If you have been diving into Etsy for any length of time, you've likely come across people talking about SEO for Etsy.
Unless you have a digital marketing background or are otherwise nerdy, like me, chances are you wondered what Etsy SEO is.
What Does SEO Mean On Etsy?
At its most basic, when you hear people talking about SEO (or search engine optimization) on Etsy, they are referencing the process that is used to help ensure your product listings appear when a potential customer uses the “search” feature inside of Etsy.
Typically they’re referring to adding (or tweaking) the words used in your title, tag, or description to rank (or rank higher) for the keywords that potentially describe your product.
Why Is SEO Important On Etsy?
The main reason there is such a focus on SEO within the Etsy platform is that a huge number of sales within the platform come after a potential customer uses the search function inside of the platform.
Optimizing your product listings for Etsy search helps to ensure that you have the chance to be shown to those customers, which means they would have the chance to land on your product listing and turn it into a sale.
How Does SEO Work On Etsy?
When people talk about SEO for Etsy, what they're talking about is the process of crafting the title, tags, and description of your listing to rank highly in Etsy's search results.
But to understand how the algorithm works and therefore, how SEO works on the platform, we have to think a little bit about Etsy's algorithm.
The easiest way to think about Etsy's algorithm is as a two-step process.
The first step in the process involves Etsy's algorithm taking a look at your listing to see if the keywords you've placed in your title, description, or tags are a match for the search terms that the user has typed in.
This test is fairly binary. Either the words you've included in your listing are a match or they aren't.
If you aren't a match for what the user has typed in, there's no need for the algorithm to move on to the second part of the process.
If you are a match, then the algorithm takes a deeper look at how your listing compares in terms of a variety of metrics, including traffic, sales, conversion rate, how closely your listing matches the search terms, whether or not you offer free shipping and a wide variety of other factors that you don't have direct control over.
These numerous factors then determine where you rank in comparison to the other listings that passed the first step of the test.
To take a deeper dive into the whole algorithm to get a better understanding of how it works, you may want to check out this article here.
Interestingly, although most etsy sellers only focus on the first part of the SEO algorithm (trying to find the perfect keywords to put into their listing), This is only one small part of the equation.
Although it's okay to invest time, effort, and energy in trying to find the correct keywords for your listing, it's important to remember that over and above, making sure that you're listing qualifies to be shown, Etsy's most concerned about which listing is most likely to result in a sale
This means you should also spend a substantial amount of time focused on improving the conversion rate of your listing, as this tends to have even more of an impact on where you rank in the search results, than including the perfect keyword in your title, tags, or description.
How to Do SEO on Etsy: A Quick Guide
If you're serious about improving your SEO for Etsy, you should think about the process of optimizing your listings the same way that Etsy thinks about ranking them.
The first step in the optimization process should be to make sure we meet the first part of Etsy's test (do the keywords in our listing match what people are searching for).
The best way to do this is by starting with your competitors who are selling the most.
Open each of your top competitor's listings in a separate town and take the time to write down all of the different keywords they are using that relate to the product.
Although it's especially important to keep track of the keywords used in the description and tags of these listings, the most important place to look is in the title (especially in the first few words).
If you find any relevant keywords being used by your competitors in either the title, tags, or description that you aren't currently including on your listing, your first step would be to include those in your listing.
Once you've included the new keywords in your listing, it's time to focus on what will drive your rank, traffic, and sales.
Your job at this point is to figure out what tweaks you should be making to your images, and listing description, and even examine the sources of traffic coming to your listing, to help more people get the information they need to purchase your product.
If you're interested in a deeper dive into how to optimize your conversion rate on Etsy, you might want to check out this article here.
The Role Of Product Information In Etsy SEO
Now that you have a better understanding of how the entire process works, let's take a quick look at how you can optimize each of the pieces of your listings for search and to more closely match Etsy's and customer expectations.
Making sure the title of your Etsy listing is optimized is one of, if not the most important step, in passing the first part of Etsy's algorithm.
Additionally, since the main listing photo and your listing title are the first things that prospective buyers will see, it's extremely important to write them in a human-readable way.
A recent survey of several hundred Etsy buyers let us know that buyers give importance of 7.6 out of 10 to a human-readable product title.
Not only does it influence how likely they are to click on the product from the search results page, but it also has a strong influence on what they think the product is.
A mismatch between the title and what they see once they reach the listing will result in a large number of these people immediately bouncing back to the Etsy search results page.
With this in mind, your title should be first and foremost, written in a human, readable way.
Packing a bunch of mildly related keywords into your title might initially make Etsy's algorithm happy, but that will soon fade away as they realize the product is not relevant to buyers.
Additionally, Etsy themselves indicate that although they look at keywords everywhere in the listing, they do give some additional weight to the first few (3-4) words of your product title.
So, when you are optimizing your titles, you should always be placing the most relevant keyword for your product at the forefront.
If you are selling a ” bass fishing t-shirt” it's better for you from a search engine optimization standpoint, to create a product title with that at the beginning, even if there are higher volume keywords that might be related (outdoors T-shirt or camping T-shirt, for example).
Not only does writing your title this way make sure that Etsy knows exactly what your product is all about, but it will help you get a higher conversion rate from traffic that comes to your listing, which means you will end up ranking higher for the relevant keywords.
Although most Etsy sellers treat the description as a place that simply stuff keywords, this is the wrong approach.
Don't get me wrong, you should be including as many relevant keywords as possible in your product description, but the real point of your description is to give potential buyers the information they need to make their purchase decision.
Rather than simply showing a bunch of keywords in a well-written and SEO optimized, Etsy product description would include information about who the product is for, what the product is made of or from, and how the product will benefit the people who buy it.
By focusing on crafting and description, this way, we can not only make sure that we're giving the buyers the information they want and need (e.g. the product details), but This style of writing helps us naturally include keywords that our audiences will be typing in.
If we were selling a bass fishing shirt, rather than simply typing in the fabric, weight, or name of the material that our bass fishing t-shirt is made from, we simply add a line or two after that explaining why the material is beneficial for a fisherman, we can achieve both goals at the same time.
For example, while most anti-sellers would simply type in quick dry fabric into their product description, their truly optimized description would say something like:
” The quick dry fabric this T-shirt is printed on is perfect for fishermen. Not only will it keep you dry on hot and sunny days, but even if you somehow end up in the water, you'll be dry in a matter of minutes.”
Etsy Tag Optimization
Although tags are often entirely overlooked by many sellers, they are still used by Etsy to determine whether or not your listing ranks.
Ideally, you should reserve your Etsy tags for keywords that you could not naturally fit into your title or product description and still keep them optimized.
For example, if you were selling footwear that people may wear to the beach, there are a wide variety of keywords that may be accurate to describe that.
Off the top of my head, sandals, flip flops, and beach shoes, all come to mind, but there are a wide variety of other terms people in different geographic areas used to describe this product.
If we're reserving the most highly relevant and most frequently searched terms for this product for our title and description, it may make sense to include these other variations of how people might refer to this product in our Etsy tags.
One important thing to keep in mind is that there's no need to repeat keywords in your title, tags, or description, so your tags should be free from words you are otherwise using.
Additionally, it's extremely important to fill as many of these tags as possible, because Etsy uses these to support not only your organic rank but also to understand whether or not your listing should qualify for specific search terms when you are running the ads.
Tools to Use For Etsy SEO
Although there is a wide variety of tools you can use to help you with search engine optimization on Etsy, our go-to favorite is EverBee.
Although they're mostly known for helping you be able to find high-selling products on the platform, the tool also gives you all of the information you need to truly optimize your Etsy listing.
Not only is it a great way to identify your top-selling competitors, to analyze what they are doing from a search engine optimization perspective, but it also has a keyword research tool and a tag identification tool that give you a better idea of precisely what's going on.
A Quick Wrap-Up
Although the topic of search engine optimization for Etsy can sound scary. Come on. It's fairly straightforward.
The first step in the process is to simply make sure you're including the words people would use to describe your product in your title, tags, in description.
From there, your job is to ensure that you're giving your customers everything they need to purchase your product.
If you spend even a little bit of time thinking through and implementing this two-step approach, you'll start to see yourself, and your listings, bringing in more organic traffic and even more importantly, more sales.