Do you feel invisible on Etsy? Are you having trouble getting your products in front of the right buyers? If so, it’s time to beef up your Etsy search engine optimization strategy and boost the presence of your listings.
This Etsy SEO guide will help you do just that. We’ll explore the inner workings of Etsy search:
How the site’s algorithm works
The factors that come into play when Etsy ranks listings
The steps you should take to improve your position in search results
Tools that’ll help you develop a strategy and optimize Etsy listings
Let’s get started!
Why should you spend time on Etsy search engine optimization? Simple: there are a lot of shoppers on the site. During 2022’s Q4, there were 96.3 million active buyers (people who bought at least one item in the last 12 months). That’s a 17% growth from the previous year.
These statistics tell us that consumers are increasingly shopping on the site. And more buyers equal more chances to sell, leading to higher revenue. But in order to sell, you need to be visible. That’s where Etsy search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Etsy SEO involves a process where an Etsy shop and its listings are optimized to rank higher in search results. SEO makes it easier for customers to find your products when searching on Google or the Etsy website.
If shoppers can easily find your store, you’ll have a better chance of selling to them instead of losing sales to competitors. Overall, Etsy SEO can help boost sales and grow brand awareness.
According to Etsy, when a buyer runs a search, its algorithm does two things to determine the results that shoppers see first. They include:
Etsy kicks things off with a process called query matching. During this process, Etsy examines listings and gathers up the ones that match the customer’s search query. Etsy does this by examining the following:
These factors don’t include photos or videos, but they’re vital for making it easier for customers to find your products or store. We’ll explore all the other areas that affect Etsy SEO as you read along.
After query matching, Etsy ranks all the matched listings based on each buyer’s likelihood to purchase the items. It takes into account the age, quality, and relevance of the listing, as well as various other factors.
To rank high on Etsy, ensure your product listings are optimized with relevant keywords in any titles, tags, or product descriptions. Make sure to keep customers satisfied by responding to any issues as soon as you’re aware of them, and try to only use high-quality photos and videos.
Etsy also uses all the below factors when deciding whether your store appears on the first page of results or gets ranked lower.
Check out and apply each point to your store:
Relevance of the listing. Etsy looks at a listing’s title, tags, categories, and attributes and tries to figure out how aligned they are with the buyer’s search. The closer the match, the higher your listing ranks.
Quality of the listing. Etsy looks at a listing’s conversions to determine a metric called the “listing quality score.” The higher the conversion rate, the higher the listing score—and ranking.
Age of the listing. Newer listings get a slight temporary boost in their rankings. This boost can last a few hours or days, depending on the product’s search volume. This enables Etsy to understand how shoppers interact with each listing, influencing the listing quality score.
Customer and market experience. Etsy wants to give buyers a smooth browsing and purchasing experience. To do that, its search engine factors in a seller’s customer service history and the content of the shop. That includes a store’s About page, policies, ratings, and reviews. Etsy then scores shops based on the experience they offer and rewards high-scoring sellers by favoring their listings in search results.
Shipping costs. The shipping price is important to buyers, so it’s important to Etsy. According to Etsy’s study, shoppers are 20% more likely to buy an item if the purchase comes with free shipping. For this reason, the cost of shipping is an Etsy ranking factor. Sellers with lower shipping costs—or, even better, those that offer free shipping—will likely see their listings rank higher in search results.
Etsy shop location. If your shop is based in the European Union, Australia, or Canada, the location is taken into account in ranking. Local shops have a slight advantage in search results within their area, but shoppers can also select which country or region they want to see listings from when searching on Etsy.
Language and translations. If you sell to international buyers, it helps to add custom translations to your listings. While Etsy automatically translates listings to match each buyer’s query and language settings, manually translating your content will help it outperform listings that have been automatically translated. This is because manual translations often sound more natural and are more in line with how buyers would typically type in their queries.
Context Specific Rankings (CSR). A buyer’s browsing behavior (including what products they clicked on and items they bought previously) is also factored in Etsy rankings. Etsy uses a technology called Context Specific Ranking to serve up personalized search results and strives to give each buyer the most relevant listings depending on their past behavior.
How to improve Etsy SEO?
In a nutshell, you need to carefully plan out the words you use for query matching and other ranking factors—such as CSR, your listing quality, and the customer experience you offer shoppers.
Learn More: 10 Best Etsy Seller Apps to Help Grow Your Store
Now that you know how Etsy’s search algorithm works, let’s talk about the practical steps you should take to get your listings to rank higher.
Keywords are the building blocks of your Etsy SEO strategy. The first thing Etsy does when processing a buyer’s search query is comb through its inventory of listings to find the ones that best match the user’s search terms.
That’s why it’s essential that you figure out the best keywords for your Etsy listings.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. When you understand your shoppers and know why they’re searching for your products, you’ll be able to easily determine the right words and phrases to use in your listings. You should also take advantage of useful Etsy apps that work by suggesting the right keywords.
Understanding your customers also helps when you’re dealing with the technical side of keyword research. Etsy SEO tools can generate long lists of keywords and tons of choices, which take time to sift through and organize. Knowing your buyers and their search intentions makes the keyword research process easier because you already have an idea of what buyers are looking for.
You can use Etsy keyword tools to get search term ideas and determine which queries to prioritize. Check out the following Etsy solutions and software to find the best keywords.
Marmalead is the most recommended Etsy keyword tool and for good reason. Made specifically for the marketplace, the software offers brainstorming and reporting tools to surface top Etsy searches, keyword search volume, engagement, and competition. It also looks at keyword performance over the last 12 months to predict how they’re going to perform in the future.
Marmalead comes with other nice-to-have features including shop and listing grades as well as price breakpoints, which tell you how your prices compare against other sellers.
Pricing: $19 USD a month / $15.83 per month if paid annually.
To help our customers with their Etsy SEO endeavors, we’ve developed our own keyword tool—Keyword Scout.
Keyword Scout starts by analyzing your Etsy listings. It then gives you pointers on which SEO mistakes you need to fix like missing images or tags, or descriptions that are too short.
You can also use Keyword Sout for doing keyword research. Just enter a word or a phrase that best describes your niche and Keyword Scout generates a list of the most popular related Etsy tags. Use these tags to optimize existing listings or brainstorm new product ideas.
Keyword Scout is part of the Printful Pro toolkit. The Pro toolkit also includes Printful’s Logo Maker and Promo Maker. To access Keyword Scout, go to Dashboard > Premium toolkit > Keyword Scout. You’ll need the Pro plan to use Keyword Scout.
Keyword research can take time. Fortunately, eRank has a couple of features that quickly get data for multiple search terms. There’s the Bulk Keyword Tool which looks up search volumes for Etsy and Google, 20 words at a time. This is handy if you want your listings to rank on Google as well. There’s also the Bulk Rank Checker which lets you check the performance of 20 keywords at a time.
And if you’re looking for more general Etsy trends, you can use Trending on Etsy, a feature that surfaces the most searched keywords on Etsy and seasonal trends based on last year’s data.
Pricing: The standard plan is free, but you can upgrade to the Pro tier for $9.99 a month.
This tool is ideal if you’re looking for long-tail search terms and more specific buyer queries. KTD’s Etsy Keyword Tool is a free website that generates long-tail search terms (i.e., highly specific search phrases that contain three words or more). This tool doesn’t provide insights into search volume or Etsy rankings, but it’s great for finding long-tail keyword ideas that you can enter into other SEO programs.
All you need to do is type in a keyword, and KTD will generate a list of long-tail query suggestions which you can then export into a CSV file.
Pricing: You pay a one-time fee of $49 to purchase the Etsy-only Keyword Tool.
Google Keyword Planner is a handy tool if you want to substantiate your existing keyword research and if one of your objectives is to get your listings to show up on Google. This tool generates search volume and competition info for specific keywords entered into Google, allowing you to gain insights into what people are typing into the search engine.
Pricing: Free to use.
Useful resources: Etsy fees and profits calculator
Another way to find keywords? Check out your Etsy reports. Etsy’s native reporting tool offers valuable insights into how people find your listings. Aside from displaying page views and traffic sources, Etsy also shows the search terms that have led to your listings.
Finding your search terms report is easy. Just go to the Shop Manager on your Etsy dashboard and click Stats.
Etsy’s native search suggestions can be helpful with your research, but don’t rely on them alone when looking for keywords. This is because Etsy makes these recommendations based on recent searches, and they don’t necessarily reflect the overall popularity of a keyword.
Once you know which keywords to use, incorporate them into your listing. When matching queries, Etsy looks at the listing components below to see if they are aligned with a buyer’s search. Go through them and make sure they’re optimized for search.
Etsy lets you use up to 140 characters in your title but puts more weight on the first few words. So, make sure you enter the most important keywords first.
If you’re selling original paintings, you should use terms such as “wall art,” “office painting,” or “abstract painting” instead of the title of the piece—you can save that for the product description.
Take a look at this example, where the seller uses search-friendly terms like “original wall art” and “bird painting” in the listing title, but saves the title of the artwork (“Never Alone”) for the description.
Etsy doesn’t allow titles to contain more than 3 words in all caps. Some special characters like the percentage symbol (%) and ampersand (&) can only be used once, and the dollar sign ($) and caret (^) aren’t allowed at all.
Now let’s talk about Etsy tags, attributes, and categories. These three components all function as tags and Etsy uses them in its query-matching process. But they also have some distinctions, which we’ll get to below.
Etsy tags have two functions: helping buyers discover similar products and helping Etsy in its query matching process.
Etsy lets you add up to 13 tags for each listing, so make them count! Vary your tags so they cover a wide range of search terms. For instance, if you’re selling earrings, then in addition to typical tags like “diamond earrings” or “gold earrings,” add tags like “custom jewelry” or “women’s gifts”.
Etsy tags can be up to 20 characters long and can contain multiple words. In fact, Etsy recommends using multi-word tags (e.g., “handmade earrings” vs. “handmade”) because they let you be more precise.
You should also prioritize long-tail keywords over generic terms. Why? Because shoppers who know what they want typically enter longer and more specific search terms when looking for products. Using those long-tail keywords helps you get in front of these customers.
For instance, someone on the hunt for a men’s wallet is likely to be clear and specific with their search terms and enter “men’s leather wallet” or “minimalist wallet” instead of just “wallet.”
Attributes are the additional details you might use to describe your products. They’re displayed on the left side of the search results page and customers can use them to narrow down the search results.
Attributes serve two purposes:
They make buyers’ lives easier by letting them filter search results
They match Etsy queries more effectively
You can optimize this component of your listing by including as many relevant attributes as possible when you’re submitting your listing. For example, if you’re selling a pair of black leather ballet flats, then you’d select attributes such as “flats,” “black,” and “leather.”
You can also use them to broaden the match potential of your listing. The more relevant attributes you have, the higher the chances your product shows up on search results. Let’s say you’re using “violet” to describe a shirt that you’re selling. To improve your chances of ranking, you could add “purple” as a color attribute, because it still accurately describes the item.
While Etsy categories are primarily used to help shoppers browse the site and narrow down their search, they still play an important role in SEO. Categories and sub-categories function as Etsy tags, and the site uses them when matching listings to search queries.
Optimize your categories by being as specific as possible. Go for sub-categories first when classifying your items. Starting with sub-categories helps because Etsy automatically adds your products to related broader categories.
For example, if you’re selling a ring with multiple stones, then use the sub-category “Multistone Rings.” When you do that, the product automatically gets listed under “Rings” and “Jewelry & Accessories,” so shoppers will still discover your products when they search those categories.
Having a listing that aligns with a buyer’s search is a good start, but it’s not the only determining factor for ranking high in search results.
While a keyword-optimized listing is a must, having strong visuals and professionally written copy is just as important because these lead to conversions. As mentioned earlier, Etsy’s algorithm factors in a listing’s conversion rate when deciding on a position in search results. The more people click on a listing and buy the item, the higher the listing’s quality score. That, in turn, increases your rankings.
Optimizing Etsy listings increases visibility, which leads to more sales. To optimize your Etsy listings, check that you’ve included photos and videos for all your products. Spend time on all your written content (such as titles and descriptions) and keep asking for reviews from shoppers.
To get started, go through the steps below and apply them to your Etsy shop:
Etsy lets you add up to 10 photos per listing, so grab the opportunity to showcase your products in the best light. In addition to taking photos from multiple angles, add images of your products being used. If relevant, include images that give people a better idea of the item’s size, texture, etc.
Here’s an example of this tip in action. This shop owner who sells citrine necklaces used all 10 photo slots to showcase the product from multiple angles. They included lifestyle shots and added a diagram to show the various lengths of the necklace.
Using high-resolution videos on Etsy helps boost SEO because videos make listings more visually appealing to potential shoppers. If a listing is more visually appealing, it’s more likely that a customer will buy your product and spend more time checking out your listing.
Source: The Book Artisan via Etsy
Video content also improves the overall customer experience for shoppers. This tells search engines and Etsy that your listing is relevant and valuable to buyers. That’s because customers are likely to spend more time on your listing by checking out your photos, watching your videos, and reading more about your product.
After all, you don’t want customers to skim through product pictures and leave right after. Videos help capture online buyers’ attention and provide the closest experience they can get to ‘feeling’ out your product.
Videos also assure customers that your store is professional enough to show them exactly how your product looks and works. If you sell clothing you can include videos of people wearing it, or make videos of how to use your products if you sell other items.
A product video showing that the t-shirt was made using a direct-to-film print machine | Source: Fast Custom Tees via Etsy
For example: If you’re selling sustainably-made clothing you can make a video showing your clothing worn by a person. You can include some text in the video laying out key points about how buying your clothing contributes to less textile or water waste. You can also add different information, such as your production process.
As a final touch, you could include a close-up of your product’s material to show how the fabric looks and moves, helping customers grasp how your product might feel when worn.
All of the factors mentioned improve the visibility and ranking of your listing in Etsy’s internal search and Google search results. Takeaway? Videos improve your store’s SEO and customer engagement.
While Etsy’s search algorithm doesn’t scan product descriptions, they play a significant role in increasing conversions—which then helps your Etsy rankings.
Etsy has no word count limit for your product description, so the length of the content depends on how complex your product is or how much of a story you want to tell. But no matter how you decide to write your description, keep the following best practices in mind:
Write the most important details first. Doing so captures the immediate attention of shoppers, encouraging them to keep reading. This information varies depending on the product, but typically includes the item’s key features and ordering instructions. Feel free to repeat some of the words that you’ve used in your title, attributes, tags, and categories.
Make your descriptions scannable. Nothing scares online shoppers off more than a wall of text, so use short paragraphs (4–5 lines max). Use bold, italics, and underline formatting to highlight key information and headers to break up the text.
Add a link. Etsy makes URLs clickable if they lead to pages within the marketplace. Consider adding Etsy URLs to your descriptions and direct people to other items or your shop’s main page. That way, if a customer isn’t ready to buy, you can still keep them within the bounds of your store, instead of having them go back to search results or check out other sellers.
The following example shows all these Etsy SEO tips in action. The seller has relevant keywords at the beginning of the description (“crystals,” “healing crystals”, “citrine pendant gold,” etc.). The seller then proceeds to talk about the story behind the gemstone as well as its key benefits. They’ve also added a link to similar products toward the end of the description.
95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Online shoppers value other customers’ feedback, particularly if they’re buying something they can’t see and touch in person. That’s why it’s important that your listings contain ratings and reviews.
The good news is Etsy already helps you out on this front by automatically nudging customers to share feedback about their products. To further encourage customers to rate and review your items, consider adding a note in your packages thanking your customers and inviting them to review their purchases. Just be careful with your messaging. It’s against Etsy’s rules to offer additional goods, services, or compensation in exchange for reviews, so you want to ensure that your note doesn’t come off as pushy.
What if you get a negative review? Get in touch to see if you can resolve their issue. If you handle it the right way, you might just turn their negative experience into a positive one!
Etsy’s search algorithm considers the customer and market experience score in rankings. This is a metric that gives Etsy an idea of how satisfied customers are with your shop. Here are some of the factors that can affect your score:
In addition to driving purchases, reviews also have a direct impact on your customer and market experience score. Etsy favors products with positive reviews by giving them a better placement in its search.
Part of providing a satisfying shopping experience is letting your customers get to know your store better. That’s why it’s important to craft a compelling About section and use the space to show off your personality and build trust with your customers.
Make the most of the About section by telling your shop’s story and adding photos and videos. The goal is to connect with buyers and make them feel confident about making a purchase.
TheBurlapCottage sells various keepsakes and does this exceptionally well. The store’s About section shares their story, a personal note from the owner, customer testimonials, photos, and videos.
Having clear store policies helps put your customers at ease. Being transparent with how you operate—particularly when it comes to returns—gives shoppers confidence in their buying decisions. Plus, it helps you manage customer expectations. Etsy provides templates for shipping policies, payment options, returns and exchanges, and user privacy that you can use to craft your own store policies.
That’s exactly what TheBurlapCottage does. Its store policies detail how the shop handles shipping, payments, and returns.
The store also has an FAQ section, which saves them and their customers time. These FAQs also make TheBurlapCottage more transparent and open.
According to Etsy, having cases opened against your store within the last 4 months can hurt your score. That’s why you must avoid such cases and disputes by being honest in your listings and managing shopper expectations. And if someone does open a case against you, quickly communicate with both the shopper and Etsy to resolve it ASAP.
Write original content in your listings and only use photos you took yourself—unless you have permission to use someone else’s images. Etsy lowers a store’s customer and market experience score if they receive notice of intellectual property infringement against a shop.
Etsy knows that its customers are more likely to buy from sellers that don’t charge much for shipping. And since the site wants customers to complete a purchase, it favors listings with lower shipping fees.
Lowering your shipping costs can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a wide profit margin, but there are a couple of creative tactics to try.
Incorporate shipping costs into your product pricing. Mix in a portion of your estimated shipping costs into your pricing, so you can lower the listing’s shipping fees. If you’re selling an item that costs $10 to make and $5 to ship, split the shipping price in two and add one half ($2.50) to your item price. That brings the total listing price to $12.50 and the shipping is now only $2.50.
Offer free shipping. Free shipping makes your listing a lot more attractive to buyers and Etsy’s search engine. Plus, a free shipping badge will be displayed on your search results listing. You can incorporate the entire shipping fee into your listing price. Or you can use conditional free shipping, in which you waive the shipping fees if customers meet certain requirements. For example, you can have free shipping for orders above $50.
Etsy SEO takes about four to six weeks to work. The exact amount of time required is unknown and depends on all the points explored in this article. One thing is for sure though, and it’s that you’re more likely to see SEO improvements if you closely follow the tips in this guide from A to Z.
You’re going to need more than just the right keywords to rank in a search engine as sophisticated as Etsy’s.
Implementing a successful Etsy SEO strategy requires a combo of:
Selling products that people are looking for
Implementing technical search engine optimization tactics
Being a fair and communicative seller
Get all 3 components right, and you’ll win the Etsy SEO game.
In short? There’s no silver bullet. You have to do the work and be the best seller you can be.
During her time as blog manager at Printful, Giedre learned the importance of content localization. Now she uses this knowledge as International Content Marketing Manager to overlook Printful’s communications in all languages but English.
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