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Etsy is a peer-to-peer, e-commerce website that has been steadily growing and generating buzz over the past years as more people, both customers, and sellers flock to the platform. The company has been able to position themselves as one of the best alternatives for someone looking to market their products online, and they have been able to do so thanks to a somewhat unique strategy the field.
While other e-commerce sites present their customers with the possibility of being able to sell anything on their platform (Such as eBay and Amazon) or cater to those wanting to establish their online storefront, Etsy decided to go for a slightly different route: Niche.
Instead of going toe-to-toe with those significant brands, Etsy took the route of preserving the open crafts fairs tradition, rather than positioning as another website where you can sell whatever you want, Etsy branded itself as the marketplace to buy and sell handmade, vintage and unique factory-manufactured items.
Which is why, with over 54 million users registered, the company recorded over $1.93 billion worth of sales made on the platform by 2014, making it one of the healthier and most profitable ecologies of e-commerce out there for you to take advantage of in case your products align with the platform.
However, as particular as Etsy’s products are, given the niche they trade in, the site is at the end of the day, just another search engine.
A search engine designed and targeted to connect sellers with products within its niche, with buyers looking precisely for those kinds of things. Which means that, beyond their traditional focus and unique piece of the market they are catering to, SEO for Etsy is an essential component, necessary for any store or seller on the platform to thrive.
SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is a blanket term used to denote the strategies, techniques, and principles that can (and need to) be taken advantage of, to have your product or store rank higher on a website’s search results.
When someone is trying to buy something online, they need to search for it. Etsy provides a platform where people can search for a specific kind of product and you as a seller want to be among the first ones they see, this is called Exposure.
The better you rank in search results, the more exposure you have, the more exposure you have, the more people come in contact with your products and more chances to convert sales.
Exposure = Sales = $$$.
And the best tool at your disposal to increase your products exposure is SEO.
However, approaching such an extensive subject as SEO can be daunting, to say the least, especially for those not tech-savvy, but I’m telling you, this doesn’t have to be the case.
This guide has simple and effective SEO for Etsy strategies that anyone can apply to their products. Tweaks that when implemented will start driving more people to find your items on the site and have you profiting for doing something you love.
To make it even more straightforward, the guide is separated into two major sections covering the most important areas of SEO for Etsy. Part I is about Keyword research and where to implement them in your Etsy listings, and part II is about Listing activity, where we cover other subjects that directly influence how high your products are positioned on Etsy’s search results, such as recency and conversion rate, including a few strategies you can implement to help you in those areas.
Part I - Keyword Research & Implementation
Doing the proper, practical keyword research for your product is the cornerstone upon which you’ll base every other aspect of your SEO for Etsy strategy. Your aim while doing this research is very straightforward: Find the best set of keywords that relate to your article so that you can implement them all through your product’s Etsy listings.
What constitutes the best keywords? Simple, you want those words most often used by people to find the type of item you are selling (that is, words that have a large volume of monthly searches) that also have a low competition and relate as closely as possible to your item.
Quick example: If you are crafting metallic fantasy necklaces for your Etsy store, and you went for “Necklace” as your keyword, you’d have in your hands a very popular word that people most often use to find necklaces online. However, the sheer volume of people also implementing this simple word in their listings makes it an unusable one for the purposes to rank better.
Instead, you take such word as a starting point, and through your research, you’ll obtain suggestions to better sets of keywords more accurately related to your product with a lower amount of competition. Which in turn fulfills all the criteria we are looking for, but before I give you the tools to do so, a couple of broad principles you should keep in mind.
- Only select keywords that represent your items: Selecting “Bracelet” only because it has more search volume over “Necklace” won’t work if what you are selling are necklaces, even though they are closely related. Always favor the word that works for your product.
- Go for the Long tail: As a general principle, it is easier and more efficient to rank for “longtail keywords”, this means that instead of going just for “Necklace” as a keyword, you should aim at selecting longer, more accurate variants that also fulfil our criteria, for example, “Metallic Fantasy Necklace”
- Start with a list of options: Before you even begin to use a keyword research tool, take some time and generate a list with the words you’d use as a customer if you were looking for an item like yours. You don’t need to come up with too many; just a handful will do since the research will give you many other even more accurate ones. At this stage, using single, broad words is ok. These words will be your starting point.
Once you have those bases covered, it is time to jump into the actual research tools.
The first one I’ll suggest (and one of the most effective free tools out there to do keyword research) is Google’s Keyword Planner.
It is free and highly reliable, mainly because of the sheer volume of people using Google as their primary way to find stuff online, which is probably the way they’d look for things in other search engines, like Etsy.
We’ve covered in great detail how to use Google’s tool to do keyword research (Link to SEO for BigCommerce guide) in other guides, so I’ll focus on a different tool this time around that I’ve seen works great when doing keyword research for Etsy, and it comes from Serps.com
The landing page for Serp.com will tell you about their pricing and plans, but the tool we are going to use is entirely free, and you can get to it directly by clicking this link or by clicking the “tool” tab at the top right corner of the site.
Once there, just begin entering your starting keywords one by one on the text bar (1) and click the verification captcha (2) on the right before hitting the Search Button (3)
The tool will generate a list of suggested keywords (1) while providing you with valuable information to help you narrow down into the best keywords for your product. The volume column (2) tells you an estimate of the monthly searches people do on that keyword.
Just go through the list and consider how well the suggestions relate to your actual product and compare their volume characteristics. In the example’s case, Metallic Necklace as a higher volume than the rest (four times as much) which might be an indication that going for that one might make it hard to compete. Taking into account we are favoring longer keywords, (and that the volume of the other suggestions is pretty much the same) you might just choose between “Metallic Collar Necklace”, “Metallic Chain Necklace”, and “Metallic Bead Necklace” which narrows the choices and makes it easier to pick the one that fits your items best.
Once you do this for all your initial keywords you should have a hefty pool of strong keywords to build the rest of your SEO for Etsy strategy, now let’s go over those sections of an Etsy listing where you should implement them to have the most impact.
A strong title is the basis for having your product to rank higher on Etsy’s search results, and once you have powerful keywords to feed into it, crafting a great title to go with your product will be pretty straightforward, here’s a formula I tend to favor:
[Main Keyword] ｜ [2 Keywords with high Search Volume] + [Value Prop] + [Style or Quantity when applicable]
Select your primary keyword (this is the one on your list that has the most volume, least competition and best relates to your item) and use it at the beginning of the title. In my example, this would be “Metallic Collar Necklace” this is a great keyword because it tells the customer exactly what my product is, and my research has already told me it is a set of words a lot of people use to find my kind of product. Add a couple other keywords that enhance or provide further details on your product and a short “Value prop” or advertisement sentence that evokes on your potential customer the benefit of your product. Finally add details such as size and colors, etc., whenever applicable.
So, for example, my imaginary necklace title might be something like this:
Metallic Collar Necklace ｜Double Chain Necklace with Dragon Pendant. Ideal for evening wear. In colors black and silver.
Another essential place to cover your bases as far as Keyword implementation goes on Etsy is tags. These are basically important words (keywords) that you feel strongly relate to your product and want Etsy to take notice of and consider your listing whenever someone searches for them or words related to them.
Now, once you have done your research you have more than enough to fill this requirement, but there’s a couple of things you should keep in mind when doing so:
- Use Keywords in order of importance: Just as in the title, use your stronger/main keyword first and then keep adding them in descending order of importance/keyword strength.
- 20-character limit: Tags are limited to 20 characters since we are going for longtail keywords, this might not always be enough, in such cases break up your keyword and place a few words in one and complete them in the following tag.
- Up to 13 tags per listing: This should be plenty of space to enter most, if not all, your keywords, but don’t feel obligated to keep adding keywords just to fill a quota. If you keep adding for the sake of adding you might dilute the strength of your listing.
Once you finish adding your listing’s tag, you move to the third place where keyword implementation is most effective, your product’s description.
In your product description, you have more breathing room.
In theory, the potential customer has already clicked your listing and has some interest in your product; descriptions are there to do the final convincing.
The primary focus of your descriptions should be to expand the details and information of your product while presenting the benefits it will bring to your customers, that being said, it is an ideal place to double down on your keyword placement, but this should be a secondary objective. What I mean is, whenever possible, introduce a keyword, but only when it doesn’t get in the way and enhances what you are already doing, which is present your product in the best way possible to your potential buyer.
Part II – Recency, Conversion, and general strategies.
When we talk about recency, we are merely referring to a characteristic most essential as far as SEO for Etsy goes, given the platform places a lot of weight into it.
To keep their site active and alive, Etsy places a great deal of importance to new and active listings. Products that have fallen stagnant, with no sells or customer activity whatsoever, are interpreted by Etsy’s algorithms as less relevant and are in consequence pushed down the list of search results.
On the other hand, recent listings receive a bump in the search result, directly impacting your exposure positively. Etsy provides you with a powerful function in the subject of recency, to help you keep your listing fresh and give it a bump once in a while when you are starting out and might not have yet natural exposure, this is the renew function.
Accessing it is very simple, on your Etsy Shop Manager, go to the third option on the left menu Listings (1) where you’ll be able to see all your products listings. Once there just click the Check Box (2) on the product listing you wish to renew and the Renew Button (3) at the top menu will become clickable.
Once you do, it will display a small window with the listings (or just the one) you selected, the quantity (if you so wish to adjust to a new amount available), the new expiration date, and a summary of the cost, which brings me to the caveats of this function:
- Renew function costs money: it is regularly a few cents per listings, but it is something you should certainly take into account, especially if you are going to be using this function on a regular basis.
- When should you renew: this is an entirely subjective decision. However, there are a few broad principles that can help you decide when. When you are starting out and your product doesn’t have too much exposure, it might be a good practice to renew it once a week to continually receive the bump and have your product appearing on the top results. Also, when your product reaches its expiration date, it is usually better to renew it rather than making the whole listing from scratch.
- When shouldn’t you renew a listing: When you have a very active Item, one is receiving a lot of visits, being bought a lot and reviewed a lot, continually renewing your listing might not be at all necessary since you’ll be organically figuring in the top results for that product anyway.
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Conversion is another significant point of interest Etsy takes into account when figuring out which product list further up on search results, and it merely refers to the percentage of people that once that has seen your product, decides to buy it.
A thousand things might affect your rate of conversion, and tracking or obsessing over it is not worth it. If you have a good product, have applied SEO for Etsy techniques, and are a little patient, your product will start selling, and conversion will improve. That being said, there are a couple of strategies you might wish to consider in order to kickstart the whole process and get the ball rolling earlier.
- Interlinking products: if you have similar or related products listed in your Etsy shop, a good practice is to have a link to the most relevant ones in your product description. For example, if I’m also selling a type of bracelet that pairs perfectly with the Metallic Necklace, it might be a great idea to add in its description a mention and a link to the bracelet. If the Necklace is already selling well, this will benefit the exposure of the bracelet and vice versa.
- Having friends engage with your content: Having a couple of friend buying and reviewing your products through Etsy’s platform can be a great boon for your listing. This will tell Etsy that there are people interested, buying and positively reviewing your product, and have it listed higher in the search results.
- Offer a limited, review sale: This might work when launching a new product, pricing it below its cost for a limited run (say three items) as “review items” those interested can get them for a way lower price to review them, and this will help your product’s conversion and exposure.
Etsy is a unique way of making e-commerce right now, whose niche focus is greatly benefitting its users, both sellers and buyers, evidenced by the rapid growth and popularity the site’s been harnessing as of late.
It is certainly a market anyone doing business with items relating to it, such as handmade or vintage product, needs to exploit and take advantage of.
Applying SEO for Etsy is one of the surest paths to grow your starting shop into a profitable business that will have you doing what you love while getting paid for it, however in this guide we only cover the basics to get you going. If your aim for your Etsy shop is high, contacting the services of a SEO expert such as OTT can eliminate the need for a learning curve and have your store benefiting from having advanced SEO on your listings, giving you more exposure in no time.
And remember, Exposure = $$$.
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