Welcome to week 3 of #EtsyResolution, a free, month long program to help you launch or revamp your Etsy shop. Want to join in the fun? Click here for more info and to sign up.
Search Engine Optimisation. It sounds super-technical, and it can be. However, don’t let that daunt you, it’s really just the process of using the right words in your titles, tags, and descriptions to help potential customers find your items.
So, let’s dive in and learn a little bit more about how to make this process work for you.
The most important thing to know is that Etsy search works on the concept of relevancy. That is, the more relevant your item is to the search a buyer is doing, the higher you’ll rank in the search results.
A few snippets of useful info on how this works:
- Item titles are given the most weight in search. Descriptions and tags are important, but getting the title right is number one.
- Words at the beginning of your title are given more weight. So get the most relevant words in as far to the left as you can.
- Recency does still matter. A few years ago, the default Etsy search was recency – which led to a ‘renewal race’ where people were constantly renewing their items to stay at the top of the search results. Now, with the relevancy search, recency is still a component, but only one among many, and it counts all new and renewed items with equal weight. Personally, I do still renew items on a regular basis to keep them more ‘recent’ in search.
(I sourced the above info directly from the Etsy Announcements on the forums – you can see more here.)
Steps to Improve your SEO
- Find your keywords.
Take a step back from your product and ask yourself: ‘If I were searching for this very thing, what words would I use to search for it?’. If you’ve got some family or friends handy, ask them the same thing and see what they come up with.
Those are your ‘keywords’ – the words you want to make sure you get in your product title, the first few lines of your description, and in your tags. And yes – a ‘keyword’ can be a phrase, not only a single word!
A trick to find the right words is to go to Etsy, and start typing your possible keywords in the search box, then see what the ‘suggested search’ function comes up with. This will give you some additional keywords to try.
For more help working out your keywords, check out this oldie but a goodie post from Etsy that will take you through a suite of questions that will help you flesh out all the details about your product (this is a great tool for helping you write descriptions, too!).
Pro tip: If you’re selling internationally, do some research on keywords that may be used in different markets eg in the US they use the word pillow instead of cushion. And don’t forget to include any measurements in both metric and imperial measures.
- Give your product a descriptive title.
Don’t use fluffy words or names for your product – use a title that reflects the keywords people would be using to search for it.
For example, I would write the title, ‘Sterling Silver Oval Necklace. Simple, Modern, Minimalist Design. 18-inch chain’ rather than ‘Alice Necklace’.
If you sell a lot of similar products, make sure to make each product title unique. You can use similar keywords in your title (for example, I use keywords like ‘Minimalist, Simple, Sterling Silver, Sleek, Modern’ for my Urban Eco range over and over again) but play around with their placement, and get in as many keywords specific to that product title as you can.
- Be patient.
It takes a little bit of time for changes to filter through the system, so don’t tweak these things every day. Make a change, and give it a week or two to work before you consider making more changes.
Also – don’t change all your listings at once! Choose a couple of products to experiment with, implement all the changes you think will help, then wait and see if those changes are making a difference before applying them across the board.
To check how things are going, search for your targeted keywords in the Etsy search bar, and see where your products are coming up. Ideally, you want to see at least one of your items on the first page of the search.
- Stock Up.
The more products you have in your shop, the more likely it is that people will find you, so make sure to be consistently working to increase your inventory.
Pro tip: if you have reproducible products, list the same product twice or more in your shop using different keywords, then check your shop stats to see which one is getting the most traffic. Such an easy and definite way to know which keywords are working for you.
Keep an Eagle Eye on Your Shop Stats
If you haven’t yet dived into your Shop Stats, now is the time to check it out! Just navigate to Your Shop > Stats, and you’ll see a whole world of useful info right at your fingertips.
This page allows you to view all sorts of statistics about your shop – from the basics of views, orders, favourites and revenue, searchable by any timeframe, to detailed tables of your top keywords, product listings, and traffic sources. This is invaluable info when you’re working on improving your SEO.
Here’s a snapshot I took of my ‘Orders’ graph near the end of 2014. You can see the dips in April and July when I shut my shop for vacations.
This is a really great tool to chart the growth of your shop over time. I love being able to compare months, or even years, to see how my business is going. Of course, the most important tab is revenue; the money you’ve made after Etsy take out shipping, tax, and Etsy fees.
And, here’s a look at how people were finding my shop in 2014.
From my traffic sources table, you can see that most of my traffic actually comes from Etsy itself.
This makes sense, as my focus when it comes to growing my Etsy shop is on in-Etsy strategy – improving my SEO, having good photography, and making sure I have a clean, coherent brand.
However, there was some traffic in 2014 from Pinterest, Buzzfeed (where one of my men’s rings was featured) and my own websites (Create & Thrive and also the Etsy Mini I have on a few sites).
That being said, obviously the work I do elsewhere (off-Etsy – social media etc.) does bring people to my Etsy shop. How do I know that? Because the second-top keyword that people used to find my shop in 2014 was my brand name – ‘Epheriell’. That means that they found me elsewhere online, then came over to Etsy to search for me.
So, keep an eye on your stats and use them to inform the SEO tweaking you are doing. Now, go forth and conquer your keywords!
Homework: List/update a product in your Etsy shop and focus on making sure you have great keywords in your title, description and tags. Share the product listing in the Facebook group or in the blog comments to get help from your peers on identifying keywords you may not have thought of.