How to get your Threadless Artist Shop to show in Google search results

I have been selling my t-shirt designs on my Threadless Artist Shop site TeePanic for about 4 months now, and have set the site up in Google Analytics to track my website traffic so I can gauge what marketing activities are working.

I have been noticing that I am not getting nearly the amount of Google search traffic that I would expect. Also, I have some of the same designs on TeePublic and was seeing organic sales from them a lot more often than Threadless, so I started to dig into what was going on.

The Problem:

About a month ago, I noticed that when I Googled specifically named designs, they were not showing on either TeePublic or Threadless, so I contacted support for both sites to ask what was going on. TeePublic was helpful and informed me that they needed to add my page to their index, which they did, and suddenly I was able to Google my designs there.

Threadless was not at all helpful. They informed me that my site was relatively new and didn't have much traffic and I should be patient.

That is total crap, because how do you get more traffic if not through Google or spending a lot on ads? Also, my site was not that new, it was at least a couple of months old. Google indexes sites much more frequently than that.

So I did a lot of research and here is what I have found. As far as Google is concerned, and are two different sites. So each site needs a sitemap.xml file available under the root folder that gives Google a list of pages that need to be indexed and how frequently.

All Artist Shops on Threadless that have a unique domain name need their own sitemap file. Threadless does not generate this map for your site, and since you don't have access to upload files, you can't create one of your own.

If your site does not have a sitemap, then it can take months for Google to get around to indexing your designs. So all the work you put into adding new designs and updating website SEO keywords is pointless if Google does not index your pages.

If you have a Threadless Artist Shop with its own domain, you can verify what pages Google knows about by going to Google and typing "" this will show results for all your pages.

If you then go to Google Tools and select "past year" then "sorted by date" it will show the results from latest to earliest and you can see what the last time was your site was indexed. See below.

Putting your designs on Threadless and not making them available from Google is a sure way to miss a lot of organic sales. Basically, no one will know your designs even exist. So this is a very important aspect to having a successful Threadless Artist Shop.

The Work Around: 

I am not an expert on Google or Website SEO, but this is what I have figured out in my own research. If your site does not have a sitemap.xml file, then you have to manually inform Google about your new content or changes to keywords.

One way to do this is to manually request a crawl of a website as shown in this picture.

I do not know how effective this tactic is, and you may have to submit each page each time you make a change. (Update according to this article, Google is getting rid of this feature, so the below method is the only option.)

Another method is to set up a free account for your site with Google Analytics and Search Console. You should have these anyway if you are serious about having a successful Threadless Shop.

These free services give you feedback about how well what you are doing is working with regards to traffic to your Artist Shop. Also, if Threadless ever does start generating sitemaps for our Artist Shops, you will need to submit the file using the Search Console.

Here is what you need to do.

1. Set up a Google Analytics account following the instructions here.
2. Once you set up a property as specified in #1, and have the Google Analytics ID, update your Threadless Artist Shop settings with your new ID following the instructions here.
3. Link your Analytics property to your Search Console following the instructions here.
4. Once you configure Search Console you can request a manual crawl of your pages using the Retrieve as Google feature as described here.

If you want to recrawl all your designs, because you updated keywords for a bunch of them. I found that you have to either individually fetch each design page as Google, or you have to fetch the URL  /designs/?page=## where ## is the maximum number of pages you have for designs.

If you have a lot of designs the query may time out and it will say that it's unreachable, so you may need to do it multiple times and increment the page ## to get all your designs. I am not sure that when you request a page whether Google crawls more than one level deep, so if you fetch just the first page, it will just get the second page and probably not go any further.

It may take a few days for the pages to be reindexed and show updated data.You will need to do Retrieve as Google on any new pages or pages where you updated the description or keywords in order to ensure that Google reindexes the page.

If  Threadless provided sitemaps for out Artist Shops, this would all be automatic.

Once you start getting data into Search Console, it is very helpful for determining what keyword matches are driving traffic to your designs.

Let me know what you think or any questions in the comments.


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