It does not matter if you are a brand-new Etsy seller or you have been around for years, chances are, at some point in time (maybe even right now!), you have felt completely lost and invisible. How do you get your products in front of buyers that actually WANT your products? How do you get the visibility that your products deserve? If you have felt any of that at any time, don’t worry, you are not alone!
In fact, as of the quarter end of 2020, Etsy reported that there are 4.3 million sellers on the marketplace with over 80 million buyers. No wonder it can be difficult to figure out marketplace visibility with all of those other sellers you are up against.
To come out ahead, make sure customers can find your products and purchase them, we need an Etsy SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. We will be going over that, how the algorithm works, the factors that come into play to get your products seen, and the steps you need to take to build up your business visibility in the search results.
Let’s get to it!
Etsy SEO is something that you MUST invest in if you want to become a profitable seller and turn your store into an actual business. Etsy SEO is the process of increasing the search visibility of your shop and the products within on search engines and on Etsy’s internal marketplace.
There are a LOT of shoppers on the site as we showed above. Over 80 million buyers in the last quarter of 2020 alone. However, if we look back slightly and take a look at the ending quarter of 2019, you will see that there were 46 million. If we keep going back in time, according to Marketplace Pulse, the first quarter of 2019, Etsy had 41 million active buyers!
What does this scream to you? Etsy is growing… RAPIDLY!
Not only are the numbers increasing like a rocket in terms of buyers (and sellers), but more buyers means that there are more eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more potential chances to sell your products, and more products sold equals more money for your business.
THIS is why Etsy search engine optimization matters. It is a free way to expand your business that ads just never will. Did I mention it’s free as well?
Whenever you list a product for sale on the Etsy marketplace, a LOT goes on in the background. They have an algorithm that will do two crucial things with your listing in order to determine what results shoppers should see when they enter keywords to purchase products. Etsy put together a nice guide on how Etsy search works here which we highly recommend checking out (this is part of the seller handbook). The 2 crucial pieces of information we need to pay attention to are called query matching, and ranking.
When a shopper goes to Etsy and enters a search term, Etsy will start a process called query matching in the background. This is run to display listers that mostly closely match a customer’s search query. Where do they gather all of this information to make sure the results are as relevant as possible?
Easy! It comes from crucial parts of your listing including:
This is something you have full control over, which is why it is crucial to get them right. Not only will you want to ensure that you are using all 13 tags when building Etsy listings, but Etsy will also look to see that you are adding a variety of tags, adding relevant attribute options, and categorizing your items properly. All of these helps Etsy know what they should show the customer.
After Etsy goes through and does their query matching, they will then need to not only display the products on the page, but they will need to rank those query matched listings based on the likelihood that the buyer will actually purchase them. There are a lot of things in this section, and they are ALL important in helping Etsy decide what they should show near the top of the page versus further down. These include:
Now that we have that all the way, you might be even more confused than when you started or wonder if those metrics above are even possible to influence. No worries!
The answer is yes, you can influence them, and we are going to break down strategies to raise your product ranking in the Etsy search. To this, we are going to optimize our Etsy SEO with these 10 tips and strategies to improve your overall ranking, gain increased visibility, and get the reach that you want.
The name of your store is something that people often forget about when it comes to Etsy SEO. The store name is what becomes the actual title for your store page, and this is what will show up in the search results.
The name of your store can be up to 55 characters, but when picking out the title of your shop, stop to think a little bit about this. Not only is it the text that a shopper will see first thing, but it is also important to get your shops intent across.
If your shop name does not properly represent what you are selling, there is a chance that consumers may just move on to the next store.
The goal with your shop name is to give a clear picture of what you sell, and what the customer can expect from you.
If you are selling dog chews for example, using a name like “TopDogChews” for your store is immediately apparent.
This will help improve the customer experience as well!
Something else you might want to check before you go with a shop name, is figure out if that name is available across social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) so that you can build up your brand.
Already have a shop name and want to change it! No problem!
Etsy sellers can edit their shop title by going to Shop Manager and clicking the pencil icon next to their shop name under Sales Channels.
Now that you have thought about your shop name and potentially made some changes, let’s talk about the core of your Etsy SEO strategy.
Love them or hate them, the first thing that Etsy does when looking at a shopper’s search query is that they look through your listings and match those up with the search terms that the potential customer is entering.
If you cannot figure out how to use the right keywords in your title and tags, you will be fighting a losing battle.
Thankfully, that is EXACTLY why we created the Sale Samurai software. Let’s go over how to find the best keywords for your Etsy listings in a few simple steps.
The first thing you need to do is actually just take a step back and get out of the “seller” mindset. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience… your potential customer. These shoppers are customers on Etsy and they are searching for products. If you can imagine their “persona”, you can start to think about the right words and phrases that they may use that should lead to YOUR listing.
Let’s say you have a product that we will call product A.
If you had no idea that your shop/product existed, what keyword/phrase would you enter as a shopper where you would expect your product to show up?
That may be a bit harder said than done, but it can be easy once you start thinking about the intent behind those keywords. Keyword research is just another way to reverse yourself into these keywords and phrases that customers are naturally typing in that should display your product. If you can take a step back and put yourself in a customer’s shoes, the entire process of Etsy SEO becomes a lot easier.
Once you are at a point where you can understand that keyword research is really just using the keywords that a customer would use naturally, then you need to figure out all the different combinations of keywords that customers are actually using.
This is exactly why we built Sale Samurai!
Not only is Sale Samurai designed around Etsy SEO and finding high volume yet actionable keywords that your competition may not even know exists, but it also allows you to data mine keywords DIRECTLY on Etsy with a Chrome plugin for use in tags, titles and descriptions.
Not only will Sale Samurai give you related suggestions for keywords that customers are searching for on Etsy, but will also give you tags that are being used by people in the position you want to be in.
That is just scratching the surface though. When it comes to Etsy SEO, you need all tools at your disposal, including the ability to take a look at your tags being used, your title, characters, images, and get up to date keyword optimization scores.
Digging deeper into single listings, take a look at the screenshot above. We will go over in more detail below when we talk about optimizing your key components of your Etsy listings, but you can get quick SEO scores for keywords that you are using in your listing to make sure that you stand the best chance at getting the customer intent and ranking right. If you end up going down a bit, you can really get into the nitty gritty of tags!
If you are looking for long-tail search terms and specific buyer keywords, then Sale Samurai is the tool you need in your Etsy arsenal.
Pricing: Grab a 3-day FREE Trial Here!
Have you ever heard the saying that you should never judge a book by it’s cover?
Yeah… that is NOT correct for E-commerce. In fact, there is nothing more far from the truth.
When it comes to selling on Etsy (and on any other marketplace for that matter), people shop with their eyes and pictures tell a thousand words.
Etsy allows you to use 10 photos per listing, and this is the ONE chance that you can make sure to showcase the products you are selling in their full glory. You want to make sure that you fill up as many picture slots as you can (all 10 is ideal), but most important is making sure that the images of your products are both showing them from different angles, of your product being used, and in relevant scenery.
Doing this will give your customer the best idea of what your item is, how it’s used, what it looks/feels like, and the size. If you set the expectation up front on WHAT you are selling through your photographs, not only will the customer have a better experience, but you will be better off when it comes to customer support.
Let’s take a look at an Etsy listing that does a great job of optimizing their photos. Here is a shop owner who is selling a diamond ring. You can see from the left-hand side that they are using all 10 photos, but the most important piece is that they show a lifestyle photo that allows the customer to envision the product themselves before they buy. This helps get the customer over the edge and click the add to cart button!
When launching new products on Etsy, or optimizing your old ones, having and knowing the right keywords to use for your listing is crucial (which is why we built Sale Samurai). If you skipped the first section, go grab a 3-day free trial, then come back to this article.
You will need to take the queries that most closely match what you are selling because Etsy is going to look at different listing components to match them up to what the buyer is searching through. Here are the pieces of the puzzle you need to make sure you have dialed in.
Your title on Etsy is limited to a crucial 140 characters. This is the first thing that the shopper will see after your product photographs. There is a big thing that we rarely see talked about though when it comes to titles. Etsy places more emphasis on the first 40 or so characters!
Let’s say that you are selling engagement rings on Etsy and you are specifically selling a blue sapphire ring. You would want to have that keyword in the first 40 characters of the listing.
You can run optimization checks on individual listings through Sale Samurai to get a score of how well this is done (it checks more than just the keyword in the title).
Notice how they formatted their listing title to match different search terms that a shopper may be looking for? You want to have your title contain the BIGGEST keywords that would encompass the majority of the customer searches. You can save the more niched down keywords for your product for the Etsy tags or description.
Keep in mind though that there is a limit to capital words, special characters, and some are not allowed at all (like dollar signs).
Etsy has a search algorithm that looks through your listing to match what you have and what the customer searched for. However, in Etsy search, this “scanning” of different products by Etsy does not actually look at your description.
So, should you even bother?
Of course you should! The product description on Etsy is really important. There is not a word count for a product description, but you want to use this place to tell a story, sell the customer on the product, and make sure it answers particular questions the customer may have.
We like to make sure our Etsy products have specific descriptions. These are some things to include:
Quick Read: Have you ever tried to read a listing on a forum or a shopping experience where there is just one massive wall of text? My guess is that you skipped it… don’t be that type of sell! Make all your descriptions broken up, easy to read paragraphs (keep them as short and concise as possible). What type of product is it, what materials were used, what the buyer will receive, what size it is, what it looks like. Break these things down.
Add Your Link: If you put a URL in your Etsy description that leads to another page on their marketplace, this becomes clickable. What we like to do is add an Etsy URL to your shop’s main page. If they do not end up buying the item they landed are, this helps to redirect them to more of YOUR products and not someone else.
Let’s take a look at a good description for an Etsy product.
Notice how the first thing this seller does is sell them the idea on this product. Then, they tell them what it is made out of, what it includes, and what features it has. The only thing this is missing is a link to their shop!
Etsy Tags not only help some customers find similar products to the one they are currently looking at, but they also help Etsy when it scans your page and does its query matching to show products to customers.
Each listing can have a max of 13 tags for each listing. This means that you cannot include ALL the keywords and phrases that you can think of. You only have 13 “slots” so each one needs to make a difference!
The goal for Etsy tags should be to get a wide range of terms in there to cover as much “search real estate” as possible. What we mean by this is…let’s say that you are selling necklaces. In this case, not only would you want to use tags such as “gold necklace”, “chains” and “jewelry“… but you would also want to include tags such as “personalized necklace”, “customized pendant”, or “little gold circle” if these are applicable.
Tags on Etsy can be up to 20 characters long and contain multiple words. They actually WANT you to use what we call long-tail keywords as tags because this really lets you niche down on your target audience and who would be searching for what you sell.
Long-tail keywords as tags are where the riches are when it comes to selling on Etsy. If a customer comes to Etsy and searches for something very specific, as long as you are able to come up with that specific keyword as a tag, then you are going to be showing up right at the top. This is how you get in front of your audience.
As an example. Let’s say that you sell personalized artwork to hang on the wall. If someone comes to Etsy and searches, they are going to enter a term much more to the point than “wall art”. They may enter something like “personalized family wall art”. That is a long-tail keywords and will get you ranking if you put it in your tags.
You can check out the tags for an Etsy listing and how well they are optimized (looking at search volume, multi word, and more) through Sale Samurai by entering in a single listing.
Attributes are often forgotten about when it comes to Etsy SEO. Attributes are simply other details that people might use to describe the products that you are selling. These will show up by clicking on the “filters” button on Etsy on the search page that helps shoppers narrow down results so search displays exactly what they are looking for.
Think of these as filtering options for buyers on Etsy.
When creating or optimizing your listings, try and add as many relevant attributes as possible. So, for example, if you are selling hiking boots, you would want to add attributes for the color, the shipping time, location, and so on.
Attributes can also help expand the reach and match potential of the listings you are working with. We see this often in clothing. If you are selling shirts that are special colors, try adding attributes with the much more common names. For example, if you are selling a sweatshirt that is maroon, you could add “red” as a color attribute since this is still accurate and relevant to your listing.
Categories are an interesting subject because these are mainly used to help shoppers navigate to certain parts of Etsy. However, these are also helpful in Etsy SEO when it comes to matching listings to customers and niching down via sub-categories. This is all part of the query matching that goes on behind the scenes.
At this point, I may be repeating myself, but you want everything you choose (including categories) to be as specific as humanly possible! It does not stop at the main category though. You want to ensure that your sub-categories are chosen carefully because Etsy will automatically add your product to the over arching category when you list.
Looking at the above example, if you were a seller that was creating chain & link bracelets, if you put it in this sub-category, it would also show up in bracelets, as well as the main category of Jewelry & Accessories.
Do you know someone in your life that strictly makes buying decisions based on reviews? We do!
The majority of customers will take a look at the reviews before adding it to their cart and making that purchase. This serves as “social proof” that other people bought the same item, enjoyed it, and did not have an issue.
You want to make sure your listings and your shop has great reviews and Etsy actually helps with this. They will ask customers to leave feedback about products, leave reviews, and rate items.
While you cannot just create your own reviews for your products, reviews play a large part in Etsy SEO so the easiest way to increase these is simply adding a note to any shipments that are going out that 1: Thank the customer for their purchase, and then 2: invite them to review the product.
Note: Do not offer anything in exchange for a review, this is against Etsy’s terms of service and they may close your store. Simple asking for a review after you ship a product is allowed. If you end up getting negative reviews, these are actually pretty easily solved on Etsy. Get in touch with the customer and work with them to ensure they are happy and you will often see reviews changing!
Ranking on Etsy is not JUST about the core aspects of your listing. In fact, Etsy’s search algorithm will also consider the customer/market score. This metric is really just giving Etsy an idea of how happy Etsy customers are with your store and there are a few places we can optimize this experience.
Your about section part of your shop is important in the overall shopping experience of your customers. It lets everyone know who you are, what you sell, and build trust with the people who are interacting with your products.
You will want to include a few crucial sections here. The first is that you want to tell the story of who you are and why you wanted to start selling in the first place. Add pictures of WHAT you do and why! Give shoppers the confidence that your store will provide them an awesome shopping experience.
Take a look at the shop above by mignonandmignon. The shop’s about section is great! You can see photos, video, and action shots at the very top.
Below, they break down their about section with their story, their promise, and their products.
Just reading through it gives the customer a sense that if they buy from the shop, they are going to be satisfied (and after 500,000+ sales, I would say they are doing things right!).
It is important you have clear store policies that will 1: give customers a transparent look at how you operate your business, but it also gives you and shoppers a clear indication on what you will accept when it comes to returns. This will give shoppers confidence when they buy, but also protect you if something goes wrong with a customer (it is bound to happen, but it is how you handle it that matters).
This part is really just all about managing the customers expectations. This should clearly outline your shipping, payment options, how returns are handled, and any frequently asked questions.
Just take a look at the same shop we looked at above:
All laid out and clear for the customers! If we keep scrolling, you can also see some of the frequently asked questions.
If you are selling on Etsy in a specific niche, we HIGHLY recommend you make one of these as well. Not only will it save you time (as you can point shoppers there), but it will mean not as many people will send you messages shortening up your customer service queue.
Disputes CAN happen, and if you sell on Etsy long enough, they probably WILL!
If you are running into this, first, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay!
Second, know that if you have a dispute opened within the last 4 months, this can hurt your score on Etsy, but it is something that you can get past. The first thing you will want to do is make sure you communicate.
Get it resolved between you, the buyer, and Etsy as soon as you can. It is not the end of the world.
However, in the future, you will want to make sure what you can do to manage expectations (why polices are so important), and that you keep a constant stream of communication with any buyer. A refund may be a lot better choice than getting a dispute filed against you.
We spoke about product reviews above, but since this is so important, we thought we would mention it again!
Good product reviews are some of the best proof you can give to potential customers on how you operate, what they can expect, and getting new shoppers to click on the buy button.
Each time you sell something, follow up with a thank you note and if they like the product, to review it.
Do not offer anything in exchange, but friendly conversation can get you really far in this business.
There is a reason that many Ecom giants often have free shipping available on certain products. Etsy may be a little behind the times here, but they are coming to the same realization. Etsy knows that a customer is more likely to make a purchase when there is little to NO shipping.
Etsy is now actually giving priority placement in US search results for items that have free shipping. Talk about an optimization opportunity!
So, how do you either lower shipping from what you are currently charging, or offer free shipping? These are often hard costs that are not simply going to go away!
Well, if you haven’t been selling very long, you might not have any idea. However, ALL the big players across all online marketplaces do the same thing.
They bake the shipping cost into the price of the product.
Say you want to LOWER your shipping costs. You would take a portion of the shipping cost and add it to the product price. You would then lower the shipping by that same amount. This makes it look like there is less shipping costs, but the price to you and your margin remains the exact same.
Say you want to offer FREE shipping. You would simply take the entire shipping cost, add it to your listings price, and put the shipping as $0. This will give your Etsy listing a boost in search, but you will also get a free shipping badge displaying on Etsy search!
But wait, won’t customers see right through this?
You would think so, but not really.
In fact, there is another trick that you can have up your sleeve to offer free shipping AND increase your sales at the same time with the same margin that so so many big retailers use.
It works like this. Say you have a product for $100. You need to charge $20 shipping to ship this product to a customer.
So, normally you would charge $120 for that product and have “free” shipping.
You can however, kick it up a notch. Instead of having your product for sale for $120, you now set your product for sale for $200, and run a 40% off sale!
That sounds a LOT better to the customer. A 40% sale, plus free shipping? SCORE!
…while you get the same amount per sale. It’s all about perceived value. If the customer gets the product and loves it, they feel like they got a better deal, and are more likely to leave a review!
Etsy SEO can mostly be free, but if you want to gain the most visibility as possible, you will want to start running Etsy ads to get you up in search.
This will increase your reach, but you will pay for it and Etsy will deduct it from your earnings.
We will not devote much time to this in this article, but it is something to seriously take a look at.
If you look at Etsy search, you will notice that more and more items are becoming sponsored listings. Even if you rank #1 organically for a keyword, you still may be on the second line of results and not at the very top.
That should tell you that the majority of traffic is going to the listings where they are running Etsy Ads!
Just check out the search for “dog bowl”. The entire first row are just ads!
Finally, part of Etsy SEO is actually done outside of Etsy.
That’s right, if you want to build a real business, you will need to put in some time outside of the marketplace marketing your store!
There are a TON of techniques to do this, but here are our 3 favorites.
Etsy’s search engine is complicated which means that Etsy SEO is going to take some time to master.
However, taking everything above and implementing it for your listings as well as your store is going to give you a huge leg up over everyone else.
Remember, the formula is very easy.
Put all together properly as we have laid out above and your Etsy SEO game will be on point to build your store to the next level.
It’s hard work, but you’ve got this!
Good luck out there.
Very informative. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🌻
I am very impressed with this article and also with a video on YouTube which described other great services Sales Samurai offers in SEO research. I will definitely sign up when I have funds available.
GREAT INFORMATION!!! Thx