Etsy has experienced tremendous growth over the past five years and is now one of the world’s largest ecommerce sites. It allows individual entrepreneurs and businesses to sell homemade products and goods directly to customers.
Here are several impressive statistics from 2020:
For some sellers, Etsy serves as a creative outlet.
For others, it provides some side hustle money or supplemental income.
For the most successful sellers, Etsy serves as their primary income – sometimes generating as much as six- or seven-figure annual revenue.
If you’d like to take your Etsy shop to the next level, the challenge is simple (though not necessarily easy).
You need to get more people viewing and clicking on your listings. And one of the best ways to do this is by investing in Etsy SEO.
If you’re a total newbie to SEO, we’re going to make this extremely easy for you by simplifying what Etsy SEO is, why it’s important, and – finally – how you can implement the most effective SEO strategies to take your Etsy shop traffic, sales, and revenue to the next level.
SEO is an acronym that stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” To understand what Etsy SEO is and how it works, you must start by understanding how Etsy visitors and shoppers search for products.
People will find your Etsy products in two ways:
Etsy SEO involves optimizing for both Etsy searches AND Google searches.
In one sense, Etsy is basically a search engine. It’s like Google – except for handmade products and goods. So when people want something, they go to Etsy, type in a product name or keyword, and click “search.” Within seconds, Etsy delivers a list of products that match their input. Etsy’s goal is to deliver the most relevant and highest-quality listings possible, which increases the chances of the customer buying something.
SEO is basically the art of optimizing your own shop so that you’re more likely to show up in the search results when an Etsy customer runs a search for products that you sell.
If you don’t have an SEO strategy in place, then your listings will most likely not be included in relevant search results. That means, even though you have products that the customer would like to buy, they’re going to buy from someone else. They don’t even know you exist!
How about an analogy to help further cement this idea? Let’s say you build a beautiful cabin in the mountains. It’s extremely nice, has every modern amenity and luxury someone could need, and is the kind of place where you could spend weeks resting and recharging. You and your family have enjoyed staying at the cabin for years, but now you decide it’s time to make it an Airbnb listing so that it generates a little cash flow.
Your family spends weeks getting the property ready. You plant new landscaping, perform a deep clean inside, stock the cabin with everything a renter could need, and even price it below the going market rate. It’s going to be a huge hit!
The first weekend comes and your first pair of renters set off to the mountains to enjoy some time at the cabin. The only problem is that the address is vague. It takes them to the foot of the mountain, but after that, there are no further instructions or signs for how to get to the cabin. The cabin is somewhere in the woods. It’s beautiful, has a warm fireplace ready to be lit, and plenty of food in the refrigerator. But with no clear signage or instructions on how to get there, your renters can’t find it.
So what do they do? They look around and find a nearby cabin that has some vacancy and they rent that one instead – even though it’s more expensive, less updated, and doesn’t have the same gorgeous views that your cabin has.
Hopefully you can see how this illustration relates to Etsy SEO. It doesn’t matter how awesome your shop is – if people can’t find it, they’re going to purchase from the competition. You must be “findable,” which is where SEO comes into play.
Having an Etsy SEO strategy is one of the fundamental keys to setting your shop apart from the competition. It’s the difference between having to pay for all of your traffic via PPC ads and generating organic customers who are actively searching for your products.
Here are several Etsy SEO tactics that are most effective:
Everything about SEO revolves around keywords. If you want to drive people to your listings by showing up in the search results, you must have the right keywords. (Where and how you use these keywords matters – and we’ll get into that in the following tips – but you must have the right keywords for it to matter.)
Finding keywords requires some keyword research, but there are plenty of tools that make it simple. Marmalead is one of the better options on the market. It’s basically an Etsy-specific version of Google Keyword Planner. It offers keyword comparison, keyword strength graphs, in-depth keyword analysis, competitive analysis, related keyword suggestions, and more.
Other good options include Etsy Rank and even Etsy’s autocomplete search phrases. (Type in a word that’s related to your product and see what Etsy recommends in the search bar.)
Your Etsy shop title is important. Don’t rush through the process of filling this out. Take your time and creatively brainstorm SEO-friendly options for your title.
Shop titles are limited to just 55 characters, though that should be plenty of room to describe your shop and items. Make good use of this space by including taglines, slogans, and keywords (when appropriate).
Each listing has its own individual title. Most newbie shop owners mistakenly enter basic titles. For example, if they’re selling a wooden table, they simply title it “Wooden Table.” However, the more descriptive you can be, the better.
When shoppers run searches, you want to make sure you’re aligning with the terms and phrases they use. Using the example above, you could mention the color, size, and possible uses for the table. For example, “Dark Brown Reclaimed Wood Table – Perfect for Living Room or Bedside.”
As a general rule of thumb, always lead with descriptive words, because these are what a shopper will see first when they browse. You can also use punctuation and symbols to provide visual separation in your title ( , ; / < > | ).
While you certainly want your title to be descriptive, don’t jam it with so many keywords and phrases that it looks overwhelming and nonsensical. Etsy is in the process of reducing visibility for titles that appear spammy.
With each product listing, you’re able to include 13 tags in your item description. One of the biggest mistakes we see new shop owners make is only using a fraction of the tags they’re allowed. Make full use!
Each tag has space for 20 characters, which means you can use long-tail keywords that go beyond basic one- or two-word phrases.
Etsy is fairly flexible with what it allows when tagging. It encourages using synonyms, multi-word phrases, and regional phrases. However, it discourages intentional misspellings, repetitive tags, and pluralizing keywords.
The description portion of your listings is extremely important and should not be taken lightly. It matters both in terms of SEO and overall shopping experience. (Which, it should be noted, are closely connected. The higher your shop experience is, the better the conversion rate. And the more people buy from your shop, the more Etsy boosts you in the rankings.)
In terms of direct SEO benefits, your listing descriptions are a great place to include long-tail keywords that tell the Etsy algorithm what your product is all about.
From an indirect SEO perspective, your description is one of a few pieces of information and context the customer has access to when determining whether or not to buy your product. They don’t have the ability to touch, feel, or try the product before purchasing. Instead, they use photos and the description to make their choice.
Not all SEO happens on Etsy. There are also offsite factors that can make your shop and listings show up directly in the Google search results. Links are one of them.
One of the most important tactics is something called link building. This is where you proactively point external links back to your Etsy listings. (These are known as inbound links.) These links do two things.
First, they increase the number of “entry points” into your listing. If someone sees the link and clicks, they’ll end up on your page.
Secondly, Google uses backlinks as a key ranking factor. When they see a bunch of inbound links coming from authoritative websites and pages, they naturally transfer some of the authority from those URLs to your URL. This leads to better search rankings and organic visibility.
One of the best link building strategies is something known as guest blogging. This is where you offer to write a post for another website in exchange for having your author profile and an inbound link to your Etsy shop included in the post.
With guest blogging, you benefit from exposure on third-party sites (potentially helping you reach more customers that you otherwise weren’t exposed to) and increased SEO “juice.” It’s really a no-brainer.
Etsy is in the business of making its customers happy. When customers have a positive experience, they’re much more likely to make repeat purchases in the future. So it makes sense that they’d rather direct customers to stores that have a history of making customers happy (versus a new, unproven shop).
One way to show Etsy and its shoppers that you’re trustworthy is by encouraging customers to leave reviews and ratings. You can’t force customers to do this, but you can politely ask them and even incentivize them with discounts and coupons. (Just make sure you don’t ask them to leave a particular kind of review – like a five-star review. This is against Etsy’s terms and conditions.)
Etsy has something called the “Shipping Price Score” built into its SEO algorithm. This score basically measures how much shops charge in shipping and factors that into the rankings. The idea is that stores offering lower (or free) shipping are more enticing to customers than those who charge a lot for shipping. As a result, the ones charging less get a small bump in the search rankings.
Etsy loves recency. They want to reward new listings and encourage shoppers to check out new products on the site. But you don’t need to constantly introduce new products to benefit from this.
When you renew an existing listing on Etsy, it actually gives you a small boost in the rankings. This isn’t a long-term benefit – and your listing will eventually go back to where it was before the update – but it can offer some short-term perks. Thus it’s a good idea to update your listings directly before a major sale or holiday season.
This isn’t technically an organic SEO tip, but we’ll include it anyway. When you run paid ads, you’re able to increase traffic to your listings and generate more sales. And when you generate more sales, this naturally provides some lift in the search rankings. Thus running paid ads is kind of like a “paid” method of enhancing your SEO.
As mentioned, link building plays a key role in building your Etsy SEO strategy. And if you’re looking for a trusted white hat link building partner, look no further than SEO.co.
At SEO.co, we specialize in scaling organic traffic with the highest quality content and links from top websites, blogs, and news publishers. And whether it’s a website or Etsy shop, we can help you reach more of your ideal customers with less effort.
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