Etsy Shop SEO. It is one of those things everyone talks about, but no one ever tells you exactly how to do it. So let’s talk about it today. Why? Because most people think Google when they hear SEO, but optimizing your store for ETSY is just as important. And because SEO is the fastest way to get your shop the attention it deserves.
What is SEO, what is Etsy Shop SEO and why does it matter?
Simply put, SEO ( search engine optimization) is the way people ‘discover’ your products. SEO is important for all shop owners, but for ETSY sellers, SEO is even more important as they want their products to be found by people searching on both Google and ETSY. When you are optimizing your ETSY store, you are ensuring that your products stand out amongst the billions of Google and ETSY search results. It is the quickest and the easiest way of getting your products in front of your audience.
SEO is the holy grail of selling on ETSY
We at Whatify want your ETSY shop to succeed and we have created a list of our top 9 tips that will help you make your ETSY shop SEO as optimised as possible.
Let’s dive in
1. FIND THE RIGHT KEYWORDS
Keywords are a big part of being found on ETSY. Many articles will tell you to find the the right keywords. But what does ‘finding the right keywords’ really mean? What makes one keyword better than the other? Start by thinking from a buyer's perspective. What would your buyer type in the search bar to find your product?
- Keyword research tools such as Marmalead, Google keyword planner and ETSY Rank can help you identify what keywords and phrases are being used by your buyers. They give you data and statistics that will help you decide which keywords to include in your product listings. For example, Google keyword planner can show you the number of searches per month for each keyword you want to be ranked for. It also gives you data on competition (a keyword with low competition typically means it will be easier to rank for compared to one with a very high competition). Look for keywords that are relevant to your product/category as well as low on competition. Also check out: How to do keyword research the smart way
- Pinterest is another great source for gathering keywords. Start by typing a keyword phrase that you think your customer will use to search for your product. A drop-down menu will appear in order of most popular to least popular keywords. Write down all the suggested keywords that come up which might be relevant to your product. This works really well because once you use the keywords pinners are using for searching your item, you know it will direct referral traffic to your store.
- ETSY’s search bar works similar to Pinterest’s search bar, however, ETSY’s keyword suggestions in the drop-down menu reflect only the most recent terms used in the searches, so it would be best not to rely entirely on ETSY search bar. Instead, use it along with some of the other sources mentioned above.
- DO NOT make changes to your keywords on all of your listings all at once. Follow the steps listed above and make changes on just a few listings. See what keywords are working best for you before making the change on all the listings.
2. CREATE YOUR LISTING TITLE
Now that you have a list of keywords and phrases in place, let’s look at how you can use this list. We’ll start by optimizing your listing title first. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Your listing title can take up to 140 characters. Make sure to use all of them!
- The first 40 characters are MOST CRITICAL and the keywords and/or phrases used in them will be given higher priority in search placements. If you want to get ‘found’ for specific keywords or phrases, make sure to include them in the first few characters.
- Don’t mindlessly stuff it with keywords! Your title must be keyword rich but also readable.
3. CRAFT YOUR PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
When it comes to writing your product descriptions, start by imagining your ideal buyer. Choose words that will appeal to your ideal buyer. Think about how you would speak to your ideal buyer if you were selling your product face-to-face.
- Write descriptions that sell, not merely describe the product. Think about how the product will add value and benefit the buyer instead of simply listing the features of the product. Your buyer is not ONLY interested in features and specs - they want to know what's in it for them. They want to know how their life will be better once they buy your product. Turn your product features into enticing benefits.
- Appeal to the reader’s imagination. If the reader can imagine how it would feel like to own the product, their desire to own it increases. Here’s how Frostbeard stirs the imagination of its readers with the description of its Soy Candle: “We love the smell of old books! But not the rotten, mildewy kind – the sweet, papery sort. This soft, comforting scent makes you want to curl up in your favorite reading chair and leaf through stacks of worn, well-loved stories. Vanilla overtones transform into a lovely, complex aroma when melted.”
Most Etsy sellers are not very clear on whether to use generic or targeted keywords in their description. Understand that the shorter the keyword (bracelet) the more traffic it gets; but that also means there will be more competition for that keyword. People are often just browsing when they use generic keywords. If you use a more specific keyword like (silver bracelet with stones), you are more likely to make sales, because people using more specific keywords are more likely to buy.
Here are some examples of generic and targeted keywords:
Generic Keywords: Baby blanket, Handmade jewelry, T-shirt, Wall Art
Targeted (long tail keywords): Marino wool baby blanket, Handmade leather bracelet, Screen printed cotton T-shirt, Motivational print with Sigmund Freud Quote
Also check out: 7 simple steps to writing product descriptions that sell.
4. OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES
Etsy’s customer research has shown that a product’s image plays a far more important role than its reviews or even price in a buyer's purchase decision. Unlike a physical store, the online shopping environment doesn’t allow the buyer to physically interact with the product. They can’t touch it or hold it in their hands. So they rely on the images to effectively communicate the quality, shape, size, scale and texture of the product.
- Make sure to take advantage of all the 10 images slots provided in each listing. Show all sides of your product, highlight the product’s best features, illustrate how the item can be used, showcase the branding and packaging. The more photos you have, the more information your buyers will have to make their purchase decision.
- To keep your images consistent in size, make sure all your photos have the same dimensions before uploading them.
- Each image carries an alt tag that tells search engines what it's about. Make sure to use keywords in the alt tag to describe the image.
- Whether you sell ETSY, another marketplace, or your own website, taking compelling photos of your products is critical for the success of your shop. So make sure to take great quality shots that showcase your products well. When you are taking product photos, try to keep the most important part of your item in the center of the image. Your photos should also be well-lit and in focus! If you are new to product photography, check out A Complete Guide to ETSY Product Photography.
- Once you have taken great product photos and added them to your listing, how do you then decide which one to choose as the primary photo? Is it the lifestyle shot, the white background shot or the close-up shot that highlights the details of your product? Here’s the thing — we have tested thousands of photos and we’ve learned that it is really hard to predict which photo will drive maximum traffic to your store. The only way to know for sure is by testing the photos to see which one works best. That’s where Whatify comes in! You can use our photo analytics software to test out different primary photos and see which one performs the best. Check out our free trial and if you do decide to purchase use the code “artfulbusiness” to redeem 20% discount upon checkout.
5. MATCH YOUR TITLES & TAGS
One of the most common mistakes that ETSY sellers make is using different keywords in the title and the tags. Sellers make the assumption that if you use a variety of keywords, then you have a better chance of coming up in search results, when in fact, having the tags and titles match increases the relevance of the keywords. You’ll have a higher chance of success if your titles and tags match. It may be that some of the keywords used in your title are too long to be used in your tags. You can work around that by breaking up the keyword phrase into 2-3 shorter phrases. For example “knitted baby blanket” can become “knitted blanket” and “baby blanket”.
Don’t worry about the order of the tags. Unlike the in title, ETSY gives equal weight to each keyword, irrespective where it lies in your list of tags.
6. GET CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Don’t be shy about asking for feedback from your customers. Having great customer reviews, a completed ‘about us’ page, and clearly defined store policies do have a significant role to play in improving your shop’s SEO.
7. CREATE STRONG BACKLINKS TO YOUR SHOP
Etsy loves it when you bring traffic to their site and it will reward you for it with higher search placement. Here are some ideas on how to create high-quality backlinks to your ETSY shop.
- Have a presence on social media.
- Include backlinks to your Etsy store in your blog posts.
- Establish a relationship with bloggers and influencers. Follow their social media pages, give them a shout-out, like and comment on their posts. If it is a highly influential blogger, don’t be afraid to send them a free product for review. Your objective is to have the blogger feature your product on their site. This will create a backlink to your ETSY shop, help your SEO, and drive some of their traffic to your store.
8. NEWNESS MATTERS
When ETSY sees a ton of well-optimized images for a given search, how does it decide which ones go on top of the search results? Newer ones win. ‘Newer’ means either a fresh listing or a renewed listing. So every time an item gets renewed or is added to your shop, Etsy will rank it highly among search results. Some ETSY sellers also use tools like ETSYONSALE to auto-renew their listings from time to time and to ‘trick’ ETSY into treating it as a ‘newer’ listing. You also want to make sure that you renew your listing at peak traffic times, when your audience is online. Look for the spike in views in your ETSY stats to determine the peak times for your traffic.
9. TEST. TEST. TEST
The best way to stay on top of your shop’s SEO is by keeping a track of your rankings.
- Make a list of your top items (based on the # of views) and record how that listing is doing each week. You can use seller tools like ETSY GADGET to see exactly where your products are being ‘found’ in search results. There might be slight fluctuations from day to day, however, if you notice a significant drop, the best thing to do is to deactivate your listing and create a new one altogether.
- Don’t just stop at testing keywords for your listing. Make sure to continuously test your product photos as well, especially as you add new listings.
- Unlike other search engines, changes to your keywords and images on ETSY can reflect in your ranking almost immediately. This makes it easy for you to test the changes you make to your listing. The key is to make changes, test, and repeat.
And finally, understand that Etsy Shop SEO is a long game.
You might see some results immediately, but depending on the age of your shop, it can take days or even weeks to see a difference in your search engine rankings. So have patience!
Are you ready to master the Etsy Shop SEO game?
Leave us any questions you have in the comments.
Jake is a passionate problem solver who is driven to use data and technology for good. He has worked with the New York City Department of Education to improve public high schools and founded a nonprofit to educate incarcerated individuals at Rikers Island. Jake holds an M.B.A. from Yale University and a B.A. in Economics from Brown University.