywords by using the Google search trick above.

I can’t emphasize this enough: make sure any keywords you choose are relevant to the card. In other words, don’t put “merry Christmas” in your keywords unless that phrase is on the front of your card or in the inside verse. The rule is to use only those keywords that describe your card AS IT ACTUALLY IS, not what you think it’s suitable for.

Yes, I know there are cards out there that break the rules. Please don’t get upset about what other people have done in the past. There was a time in GCU’s early days when cards weren’t reviewed, and some artists overdid things a little in their enthusiasm. Those days are long gone. It doesn’t really matter what somebody did years ago. What counts is what we’re doing today.

As a final note, just remember that if we, as artists, work hard to reduce the number of errors in our cards (including keyword mistakes and oversights), it will reduce the review times for everyone. Wouldn’t that be nice?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2011 11:03 am

    Such great advice. Thanks for this!

  2. May 11, 2011 2:21 pm

    OUTSTANDING!! Thank you so much Corrie!

  3. May 11, 2011 2:44 pm

    Keywords have been overwhelming to me. This is very helpful and clear. Thank you indeed.

  4. May 12, 2011 1:12 am

    Thank you again Corrie. This information was very informative! 🙂

  5. May 14, 2011 3:11 pm

    Corrie, that’s a great artice – wonderful advice for everyone!

    Question: is there a report anywhere (or should I request one – I would love it) that shows keywords that resulted in NO matches? I used to have a custom search box on my CP shop years ago that would email me when someone received zero matches – many times it was the result of say typing in spaneil instead of spaniel – but it told me when it was a common typo, and I could add it to my keywords along with spaniel. It ALSO told me when there was a demand that I wasn’t supplying – and inspired me to visit the proverbial drawing board.

    I think a specific chart showing keywords that resulted in NO matches would be very useful for many.

    Again – GREAT WORK!

    • May 14, 2011 3:16 pm

      Not sure if there’s a report, BUT you could do an on-site search for keywords on GCU. If there are zero matches, you’ll know. I’ll pass your suggestion along to Mindy.


  6. May 20, 2011 7:48 pm

    Super tips for artists Corrie! We’ve always shared on the forum how important keywords are – I’ve always said “keywords are king!” 😉 And an effective card title is too! The way we use the data now I’d have to say that the card title is now king and keywords are the queen. 😉

    As for the zero matches report…we used to have this for artists however it was quite misleading and a real performance hog. With millions of searches it was not reasonable to maintain. We’ve addressed the function of this data in two different ways…

    On the site when a shopper’s search results in 0 matches they are prompted with a custom request option. That is where the card requests that are posted on the forum come from.

    Also we review and analyze search terms on the site (particularly those that resulted in 0 cards) and update our search engine knowledge base to make it “smarter” for things like common misspellings, spelling and term variations, etc. This work benefits all artists 🙂

    Back to keywords I can’t stress enough to avoid misleading, unrelated and overreaching terms … we see a lot on general, non occasion cards or general, non relationship specific cards where the artist has used a laundry list of occasion and/or relationships in the keywords. This is not permitted and your card will be returned to you for edits (and take longer to get approved). As Corrie points out, use terms that describe what your card IS not what it could be.

    Hope that helps!

  7. July 21, 2011 4:29 pm

    I read this article when I first started at GCU and have been searching for it since then. So glad you posted a link in the forums. Thank you! (I struggle with keywords so I intend on keeping this article handy.)

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