How T-shirt Printing Taught Me That I Need to Focus on SEO for My Website

If you’re wondering how T-shirt printing taught me that I need to focus on the SEO for my website, join the club. This is that story and I promise by the end of it you will find 3-4 actionable items to help increase your SEO traffic.

SEO for My Website, t-shirt printing, custom t-shirts

Sounds kind of crazy, but let me explain. If you don’t already know this, you’re on WDFA Custom Tees website, and we do custom T shirt printing. We used to do digital marketing exclusively, but in  the year 2020 when the pandemic hit, we made a pivot and we decided to become client independent. Instead of being an agency, we decided we were going to build out websites and service based businesses online. Market those businesses exclusively online, create revenue and build out a portfolio. So when we tell people, try this or do this, we’re not just telling them a bunch of hypothetical scenarios, we’re actually applying this to our businesses and creating results. That’s what brings us to this T-shirt printing business. 

If you’ve read the news in the last two weeks, you’ve noticed that there has been some lawsuits filed against Google and Facebook for trying to carve out the ad market. Basically, what the lawsuit accuses both parties of is, creating an unfair environment when it comes to the distribution and availability of ADS online. Most people do everything online now, so that’s why this is huge. Working in the digital marketing business, we know how important SEO is. But when you start doing SEO to create sales for your own digital properties, you look at things a little bit different. And while we’ve always looked at keywords for our customers and created good results for them, we never really got true sales data from our customers. But now that we own the properties, we can actually see the data a little bit further and understand more.

Here’s something interesting that happened at the same time that article came out. We started noticing that a lot of our sales tied to businesses like Yelp(platforms where we were paying for advertisements), and there seemed to be some sort of a disconnect. In theory, if I spend more money with Yelp, I should make more money, correct? That didn’t necessarily happen, and regardless of spend sales didn’t increase much. Even weirder – that the demand when you look at Google Trends shows something different. Here’s a hypothesis that I have that eventually got me to realized I need to do SEO for my website.

When I started looking at organic keywords a little bit deeper, I realized there was another set of keywords that were performing better for my business than others. That’s not a surprise. Here’s something crazy that happened when I looked through my Yelp reports. I saw those same words. Same keywords both places. And guess who was the number one search result for those keywords, on Google? It wasn’t one of my competitors locally. It was Yelp. Then I thought this couldn’t be so. I looked at the next Custom t-shirt keyword that I should be using for my businesses for SEO? Guess who is at the top result of that page. I did it for the third keyword that I’m targeting. And I realized that the number #1 website on all of the top performing keywords was Yelp.

Companies like Yelp know how tech works, but small businesses don’t. They have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to stay competitive. Furthermore, if the way pay per click stays auction based, we’re eventually going to price out the little guys. Pay per click is based off of auctions, it’s real time bidding. Long term, paid ads will kill small businesses chances of staying competitive. If you really think about it, eventually the ads will get so expensive that a small business owner will not be able to afford it.

Do SEO for my website is hard and it’s difficult. There’s things that you have to worry about.

Here’s four things I would worry about right now if I were you:

  1. If you’ve never focused on your page speed, it’s the most important thing.
  2. Good content 
  3. Easy navigable website
  4. And page speed. Yes, I know I said page speed twice. But before you figure out the SEO keywords and so forth, you need to go use Google Lighthouse on Chrome, or use Pagespeed you need to see what your page speed is for mobile. Desktop you’ll probably be fine but mobile though you need to fix that because something like 60 to 70% of all traffic is now mobile and if your page speed is not good, you won’t get served at the top of the results. 

I still work with Yelp. I love Yelp. They have a great product that I need. But I also realized for long term longevity, the game for a small business is SEO. You’ll never survive long term with paid ads, it has to be organic. Here’s the other thing you have to keep in mind, be very consistent with your content. Create relevant content.

If you have any questions you can always reach out to WDFA to help you out. We will help your website get to Page 1 on mobile and desktop and will print you a T shirt while we’re at it. But if you want to take on big tech and last a longer time in business, you need to start focusing on search engine optimization right now. And ladies and gentlemen, that’s how T-shirt printing taught me that I need to focus on SEO for my website.