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 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 Seller handbook, 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. Focus on writing short, clear and descriptive titles getting your message across using the best keywords in this space but at the same time constructing a sentence that is easy for a buyer to read. Lead with the keywords that best describe your item and don’t just jam pack your title full of the same keyword phrases as your tags. 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 stage especially on mobile devices.
- The first 40 characters are 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 in the first 40 characters.
- If you want to appear in searches on Etsy and in Google/Bing searches, keep your title simple, easy to read and understand.
You should also try to use general keyword phrases and targeted keyword phrases. 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.
Tags are very important in getting your items found in searches. 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, which is how we used to write our titles and yes, there will still be an overlap with some of your keyword phrases in both your title and your tags. 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 of anyone. You can use tools like erank that will alert you of any spelling mistakes so you can correct.
- Tags can be up to 20 characters long. Use phrases and avoid using one word tags if you can.
- Have a look at shop stats to discover keyword phrases buyers are using to find your items and add these to your tags. Alternately, you can remove tags that are not very popular.
Use the Etsy search bar to see what naturally drops down when you start typing in a keyword. These are the keyword phrases buyers are using to find items like yours. Alternately, you can also use Pinterest in the same way.
Your tags should be as unique as possible and repeating the same words throughout is just a wasted opportunity. The more unique tags you use, the more chances your item has to show up in many searches.
Don’t repeat words you have selected in your category and attributes, they act like tags in a search as well. If an exact term appears in your category or attributes you don’t need to repeat it. For example colour.
Don’t add tags in multiple languages. Your tags should be in the language you set your shop up in.
No need to worry about plurals. Etsy looks at the root words and your listing will still be considered for a buyers query with or without.
Here is an example of one of my listings, crochet bag pattern. Obviously I am going to list the obvious, crochet bag pattern as a tag, but I could add other tags like crochet bag tutorial, handbag pattern pdf, digital bag pattern, bag making, diy crochet bag, 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 erank. Their listing grade section will give an insight into not only your tags but other ways you can make improvements.
Categories and Attributes
The category and the attributes associated with the category your item is in also play a part in the algorithm when a buyer makes a query in search. They basically act as an extension of your tags. You should always try to assign attributes where applicable and if there is not an exact match, try to pick something that is as close as possible.
This is your chance to tell the world all about the product you are selling. List all the information relating to your item, the colours available, the materials and the size. This is also a good place to take advantage of using keywords and phrases to aid in helping your listing being discovered in off Etsy searches. The first 160 characters of your description is used to create the meta description for your listing page. The meta description is the wording that shows under your title in search engine results.
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;
Updating Your Titles and Tags
There are a few ways you can make quick updates and changes to your listings. You can add or remove a tag from multiple listings at once by checking the box on those listings in your Shop Manager, click Editing Option and select Edit Tags from the drop down. You can also edit your titles, tags, price and shipping profiles in the Quick Edit Tool without having to open up each listing one at a time.
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.
If you wanted to download my Etsy SEO Workbook & Planner you can work through my step by step guide on the strategies and resources I use when listing an item. This workbook and planner can be used again and again.
Once you have your SEO rocking, I also have a great Etsy Social Media Planner Kit that covers Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that you can use again and again, track your posts and identify trends of what is working and what is not.
As I am an Etsy Seller, most of my posts are geared to Etsy Success although any of my guides and tutorials will be useful for if you use other platforms to sell your products. You can visit my Etsy Store at Rhinestone Mumma
Here are some of my recent blog posts you might be interested in;
If you want to join our community on Facebook Etsy Sellers Promote & Help we would love to have you on board. We are always discussing ways to improve our Etsy experience and grow our sales.
Have a great day 🙂