As an Etsy seller, search engine optimization (SEO) is something you’ve probably heard about over and over again—and for good reason! It’s crucial to optimize your store so that your customers can find you. Even if you have a killer product and great photos, without good SEO, you might never be found. So let’s get your shop the attention it deserves with these tips for Etsy SEO.
So, why IS SEO so important?
The simple answer is that SEO is how people ‘discover’ your products. SEO is a big deal for any business, but it is especially important for Etsy sellers because you want customers to be able to find you through both Google searches and on Etsy. By optimizing your shop, you put yourself in a position to be found amongst the masses of other products that are out there—and found by the right people!
Let’s get to optimizing.
One of the best ways to start optimizing your shop is by finding and using the right keywords. And what are the “right” keywords? It all depends on your buyers and their perspective. What might a potential customer search to find your product? Or what might a customer search for, for which your product is the answer?
You can use research and analytics tools like Marmalead, Google keyword planner and ETSY Rank to identify what keywords and phrases are being used by your potential customers. They provide data to help inform your decisions about which keywords to include in your listings.
Google keyword planner, for example, shows you how many times per month a particular keyword is searched. You could use this information to determine which keywords you want your own shop to be ranked for. It also provides data on the competition level for a given word; a keyword with high competition means that it is used very frequently and will be difficult to rank for, whereas a low competition keyword will likely be easier to rank for (your shop will be more likely to show up high in the search results). Try to find keywords that are relevant to your product but low on competition!
Also check out: How to do keyword research the smart way
Another great (and easy!) way to gather keywords is to use Pinterest. Just type keyword phrases into the search bar that you think a customer might use, and a drop-down menu will appear with keywords in order of popularity. This is also great because if your product is on pinterest, it will directly translate to traffic for your shop.
Similar to Pinterest, Etsy has a search function that you can use to hunt down keywords. However, Etsy’s drop-down menu displays the most recent terms searched, so don’t rely entirely on Etsy for quality keywords. Use it in combination with the other resources available to you.
What not to do
Don’t get keyword-crazy and make changes to all of your listings right away. Make changes on a few listings (or make certain changes on a handful of listings and different changes on another handful) and compare them to your other listings to see how their performance changes and what keywords are working best. Once you’ve tested out some keywords and learned what’s the most effective, then you should apply those changes to all of your listings.
2. Create a listing title
Once you’ve created a list of keywords and phrases, you can put it to use by including those words as you craft your listings. Let’s start with the title:
- Use all 140 characters available to you!
- The most important characters are the ones at the beginning of the title; they will receive higher priority in search placements. Decide which specific keywords or phrases are most important for your listing (which words are you most likely to “be found” for?) and include them in the first 40 characters.
- Make your titles keyword-rich but also comprehensible. Don’t just fill it with keywords! Remember that once your listing is found, there’s an actual person reading it!
3. Craft your product description
The listing descriptions are where you can help make your product shine! Think about your target audience and craft descriptions that would appeal to them. How would you speak to someone about your product if you were selling it face-to-face?
- Remember that, between your description and your photos, your customers need to learn everything they want to know about your product. Since they’re buying it online, they can’t interact with it before making a purchase decision. Be sure to consider what kinds of information they might want when exploring your product.
- With that said, you want to make sure your descriptions are written to SELL! Don’t just describe the product by saying “It’s a soy candle, lemongrass scented, in an amber jar. It is 3” wide and 5” tall.” You want your customers to imagine how their life will be better once they have your product! Sell them “a handmade lemongrass soy candle that will fill the room with the clean, subtle scent of springtime. It’s amber-colored jar and typewritten label make it a stylish addition to your decor, and it’s medium size provides you with weeks of use while allowing it to fit perfectly on any counter or end table. Works great as a gift—for someone else or for yourself!”
- Write descriptions that sell, not merely describe the product. Think about how the product will add value and benefit the buyer instead of simply listing the features of the product. Your buyer is not ONLY interested in features and specs – they want to know what’s in it for them. They want to know how their life will be better once they buy your product. Turn your product features into enticing benefits.
You should use both generic and more targeted keywords in your descriptions. Shorter keywords will get more traffic, but there will also be more competition for those words. These are often words that are searched by people who are browsing for nothing-too-specific. (For example, someone might search for “candle.”) On the other hand, more specific phrases (like “handmade soy candle”) can result in more sales because people searching for that specific item are likely ready to make a purchase.
Also check out: 7 simple steps to writing product descriptions that sell
4. Optimize your images
As an Etsy seller, you know how important your product images are. Etsy’s research shows that a product image plays a crucial role in a customer’s decision to purchase an item—even more so than its price or reviews. Customers rely on images to communicate what your written description might not: quality, shape, size, texture, etc. They can’t hold your product in their hands or interact with it before making a decision, so quality, informative images are a must!
- Use all 10 photo spots! Show a stand-alone photo of your product, show detail shots of things like clasps or other important parts, illustrate how the item might be used, show it being held or next to a recognizable item for scale, etc. The more photos you use, the more information you’re giving your customers. You can even include progress shots or images of your packaging to show off your craftsmanship and brand.
- Keep everything looking consistent by uploading all of your photos with the same dimensions. That way, Etsy doesn’t apply any default formatting (aka gross gray background).
- Utilize a descriptive “alt tag” to tell search engines what each image is about. Be sure to include keywords.
- Take high-quality photos from the get-go so that you have good images to work with. Make sure your photos are well-lit, in-focus, and intentionally cropped. If you are new to product photography or want some extra guidance, check out A Complete Guide to ETSY Product Photography.
Once you have great photos, how do you choose which one best showcases your listing? Is it a crisp studio shot with a white background? Is it a close-up? Is it a lifestyle shot of someone using the product? The answer is that there is no hard-and-fast answer! We have run analytics on thousands of photos, and we’ve learned that it is impossible to consistently predict which photo will be the most successful. The only way to know for sure for any particular photo is by testing the photos to see which one works best. (That’s the whole reason we created Whatify.) You can use our photo analytics software to test out different primary photos and see which one performs the best. (Check out our free trial.)
5. Sync everything up
To achieve the best SEO results, all of your titles, tags, and descriptions should reinforce each other. It’s a common mistake for Etsy sellers to use different keywords in the title and the tags for a listing because they assume that if you use a large variety of keywords, they have a higher chance of being found. However, matching keywords between your tags and title actually increases the relevance of the keywords and makes them perform better.
If some of the keyword phrases in your title are too long to be used as tags, you can break them up into several shorter phrases. For example, “handmade lemongrass scented soy candle” can become “handmade candle,” “soy candle,” “lemongrass candle,” and “scented candle.” Don’t worry about the order of your tags; unlike in the title, Etsy will treat each tag equally.
6. Get some reviews
Ask for feedback from your customers! Having quality reviews from real people, a completed “about” page, and clearly defined store policies will help improve your shop’s SEO as well as your sales conversions once people actually find your shop.
7. Create backlinks
If you bring traffic to Etsy via backlinks, it will reward you with higher search placement! You can create backlinks by:
- Having a presence on social media
- Including links to your Etsy store in your blog posts
- Building relationships with bloggers and other people with high influence. You can do this by following and interacting with them on social media or even sending them products to review. The goal is for them to talk about your product with their audience, creating more backlinks to Etsy, improving your SEO, and driving traffic to your store.
8. Keep it fresh
Etsy gives priority to newer listings—newer meaning either a brand new listing or a recently renewed listing. Basically, if you have well-optimized images and descriptions for a particular search, you put yourself even higher on the list by having newer items in your shop. You can even stay on top of this by using tools like Etsy on Sale to auto-renew your listings. Be sure to renew your listing at peak traffic times! Look for spikes in views in your Etsy stats to determine when your audience is most likely to be online.
9. Test and adjust
The most effective way to manage SEO for your shop is by keeping track of what you’re doing and how well it’s working, and then adjust accordingly.
- Identify the most successful items in your shop based on the number of views those listings receive and record how it performs each week. You can use tools like Etsy Gadget to monitor where your listings are turning up in search results. Don’t be too worried about small daily fluctuations, but if you see a major drop take action and create a new listing for that product.
- Don’t stop with keywords. Make sure you’re frequently testing your product photos, especially as you add new listings.
- On Etsy, changes to your SEO can produce results very quickly. This makes it easy to continually make and test changes to your listings. Change, test, and adjust. Repeat.
Approach SEO as a long-term investment in your shop’s performance. While you may see immediate results from your efforts, it can also take days or even weeks for the impact to reach your rankings, so have patience!
Are you an SEO master? Leave comments and questions below!