I have been an Etsy coach for quite a while now, but I’ve been an Etsy seller even longer. So, I speak from experience when I say that the No. 1 challenge that I see Etsy sellers – especially beginners – struggle with is SEO. How can you ensure your listings will be discovered by shoppers?
To answer that question we need to start first with the bigger questions: What is SEO? Why is it important? and, why do you need it?
So, think of this blog post as the kickoff to a series in which I will keep teaching you SEO until we all finally know what it is, what it’s for, why you need it, and how to use it to help grow your Etsy shop. Let’s get started!
What is SEO?
For all our newbies out there, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization; that is, “optimizing” your listings – making them better and more readable – for search engines.
But wait: back up! What exactly do we mean by “search engine”?
In essence, a search engine is anything that looks like this:
Google is a search engine.
Most shopping websites have their own onsite proprietary search engines, with their own unique search algorithms. Bet you’ve seen this one:
And of course, here is Etsy’s:
Adventures with Searches
Think of a search engine as a little robot tasked with scanning webpages in order to present the searcher with what they’re seeking.
Let’s look at some examples.
This blog post is actually based on a video I made for my YouTube channel. So, let’s start there. Say, you went looking on YouTube for SEO videos that would be helpful for your Etsy shop. You type “SEO” into YouTube’s search bar. That “SEO” you typed? That is called a keyword.
The more specific the keyword, the more “refined” your search will be. With just “SEO” entered into YouTube’s search, you would certainly get a ton of videos. But then, you might notice that most of those videos are not catered specifically to Etsy, so you refine that search. You type in: “Etsy SEO,” and with that you get not quite as many but still a lot of videos. Yet, you notice that many are older: what if they aren’t relevant anymore?
So, you refine your search still further. You type in “Etsy SEO 2020” and voila, you find exactly what you were looking for: dozens of relevant videos that were recently created. This final search term you used is an example of what is called a “longtail keyword.” Longtail keywords help you to narrow down and refine a search by weeding out all that’s not relevant: whatever is not quite what you’re looking for, specifically.
The same principle applies to shopping online.
Example: let’s say that my husband Marc is on Etsy shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift for me. First, he types “valentines day” into Etsy’s search bar. But what he ends up with is pages upon pages of random items that aren’t quite what he’s looking for. In fact, zooming in, Etsy shows that, including Ads, there are 1,496,118 results for Marc to wade through.
Just on the first page, Marc sees Valentine’s Day decorations; cards; gifts that are obviously for men; along with a lot of other things that he knows are not my heart’s desire.
He decides to narrow down his search to get rid of all the decorations, cards, and the gifts for men. So he types in “valentines day gifts for women.”
Ah, now that’s more like it, he thinks. He’s seeing only listings that sellers have tagged as being Valentine’s Day gifts for women. For our hypothetical example here, let’s say that at the bottom of page one of the search results, Mark sees a gemstone necklace that he kind of likes, but it isn’t still isn’t quite what he’s looking for. He does know though that what he likes about it is that it has gemstones.
So, this time he can refine his search still further. He types in “valentines day gemstone necklace for women,” and wouldn’t you know it: he finds a necklace right on page one that he decides to buy for me for Valentine’s Day. Thanks, Marc!
What does all this mean? Basically, that using specific, targeted keywords – longtail keywords – in your Etsy listings will bring you closer to shoppers “with intent.” That is, shoppers who actually know exactly what they want to buy, rather than folks who are just typing in broad terms like “necklace” or “valentines day.”
It also means that appearing on page one or page two of an Etsy search is a crucial factor. Why? Because shoppers don’t want to scroll through over two thousand pages’ worth of 1,496,118 products: they want what they want when they want it and they want it right now, lol!
These are just the most introductory basics of Etsy SEO. For now though, it’s enough for you to know that there are many other factors that contribute to your Etsy “search placement” – that is, the page on which your listing will appear in an Etsy search. And happily, yes we will be covering all of those factors in upcoming blog posts! So, especially if you’re new, be sure to watch this space here on eRank, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, because we have a ton of content already there and more on the agenda.
But just for now, to summarize: choosing the best longtail keywords is the first step to making more sales on Etsy. If people can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.
And that leads me to my final tip for this blog post: when choosing your keywords, the biggest rookie mistake that you can possibly make is attempting to guess what your shoppers are searching for! Because (unless you’re a psychic) you’re probably wrong.
In fact, let’s have a little pop quiz! Which of the following keywords do you think is used in search more often on Etsy by shoppers?
- beaded gemstone necklace
- gemstone statement necklace
(I’ll give you a few seconds.)
Ding-ding-ding! If you answered, “beaded gemstone necklace,” you are correct! In fact, the term “beaded” was searched for by Etsy shoppers on average nearly twice as often as “gemstone statement necklace.”
If you tried to guess which of those keywords to use in your own listing, you may have bet all your money on the slow donkey rather than on the winning racehorse.
How can you personally access all of this magical search data? How can you make sure that you are putting your money on the winning racehorses and not on the slowpoke donkeys?
A few years ago, Etsy sellers didn’t really have any tools that catered specifically to Etsy’s proprietary search engine and unique algorithms. In fact when I first started on Etsy nine years ago, I had to use keyword tools that were intended for Google searches – and let me tell you, search trends on Google are significantly different than Etsy’s!
Today though we have access to a suite of tools tailor-made specifically for Etsy sellers. eRank is the number one resource that I recommend to any Etsy seller who wants to increase their visibility on Etsy.
If you want to find out approximately how many people on Etsy are typing your exact search words into Etsy’s search bar while shopping, there’s an eRank tool for that! For insight into keywords that shoppers are currently using in searches on Etsy, eRank members with either Basic or Pro plan have access to Keyword Explorer’s detailed analysis of keyword data derived from actual Etsy shopper searches.
With a free eRank membership, you can use eRank’s Keyword Tool. The data there is derived from a comprehensive analysis of the top 100 listings found in Etsy search results for any keyword you specify. The Keyword Tool will help you get a sense of the most popular tags used by other Etsy sellers – how often the keywords in those tags are searched for on Etsy, common price points, and tons of other data to help you select keywords and optimize your listings. You can view stats for your keywords such as the average monthly searches for that word on Etsy, as well as the average number of clicks that listings using these keywords typically receive from shoppers – and more clicks equal more buys.
However, if you really want to research keywords from a buyer’s perspective, and even receive recommendations and suggestions on related keywords shoppers are using that you may have not even considered, I highly recommend checking out eRank’s paid membership plans, which unlock a wealth of additional data.
Normally, those I coach in my Handmade Alpha Academy and folks who watch my YouTube videos are used to free stuff because in order to keep your costs low, I usually only recommend free stuff. That said, if you are serious about Etsy and you feel as if you are ready for it, I’d highly recommend that eRank be the first thing that you invest money into when it comes to your Etsy business.
If you’re a newbie, though, either to Etsy or to SEO, start with eRank’s free membership and try it for yourself. The Keyword Tool is just one of many free resources that your eRank membership has to offer. So, take some time to explore a bit, and let me know what you think, and if you have any questions. Overall, Etsy SEO is a hard nut to crack but I firmly believe that anyone can master it with enough time and enough research.
And in the meantime, I’ll be here creating blog posts on eRank, and free YouTube videos for you guys to help ensure that you are using eRank to its fullest potential.
And for those of you who made it this far, goody for you, because here’s a free pdf that will help you to plan your marketing, your sales, and your product launches over the next months. This 2020 Alpha Marketing Calendar that I created includes key shopping days, exclusive tips from me, and recommended dates to launch new products based on shopping trends.
To watch the video on which I based this post, go here. I have a lot more Etsy SEO videos on my YouTube channel and more in the works, so if you enjoy that one, be sure to give it a thumbs up, subscribe to my channel, and click the little bell icon. That will send a notification to your phone when more of these videos are uploaded, as well as when we go live on YouTube to answer your questions.
For eRank’s YouTube channel, it’s here, with demos and how-to’s for using its tools. And eRank has its own large (over 13,000 members) and friendly Facebook community with lots of activity daily, and with regular Live Q&As hosted by eRank founder Anthony Wolf. I often join in as co-host!
Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this lesson and you’d like to learn even more about Etsy success – I’ll be hosting a free virtual masterclass this Saturday (June 20th, 2020) called “Climbing the Etsy Mountain”.
During this class, you’ll learn the 5 “big-picture” steps that top sellers take in order to dominate Etsy. As a top 1% Etsy seller myself, I’m ready to share some of my biggest secrets with you, live! If this sounds like something you would enjoy, you can click here to save your virtual seat.
Hope to see you around!