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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is what is necessary to make sure you appear in search listings.

Why is Etsy SEO so Complicated?

Why is Etsy SEO so Complicated?

Etsy SEO is hard. But why does it have to be? Read to learn the reasons that it's complicated as well the factors that impact Etsy SEO.

I get this question a lot from Etsy sellers.  Why does Etsy SEO which stands for search engine optimization have to be so complicated? (If you’re not sure what SEO is, click here to learn the basics.)  I also see a lot of veteran Etsy sellers talk about the good ol’ days when it didn’t take so much effort to generate sales.  I want to try to explain why it needs to be so complicated.  This is a lot of info but hang with me and at the bottom you’ll be able to grab a free Etsy SEO Checklist. First, some stats on Etsy as of the end of 2016:

Number of Active Etsy Sellers – 1,748,000

Number of active Etsy buyers – 28,566,000

Those numbers are super high.  Etsy is growing at lightning speed.  Almost 200,000 active sellers joined Etsy in 2016.  That’s over 500 new Etsy sellers signing up every day.  Buyers are becoming more aware every day of how corporations are taking over and they’re making a bigger effort to spend their money supporting small businesses.  Also, when people are buying gifts, it’s harder than ever to find something unique that the recipient doesn’t already have.  What better way to solve that problem than with a unique handmade gift?

What does this have to do with Etsy SEO?

All this means that Etsy needs to help buyers zero in on what they’re looking for.  The number of products currently appearing on Etsy is staggeringly large.  I couldn’t find an up to date statistic but in May of 2016, there were over 35 million active product listings.

Etsy is working to make a sale, otherwise, the buyer will leave unhappy and shop somewhere else.  This means they need to present Etsy shoppers with products that are most likely to result in a sale.  How do they do this?  With a complex set of rules called an algorithm.  These rules help determine where Etsy products will appear in the Etsy search results.

Which factors make up the Etsy SEO algorithm?

Tag and Title Relevancy

  • The words that a buyer uses to search on Etsy must be in the title and/or the tags or a listing won’t appear.  If you have the phrase ‘blue necklace’ in your title or tags and a buyer searches for the phrase ‘blue star necklace’ your listing won’t appear if you don’t have the word star within your title or tags.  This helps the buyer view only items that contain exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Exact phrase matches are stronger.  For example, if you have the words ‘blue necklace’ side by side in your title or tags your listing will be a stronger match than if you had the word ‘blue’ and the word ‘necklace’ separately in your title or tags.
  • If a search phrase appears in both the title and the tags Etsy considers this a stronger match than if the keyword phrase was only in the title or in the tags.  You should try as hard as possible to make sure the words in your title also appear in your tags.
  • Keyword phrases near the beginning of the title will be considered more important and will be a stronger match.  This is why you should put your best keyword phrases near the front of your title.
  • This post about SEO explains more about setting up amazing Etsy titles.

Item Attribute Relevancy

  • Keywords entered in the attribute section of a listing are considered in the Etsy search results in a similar way to the keyword phrases in the titles and tags.  These attributes are just another way to describe your items and will help buyers search in a different way in the future when Etsy adds search filters based on these attributes.  Try to fill in as many attributes that are relevant as possible per listing.

Listing Quality Score

  • Views, favorites, and sales that a listing receives help determine how well that listing is doing on Etsy.  All of these things will give a listing a boost in the search results.  This is a way to put products that are doing well closer to the top of the search results.
  • The listing’s conversion rate (views to sales ratio) also makes a difference.  If you get a lot of views but not a lot of sales Etsy will see that people aren’t interested in your product.  For this reason, I don’t recommend playing favorite games that are popular on Facebook or sharing your product with groups that likely aren’t your target market because they result in empty views.

Customer & Marketplace Experience

  • Reviews, a completed about section and a completed shop policies section have an impact on the search results.  Great reviews will give you a boost in the search.  Using the provided Etsy template for shop policies will also give you a slight boost.  This helps reward shops that are delighting their customers and are taking the time to properly set up their shop.
  • Recent cases opened against your shop or any past reported intellectual property infringement listings will have a negative impact on your search engine ranking.  This discourages poor customer service and the trademark or copyright infringement.  (Things like using words or phrases from a movie, tv show, sports team, song lyric or directly copying another seller’s work).

Recency

  • To help keep the search results fresh, recently listed or renewed products will be given a boost in the search results.  One way to boost your sales related to this factor is to create a renewing strategy.

Shop Location

  • Etsy has found that shoppers often like to purchase products from their own countries because it’s convenient and the shipping is less expensive.  Products from a buyer’s country will be given a boost in the search results unless they specifically search for products from a different country.

Shop Diversity

  • Etsy works to show a wide variety of shops in the search results.  If you have several listings with the same keyword phrase Etsy will usually space your listings out so that you won’t find more than one of your listings per page.  This helps avoid monopolies in the search results.

But why does ETSY SEO need to be so complicated?

Etsy truly is doing their best to help buyers find products they are looking for and to capture a sale.  I think all handmade sellers would agree that it’s important that buyers are presented with items that they are most likely to purchase.  This means that a fellow Etsy seller has a better chance of receiving a sale.

The alternative is that the buyer getting frustrated and leaving Etsy to shop on a site where a corporation will receive all the profits.  The Etsy SEO search algorithm helps ensure the future of all of our handmade businesses by giving the Etsy buyer a great experience that ends in a sale.

So how can I get my products to appear in the search results?

I know all the factors above can be extremely overwhelming and seem unnecessarily complicated. It would be so amazing if we could join Etsy, quickly add a few listings and make some sales.  But rarely in life is something worth doing so easy.  It requires research and effort to succeed in an ever expanding online retail space.

The competition is intense!  Hundreds of new Etsy sellers are signing up every day.  It’s possible to stand out among the competition but you have to put some work in.  Fortunately, this blog, as well as the Handmade Journey Academy will save you time and effort by giving you my tested Etsy SEO tips and tricks.

The first place I recommend that you start working on SEO is in your titles.  It’s the most efficient and effective way to start seeing results in your Etsy shop.  Check out this blog article that has all the tips you need to construct Etsy product titles that will help you get found in the Etsy results.

Once you’ve worked on your titles and your tags, the next area to focus on is your photos.  Having great photos is the key to getting views and sales.

A third thing you can do to give you a boost in the search results is to implement a renewing strategy.

Want even more help optimizing your listings for Etsy SEO?

Disclaimer:  The above info is what has worked really well for me in my experience of running a successful Etsy shop.  While it has worked for me, you may experience a different result.  Make changes slowly and be sure to save any previous information you are replacing in case you find that your previous choices worked better for you.

Renewing to Boost Your Etsy Sales

Renewing to Boost Your Etsy Sales

All Etsy sellers are focused on boosting sales.  One of the best ways that you can do this is to manually renew your listings.  When you manually renew your products your listings will appear higher in the search results for your chosen keyword phrases.  This will help you achieve more views and more sales.  Read below to learn more about renewing.

Etsy renewing can be the key to boosting your sales. Click to learn more about why you should start renewing today!What is renewing?

Renewing a listing within Etsy gives the product a new listing date and a new expiration date which is four months from the date you renew the listing. Etsy charges 20 cents each time you renew a product. Most Etsy sellers only renew products when they sell or when they expire.  It’s not well known, but you can manually renew your listings at any time.

Why should I renew my listing before it expires?

Renewing is important because of a factor that determines your products appear in the Etsy search results called recency. Recency refers to how recently each product was added to Etsy either through a new listing or through a renewal. Etsy gives recently renewed products a boost in the search engine rankings.
Products are renewed when they are initially added to Etsy, when they are manually renewed or when they are sold and auto-renewed. This is why the Etsy search results adjust many times throughout the day as products are sold and renewed.  One of the best ways to give yourself a boost in the search ranking is to manually renew your listings. When you appear higher in the search results you have a much better chance of getting views which equal sales.

How do I manually renew my listings?

There are two ways to renew an active listing within Etsy.

  1. You can renew a listing from your Listings Manager by checking the box of the item you want to renew. Then scroll to the top of the page and clicking Renew.  You can also select Renew from the gear menu of the item you’d like to renew.
  2. The second way to renew within Etsy is from any listing page.  As long as you are signed in, a set of listing tools will be at the top of each listing page.  Click Renew.

What is the goal of renewing my listings?

The ultimate goal of renewing is to give your product a big boost in the Etsy search results for your chosen keyword phrases.  Ideally, you want to appear in the first 192 listings for the keyword phrase that you’ve added to the front of your title which means you’ll appear on one of the first 4 pages of search results.  Buyers often only look through the first few pages of results for a keyword phrase before they move onto a new keyword phrase.  This means you’ll be a lot more likely to receive views if your product appears on the first 4 pages.

If you’re already appearing in the first 192 search results for the keyword phrase you’ve added to the front of your title you may not need to manually renew your product or you may want to choose a more competitive keyword phrase.

How often should I renew my listings?

There are a few different factors that determine how frequently you should renew your listings.

  1. Keyword phrase competitiveness:  If you are using keyword phrases that have a lot of competing products appearing for the phrase within Etsy you will need to renew your product more frequently.
  2. Momentum of the listing:  A product that has been on Etsy for a while and has achieved good sales in the past will rank higher than a new product.  You may have to renew a new product or one that has less momentum more frequently.

What time of day should I renew my listings?

You should renew your listings at a time when your target market is most likely to be online shopping.  This can vary depending upon the target market and their location.  For me, early evening around 7 PM has given the best results with mid-morning around 10 AM following closely behind.

One way to research this is to take a look at the times that you’ve received sales in the past.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to look through your Etsy sale email notifications to see if you can spot any trends based on the times.  You can also view the order times from the Detailed Stats within Etsy but you can only see the times when viewing each day individually so this can take more time.

If you have any questions about renewing, come join our FB group by clicking below.

5 Things You Need to Know about Long Tail Keywords

5 Things You Need to Know about Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are 3 or more word keyword phrases that help you appear in search results because they are specific and therefore have less competition.#1: What is a long tail keyword?

A long tail keyword is a keyword phrase that contains three or more words (although some consider 2 or more words to be long tail).  This type of keyword is usually very specific and therefore often less competitive.  Here are a few examples of long tail keywords:  blue starfish necklace, pink striped hair bow, embroidered bear shirt

#2: Should I be using long tail keywords within my Etsy shop?

Long tail keywords are amazing for standing out amongst your competition, especially if you are just getting established.  You will have a better chance at ranking (go here to learn about SEO and ranking) for a long tail keyword because they often are specific enough that you will have less competition in the search results.  This is really important to ensure that your product is found and not lost in a search that is too competitive.

As your shop grows you can work toward ranking for shorter and more competitive keywords.  I’ve been able to rank on the first page for really competitive keywords like housewarming gift and Christmas gift but only after my products received a lot of favorites and sales.  You’ll want to stick with long tail keywords when you are starting out.

#3: How do I incorporate long tail keywords into my tags and title?

You can add your long tail keywords to your titles using the tips found in my Top 6 Tips for Constructing the Perfect Etsy Title post. Make sure that you are using keyword phrases that are appropriate for your product and make sure your title looks as professional as possible.

Long tail keywords can be a bit tricky to add to tags because they can often be longer than 20 characters which is the limit for tags.  To get around this, split your keyword phrases up if needed.  An example of this is ‘green striped hair bow’ which is 22 characters.  You could split this into two tags, ‘green striped hair’ and ‘striped hair bow’.  This helps cover the phrase even though it is too long to fit into one tag.  Make sure you use the same word order that you use in your title so that Etsy recognizes that they are the same word phrases.

As mentioned in our overview about Etsy SEO you will want to make sure that you use the same keyword phrases in your title and your tags.  This can be tricky because you are limited to the number of characters you can use in your title and your tags but try to match up your keywords between your title and tags as closely as possible for best results.

#4: How do I know which long tail keywords to use?

Knowing which keyword phrases to use is the trickiest part of SEO.  I like to sit down with my product in front of me and write out all the words I would use to describe the product.  Think of color, texture, materials used, size, shape, and so on.  Then go back and add a star beside the ones that you think describe your product best.  You can then combine those words into long tail keywords.

I also like to get the opinions of others to help create my long tail keyword phrases.  Show people your product either online or in person and ask them which terms they would use to describe the product or find it if they were looking for it on google.  Look for any trends to help you identify which keyword phrases would be best to use.

An advanced method for finding the best long tail keywords is to use an online tool such as Marmalead.  This is an Etsy SEO tool that helps you discover which keywords are working for similar products.  I highly recommend it and will be writing a blog post about it in the near future.  Some sellers also have good luck with the Google Keyword Planner tool.

#5: How can I tell if I am ranking for my long tail keywords?

Once you make changes to your SEO you should check to see if you are ranking for your new keywords.  Etsy can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks before your changes fully kick in.  I like to check my keyword rankings weekly, especially for the keywords I have put at the front of my titles.  You don’t want to check in your normal browser by going to Etsy.com because you will see search results based on your location and previous search history.

The easiest way to check your ranking is to use an incognito window within Google Chrome.  This removes Etsy’s ability to tailor the search results to you.  Click here for instructions on how to open an incognito window.  Once you have the window open go to Etsy.com and search for your keyword phrase.  Then scroll through the results and look for your product.  Ideally, you want to appear within the first 5 pages.

Another method is to use the website Etsy Rank.  You have to sign up for an account and link it to your Etsy shop.  Once you do this there is a feature called Rank Checker.  You can type in your keyword and it will look for any of your products within the first 500 results for that keyword.  I really like using this because it tells you the location that your product appears in.  Etsy Rank also has some other great features.

The final method I recommend is using Marmalead which I mentioned earlier.  In addition to helping you find keyword phrases, it can also tell you where you rank for each keyword.

Takeaways for Long Tail Keywords:

  • Long tail keywords are important to ensuring your products appear in the search results
  • Do you research to determine which long tail keywords you should use
  • Incorporate your long tail keywords into your titles and your tags
  • Check regularly to see if you are ranking for your long tail keywords.

Ready to take your SEO to the next level?

Disclaimer:  The above info is what has worked really well for me in my experience of running a successful Etsy shop.  While it has worked for me, you may experience a different result.  Make changes slowly and be sure to save any previous information you are replacing in case you find that your previous choices worked better for you.

Top 6 Tips for Constructing the Perfect Etsy Title

Top 6 Tips for Constructing the Perfect Etsy Title

Top 6 Tips for Constructing the Perfect Etsy Title

Etsy Product Titles

Etsy titles serve so many purposes.  They are absolutely vital to Etsy SEO, they tell the buyer what it is they are looking at and they are a buyer’s first look at your writing.  First impressions are important so crafting the perfect Etsy title should be a priority for your Etsy shop.

Trying to create a title that fits the bill for all of these purposes can be really daunting.  There’s a fine line between pleasing the search engine and your buyers.  When I first started my Etsy store in April of 2016 my titles were so short and just horrible.  I had no clue what I was doing and didn’t get many sales.  Updating my titles (as well as tags) has been one of the most helpful things I’ve done to get the sales I needed to quit my corporate job and focus on my handmade shop full time.

Tip # 1:  Use up as much space within your Etsy title as possible

Etsy allows up to 140 characters for your title.  As I mentioned in my Etsy SEO post you want to include as many keywords as possible in your title so this means using up as many of those 140 characters as you can.  I can get a little too obsessive and see it as a challenge.  Below the title bar Etsy shows a little countdown of how many characters are remaining to help you out.

Tip # 2: Use keyword phrases and separate them for readability

Etsy SEO relies on your title to determine which keyword phrases you should rank for.  This means you want to fill your title with as many keywords as possible.  You want to make sure they are readable, though.  One way to do this is to separate keyword phrases with commas, dashes, slashes or the pipe symbol.  I personally prefer dashes with a space before and after the dash.  Here is an example of my Uncork & Unwind sign’s title:

Wine Sign – Christmas Gift – Uncork and Unwind – Wedding Gift – Birthday Gift – Wine Lover – Rustic – Kitchen Decor – Bar Sign – 18″ x 2.5″

Tip # 3: Use title case in your title for a professional look

I’ve seen a lot of Etsy titles with all caps or all lowercase letters. While I think that can have its place I really love the look of title case within a title.  I’m not great at explaining grammar but click here to read more about what title case is and how to use it.

Tip # 4: Put your strongest keywords at the front of the title

Etsy SEO will consider the keywords at the front of the title as the most important.  Also, only the first few words appear to buyers when they view your listing in the search results.  When creating a title I always make a list of every keyword phrase I want to rank for and then put them in the order I would consider most important.  This is the order that I place them in the title.  Your first 2-3 words should be the number 1 keyword phrase that you would like to rank for.  To learn about implementing these keyword phrases which are called long tail keywords check out this blog post.

Tip # 5: Vary your Etsy titles

There are a few reasons that your titles should be different from product to product.  The first one is that while you are trying to rank within Etsy, you also want to keep Google happy because buyers are going to find you through Google.  Google doesn’t like exact duplicates and may penalize you for having two products with the exact same wording.  This applies to descriptions as well.

Another reason your titles should be different is that you don’t want to compete against yourself.  As a general rule, Etsy only displays one of your listings per page for each search result.  If you have the same keyword phrase at the beginning of each title Etsy sees that you want to rank highly for that keyword.  Since you can only appear once per page you are competing against yourself.  I have a lot of listings that are similar but I try to make the titles different so that I appear in different search results.

Tip # 6: Don’t use keyword phrases that are too competitive

Think of your Etsy product as a fish.  You can either stand out in a little pond or get lost in a big pond.  When you are starting out with a listing, you want to choose keyword phrases that don’t have a high level of products competing for them.  As your product gains momentum you can try to use keywords that are more competitive but when starting out I recommend sticking to keyword phrases that have 2,000 or fewer products competing.  To check how many products are competing for a keyword phrase, type your keyword phrase into the search bar within Etsy and you will see the number of results that appear.  If the number is over 2,000 you should keep searching for keyword phrases that aren’t as popular.  You’ll have a much better chance at appearing higher in the search results for low competition keywords.

Bonus Tip!: Your Etsy title should include the same keyword phrases as your tags

I’ve saved the best one for last.  As I explained in my Etsy SEO post, you want to include the same keyword phrases in your titles and in your tags.  This is the number one key to appearing in search results.  You want the words to be in the same order whenever possible as well.  You’ll never match them up perfectly but get as close as you can.  Make sure your most important keywords match up and this will help ensure you appear in the search results for those phrases.

Takeaways for Etsy Titles:

  • Use all 140 characters within your title or get as close as you can
  • Separate your keyword phrases for readability.  I recommend dashes with a space before and after each one.
  • Use title case for a professional look
  • Put your MVP keywords at the front of the title
  • Vary your product titles from product to product
  • Avoid keyword phrases that have more than 2,000 products competing for them
  • Match up your keyword phrases in your titles and your tags

P.S. – I know all of this can seem overwhelming and overly complicated.  Take it one step at a time and just work on a few listings per day.  Also, check out this post where I explain why Etsy SEO is so complicated and the factors that impact the search ranking.

Ready to take your Etsy SEO to the next level?


Disclaimer:
 The above info is what has worked really well for me in my experience of running a successful Etsy shop.  While it has worked for me, you may experience a different result.  Make changes slowly and be sure to save any previous information you are replacing in case you find that your previous choices worked better for you.

 

Etsy SEO: What Is It and Why Is It so Important?

Etsy SEO: What Is It and Why Is It so Important?

Etsy SEO

What is Etsy SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  Search engines, such as the product search within Etsy return results based on the keyword phrases users enter into the search bar. Etsy SEO refers to any of the work that you do to help improve where your products appear in the Etsy search results.  Where your products appear in the search is often called search ranking.

How does SEO work within Etsy?

Your title and tags within each Etsy product listing are the main two pieces of info that Etsy uses to determine which search results your listings will appear in and where they will appear.  When your product appears in the search results for a particular keyword phrase that is referred to as ranking for that keyword phrase.  To optimize your Etsy SEO, you will want to look at each product listing and determine which keywords your buyers are most likely to use when searching.  These are the words that you will use in your title and your tags.

Setting up your Etsy Title

Each product title can have up to 140 characters within it which includes spaces.  This space is extremely valuable, so you want to fill it with as many keywords as possible.  To help make the title readable you can also separate your keyword phrases with hyphens, commas, dashes or the pipe symbol.  I prefer hyphens.

Another important point is to make sure you use keywords that describe your product.  Showing up for the wrong search terms won’t generate sales, and you’ll be wasting valuable keyword space.

Here’s an example of the title for my But First, Coffee sign where I’ve used every character:

But First Coffee Sign – Christmas Gift – Rustic Wood – Kitchen Decor – Gift for Mom – Housewarming Gift – Birthday Gift for Her – Coffee Bar

You want to put your best keywords at the front of your title.  Etsy considers the keywords at the front of your title to be most important and you’ll get a boost in the search ranking for those keywords.  I recommend putting the top keyword phrase someone might use to search for your product at the very beginning of your title.  You also want to focus on finding good quality long tail keywords.  Click here to read a post all about what they are and how to select them.

Setting up your Etsy Tags

Tags are what Etsy calls the keywords for each listing.  You can have up to 13 tags for each of your products.  Each tag can have up to 20 characters including spaces.  Create your tags using the keyword phrases that you added in your title.  Also, if your keyword phrase is too long to fit in one tag break it up into two tags.

Here are the tags that I used for the But First, Coffee listing:

but first coffee, Coffee sign, coffee bar, coffee kitchen sign, housewarming gift, coffee gift, coffee, kitchen decor, birthday gift, gift for her, just because gift, christmas gift, gift for mom

I wanted to create a tag with the words “But First, Coffee Sign” but it wouldn’t fit so I split it into two (“But First, Coffee” and “Coffee Sign”).

Using Titles and Tags Together to Optimize SEO

To optimize your SEO, you need to make sure that you have as many of the same keywords in your titles and your tags as possible.  While it can be tricky because of the character limitations, try to match as many as you can.  If a keyword appears in both, it raises your chances of ranking for that keyword.

Are there other things that impact SEO?

Yes.  Etsy has a complicated algorithm that they use to determine the order that product listings appear in the search results.  Some of these are last renewed date, the number of favorites and sales, reviews, your profile and whether you have any open cases against your shop.  All of this can be overwhelming.  When starting out, focus on making sure that you’ve used your entire title space and all of your tags.  Check out this post to learn about all the factors that impact your ranking in the Etsy search results.

Takeaways for Etsy SEO:

  • Etsy SEO is the key to making sure your listings appear when buyers search within Etsy
  • Fill your title up with keywords, placing the most important ones toward the front
  • Use all 13 tags for each listing
  • Use as many of the same keywords in your titles and tags as you can

 Ready to take your Etsy SEO to the next level?

Disclaimer:  The above info is what has worked well for me in my experience of running a successful Etsy shop.  While it has worked for me, you may experience a different result.  Make changes slowly and be sure to save any previous information you are replacing in case you find that your previous choices worked better for you.