The Etsy platform works by using a specific algorithm that connects a potential customer’s search query to products that might match what they’re looking for. The algorithm takes quite a few elements of an Etsy shop as well as it’s listings into account to help give your shop strength in the search results based on what the customer searched for.
Even though words play an integral part in this connection, there are other elements as well that factor in to how well your listings rank, and this article will go over a few different ways you can attempt to strengthen your current listings and to rank higher (meaning to rank on a higher page of search results – the first page being the optimal location).
A Seller’s Reality
Trying to figure out how to best work with the Etsy algorithm and increase overall SEO can be a challenge for any seller, especially since Etsy’s algorithm can change time to time. For example, a few years ago, Etsy made drastic changes to how their algorithm functioned, and many sellers saw their sales decrease over night.
The important thing you should keep in mind as a seller is that you should always stay in the know of what Etsy is up to and any changes they are making. They’re very good at communicating this to sellers via their handbook, so just make it a habit to stay in the loop so that as soon as they make changes, you can also change your listings accordingly to comply.
Extra Tip: It’s also important to note that there are many variables that come into play besides the Etsy algorithm that could affect your sales and ranking. These include the popularity of your category of products, the amount of competing shops and market need for what you’re selling.
Below you’ll find a plethora of ways to help boost your shop and listings in the rankings. Please note that while these are all methods that have been helpful to me and others, they are not guarantees and I’m making no promises that sales or rankings will boost.
And if you’re someone who’s just curious about how much one can potentially make on Etsy read this article on how much money you can make as an Etsy seller.
Rule of Thumb when selling on Etsy
Before we begin, a general rule of thumb to follow when working within the Etsy platform is that if it’s there… use it! That means when creating listings, don’t ignore any of the settings, sections or areas where information can be filled in. Try to complete each section as thoroughly as possible. Etsy’s algorithm equates completeness with a quality seller, therefore it could help bump up your listings in the search results.
In addition, if Etsy rolls out a new feature, such as it recently did with Free Shipping, it’s important to consider using it. When a new offering rolls out, Etsy is more inclined to boost the sellers that are using the new features than the ones that aren’t.
Extra Tip: If your products are very similar, instead of creating a new listing from scratch, you can duplicate listings instead and just change the titles, descriptions and photos, while keeping all the settings the same.
Etsy listing images
As an online shopper, you might have realized that photos are what sell products on the internet! Therefore it’s super important for your photos to be aesthetically pleasing, while also properly showing off the product. Taking great Etsy photos isn’t difficult and can be done with your phone. Here’s a great guide on how to take awesome listing photos for Etsy.
10 Photo Limit
Etsy allows you to post up to 10 photos for each product listing and my advice is to use all 10 spots! Even if you upload a similar picture, use all 10, as this gives your listings strength, and Etsy’s algorithm will view your account as strong, which may help boost your ranking.
Extra Tip: Another great tip for photos is naming the actual files before you upload them to Etsy. For example instead of uploading IMG1329.JPG, change the name of the file to be relevant to what you’re selling. If you were selling baby onesies, IMG1329.JPG would be Baby-Onesies-for-Girls.JPG. Adding in this text to the photo files just gives you a little bit more of a boost in strengthening your account!
Etsy Keywords and SEO
When it comes to search and ranking on Etsy, words are KEY. For many sellers, the concept of keyword research can seem overwhelming and scary, but it doesn’t have to be, and I’m going to guide you through conducting keyword analysis and research!
Before we jump in about keywords though, it’s important to first think about the customer journey. The customer journey is just a fancy way of describing the experience a potential customer has before they buy something. Think about yourself and the last time you bought something online. What was your experience? What did you do? What did your journey on that website look like? Did you type something into google? Did you go directly to a specific eCommerce site and randomly browse, or did you go a a specific site to make a specific purchase? This all encapsulates your customer journey and we’re going to use it to do some keyword research.
When someone first arrives on the Etsy website they’re most likely coming to the site primed to buy something specific. If that something specific is what you’re selling, your responsibility is to meet them halfway by showing up in the results page when they search.
One of the main ways to do this is by making sure you’re using the same words in your listings and titles as the potential customer is searching. How are you supposed to know what someone else is searching? By getting creative of course! Below are a few steps and tools you can take to conduct your research.
- Make a list – the first step in the process is creating a brainstormed list of all the different words you would call your product that you’re selling. Record the words that come to mind, ask a few friends or family members what they’d call that product, and try using a thesaurus to see if there are any other words that you aren’t thinking of.
Extra Tip: It’s also helpful to do some research and see if your products are called something different in other regions or countries.
2. Using Etsy Stats – Using the data Etsy is already collecting can be very useful in gathering great keywords – there might even be some terms that potential customers are searching that you might not even know about!
For example, when I first started selling blanket scarves in my Etsy shop, I was only using the terms, “scarf” and “scarves”. However, I soon realized that potential customers oftentimes use the term “shawl” to look for scarves! This was a pure a-ha moment, and I started to incorporate the term “shawl” into my titles and listings going forward.
Extra Tip: To find this data you’ll need to look in the back end of your Etsy shop. Follow this path
Stats > Stats for “This Year” > Scroll down to “Search Terms”
This is where you can see some data on what people are searching to land on your products. Browsing through this can be helpful to incorporate new terms into your listings. Some of course could be one-off searches, but this info can be valuable in helping current listings AND coming up with new products/ offers.
- Once you have a pretty decent list formed, it’s time to think about secondary keywords. These are terms someone might use to search for your category of products. For example, if you sell monogrammed Bridal hankies, your potential customer might search “Gifts for Bride”. It’s important to think about these types of keywords as not only are they popular search terms, but oftentimes Etsy Editors will create gift guides within these categories and it can’t hurt to use some of these phrases to help your chances of being included.
Extra Tip: Browse the Etsy Homepage to see what Categories or “Gifts for…” categories that Etsy is already highlighting. If they’re highlighting it, they know it’s a popular search!
3. You can also use keyword software such as EtsyRank and Marmalead to help you do some research of what keywords are performing well on the platform, as well as the current competition. You’ll need to pay to use these, but you can also load in your listings and they will give you a current rating and ways to fix your listings to help you rank better.
Now that you have a thorough list of words and phrases a customer might use to find your products, it’s time to incorporate them into your titles and listings. I think it’s best to just pick a few to focus on. So pick 2-3 primary keywords and 1-2 secondary keywords.
Listing Titles – Best Practices
Etsy gives you up to 140 characters to form a title, however many sources say it’s best to stick around 100 characters for optimal results. You want to incorporate the main keywords and some descriptive words into your title. You might want to add more descriptive elements into your title, but these can be added into your Product Description Section.
Extra Tip: It’s best practice to use the strongest word as the first one in the title. You can also format the title however you like.
Below are a few examples of how to do so.
Blanket Scarf / Monogrammed Scarf / Personalized Scarf / Gifts for Her / Christmas Gifts for Her / Monogrammed Shawl / Black and White Scarf
Blanket Scarf Monogrammed Scarf Personalized Scarf Gifts for Her Christmas Gifts for Her Monogrammed Shawl Black and White Scarf
Blanket Scarf, Monogrammed Scarf, Personalized Scarf, Gifts for Her, Christmas Gifts for Her, Monogrammed Shawl, Black and White Scarf
Blanket Scarf – Monogrammed Scarf – Personalized Scarf – Gifts for Her – Christmas Gifts for Her – Monogrammed Shawl – Black and White Scarf
Listing Tags – Best Practices
It’s always best to try and match all 13 tags to the words in the Title. If you have a few to fill, use some of the keywords that are on your list, but you didn’t get a chance to use in the title. The tags help Etsy know what your product is and is super influential when it comes to ranking in search.
Extra Tip: Make sure to use all 13 tags!
- Best Practices for Etsy descriptions are that you keep them between 250 – 300 words. This is quite short, but plenty of room to get in the pertinent information and important keywords.
- Utilize your top keywords in your descriptions. Try and use each keyword twice.
- Etsy also really likes when you use complete sentences that are easy to read.
- Avoid big words and language that is too too flowery. Err on the side of keeping it simple and to the point.
Extra Tip: I always like copying and pasting the title into the top of the description for an extra keyword boost!
eRank – Keyword Research Tool
This free tool is the secret sauce of improving your ranking in Etsy search. You can use the listing grader feature and see how your listings rank A through F. The tool gives you tips to improve your SEO and also a visibility score.
The best part is that it’s a free tool! You can upgrade to the pro version for better keyword features but the free version is great starting out.
I’ve been using eRank for many years and reviewed eRank here.
While making these changes to your Etsy listings and account cannot guarantee more sales or a boost in the search results, it will surely make your listings more complete and easier for your potential customers to find.
It’s always important to keep an eye on views, sales and favorites so that if you don’t see the uptick you’d hoped for, it might be worth changing up some images, keywords or descriptions until you see some movement. eCommerce is all about refining until you get it right for your specific product, and by using these guidelines, it’s a great way to start that process!