If you’re an Etsy seller, learning how to get your items found in search is fundamental to finding success on the platform. One of the advantages of selling on Etsy versus your own standalone shop is the opportunity to get exposure to new buyers who come to Etsy to find specific items. The good news is that you, as a seller, have control over the most important factors in search placement.
What appears in search, and the order in which it appears on Etsy, is determined by many different factors including titles, tags, attributes, customer service record, and shop location. These factors are weighted differently, but they all play a role so it’s important to do your best to optimize each one.
A fundamental of search on Etsy is keywords. Keywords are specific, descriptive words that buyers are likely to type into the search bar when looking for your product. It’s worth your while to spend some time generating a list of keywords for each of your listings. Most importantly, think like a buyer. How do buyers refer to your item?
Marmalead uses machine learning to help you get found on Etsy.
You may want to pay for a tool that will help you to generate keywords that work on Etsy, such as Marmalead (Craft Industry Alliance members get a 2-week free trial). Once your listing is live, examine your Etsy analytics to see the search terms shoppers used to find your listings and use these a keyword.
Be sure your list also includes longtail keywords. These are actually short phrases that really drill down into what your product is. So while a keyword might be “wallet,” a longtail keyword would be “women’s leather wallet.”
Categories and Attributes
As you create your listing you’ll be prompted to choose particular categories, and then, from the categories you’ve chosen, you’ll get drop down menus prompting you to choose particular attributes.
Attributes include things like primary colors and additional colors, a particular room, a certain print or pattern, or a specific holiday. The choices of attributes you’ll see in the dropdown menus are determined by the category you’ve chosen. If you don’t see an attribute listed that is an exact match for your product, choose what you think would be the closest. It’s important to use as many attributes as you can in order to describe your item, even if the attributes you choose are a bit more general than you’d like. Later, when you add tags, you can use words that are an exact match to your item and are more descriptive.
When it comes to the tags you can write for each listing, you want to choose exact phrases that a shopper would type in when looking for your product. Each tag can be up to 20 characters. Rather than using separate words, create short phrases (longtail keywords) because these will provide a stronger match to search terms. Using that exact phrase in both the title and the tags on your listing will make it an even stronger match.
There’s no need to repeat the categories or attributes you’ve chosen as tags. Instead, use tags to add additional keywords and keyword phrases that drill down into the specific descriptors of your item.
By the same token, there’s no need to repeat the same keyword over and over again in your tags. Rather than “modernist wall art” “floral wall art” and “botanical wall art,” for example, which all repeat “wall art,” instead broaden your chances of getting found by using a variety of words like “botanical print” and “floral home décor.”
Be sure to use all 13 tags since each one is an opportunity to get found in search, and make each tag unique. Choosing more specific words and phrases will help to differentiate your product, rather than choosing generic terms, like bracelet, where your product is likely to get lost. And keep regional terms in mind (if your product goes by a different name in some parts of the country or the world, include that name as a tag, too). The order of your tags is irrelevant so don’t worry about that.
If your product is commonly misspelled, there’s no need to include the misspelling as a tag since Etsy will automatically correct the buyer’s search. There’s also no need to worry about plurals or to translate your tags into multiple languages because, again, Etsy will take care of these too. So if your tag is “diary” you don’t also need “diaries,” for example. Your item will show up for either of these searches with just one of these tags.
Next up it’s time to focus on titles. Etsy allows you 140 characters for a title. When you sit down to write a title for your listing, keep in mind that words at the beginning of the title are weighted more heavily than words at the end so put the strongest words first (on mobile, only the first few words of a title are visible). For example, rather than putting the title of a painting first in your title, use keywords such as “abstract painting” or “nursery art.” Clear titles that describe your product are ideal.
A long list of keywords (sometimes called “keyword stuffing”) is not an ideal title because it can feel confusing for shoppers. You don’t need to repeat every tag in your title. A title stuffed with all of the keywords you used in your tags would be confusing for shoppers. Definitely include some of the keywords from your tags, but instead of writing for a computerized search engine, write with a real shopper in mind.
Bright, clear photos of the product in different contexts (lifestyle pictures, for example, and pictures that show scale) give shoppers the information they need.
Photography and listing copy
Etsy elevates listing in search that have a record of converting, meaning visitors in the past have clicked on, liked, and made a purchase from this listing. The more a listing converts, the more readily Etsy’s algorithm will show it in search.
So what makes a listing convert? Besides a clear title, shoppers are looking at photos, and now listing videos, to understand products. Bright, clear photos of the product in different contexts (lifestyle pictures, for example, and pictures that show scale) give shoppers the information they need. Etsy allows you to upload 10 photos per listing. Take full advantage of this opportunity, and try uploading a video showing the product in use, too.
Concise, well-written marketing copy can also help to answer lingering customer questions and increase conversions. Describe the items key features right at the start. Rather than a big block of text that’s difficult to scan, try writing short paragraphs.
Low shipping costs, and free shipping, can also increase conversions.
Etsy has conducted studies with their customers about shipping costs. They report that 20% of customers said they would be more likely to buy an item if the shipping was free.
If it’s possible to raise your prices somewhat, and then offer free shipping, or to offer free shipping on purchases over $35, you’ll likely increase your listing’s conversion rate. Although (as far as we know) Etsy is no longer elevating listings in searches that offer free shipping, your listing will get a “free shipping” badge which is likely to catch a customer’s eye.
Other search factors
Etsy also takes your customer service record into account when weighting your shop in search. An easy step you can take to give your shop a boost in this area is to complete your About section and shop policies. Great reviews will also help. Etsy sends out automated messages to customers reminding them to leave a review for items they’ve purchased, but you can give customers an extra nudge by including a prompt to leave a review on a promotional postcard inserted into the package they receive, for example.
When a problem with an order arises, be sure to address it promptly and professionally. Do your best to swiftly resolve it so that you avoid having customers opening a case against your shop. Also, it’s important to respect laws around intellectual property. If Etsy has had to remove one or more of your listings or shut down your shop for a period due to infringements, this can have a negative impact your shop’s performance.
New listings receive a temporary boost in search, but it’s very short-lived. Constantly renewing or relisting items is not a worthwhile strategy for improving search ranking. Instead, spend time working on other factors that have a greater long-term impact.
The location of your shop can be an additional factor in search, depending on where you live. Customers in the EU, Australia, and Canada have told Etsy that they like to buy from shops in their local area, so Etsy weights these locations for both the buyer and the seller in searches as well.
Once you learn how to optimize these areas of your Etsy listings and your shop as a whole, your items will get more views, and hopefully, more sales. When customers like, click on, and buy items from your shop that they found in search, your shop’s overall quality score within Etsy rises which means Etsy will show your shop more often in search, creating an upward spiral!
Be sure to download our Etsy SEO checklist to use as your work on your listings. Watch our trainings, Optimize Your Etsy Shop 1 and 2, both taught by Sarah Sewell, to see these concepts applied to actual Etsy listings.