Everyone is talking about it but just exactly what is it and what do I need to know to improve it. Well, that is the question.
I am going to list some key points of simple strategies you can use to understand what Etsy SEO is all about and how you can implement them into your listings to increase views and ultimately sales.
So, why does it matter?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is basically how potential buyers find you in Etsy searches and off Etsy searches like Google. It is really important to have top notch Etsy SEO. Etsy will reward shops and listings with a boost in searches with good SEO optimisation and unfortunately will leave you behind if you don’t.
The keywords and phrases in your tags, title, categories and attributes all play a part in getting your items in front of potential buyers. Simply, Etsy will look at all of these things in determining whether your item is listed in searches for a particular buyers query.
So let’s start at the very beginning.
You can have the best product ever created on Etsy but without good keywords in your titles and tags, nobody is going to find you and guess what, no cha-chings. So what do they mean when they say keywords? Keywords are a one to three word phrases that describe your product.
You firstly need to metaphorically stand back from your product and start thinking like a buyer. What would buyers search for when looking for my item? As a strategy, I right down a list of keywords and short two to three word phrases that best describes my item. This gives me a basis to start using some tools to test if they would be good keywords and what words might be useful.
So here we go….
- Etsy Rank – my personal favourite. It not only gives you brilliant tools to discover keywords and phrases in real time of what is being searched for on Etsy, it can check for spelling mistakes and give you detailed analysis on your listings and spot issues and opportunities that can improve your SEO.
- Marmalead – gives you the tools to help you find the keywords real shoppers on Etsy are using to find listings like yours. It is also super easy to use and understand.
- Google Keyword Planner – gives you the tools to research the current industry standard for keywords not just for Etsy but for off Etsy searches like Google and Bing.
- Pinterest – this is probably not one you would associate with when looking for keywords. It’s a bit like using the Etsy search bar method by typing in keywords and phrases that you think a buyer might use to find products like yours and the words and phrases that drop down ARE the words and phrases people are searching for to find items. Why is Pinterest important? In my opinion, the good utilisation of Pinterest to promote your Etsy products is a game changer. I literally generate 1000’s and 1000′ of views through my pins.
- Etsy – This is another good way of finding keywords and phrases that potential buyers are using right now to find products like yours. I can’t stress this enough the right now bit, Etsy and algorithms are a funny thing. They are constantly changing and evolving. If you use this method it is always a good idea to give your listings a check up and see if there is anything you can change on a regular basis.
So you have done your research and have great keywords and phrases ready to go, so what now? There are 140 characters available to you in your title, but that doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Contrary to popular belief, and as reported in the Etsy KEYWORDS 101: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW, when writing titles, use your most descriptive keywords and keep a buyer in mind, not a computer. The first 40 characters are the most important for your SEO optimisation for Etsy search anyway, so focus on getting your message across using the best keywords in this space but at the same time constructing a sentence that makes sense. I can hear you ask why.
- Buyers only get a sneak peak of what you have to offer when they search for products so it’s a good idea to get your message out on what you are selling at this crucial should I click or scroll on by stage.
- But really, the most important reason is Etsy ranks the first 40 characters as more relevant as they are at the beginning of your title. So basically if you want to get found in searches for a particular keyword phrase, put this is the first 40 characters.
You should also try to use general keyword phrases and targeted keyword phrases in the first 40 characters. Not sure what that means. Here is an example of a general keyword phrase crochet pattern and a targeted keyword phrase could be crochet beach bag pattern. Include spaces/separators (/ , | – ~) if you like between your keywords and phrases but as mentioned before, try to make a sentence that makes sense the flows without too much punctuation. Let me state right up front, punctuation does not affect your Etsy SEO in a negative way, in fact it makes no difference. What is does do is break down your title into to easy to read phrases that actually makes sense. Just for the record I prefer the vertical bar | as my separator.
That leads me to keyword rich tags. Let me just say your tags are very important in getting your items found. We have all seen the items listed that show up on the first page of searches that only have a basic three or four word title. Well guess what, they have awesome tags.
I used to be of the belief that your title keywords and phrases have to match your tags, well yes and no. If you are using the best keywords and phrases in your more simplified title than yes, use these in your tags.
Here is a little run down on good and bad tag choices;
- Use all 13 tag spaces.
- Check your spelling. Incorrect spelling will not get your items in front if anyone.
- Do not use 1 word tags, try to use phrases. You have 20 character spaces for each tag so use them wisely.
- Think out of the box and try to find other unique ways people may be searching for your item.
- Don’t repeat words in tags. Not only is this a wasted opportunity but another unique tag might place your items in front of a whole new audience.
- Have a look at your shop stats and change the search phrases that are not getting a lot of traffic.
Here is an example of one of my listings, crochet bag pattern, where I have chosen some more interesting tags. Obviously I am going to list the obvious, crochet bag pattern as a tag, but I could add other tags like easy crochet pattern, digital download, diy crafts, bag making, handbag pattern pdf, just to name a few.
A great resource to give you an overview of your tags and where you need to make some improvements is in Etsy Rank. Their listing grade section will give an insight into not only your tags but other ways you can make improvements.
So there is truth in the theory list more items and the sales will come but, I don’t think there is a magic number of listings that turns on a switch to more sales. What is true, when you list a new item or an item is sold and renews Etsy rewards you with a boost in your search ranking.
You can trick Etsy into ranking you higher by renewing your listings manually before the 4 months is up which will give it a boost but of course this will cost you 20 cents. If you do plan to try this method make sure you are renewing at peak traffic times, times your target audience is online and shopping which can be hard to pinpoint if you sell your products all around the world. I am in Australia and I get most of my Etsy sales in the early morning, when it is evening in the United States. You just have to work out what’s best for you.
The Etsy algorithm rewards listings that get sales and will show these listings to more buyers in search. As a general rule, if your listing has been renewed on more than 2 occasions without a sale, it’s time to look at why you are not getting any sales and either fix the problems or remove it.
Set and Forget?
I think as a general rule it always good to check in with your listings every 4-6 months to see how they are going. Things are constantly changing and it’s a good idea to keep up with those changes. I would also keep an eye on under performing listings and listings that have had an unexpected drop in views and sales and see what might be the issue.
Let’s Get Social
OK. So you have put in the hard yards and optimised your listings for SEO so now what? This is not a time to sit back and wait for the sales. You need to be spreading your wings and promoting your listings all over social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using all those keywords and hashtags. In a future blog I will tackle strategies and tips to use on different social media platforms so watch this space.
Here are some more in depth resources you can use to improve your social media visibility;
All of the strategies listed above are not a quick fix although you may see a rise in search ranking in a few minutes, chances are that you’re going to have to wait for a couple of days for a more established shop with high views and lots of sales or a few weeks for newer shops with less views and sales. In off Etsy searches it can take anywhere up to 30 days.
Have a great day and any feedback, comments or questions are welcomed 🙂
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