Saturday, 29 May 2010

Second Life ALL New SEO and other ramblings PART TWO


And so I grew up. 

I researched different license types those that did allow derivative use and those that didn't and IP law in general.

I threw away all of the crap free textures other stores also sold and the textures I had bought over the years from other residents and kept only what I was 100% confident were mine by creation.

Perhaps by default,  I grew to be a stronger artist and a more confident business.

I started taking my own photographs to use as derivatives in my own work and now I truly appreciated the work and skill that went into the creation of original texture art.

This lead onto me selling my artwork outside of SL on and more recently training for a TIGA diploma in Game Art & Animation.

I also opened up a texture stock site not associated with SL were other texture or game artists can buy our stock as derivatives (or a texture resource) to make their own textures too. 
Some of SL texture stores and artists are using my photos in the creation of their own textures within SL now.  (It's complicated and I do wonder sometimes if I am insane for allowing that but anywho, thats another story)

Bottom line, you have to change with the times and SL isn't the same SL it was even 2 years ago but at the same time there are still hundreds of people selling content they shouldn't and doing so in total ignorance.

But back to competition. What I mean are real texture artists who actually own a paint program and know how to at least create alpha channels and convincing seamless work, use their own photo stock or are able to create a texture from scratch.

Either way, we are all taking a slice out of the same pie the talented and the not so talented are all selling art in exchange for Linden Dollar and in this economy the pie isn't growing but there are more mouths to feed as more people grab a chair to feast at the table.

So, back to Second Life and its wonderful "All Search"

As soon as All search was introduced TRU remained on the first page. Cool.

But then after a few weeks we found ourselves on page 25 and have remained there ever since.

Now, heres the thing, we have over 5000 vendors all set to show in search and all with the word "textures" in the name.
If you bring up the TRU store in the All Search you can see thousands of items from our store all for set for sale and all named to include the word "Textures"
As the largest texture store in SL with over 80,000 textures and 80 artists, that alone should count for something.
Additionally, we also pay 20K a week for a classified advert (the highest amount paid within our genre)
That too should affect our standing in the new ALL search.
We have a group with just less than 1000 members, that also (in theory) should affect our rankings.
Our traffic is true and genuine, no campers or bot poppers, no gaming what so ever and averages at about 5000 - 6000 daily.

We hired the services of a very well known SL SEO company that has had great success with Titan Textures (who is my business partner, Martin from pushing him into the number 1 slot in less than a week. Other texture stores are listed as using the same service and apparently it works for them too as they are on page one also.

I warned the owner of this company about our problems with static rankings and she assured me it had worked for other stores and to just try the service for a short period of time to see the results. 

I did. And I saw no results. We didn't move up or down. We remained static.

Wasn't her fault, I knew it was likely to fail but I guess I needed to try it as a test too, just to confirm once and for all it wasn't because of something we were or were not doing.

I wrote to All Search Feedback and Linden Labs even came out to the store/sim.

I followed their advise by placing 100 empty prim boxes out and set them for sale. I ticked the box named "Show in Search" and named them all "textures" just to see if anything moved us in the rankings even just a little bit.  Nothing, we didn't budge one bit so we deleted the 100 boxes.

Around this time, I bought some land in the then highly desirable Linden Lab owned area called Bay City and heres the final slap in the face.
That tiny little store with less than 60 vendors and 100 traffic is on page eight! 
How can that be?
Same vendor system, same key words, less traffic, less items set for sale, and yet our little store DID move up a touch during the SEO service we paid for.

This is proof to us that the Textures R Us main sim is "broke" and somehow we're not locked into the SEO search system in Second Life.

It's a good job we have a good "WOM" turn around thanks to our customers because if we were depending on NEW customers finding us, we wouldn't stand a chance.

Following a customer survey we launched some months ago, 85% of our customers found us by a friend referral. This is of course fantastic and something we work hard to maintain.

So what can I do about this issue with All Search?

Well, despite my better judgement I am trying a different approach.

I have begun a Profile Picks promotion which has worked wonders for one texture store and again, in theory the more people who have us in their profile picks the higher up the rankings we will go. And if that fails at least we get people who see us in friends profiles and who otherwise would not of found us to perhaps pay the store or the website a visit.

Time will tell if Profile Picks promotion will aid us, but I am not holding my breath. 

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