REALITY SEO: Jane Fonti: How I doubled organic traffic to my online store

REALITY SEO: Jane Fonti: How I doubled organic traffic to my online store
Reading Time: 18 minutes

Cultivating keywords, customers and creative product descriptions

There is a mountain of SEO advice out there, but how much of it is actually doable for the average business human?

In my reality SEO episodes, I talk to real humans and get the truth about how they use SEO and digital marketing to improve their businesses.

Today I’ll be talking to a former student of the Recipe For SEO Success Course, Jane Fonti.

We’ll chat about how Jane got her start in SEO, the digital marketing highs and lows, and the challenges she’s faced along the way.

 

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And big thanks to sharvz FB BC ddhc from Australia for their lovely review.:

“I am very selective about the podcasts I listen too and this one is on my list. I love Kate’s demeanor and the way she makes things that are tricky and explain them in a way humans can understand. I wait patiently every week for the episodes to the released! Best marketing podcast!”

 

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About Jane Fonti

Jane is a Pom and a nurse of 40 years. Decorating her home is her super power, but she hates tea. Her small business has fulfilled her lifelong dream to own a homewares store. Ruby’s Home Store is a delightful, eclectic British and Australian designer homewares store offering quirky décor and beautiful gifts. She offers a genuine and caring personal service, shipping quality goodies quickly and lovingly wrapped.

Fun fact: Despite selling beautiful teapots, cups and mugs, Jane is the only Pom you will ever meet who can’t stand tea.

 

 

Transcript

Kate Toon  

There is a mountain of SEO advice out there, but how much of it is actually doable by the average business human. In my reality SEO episodes, I like to talk to normal people and get the truth about how they use SEO and digital marketing to improve their businesses. Today I’ll be talking to former student of the Recipe for SEO Success course Jane Fonti. We’ll chat about how Jane got her start in SEO, the digital marketing highs and lows she has experiences and the challenges she’s faced along the way. Hello, my name is Kate Toon. I’m the head chef at the recipe for SEO success, an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. Before we start, I want to let you know about my Ultimate SEO checklist, which helps you manage your site and grapple the Google beast. It’s just been updated with a helpful video tutorial, head to the shownotes to get your copy for free if you haven’t already. Anyway, today I’m talking to Jane. Hello Jane.

 

Jane Fonti  

Hello Kate.

 

Kate Toon  

Hello, it’s lovely to have you here. Let me tell everyone who you are and about your business. Jane is a Pom, which is how Australians refer to British people and a nurse of 40 years. decorating her home is her superpower, but she hates tea. Okay, that’s weird. We’re coming back to that. Her small business has fulfilled her lifelong dream to own a home where store Ruby’s Home Store is a delightful eclectic British and Australian designer homeowners store offering quirky decor and beautiful gifts. She offers a genuine and caring personal service shipping quality goodies quickly and lovingly, lovingly wrapped. Fun fact despite selling teapots, cups, and Jane is the only person you’ll ever meet who can’t stand tea. What’s that about Jane?

 

Jane Fonti  

I don’t know. I think my grandmother forced me to drink it too many times and added different amounts of sugar and milk and I never got on. But however I found there’s quite a lot of poms that don’t like tea more than you’d expect.

 

Kate Toon  

I can’t do tea with milk any more, I’m a green tea girl now, like milky tea just makes me go bleurgh,  don’t like it, can’t do it. 

 

Jane Fonti  

I’ve tried every flavor and every colour.

 

Kate Toon  

I do love a nice teapot. But I love your store. You know how much and it’s just so much so that I made a reel recently from your store. You can go to Kate Toon on Instagram and find the reel of me opening my Ruby’s homestore box your Hometastic box you have a subscription box as well.  So we’ll talk all about your business in a minute. But obviously, you did the course not too long ago, actually, you’re quite a recent SEO convert. And I remember I met you because Jane lives quite close to me on the beautiful central coast of New South Wales and we met at a business thing. And I think I was presenting on SEO there. 

 

Jane Fonti  

That’s right. You were.

 

Kate Toon  

And I don’t remember you sitting there being like, wow, this is amazing. I think I because I remember people’s faces. And I think you’re like What the hell is all this about? So what were your thoughts about SEO before you did the course?

 

Jane Fonti  

I kind of had an awareness that it was something that I needed to think about. But there were so many things having been a nurse for 40 years and starting this business, there’s so much to learn. And as I learned a bit more about marketing, it kind of kept sneaking in there. And then I met you as you say, and I this has got something about it, I need to learn a bit more about it. But yeah, very tech. I’m not very techy, and it got put on the back burner for a long time. But I kept following you.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, I think you know, that’s the problem that people think SEO is super technical. And therefore we tell ourselves a story that we’re not technical, and therefore we can’t do it. Like often. I think it’s the same with like, money people, people go, Oh, I’m not very good with money. So I’m just not going to think about it. You know, we tell ourselves that story. But you’d obviously already achieved and technical goals coming from a nursing background, you wouldn’t have maybe been particularly clued up on building a website, working out inventory. I mean, all of that must be hugely challenging, you know, working out how to build your own website and all of that. You know, you chose Shopify for your platform, didn’t you? 

 

Jane Fonti  

Yes. I did get somebody to help me build it to start with, but I’ve just had to learn along the along the way. It’s been a huge learning curve for me. But I love I actually really enjoy the website, part of things now I find it quite creative. So it’s something I actually quite like, but the sort of I won’t go any further than what I can see with Shopify, if I had to go in the backend code and things like that. No, that scares me a bit too much.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah. And also, you know, I don’t think you need to as a business owner One of the things I like about all the platforms is that solving a lot of those technical problems for us so that we can manage it on the front end, we don’t need to be changing. Shopify has lots of limited. I mean, what we provide is fairly limited about what you can do on the back end. You know, you can fiddle with your theme a little bit, but you do need to be an expert. And I know that you’ve worked with Kerri Bennett. A little bit, to help you with some of the tech stuff. But yeah, you know, even just the process of writing product descriptions, taking photographs, adding them on working out inventory managing starts thinking that, you know, and I saw, you got your label printer, and all of its like, there’s a lot to consider an SEO is at the bottom of the list. And so you like many people who joined the course, came with a prebuilt, a site that already been built, that had already been written. And when you’re working with us on the course, it was kind of a little bit of unraveling work that you’d done, when you were on the course, what are some things that surprised you about SEO?

 

Jane Fonti  

No. There was quite a lot of things that I could quickly and easily action that I’ve noticed that made a difference. But also, there’s a lot of things that I have to just consider every day. And they’re a bit more of a slow burn. It was a big course it was, I I’m one of those people that likes to have something happen immediately. So I tried to action too much. While I was still learning, and I’ve, I’ve had to go back to a few areas to make sure that I taken all of that in. But that’s, that’s great that I can do that. So

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah. Tell us, tell us about some of those quick wins, what were some things that you felt you could do quite quickly.

 

Jane Fonti  

The product descriptions, although I’ve got hundreds of products. Now, every time I’ve just been listing this morning, actually, every time I write a product description, I think more about the key words that I’m putting in, I think about the size of the photos I put in and how I named those photos. The other thing that I learned very quickly is that a lot of them the wholesalers actually offer you product descriptions. And so a lot of the big brands, everybody has the same description. As soon as I changed that up and made it my own description, I’m just showing up a lot quicker, a lot earlier on Google. So that was a big win for me to discover that.

 

Kate Toon  

That’s great advice for ecommerce people. You know, it’s a lot of work, you know, you have your reselling someone else’s product, it can be very tempting to just take their photos and whatever. But then yes, you’re competing with all the other resellers out there and the brand itself, which you know, and you probably never going to win that argument. Another thing we talk about on the course is trying to add a bit of emotion to your product descriptions, because often it can be very literal, you know, this is a teapot, it is blue, it holds this much tea, whereas you’re actually one of the things that you do beautifully and I want to come and talk about this is you really do a good job of connecting it to people’s life like this tea pot suits a trumpet lover, it’s perfect for Sunday’s with the family. Yeah, that you know, you want to give people the who, the what, the when, the where, the how, and the why, you know, like emote emote a little bit rather than just describing a literal thing. Because you’re trying to as an ecommerce store and a give the vibe of I’m in store holding this teapot when people can’t be in still holding the teapot. So you have to work a lot harder, don’t you? 

 

Jane Fonti  

Yeah, and also, I have a lot of people who expats who there’s a little bit of nostalgia around some of the items I have to so I’ve got to sort of create that for them and remembering what grandma’s kitchen was, and so on. So, yeah, to build that into that description is great, and how they might use it, and when.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah and I mean, that’s it, it’s that combination of optimizing it so that it’s speedy. And you know, it’s got relevant keywords, it’s findable, but then that’s only going to get people to your product description. It’s your copy and your the empathy that you invoke. And that is actually going to make people convert and actually buy the thing. So it’s a magical combination of kind of that techie side, which you thought was about Andrew creative size coming together, which is a lot. Another thing that we talked about on ecommerce part of the site is the need to also produce informational content because ecommerce people can tend to be like, well, if I’ve got loads of products, I really don’t need to have any blogs as well. But you have started both in your newsletters and your socials and on the site to kind of write a bit of content as well. How are you finding that? 

 

Jane Fonti  

The content and copy has never been my strong suit. I’m very good with photos and the creative side of things. When I write my emails, I just write exactly what’s been going on in my life and to the people and they seem to like that, they seem to like me talking directly to them, but I As I saw the blog side of things, I realized that that was something I was putting to the bottom of my list and I needed to do them every month. So I have got help with writing some of those and the SEO success sort of made me realize that some things have to be outsourced. There’s only so much you can to import that is a week. So you know, I’ve, we’ve been able to choose keywords that we’re trying to get to, to show up for, and things like gifts for Brits, I’m now being discovered by people in the UK wanting to send something to their friends or family in Australia, and only two or three so far, but that I’m coming up for that. So that’s great, we found a keyword that was available.

 

Kate Toon  

Such a good idea. You know, we’ve had this discussion. I’m British, my family are in the UK. And if I want to order something to them, I’m not going to order it here because the shipping costs are going to be insane. So my recourse is always Marks and Spencer just wanted to go for I know that brand I can order from there and I know it’s going to be delivered quickly. But from the UK finding brands over here a Marks and Spencers doesn’t exist in Australia, which is very annoying exists in Singapore. But you know finding a trustable brand that you can order gifts for for here. I think that’s an amazing insight that you’ve found. But you know, one of the things that we talk about a lot on the course is give me a reason not to buy it from Kmart. We all know that Kmart can mass produce items, you know something’s on trend stripey teapots are on trend, suddenly, they’re in Kmart, and therefore dollars and there’s no way you can compete with that. So we always talk about trying to make people connect with you, the business owner and you do such a good job of that. But I can see it’s been a journey I’m, your email is one of the few I subscribe to you do you just have a little picture of you. I mean, you do happen to have the most beautiful house on the water. Little picture of you doing something, you’re in a bath, you’re decorating a Christmas tree, you’re out with your dogs, and you just like this is what happened this week. I’m sure that that wasn’t easy to get started doing that. Like what was the journey to just being you in your content? 

 

Jane Fonti  

No, that wasn’t easy, though. I suddenly got the customers saying to me, I really liked your email, I love to hear about what’s happening in your life. And it’s the same with getting in front of the camera. People. That’s been a huge journey. For me, I’ve always hated the way I looked and to start videoing myself getting out there and talking to people going in our garage while we’re packing up orders and things. It’s been huge for me, but people now see me as a human and they trust what I do. And no I can’t compete with Kmart never in a million years and nor do I want to but I want them to like me and want to buy from me and support my small business. So and it seems to be working.

 

Kate Toon  

I will actively seek out local businesses to buy from it’s that whole, when you buy from a small business, a small business owner does a happy dance, you know, the whole- And that’s what it is. And you know, you make a great use of behind the scenes footage and your stories and your reels, you celebrate your wins, you sign up, you know, I think I remember seeing something of you like with a massive trolley going to the post office. And you know, that’s the sort of thing we want to see. You know, it makes it cute. And then when your stuff arrives you you feel more of a connection to the person who sold it to you. So you’re building up that loyalty. Do you keep an eye on your metrics? Like can you see an increase in repeat visitors over new visitors? Have you seen an increase in organic traffic over paid traffic? Yeah.

 

Jane Fonti  

They certainly do. Yeah, definitely been. We see people back over and over again, 8, 9, 10 times. I’ve got some very loyal customers. And I do. Shopify does give you the opportunity to watch a lot of the metrics. And in six months since I did the course my organic traffic has doubled. 

 

Kate Toon  

Oh that’s amazing.

 

Jane Fonti  

Actually just checked it yesterday and it is it’s doubled. People are sort of finding me. 

 

Kate Toon  

That’s amazing.

 

Jane Fonti  

Through those keywords and everything. Yeah, I’m thrilled to bits. Yeah.

 

Kate Toon  

And you’ve also launched a second brand, which is kind of a sub brand which is the home tastic box. Tell us a little bit about that.

 

Jane Fonti  

So as the business sort of grew, I started realizing that I despite being a nurse and not an interior designer, a lot of people don’t really know how to put things together in their homes and it’s just sort of a something that I’ve learned from having lots of rentals as I’ve gotten divorced and come to Australia. And following a few people in the UK and US I realized that subscription boxes were becoming a bigger thing in North and they would become bigger in Australia. So I put a collection of four to six cuz items together, that can be styled together that are a surprise. And that’s the way my customers like it, they get this box delivered to their door with a beautiful surprise with our sort of branded wrapping up, you know. So it’s like a gift that and I do a little leaflet on how to put things together ideas for recipes and that sort of thing. And it’s going really well. 

 

Kate Toon  

It’s such a thrill. So I was a lucky recipient of one of those what I made the reel about, and it was a Valentine’s Day kind of picnic box. And it was heartshaped ice cubes and little rubber glasses and a bowl and it was all the theme of strawberries and PIMS. And, and I think that’s it like a lot of us, you know, especially if we’re in this sort of child rearing years, we’d love to have one of those Instagram tables in the back garden with everything matchy matchy, you know, we’d love to have that asthetic but instead, we’ve got one broken plate from Kmart, dirty napkins and salt, mismatching, salt and pepper and, you know. So yeah, I think it’s a beautiful product. But you did decide to set that up as a separate brand with a separate URL and everything we’ve had discussions about that 

 

Jane Fonti  

Yeah.

 

Kate Toon  

You’re a member of the digital marketing collective. What was your thinking around that separate brands?

 

Jane Fonti  

I’m not entirely sure now and I am gradually in the process with help from other members of the DMC putting it back together again. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah.

 

Jane Fonti  

I think I just thought it was a different thing entirely and wasn’t connected to the British theme. But at the end of the day, it’s me selling that box.  And people love me and my customers love me. So it’s slowly getting connected back together again, with some help. 

 

Kate Toon  

That’s it. It’s funny, isn’t it. As I mentioned, when we talked about it, and DNC I did exactly the same thing, you know, I create all these sub brands felt they needed to be separate, but then you realize that at the heart of it is you and whether you have a branded shop or not, whether it’s called like Jane Fonti shop, or whatever, Ruby’s home store, and it doesn’t matter, you are still the brand, you know, especially if it’s a small business, I mean, obviously when you’ve got million employees, which I know you’ll never do that you are not the brand, but you still are the brand because it’s your brand ethos, your your personality sets the company culture. So I’m glad that you’re bringing about that together. From an SEO point of view, having a whole separate site means you know, you got to rank that site, you got to put blog content on it really need a separate contact form and a separate privacy policy. And it’s the same, sometimes nice to have a separate domain. So you can market it with a domain that’s slightly different but it redirects.

 

Jane Fonti  

Yeah, and that’s happening with some techie friends.

 

Kate Toon  

With some techy friends, I mean this is this is what you learn as you move along your path with SEO is all improvement is all enhancing it’s all getting better. No one expects you to understand it from the get go but you have been such an inspiration. So thank you, let’s let’s go I’ve forgotten the questions and now I’m looking at them going I’ve not answered asked or any of the questions. So you’ve talked about some of the big changes you’ve made since you learned SEO you’ve embraced your personal brand, you’re doing more blog content, you’re merging home tastic box with Ruby’s homestore have you been working on your backlinks Jane?

 

Jane Fonti  

I have been.

 

Kate Toon  

What have you been doing?

 

Jane Fonti  

 Well I’m very I was very pleased to be awarded an Australia Post and local business hero I got lots of backlinks to offers the to Australia Post and to some of the loop local newspapers. I I’m part of a backlink to your website and just gradually growing at the awareness of I had some dodgy looking ones and to learn how to get rid of some of those so my my website is definitely there the domain authority has increased quite a lot I’m really pleased.

 

Kate Toon  

You use PR really well you know your that’s your Australia posting was such a boon are great to have about you. But you know I think it is about finding opportunities to make stories do you know what I mean? And make and get that kind of media coverage has worked really well. And obviously Jane by being on this podcast you’re gonna get another backlink. 

 

Jane Fonti  

Oh thank you.

 

Kate Toon  

It just keeps going on and on.  Podcast appearances are the way forward for backlinks I tell you.

 

Jane Fonti  

The local MP even mentioned me in Parliament, which was quite something.

 

Kate Toon  

That was amazing. I love seeing your success. But for those obviously who aren’t in Australia Jane was plastered all over post offices all around our local area. It was very exciting. You could go with this little desk in Umina, where I live, post office where you write out your envelopes, and there was Jane’s face on the pad. I was very tempted to draw a mustache on it Jane, but I didn’t. 

 

Jane Fonti  

They wouldn’t let you.

 

Kate Toon  

 So how has SEO changed your business?

 

Jane Fonti  

It’s just the habit. Now I just have something that I do every time I’m, as I say listing a product, the collections have all been beautifully re written by my copywriter friend, which as I say is meaning that people are finding it. Without paid advertising, we’re just getting so more people more, so many more people to the website. If they want the nudie Rudy bathmat, for instance, they are now finding us pretty well up the top with the in the manufacturer that makes them as well. So Cornish-ware, China and things like that, yeah, I could have gone for so many keywords, but just learning which ones would be the ones to go for? Sales have been up 43% since I finished the course can you believe? And yes, I do a bit of advertising too. But I’ve written numbers down. It’s incredible. And my online sessions went up 100% 

 

Kate Toon  

Wow.

 

Jane Fonti  

Since June, and I must have finished this course. Around that time. 

 

Kate Toon  

You did. Yeah. I mean, the thing is, it’s you know, I could take all the credit for it, but you put in the work you you listen to you actually do push yourself out of your comfort zone. And then things that you’re like, I don’t know what to do, but I’m gonna trust the process. And it’s paying off. But I also think, you know, we started this talking about how SEO was techie. But you’ve also embraced the other side of SEO, which is building brand building trust, EEAT – expertise, experience, authority and trust, you’re working on that as well. It’s a bit less data driven and a bit more feely, touchy feely, yes, that’s working for you as well. So what what what tip would you pass on to an ecommerce person listening to this?

 

Jane Fonti  

That is it. There’s no point investing in courses and learning heaps, if you don’t actually go out and do it, you know, that it’s a complete waste of time, you can do course, after course, after course. But if you don’t put the work in and do that really, really hard work, and it is hard, you know, I put a lot of hours into behind my laptop. And that’s the tip. If you work hard, it’ll it’ll work.

 

Kate Toon  

It will, you know, your effort pays off. And the good thing about SEO is it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life, you know, the work that you’ve invested in now will come back year on year on year, you know, once you achieve some good results with SEO, it can be relatively easy to keep them you know, as long as you know, you’re competitive and dramatically, you know, jump up. Yeah, it’s relatively easy to Bob along after that. But you have to kind of get that flywheel going, and you only have certainties on that. So we’ve you know, we’ve dropped the name of your brand a few times, but tell everybody where they can find you and your beautiful products.

 

Jane Fonti  

So you can find me at www dot Rubys homestore.com.au or www dot the hometastic box.com.au. Fantastic. And I’d love you to follow me on any of those platforms.

 

Kate Toon  

Amazing. She’s on Instagram, she’s on all the things and those two sites are going to be interconnected. Check out Jane’s beautiful products. Really, really lovely stuff. And her Instagram is really enjoyable as well. Jane, thank you so much for coming on the show. 

 

Jane Fonti  

Thank you Kate.

 

Kate Toon  

So that’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about SEO head to my I love Seo Facebook group. I also wanted to let you know that I will be relaunching the SEO SOS in June 2024, you can join the waitlist. Last time we had over 1000 people join the SEO SOS this rounds. So if you want to jump on that it’s entirely free and a great way to dip your toe in the Google pond. This week. I have a testimonial from  sharvz FB BC ddhc, that’s a great username. I’m very selective about the podcasts I listened to and this is one on my list. I love Kate’s demeanor and the way she makes things that are tricky, and explains them in a way humans can understand. I wait patiently every week for the episodes to be released best marketing ponic podcasts. Oh, I don’t see these reviews until I go through the notes. And so that makes me so happy. Thank you very much. And thank you to Jane Fonti and thank you to you for listening. If you’d like to leave a review, I’d be very grateful. Just look at the app you’re listening to this on now. You should be able to click a little button, write a little review or leave a star rating. Don’t forget to check out the show notes for this episode the recipe for SEO success.com where you can learn more about Jane Fonti, her beautiful website and check out useful links until next time people happy SEOing.