If you’ve been selling on Etsy for awhile, or running any sort of online business, you’ve probably heard about SEO (search engine optimization) and know that it is an important part of marketing your handmade products. But do you understand how to implement SEO and make your Etsy shop stand out in search, both within Etsy’s internal search engine as well as on Google, Yahoo and Bing?
The world of SEO can be vast and complex, and it’s constantly changing. Lucky for you, however, search engines are increasingly concerned with relevancy and user experience. It’s not about beating the system or some sort of trickery only known to a select few.
SEO these days is about helping your potential customers easily find exactly what they’re looking for.
The more you can tweak your Etsy shop to accurately describe what it is you are selling by using the same keywords that your customers are naturally using to search for those things, the more likely it is that they will find you and buy your products.
Here are six areas of your Etsy shop you should update to improve your SEO rankings:
I’ll go into more detail about all of these shortly, but first, a few key things to remember:
“Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.
A few years ago, this used to work and could help your site rank higher in search engines. These days, it’s against Google’s Quality Guidelines and should be avoided at all costs.
For instance, if you read a page (or product description) that says the same words over and over and over, and it doesn’t actually give you any useful information about the subject at hand, it comes off as pretty spammy. Because it is. Don’t do it.
A note of nuance: Etsy’s internal search engine isn’t quite as smart as Google is yet. (Seriously y’all. Google has gotten really freakin’ smart.) Keyword stuffing can still work if you are only focused on getting found via Etsy’s own search. That said, you should still…
If you’re just beginning to learn about SEO, you might hear “keywords” and think of a single word, like wedding. But when you head to Google or another search engine to look for something, you are probably using a string of words in order to help you find a very specific thing, like wedding gift ideas for geeks or beach wedding dresses.
These strings of words, usually 3-4 words put together, are known as long tail keywords. When you start optimizing your Etsy shop for search engines, think in terms of these long tail keywords rather than single words that are not very specific.
It used to be easier for anyone to access keyword ideas through Google’s Keyword Planner. But in 2016 Google began restricting the amount of data that they share about the number of monthly searches for specific long tail keyword phrases. Lucky for you, I work at a digital marketing agency where we still have access to plenty of that helpful data, and I’ve created lists of the top SEO keywords for many popular types of products.
If you need help finding the right keywords for your Etsy shop or online store, check out the SEO keyword kits available in my Etsy shop, where I’ve done the keyword research for you!
In order to come up with useful and relevant long tail keywords, remember that adjectives are your friend.
If you’re searching online for the perfect pair of shoes to wear to a friend’s wedding, do you head to Google and type in shoes? Not if you want to actually find what you’re looking for, you don’t. You use adjectives and other descriptive words in your search. You might type in something like cute high heels with bows.
When you create product listings on Etsy, think in terms of adjectives and the ways that people might naturally search for what you have for sale, and be sure to include plenty of descriptive words about your products.
These days, Google and other search engines care about providing real people with really relevant information that matches the person’s search as much as possible.
Whether you are adding listings on Etsy or writing a blog post, think first and foremost about the real people who will be reading what you are creating and about how those people look for the things you have to offer. When in doubt, ask a friend or family member how they would search for the types of products you are selling.
Okay, now that you’ve got those tips in mind, let’s talk about the specific areas of your Etsy shop you should focus on to improve your Etsy SEO rankings:
Your product titles are one of the most valuable pieces of SEO real estate in your Etsy shop. You’ve got 140 characters to work with, so make them count. Include a mix of the most relevant and popular long tail keywords related to your products.
Be sure to keep it readable – no one wants to see a long string of words jammed together, so use commas or hyphens to break up the long tail keywords you use in your product titles.
Your product descriptions offer plenty of room to write about your products in great detail, so be sure to do just that! Your product descriptions should include relevant long tail keywords, but they should also answer any potential questions your customers may have about your products.
Think in terms of benefits as well as features… how does your product help a customer, and how will wearing or using your product make them feel?
It is also important to note that Google and other search engines will usually pull from the first line or two of your product description when showing your product in search results. (You can click “Preview listing as a Google search result” underneath your product descriptions when editing your listings to see how this might look.)
Be sure to include your most important long tail keyword in the first sentence of your product description.
Any experienced Etsy seller knows that tags play an important role in getting your shop discovered by potential customers. Be sure to utilize all 13 tags, and whenever possible, use long tail keywords as your tags.
Tags have a maximum length of 20 characters, including spaces, so you may not be able to include your longest long tail keywords as tags, but try to use tags that form a descriptive 2-3 word phrase rather than adding single words as tags:
Did you know that the names of your shop sections are also searchable, and should be optimized for SEO?
If your shop specializes in personalized wedding gifts, you might break up your shop sections by recipient. For example: Gifts for Bridesmaids, Gifts for the Bride and Gifts for Groomsmen. Include descriptive phrases and adjectives when naming your shop sections.
Much like your product titles, your shop title is also very important for search. This is the title that Google and other search engines use in their own search results, so be sure to include important long tail keywords that are relevant to your entire shop in your shop’s title.
Finally, your shop announcement should also include important keywords that describe your shop as a whole.
The first sentence or so of your shop announcement will often be used by Google in search results, so make it count, and include relevant long tail keywords here as well.
Check out my new online workshop DIY SEO for E-commerce. It’s an easy to understand introduction to search engine optimization for for artists, makers & #BadassCreatives.
You’ll also gain a basic understanding of the importance of link-building, digital PR and conversion optimization, aka the art of getting people to buy more of your stuff!
There are 10 video lessons which also include a text transcription. The total runtime for the 10 video lessons is less than an hour & a half. It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish.Learn more!
Mallory Whitfield has been making things and performing for as long as she can remember. She started blogging at MissMalaprop.com in 2006, and currently hosts the Badass Creatives podcast. Throughout her journey as a creative entrepreneur, Mallory has worn many hats, including blogger, visual artist, upcycled clothing creator, performance artist, jewelry designer, craft show vendor, creative strategist, speaker, teacher and consultant to other small business owners. She worked as Content Analyst at FSC Interactive, a leading digital marketing agency, prior to taking on her current role as Director of Marketing at LookFar, a New Orleans-based startup studio which builds digital products and visionary companies.
Do you believe that art, creativity, innovation, and kindness can change the world? If you answered “Heck yeah!” then this is the podcast for you.
Badass Creatives is hosted by Mallory Whitfield and features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.
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