All that glitters

MUSE represents some of the most in-demand jewelers in the world to the US market. The MUSExMUSE website represents their first time selling direct to consumers. When our firm was approached to build their custom ecommerce site I realized their rich potential for long tail organic search results. Due to their exclusive relationships with many designers and the bespoke nature of their jewelry work MUSExMUSE is was positioned to capture organic results for trending designers, especially for users in the United States.

Starting in lo-fi wireframe mode we collaborated directly with the client until their menu and product organization suited their needs. We mapped out all jewelry data points in a lo-fi product detail page. Working with real data as quickly as possible is essential to any site build so from the start we input data from actual pieces.

With representative data and a clear organizational method we coded the SEO optimizations and schema markup for landing and category pages. Note that this is before a single element got a ‘design’ pass, or the store was even built. Design would support the SEO optimized infrastructure underneath, so the infrastructure needed to be developed and tested first.

The primary user that we wanted to gather feedback from were search engines and social media share tools. Testing was begun while still in functional wireframe mode. We perfected facebook and twitter opengraph data, ensured no search console errors, and tested our keyword count for our targeted phrases. During this phase we encouraged our client to plan their social media launch plan, craft their story, and get multiple posts ready to publish. We emphasized the importance of directing traffic from their social accounts to their website, and not the other way around.

Our primary user for checkout is real humans. User testing was carried out with representative customers that the MUSE contacted personally and who volunteered in exchange for a discount coupon. Since most buyers were long distance we used screen-sharing software to observe their movements. We tracked where they went, how long the stayed on each page, and if any checkout elements caused confusion. In this case the ecommerce and checkout followed best practices and met user expectations and no users reported confusion. But its important to check every time!

At this stage the same design team that had been working on the lo-fi wireframes began to fine tune and polish into hi-fi layouts, and eventually finalized, launch-ready templates. The no-handoff approach I pioneers involves all parties from the beginning so we avoid the potential miscommunications and delays of a handoff period.

Post-launch, we encouraged MUSE to reach out to their industry contacts and ask them to publish articles about their site launch. The SEO impact of this early traffic increase is important and a website launch is a great opportunity to ask publications to share a press release or write an article about you.

The same JSON schema.org markup used for SEO was repurposed as we integrated Instagram shopping. This is an essential channel for MUSE to connect with potential customers and taking advantage of Instagrams beta shopping integration was a critical component of the website’s success. Because we integrated into a custom checkout on their url were using instagram to build traffic to their site as well as increase sales.

Most importantly for post-launch, we watch and analyze analytics, testing our projections against real time data and making adjustments to our keyword configurations if needed. As analytics data came in we realized that landing pages were doing well for specific designer searches, but that the designer-focused pages were not. We boosted the number of times we listed the designer name in the page content as well as the schema markup and within 2 months the designer pages were meeting expectations for US based search results.

The site is still fairly new and analytics analysis is ongoing. The numbers so far show a healthy growth in organic search results that we will continue to optimize for over the next several years.