Congratulations, you have your shop up and running on Etsy. Well, perhaps more up than running, but don’t worry, I have some tips for you that will help you see progress on your Etsy shop and start generating sales.
So, first things first – what is SEO and does it really work on Etsy?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, is a technique used by marketers that helps improve the ranking of a particular page within search engines as well as on a given platform. This means that Etsy SEO can imply visibility of your store both on search engines like Google or Yahoo and on Etsy itself.
SEO is not some kind of voodoo magic. It’s a set of carefully designed steps that optimize your page and make it meet the requirements of the search engine algorithms. If your page is properly optimized, the algorithms, in simpler terms, will like it and show as top results.
In this article, I will focus on promoting your store with SEO tactics on Etsy.
Before I go any further, it’s my duty to give you a heads up. SEO works and you basically stand no chance of having visibility on Etsy without it BUT but the results don’t come overnight. It’s a gradual and steady process.
For the best result, I highly recommend combining SEO with other digital marketing efforts. You can’t clap with one hand, so always go for a combination of different elements. For example, social media marketing is and will always be a reliable method of promoting your Etsy store.
Now that we have all the introductions and disclaimers in place, let’s get started, shall we?
How does Etsy search work?
All the tips that you’ll be getting are completely based on the answer of this question. If you’re planning to be on Etsy for a long time then you need to invest some time in studying its ins and outs, one of which is its search engine. Here is a brief overview to get you started.
Let’s say I need a new pair of silver vintage earrings. I put it in the search tab and click find. As a side note, my query – silver vintage earrings in this case is our keyword, which we will talk in more detail soon.
Based on that query, Etsy’s search algorithms will bring all the listings of silver vintage earrings in a certain order and that order is essentially the ranking. Just like on Google, the top four results are advertising. You can learn about Etsy advertising here.
Ads aside, the default setting of the order is relevancy, so we know that’s what the algorithms prioritize. Now, the million-dollar question is – how is the relevance determined?
Here are some of the factors that Etsy takes into account:
- Listing quality score
- Customer and market experience score
- Shipping cost
- Location of the store
- The individual habits of the shopper
While some of the factors like the habits of the shopper are beyond your control, the others you can improve. So, let’s take a closer look into SEO tips that will help you increase your relevance and drive sales.
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Is Etsy the best place for your product?
I know this is not the kind of tip that you were expecting but it had to be said. There are a lot of e-commerce websites that you can use, so before you list your first item on Etsy, think twice if that item fits into the so-called vibe of this platform.
If you ask any digital marketer how to sell a product, 9 out of 10 will say use the right channel. And it’s not only about using the right marketing channel, it is also important to research and carefully choose the platform where you want to sell your product.
You might be better off with other websites such as Ebay or Amazon. Perhaps in your case it makes more sense to open your own online shop rather than posting a listing on Etsy.
Just some food for thought for you and if you need additional resources, give this article a read.
Write and rewrite the content of your listing
The search engine algorithms are not fortune tellers nor they have any supernatural abilities. Most of the factors that I listed above depend on the content of your listing. So the very first thing that you should do is optimize your content. To make it easier for you, I will break it down and give you tips for each individual section.
The name of your shop
This is the very first thing that Etsy asks you to do when you’re opening your shop. You have up to 20 characters, which is more than enough to create a catchy and a memorable name. The name of your shop should also be descriptive and match to what you’re going to be selling.
For example, in case you are going to sell handmade journals, make sure that the name of your shop has some association with it. Use words like “art,” “handmade,” or “crafts” in your name. If you already have a brand, go ahead and use that name for your Etsy shop as well.
Now we reach the heart of the matter. Bear with me and keep in mind that you’ll need to follow these steps for each of your listings.
You have 140 characters to name your listing. This number is Etsy’s hint to you to make the title of your listing specific. Here is what you most likely don’t know. Both Etsy and Google pay the closest attention to the first 40 characters of your title, so be sure that you spent these characters on important words aka keywords, which we will talk about in a little bit.
You may consider using multiple titles for one listing such as journal/bullet journal/back to school gift.
Note that it is a must to divide them by dashes or other separators (- , .) as it helps Etsy algorithms read them as separate words.
This section is usually either overlooked or confused with tags. Putting the right and all possible categories is crucial. Some customers like browsing categories instead of looking for something specific, so you want to make sure that your listing appears in all the categories that it belongs to.
This is your extended space to give more details about your product, which the algorithms will scan in order to decide how your listing should rank. The key to optimizing product description is very simple – keywords, which will cover right after talking about the tags.
When writing the description of your listing, in addition to the details of the item such as color, texture or style be sure to elaborate more. Would it make a great gift? What age is it appropriate for? Keep in mind the new lingo and current trends like “minimalist lifestyle.” Those are all words and expressions that users are likely to type in the search bar.
Unlike the other sections, tags are not mandatory on Etsy but they are an SEO must. You can use up to 13 tags and you should use all 13. You don’t need to think of brand new tags because you already did it. How? Your tags should match your title, going back to our earlier example journal/bullet journal/back to school gift, your tags will be journal, bullet journal, back to school, gift, back to school gift.
When you are typing tags, think of what people associate your product with, what they would search if they needed it. The order doesn’t matter as long as they are exactly the same as your title.
Keywords – think creatively
I can guarantee that you won’t find any article that has the word SEO in its title without a whole section dedicated to keywords. The efficiency of your SEO efforts depends on the keywords that you choose.
I already mentioned that keywords should go into your title (the best to the first 40 characters) and your description. But how do you choose the right keywords? I wish I could say it’s very easy and give you the magic recipe but it’s not. I can, however, give you tools to find keywords and introduce you to several tactics that will help you make best out of those keywords.
My biggest tip for choosing keywords is to always use your common sense. Keywords are essentially most commonly used expressions and words that people search for, so whenever you’re not sure which one to choose, think what an average customer is likely to type in the search bar “shirt that fits big” or “oversized shirt.”
What kinds of keywords to use?
The best strategy on Etsy is to use a combination of general keywords like journal and more narrow ones like red minimalist journal. In SEO lingo, the narrow keywords are called long-tail keywords and these are the things that the customers are more likely to search when they are looking for something specific.
Tools for finding keywords
The safest and the go-to keyword platform for many marketers is Google Keyword Planner but it can be quite un-intuitive sometimes. Plus, it’s always better to have backups and alternatives.
This platform is completely dedicated to Etsy and it helps find keywords, monitor rankings and grow your shop. Given its exclusivity and 100% focus on Etsy, I recommend using it.
Neil Patel is one of the biggest digital marketing gurus out there, so if he comes up with a platform that gives keyword suggestions, you need to check it out. The platform gives you keyword recommendations, content ideas and a peak into what your competitors are using.
Like I said, long tail keywords are the real winners on Etsy and KWFinder will help you find them. This platform is a goldmine of high volume keywords, so I recommend you to check it out. It has a 10-day trial but if you’re in sales long term then investing in one of their plans is a good idea.
The next must for any SEO strategy is linking. The algorithms of Etsy are looking for relevant and reliable listings to show. Linking is an excellent way to show that you’re trustworthy. There are various link-building strategies, I suggest starting from the easy ones like sharing the listing on your social media pages and then make your way to other blogs and websites.
Here are other tips on getting inbound links:
- Reach out to influencers and ask for reviews,
- Create a blog on Medium or other similar platforms and promote your products there,
- Look for guest post opportunities.
You can read more about inbound links here.
Keep an eye on your competitors
A shop Etsy is a business and the first rule of business (any Fight club fans? Anyone? No one?), well maybe not the first but one of the rules of business is to do a competitor research and analysis.
Look into other shops similar to yours on Etsy. How are they wording their titles and descriptions? How many reviews do they have?
I recommend using Ahrefs to track and analyze your competitor’s traffic, compare it to yours and gain insights on what you are doing wrong and how you can outrank them.
And while we are on the subject of tools, don’t be scared to experiment with SEO and digital marketing tools, you might find tools that are comfortable for YOU to use, tools that will help automate or organize your work.
Monitor and make changes
As low maintenance as SEO is, it still does require monitoring. SEO comes with a stage of trial and error and during that stage, it is absolutely crucial that you keep an eye on your shop, on the performance of your keywords and make changes.
Again, you don’t have to do these manually. Common sense combined with the right tools can work miracles.
Go run your Etsy shop
There is one last tip that I have for you – have fun! You know your product the best, so keep these suggestions in mind as a springboard for your own experiments.
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