Etsy is arguably the world’s leading US eCommerce platform for handmade, craft, and vintage items. There are 7.5 million active Etsy sellers today, who are selling crafts like jewelry, clothing, home décor, art, toys, and craft supplies & tools to 96.3 million + active buyers. It, therefore, makes sense for sellers of such items to set up Etsy shops and enjoy a share of the $2.3 billion+ in revenue generated by Etsy annually.
However, setting up an Etsy shop doesn’t automatically translate to sales. You must market your shop to enjoy a good conversion rate (above 2.5%). One effective way of doing this is through Etsy search engine optimization (Etsy SEO), which matches Google SEO but for Etsy shops. Etsy SEO makes it easy for your existing Etsy shop to be found on search engines like Google and Bing. Etsy SEO is also important for ensuring your shop shows up on Etsy searches.
We are sure this all sounds great, but there is a key question we should ask before embarking on this endeavor: what does SEO entail on Etsy?
What is SEO on Etsy
To understand what SEO entails on Etsy, it’s important to discuss the most critical ranking factors. In simple terms, which elements of SEO should you focus on while on Etsy? What’s more, it helps to differentiate the two types of SEO that may be in play, namely; Google SEO and Etsy search SEO.
Google SEO refers to the search engine optimization you can do to ensure your Etsy shop ranks well on search engines like Google. Etsy search SEO is about optimizing your Etsy shop so that it is easier for the 96.3 million+ Etsy buyers to find the store using the Etsy search tool.
Our focus below will be on all aspects of SEO that affect visibility within the Etsy ecosystem of 7.5 million + different sellers/shops.
Etsy ranking factors
Etsy’s search function is designed to connect Etsy buyers with products they are searching for and it’s largely based on query matching. In a nutshell: this simply means Etsy tries to effectively match a potential consumer’s search terms with inventory listings on Etsy shops. This involves trying to divide and identify attributes, tags, categories, and titles in listings and matching them with searched terms.
After query matching, Etsy’s search algorithm does rank matching, which is based on the ranking factors below;
1. Quality of listing
Etsy considers how well an Etsy shop listing converts and the quality of the listing score increases with every purchase. The higher the number of Etsy buyers in your store, the higher you score on the quality of the listing.
Below is an example of an Etsy store (GratitudeCrystals) that ranks the highest for the keyword phrase “handmade necklaces”
Etsy search algorithm ranks exact-match keywords higher in the search hierarchy. This simply means: if keywords in your Etsy shop match the exact keyword a buyer enters on the Etsy search box, you can expect a higher ranking in Etsy’s search hierarchy.
This is because exact-match keywords indicate high relevancy. If exact match keywords aren’t found, search ranking spots are given to secondary keywords that match a customer’s query. These secondary keywords may be in titles, tags, attributes, etc.
3. Product description
Etsy also considers how well you write product descriptions. Ideally, product descriptions should have special keywords in them, which we will cover in another section below. They should also contain important information about the product.
From our earlier example on the Etsy store “GratitudeCrystals”, the product description contains special keywords like handmade and important product information.
4. Customer & market experience
The Etsy algorithm also considers a shop’s quality score in relation to customers’ shopping experience. The algorithm considers several factors such as customer reviews, both negative and positive.
Our example store “GratitudeCrystals” has over 40k positive reviews, thousands of which are related to product quality and shipping.
Etsy also considers how well you complete your Etsy store “about” section description, as well as if a shop has an open case. Shops with cases against them have a poor quality score on customer and market experience and are likely to have trouble ranking high.
5. Shopper’s habits
Etsy’s search algorithm also draws from past behavior to establish the probability of purchasing. Etsy shops that have a high shopper habit score tend to enjoy better visibility on Etsy search.
Items added to Etsy shops get a recency score when they are first posted. Generally, new items are boosted for a short time after an initial listing.
7. CSR (context-specific ranking)
Etsy also has AI technology (CSR technology) used for search ranking. The technology understands consumer interests and delivers search query results that match those needs. The technology “feeds” from past consumer behavior to spot current desires.
8. Shipping costs
Like all eCommerce stores, Etsy stores must ship products to their customers. However, this can be done for free or at a small fee. Etsy stores that do free shipping or ship at a discount have better shipping fee scores than their expensive counterparts.
It’s no surprise that our example store, which is highly rated, offers free shipping with no limits:
How to optimize your Etsy Shop
After going through the main Etsy ranking factors above, it’s easier to see how the company wants Etsy sellers to set up their shops. For instance, Etsy shops are encouraged to have keywords that are very likely to be used by buyers. In fact, the product descriptions need to include such keywords. What’s more, different sections should be completed, and Etsy generally favors shops that don’t charge shipping or do so at discounted prices.
Choosing the best Etsy keywords
Keywords touch on multiple Etsy ranking factors. For instance, shoppers can’t find your product and buy it if your store and listing don’t have the relevant keywords. Relevancy, as a ranking factor, is also boosted by using the right keywords. The same is also true for product descriptions. Keywords, therefore, are one of the most important factors to include in your Etsy shop. To find the keywords that will best suit your shop in the different sections in which they will be needed, you’ll have to conduct keyword research.
Etsy keyword research
Keyword research is the most critical step to consider when choosing the best Etsy keywords. To do great keyword research for your Etsy shop, you must ask yourself some key questions about your product. The following are the questions we recommend you pose during your research to come up with the best Etsy keywords;
- Question 1: How do I describe my product?
Example: Are you selling handmade jewelry i.e., a necklace, or clothing i.e., t-shirts.
- Question 2: What is the product type or specification?
Example: If you are selling a necklace, is it a pendant necklace, choker, chain, or rope necklace? If you are selling t-shirts, are they short or long-sleeved?
- Question 3: What is the product material?
Example: Are the necklaces you are selling made of gold, silver, beads, etc? Are the t-shirts made of cotton, spandex, etc.? What’s the main material?
- Question 4: What’s the main color of your product?
Example: Gold and Silver Necklaces or white and black t-shirts.
Since eCommerce buyers are likely to overlook minor colors in products, establish what the main color is and use this information to write your product description.
- Question 5: How was the item made?
Given that Etsy is a market for handmade, craft, and vintage items, it’s important to answer how the items are made in your search for suitable keywords.
- Question 6: What is the size?
Example: For necklaces, what is the length in inches? For t-shirts, the size can be medium, L (large), XL (extra-large), XXL (double large), etc.
The sizing information should be used in the product’s description, title, tags, and attributes.
- Question 7: Where will the product be used?
Example: If you are selling necklaces, are they for special occasions? And if so, what occasions are these? If it’s t-shirts, is there a special use case for them? I.e., mom and daughter t-shirts to be worn in Mothers Day, other special occasions, or events attended by mothers and their daughters.
- Question 8: What’s the style?
Example: If it’s necklaces, are they beaded, chain, collar, etc.? If it’s t-shirts, are they V-neck, hooded, striped, colorful, etc.?
- Question 9: Are there synonyms of the product names?
Example: If you are selling necklaces, is there any other name that potential customers can use to search for necklaces? I.e., chain or chocker. If it’s t-shirts you are selling, what are some common t-shirt synonyms? I.e., V-neck, turtleneck, tee-shirt, or tee.
- Question 10: What era does the product belong to?
Example: Do you sell vintage necklaces/jewelry from the modenr or Victorian era? If it’s t-shirts, are they trendy, new age, Gen Z, etc.?
- Question 11: What’s your Etsy shop name?
This question is critical for branding. Adding your shop name (brand name) ensures they appear when someone searches for the shop without selecting “shops” in the drop-down menu. This makes it possible for Etsy buyers to get access to your Etsy shop through one of your products.
The answers to the above questions reveal the keywords that must be included in critical areas of an Etsy shop, like product descriptions, product titles, etc. These will be the ideal keywords and the most relevant/useful ones.
Here are our 7 Etsy SEO tips for 2023
Now that we have covered the most important aspects of a well-organized Etsy shop, let’s get into our professional advice!
Etsy has SEO tools that can be used to improve ranking within and outside Etsy. To help your Etsy shop stand out in 2023, we’ve compiled the most important Etsy SEO tips to consider:
1. Optimize your Etsy shop title
Your Etsy shop title is among the most critical SEO elements on your shop page. The title appears on your shop’s homepage under the shop name. When it comes to SEO for websites, Google has a preferred title length that is designed to improve your search engine ranking, and Etsy is no stranger to this preference. The website prefers a shop title length of 55 characters or less.
Besides length, the title should also have a brief description of your shop and the products you sell for it to be considered optimized. This tip is also useful for Google SEO, as it tells Google what your shop is about, and what you sell.
Our example store, “GratitudeCrystals”, has crystals as the main keyword and a short description showing that they focus on selling healing/reiki-charged crystals, as seen below.
2. Understand how to optimize Etsy listings
Etsy listings are another important Etsy SEO element. They contain the item listing titles, descriptions, images, videos, and backlinks, all of which should be optimized.
Etsy product title: Every Etsy item title should describe the item clearly. The description should begin immediately so that potential buyers who see the title on search engines like Google can understand it before clicking. The title should also sound natural and feature keywords that your potential buyers are likely to use. However, you need to be careful: the keyword/s shouldn’t be overused in the title. Using a keyword once is enough to avoid keyword stuffing. The main keywords should also appear at the start of the title.
Etsy product description: In regard to Etsy product descriptions, search engines love detailed descriptions covering all important details about an item. Etsy shop owners should purposefully write descriptions that will leave potential buyers without questions. Include information on everything from the type of item to specifications, material, color, how an item/product is made, sizing, use, style, etc. It also helps to include synonyms of the product, if there are any.
Item descriptions should also contain keywords derived from the keyword research process discussed above. Remember to include highlights of what makes the product unique. In a nutshell, think of everything a potential buyer would want to know and ensure you include that information in your Etsy product description.
Etsy product image: Image optimization is a critical element of Google search. Google requires images to be clearly described with alt text. Accurate alt text is important for ranking in Google’s image-based searches. When optimizing your Etsy product image, include the product name, material, color, etc., in the description. The images should also be high-quality, as this increases the likelihood of clicks.
As far as Etsy SEO is concerned, the Etsy search algorithm also loves high-quality images. Etsy also prefers that you include multiple product images per product to show different variations or uses of your product. For example, if you are selling t-shirts, have multiple pictures showing multiple angles of the t-shirts.
Etsy product video: Lastly, your Etsy listing should contain an item video, if possible, to be considered fully optimized. Video content is generally preferable for many items and it’s a great way of bringing a product to life. Besides increasing Google search visibility, it’s also great for Etsy SEO since it shows potential customers more about your product and increases the likelihood of a sale. If you sell t-shirts and have a video that shows how particular t-shirt styles, types, or prints look on an actual person, you are one step closer to selling.
Backlinks: Etsy listings aren’t completely optimized without high-quality backlinks. You can include links to other Etsy pages to help your product viewers to discover other products you sell. Adding links to your website and social media pages is also recommendable. You could also start an affiliate program to get backlinks from affiliate links.
Keywords for Etsy listing
Etsy listing should contain the keywords discovered from the Etsy keyword research process discussed above. Ideally, having a main keyword mentioned once or twice is enough. Listings should also have LSI keywords (related keywords) that potential buyers are likely to use when finding products such as the ones you sell on Etsy.
What’s more, relevant keywords should appear as early as possible in the listing description. It also helps to use keywords naturally. Instead of listing top keywords or copying the title verbatim, incorporate keywords in a manner that sounds human and written in line with the brand voice.
3. Understand the dos and don’ts of Etsy tags
Tags make it possible to add phrases describing a product. Etsy shops can include 13 different phrases to boost the odds of matching the terms shoppers use to find products like yours. When it comes to Etsy tags, there are some dos and don’ts to consider.
Etsy tags dos: First and foremost, we recommend that you utilize all 13 tags available as they maximize your chances of matching the terms used by shoppers.
It also helps to use up all the characters available (20 characters) for the same reason. For instance, it’s better to have a tag like “handmade necklace” other than to have individual tags like “handmade” and “necklace”.
You should also check your shop stats just to see which tags are receiving more traffic. Use these insights to find tags that will rank better. Moreover, use keywords as a source of inspiration when coming up with tags. Prioritize popular search phrases and long-tail keywords as possible tags. Lastly, you should also use synonyms.
Etsy tags don’ts: You should avoid repeating tags, as this doesn’t add any value, and the same applies to repeating typos; they only waste your tags. Also, it isn’t useful to add the same tag in multiple languages or worry about plurals, Etsy automatically translates search terms. In regard to plurals, Etsy looks at the “root words” of phrases being searched. As a result, if a person enters “handmade necklaces” on the search bar, the term will still be matched to “handmade necklace”.
4. Don’t forget about Etsy categories
Etsy categories resemble tags. However, you should add specific categories available for every product to increase your odds of matching with searches. Also, you shouldn’t repeat phrases appearing in your Etsy categories. For instance, if there is a “handmade necklace category”, there’s no need to add another category like “handmade necklace”.
5. Use and optimize Etsy shop sections
Etsy sections appear as links on the left side (sidebar) of your Etsy shop. Etsy sections make it possible to organize products into specific groups that shoppers can explore. The sections should be used to create groups of products you sell i.e., by size, type, or other categories.
Creating an Etsy section is as easy as going to the “Shop Manager”, selecting listings, and adding a new section by clicking “manage. You can have up to 20 sections, with each section name taking up to 24 characters. We recommend you use as many characters as possible when naming to ensure each section is clearly defined.
6. Add a catchy Etsy shop announcement with a primary keyword
The “Shop Manager” also has an Announcement section that can be added or edited by clicking the pencil icon next to the shop name under Sales Channels. This section can be used to greet and welcome potential customers to your shop. The section can also convey an important message making it a significant selling point. We recommend you take the time to write a unique shop announcement.
Most importantly, include the keyword that resonates the most with your shop. For instance, a shop that sells “gratitude crystals” should have such terms as part of the shop announcement.
7. Don’t forget about Etsy backlinks and inbound links
As mentioned above, Etsy shops need high-quality backlinks in their product listings. You should include links to other Etsy pages, links from guest posts, and add links to your social media pages as part of your Etsy SEO efforts. Etsy and Pinterest work perfectly due to the two being largely preferable to female audiences. Pinterest is, therefore, a great source of social media traffic for Etsy shoppers.
However, you must be active in that platform for your actions to have any kind of impact, i.e., pin two or more times daily to ensure your followers get new content on their feeds. It also helps to follow social media trends so that you know the kind of content to create and get more traffic to your Etsy shop.
- Etsy SEO is about designing an Etsy shop to drive organic traffic from Etsy search and Google search.
- Etsy search ranking factors to consider include; quality of listing, relevancy, product description, customer & market experience score, shopper’s habits, recency, context-specific ranking (CSR), and shipping costs.
- Etsy keyword research is critical for proper effective Etsy SEO.
- To choose the best Etsy keywords, ask yourself questions about product type/specification, product color, product material, product size, how a product is made, product use, product style, product synonyms, product era, and your Etsy shop name.
- Our top 7 SEO tips for Etsy shops include optimizing the Etsy shop title, understanding how to optimize Etsy listings, understanding the dos and don’ts of Etsy tags, including Etsy categories, including and optimizing shop sections, including an Etsy shop announcement, and adding Etsy backlinks and inbound links.
To wrap it all up…
There are currently 7.5 million Etsy shops competing for 96.3 million Etsy buyers which means the industry is as profitable as it is competitive. To be frank, Etsy shops that aren’t optimized for Etsy search and Google search don’t stand a chance of success. We do believe you can make some sales without doing Etsy SEO, but if you truly want to make an impact on Etsy, you must understand Etsy SEO. The above information highlights the basics of what you need to do to take your Etsy shop to the next level in 2023 and we hope our professional tips can be of help!
However, there’s more to Etsy SEO than what is covered above. You also need to consider Google search SEO as an important part of getting buyers outside of Etsy. This means the most impactful method would be to combine both Etsy and Google SEO and take full advantage of what each of these strategies has to offer to really take make your business an undeniable success. If you lack the time or expertise to implement the above Etsy SEO tips properly, you can consider outsourcing Etsy SEO to a full-service SEO company like Nomadic Advertising. We can craft an Etsy SEO strategy and overall SEO strategy for you. We could also run other digital marketing campaigns for you like Google ads to really harness the complete power of the internet and every digital marketing tool at our disposal. Book a FREE 30-minute strategy session with us to see exactly what we can do for you and what a tailormade strategy would do for your business.