I’ve seen the question so many times on the Etsy forums, “Why isn’t my Etsy shop showing up in Google when I search for XYZ?” While that is actually a very complex question, in a nutshell: to get seen, you need to optimize your Etsy shop for Google and increase your “PageRank”.
Google’s PageRank is the designation from 1 – 10 of an algorithm that assesses how important your website is (10 being the most important). Here’s the kicker: it’s machines making this determination. You may have heard these machines referred to as “spiders” or “robots”. I prefer to think of them as robot spiders merely because it amuses me. These robot spiders crawl the web hunting for information and bring it back to the Googleplex. This is known as indexing. If your information is good and full of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the robot spiders will come back often and give you a higher PageRank, therefore greatly increasing your chances of top search results.
PageRank for any website can easily be viewed by installing the Google’s Toolbar. How do you get this PageRank?
If you search the web for SEO techniques you’ll find plenty of them — too many. Unfortunately, a lot of the information you’ll find is either not applicable to current versions of the algorithm, spam techniques, or not applicable to Etsy. Etsy is not the same as your regular personal website and I’m not going to suggest you obtain a personal website today either. Baby steps.
Inside Your Etsy Shop
The best thing you can do on Etsy is provide good titles and descriptions and use all of your tags. When writing your titles and descriptions, think of key terms. “Key terms” in this sense simply means that you are using descriptive language that includes words and terms buyers might use to find products like the ones in this listing.
If you were searching for items such as yours in Google, what kind of language would you use? Put yourself in the mind set of the searcher and write accordingly. Keep in mind that Google likes change. If you re-list the same items again and again, change your titles and descriptions up every once in a while. Try some slightly different verbiage and new key terms each time.
Outside of Your Etsy Shop
Link, link, link! As in, get people to link to you (inbound links/ IBL). To start, use links to your Etsy store in your signature on any blogs, forums or message boards you belong to.
One of the biggest factors in boosting your rank is inbound links from sites with a high PageRank. Not only is Google more likely to index these high ranked sites quickly and repeatedly, but you’re more likely to get click though traffic to your site and more people linking to you. Site click through rate (the people following these IBL to visit your shop/CTR), is another important factor to determining your PageRank. Inbound links from a low ranked site won’t necessarily hurt you, so don’t freak out on your friend for linking you from his low ranked site. Ignore reciprocal link services and engines that litter the web. These are spam and Google hates spam.
There is some argument among web developers on the topic, but many, myself included, agree that your IBL should be “relevant” whenever possible. Relevant refers to the relevancy of your IBL to your store.
An example of relevant IBL: If your Etsy shop containing crocheted face scrubbies is linked to by a cage fighting website, Google is going to see that and be sort of “Ok, what the…?” If your Etsy shop containing crocheted face scrubbies is linked to by Martha Stewart, Google is going to see that and be all “WORD!” Your store is now associated with high-ranked information on crafts and handmade goods. You’re also bound to attract higher click through traffic. Consider how relevant IBLs are to your shop before investing time pursuing them or paying to advertise.
A hyperlink is when you use words to link to your Etsy store instead of graphics, or in addition to graphics. Remember, the robot spiders can’t see pictures, so do not rely solely on graphics when you link to your shop. Use descriptive key terms in your hyperlinks. Creating a link to your shop that says “buy handmade crocheted face scrubbies” is going to be more valuable than a link that‘s your shop’s name. “Daisydoodle’s Boutique” might be the perfect shop name for you, but how the heck is Google supposed to figure out that has anything to do with handmade crocheted face scrubbies?
1. Don’t try to trick Google.
Google’s main purpose is to weed out spam and garbage content and organize legitimate content. Google also carries a grudge. Even though we’re dealing with robot spiders here, they’re a lot smarter than you may think. Filling descriptions and links with nothing but irrelevant key words and trash can get you on the blacklist or “sandboxed”.
2. Be realistic and don’t obsess.
Get this through your head right now. Say it out loud… “I WILL NEVER RANK A 10”. Say it again and believe it. PageRank is global compared to all other websites in the world. At the time I’m writing this, Etsy’s homepage has a PageRank of 7 and Amazon ranks a 9. Those would have to be some very magical face scrubbies for your shop to have a PageRank like that!
Find other Etsy shops to look up to and compare yourself to those. Figure out what it is that they’re doing right. Your ultimate goal might be a 4. That’s completely OK and likely very appropriate. As part of my business — I run very popular statewide real estate websites — if I can rank a 5, I’m over the moon.
3. Be patient.
New shops might take a while to be indexed at all and jumping an entire number is an enormous job.
Keep up with ethical SEO: write organically, be thoughtful, network for relative IBL, DO NOT SPAM, and in time you’ll get there. The cream always rises to the top.
4. Keep your eye on PageRanks.