How to Spruce Up the SEO in Your Etsy Shop

Posted on February 20, 2013 in Build Your Brand by Katie Oskin

Etsy Shop Makeover - Etsy SEO on KatersAcres Blog http://KatersAcres.com

Today it is my awesome joy to have another guest blogger join me.  I met Patricia over two years ago and instantly she was a person that I knew I’d love: smart, helpful, kind, joyous, willing to help, and a supremely hard worker.  Patricia runs an extremely successful Etsy shop, DellCoveSpices, and has just leased a fabulous corner store in Chicago (you go girl!). Without any further ado, Patricia is going to help us to all understand how vital SEO is for your Etsy store, Google and more! Patricia … let’s Etsy SEO today, shall we?!

SEO

A Starter’s Guide to Being Found on Etsy and Google

Etsy & SEO - How to Get Found, Drive Traffic, & Get Sales on KatersAcres Blog http://KatersAcres.comLet me begin by saying that while David is the computer guru in the family, I am not a computer database or analysis expert by any stretch. What we’ve learned – and what we’re sharing with you here – is some of the information that we’ve gathered over the past year, put it into practice and seen very positive results for our Etsy-based spice shop. And given that so many people have been generous with their time and information, we wanted to pay it forward: We figured that if we could improve our shop’s visibility online, others might like to know how we did it.

So….grab that cup of coffee or tea (or cocktail) and let’s start!

WHY IS IT THAT WHEN I TRY TO FIND MY <FABULOUS WORK> IN ETSY’S SEARCH ENGINE, OR ON GOOGLE, BILLIONS OF OTHER LISTINGS ARE IN FRONT OF MINE? IT’S A CONSPIRACY TO CRUSH MY SHOP AND PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS, RIGHT??

I know it can feel that way. But that’s not what’s happening. (At least, I don’t think that’s what is happening.) More likely, it’s because your shop and listings need some SEO finessing.

S….E…..O….WHAT?!?!?

SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is something every artist who has an online presence needs to understand. You may never become a computer wizard. That’s ok. You don’t need to be.

But whether you are just starting out with your online shop, or you’re an Etsy veteran, we all understand the importance of having customers (and the curious virtual window-shopper) finding your work online.That’s where SEO comes in.

WHAT IS SEO?

SEO is the process of setting up your site – or, in the case of an Etsy shop, your listings – to attract traffic from the search engines in a free and organic way. This is traffic from people typing in search terms – and showing up in the search engine’s results – rather than purchasing an advertisement in order to be found. All major search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing, have such results.

Etsy has a similar set-up with its Search function.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

That seemingly simple question can have a fairly complicated answer. Let’s examine Etsy’s Search first.

The key is to become relevant to Etsy’s search engine. Put another way. Etsy is a librarian – and the customers are readers hunting for the exact right book. So, Etsy’s Search needs to have a system that takes in all sorts of information about millions of products and pops out the best answer for the customer hunting for…say…stained glass, wine charms, popcorn seasonings, or whatever fantastic thing it is you make!

In general, Google and Bing and other search engines have to do the same thing. They each have their own super-secret recipe (called an algorithm) that organizes all that information into search results.

Those results matter. A lot. If you have higher rankings, more people will find you.

So what you need to figure out is what sort of stuff (or ingredients, if we’re continuing the cooking analogy) that needs to be on your shop pages in order to best fit Etsy’s and Google’s (and others) search recipes.

Enter SEO (or in the Etsy world, Search Relevancy).

WHERE DO I START?

When Etsy shifted its search to having its search function weighted on relevancy (how relevant is the listing to what the person wants to find?) instead of recency (when was this widget listed for sale?), we realized that we needed to take a closer look at our shop and make some changes.

The first thing we did was join a couple of SEO-specific teams on Etsy. The two that I highly recommend are:

  • CindyLouWho Team on EtsyCindyLouWho Team – Cindy is fantastic and a fount of information.
  • Relevancy and SEO for All Etsy Shops – Mary is also fantastic, and someone who has been optimizing companies’ web sites for years.

There are other teams out there – these are just two of our favorites! Both have pretty extensive discussion threads that outline the basics and get fairly deep into issues tied with Etsy Search Relevancy and Google SEO.

Then, we went on to take a look at our listings….ouch.

HOW DO I WRITE A LISTING TITLE?

We learned that words matter. There’s been a lot of chatter on Etsy about the order of your words – and whether that’s important (same with the order of your tags at the bottom of the listing).

Here’s what we’ve found: It does seem to help a bit if your most relevant words are placed at the beginning of your title.

Unless you have a crystal ball, you won’t ever be able to glean all the different search terms that people are going to use to find your products. But you can figure out a lot of them.

Try going to Etsy’s search bar and type in a few general descriptive words and see what comes up. For example, if we want to figure out ways people are finding our popcorn seasonings, I would start typing in “pop…”

Some of the words that come back are:

  • Popcorn
  • Popcorn box
  • Ready to Pop (a term associated with baby showers)

If I keep typing out the word “popcorn” I get:

  • Popcorn bag
  • Popcorn cones
  • Popcorn bowl
  • Popcorn seasoning
  • Popcorn bar
  • Gourmet popcorn
  • Popcorn popper
  • Popcorn wrappers

Now, some of these terms are not applicable – but some of them are! These terms pop up because Etsy’s search system has found that these words are being used in real searches by real customers. And sometimes, customers will pick one of these drop-down terms – instead of typing in their whole query.

On Google, you can do the same thing. However, this link offers you some great ideas of advanced Google search terms:

adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

I spend way too much time on this Web page. But it’s really helpful to use it – and find out whether the words you’re using in your title, listing description and tags are what normal customers are using when they search for your fantastic products. If it’s not, then you know you need to make a change!

WHAT ELSE?

Take a look at the order of the words in your title.

If we want to be relevant for the search “popcorn seasoning”, then we need to have the phrase “popcorn seasoning” in our title AND IN A TAG. We need them in both places. We also have the phrase in the first sentence of your listing.

However, having the phrase “popcorn salt seasoning” will mean the listing will not show up as relevant for the search “popcorn seasoning” because of the extra word between “popcorn” and “seasoning”.

Also – don’t have single word tags. Having “popcorn” and “seasoning” is not as good as having them on one tag together for people searching for “popcorn seasoning”.

While Etsy’s tags are not currently part of the data that Google collects, you need the tags for Etsy’s site search engine. Use them. Use all of them.

Once you have your words – use them! Use the phrases and words throughout your shop and your different listings.

HOW MANY WORDS SHOULD I USE IN MY LISTING TITLE?

You’ve probably come across titles that are super-stuffed, don’t make sense to read – or repeat a word over and over. Repeating an important word or phrase is fine. But keyword stuffing isn’t great. It can actually come back and bite you in the butt, in the Google search world. For Google, title tags ideally should be a maximum of 70 characters long, including spaces.

I HAVE LOTS OF THE SAME TYPE OF FABULOUS PRODUCTS FOR SALE. CAN I JUST CUT AND PASTE MY TITLE OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

Nope. (I know. Sorry!) Your titles and descriptions need to be different, otherwise search engines will see them as duplicate pages – and your ranking in the search engine will suffer.

Use this as a chance to test out some of your lesser tried-out keywords. And that can help you get more views in the long run!

What do I mean by that? Let’s say you are selling wine charms in different colors. Your titles could open up this way:

  • Wine Charms …
  • Blue wine charms ….
  • Green wine charms …
  • Silver wine charms …

What if they’re all the same color, but other things make them different? Then think about what that difference is and highlight it!

  • Rustic wine charms …
  • Cocktail wine charms …
  • Custom wine charms …
  • Personalized wine charm …

WHAT DO I NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT?

That seems to change, day by day. Based on what we’re seeing reported in some of the SEO teams and from Etsy administration, Etsy’s relevancy search system is not based on the following things:

• Item descriptions
• Materials
• Tag order
• Number of listings in a shop

Though, we’re trying to pay close attention to make sure that doesn’t change.

PHEW! THAT’S A LOT TO DO!

It is. So take it slow. Remember, running a successful Etsy shop is like running a marathon – not a sprint. You want slow and steady growth for long-term success.

One note of caution: Don’t change all of your listings at once.

We did. It was a mistake. Instead, try changing a few and see what happens. Did you start showing up in search? See an increase in traffic? Hopefully, the answer is yes! And do keep a close eye on your stats page. You can find that area by clicking on “Your Shop” and then, on the left side of your monitor, click on “Shop Stats.” Watch to see what is happening with your stats – and give the changes at least a week. It can take some time for the changes to show results.

I hope that some of this information can help you take your first steps to understanding the often-murky world of SEO.

Etsy Shop Makeover - Etsy SEO on KatersAcres Blog http://KatersAcres.com

We’re David and Patricia, a husband-and-wife team who love a good story as much as a great glass of wine. We fell in love over bowls of spicy gumbo and platters of freshly shucked oysters. We love to travel, which lets us explore farmers markets, Amish produce auctions and hidden culinary hot spots in big cities and tiny towns.

We live by this simple mantra: It’s good to play with your food.

Shop Dell Cove Spice Company Now

Thanks for joining me today. Join me next week to Build Your Brand on Etsy & experience success.

 
8 Comments for this entry
Jocelyn @ Designs by Jocelyn
March 12, 2014
01:55

Thanks for these valuable info. I will certainly implement these for handmade jewelry business my shop. Hopefully the sales will get better. I am seriously thinking of using other ways to make my jewelry business profitable, other than selling on Etsy. Thanks!

Reply
Lilia Vanini
April 9, 2013
12:03

Hi Patricia, one question again, because you wrote about this already on this article, but sorry to ask, I am triyng to understand this and redo my entire shop, that you said don´t do it, but my questio is, I see that all your descriptions are different, I was copy and paste my descriptions that is so wrong right?, but my questions, just the top part of the description were you describe the item need to change and I can leave the same the rest,as for example links to other sections of my shop or general information about my shop, or under your experience is better to change everything and maybe in some items have some internal links and in others other information and so on like that, please if you can explain me a little about that, before to start the big work, I really appreciate
Thank you and I love your shop
Lilia

Reply
Patricia with Dell Cove Spices
February 22, 2013
07:58

Hi Laura (and everyone!)

Regarding the listing/relisting – the answer is yes and no. Yes, Etsy does take into account the recency of a listing (or “when was this beautiful item listed to be sold”) in where it ranks items. But it gives other elements – known as “relevancy” – far more weight.

It’s part of the reason why, in the browse sections, you’ll see something show up in a category that doesn’t seem to belong. Say (and I’m making this up for an example) a little girl’s hat in a browse section of ideal gifts for men.

Why? The hat was relisted – and for some reason, there are just enough tags and words in the title for the algorithm to thing that it is relevant to that search. (Maybe “daddy’s little girl” or something?) Either way, the item will tend to drop off fairly quickly.

Some people still use that listing/renewing approach – and if it works for them, so much the better! But it’s not a great one. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. And ever since Etsy shifted its search functions over to “relevancy” being the default, it’s less effective.

*shrug* Just my two cents….

Reply
Laura
February 21, 2013
17:32

Great info as usual Katie, thank you so much for this. I have some things to change around, this now makes more sense to me 🙂

In regards to Etsy and showing up in their searches, I have heard that listing and relisting items helps you get or stay on the front page is this true? and that if you do list a new item or relist an item and others are doing it too, your item slowly goes down the page and soon off the grid, how can you help this not to happen?

Thank you so much love this

Reply
Debbie
February 21, 2013
15:47

Thank you for this information! I am slowly going to try out some of these suggestions!

Reply
justine
February 21, 2013
12:48

wow ! great info guys! I’m sharing this one with my Etsy-team-buddies!

Reply
Dorene
February 21, 2013
12:35

Great post, Patricia! Thank you, Katie, for showcasing this awesome company and providing great reading material!

Reply
Astrid
February 21, 2013
11:47

Thank you for this blog, Katie!
I just started my Etsy store and am trying to get more people to go to it and this sure will help. Now I see a lot of what I did wrong and/or didn’t know.
When I typed in key words at Google it did show one of my blogs on the first page of the results. Now I need to figure out why that one is showing and not my store…
Off to change some of the titles (some are the same, which is an apparent no-no) and see what will come of it.

Reply

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