Geez, what a mouthful…
The answer is rather boring, but it is essential to making this Etsy thing work. So hear me out for a sec as I layout the groundwork.
The Answer: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is a tool used to determine the placement of your shop when someone performs a search. Many search engines use SEO -- Google, Pinterest, Yahoo, and Bing to name a few. But for today's purposes, we are focusing solely on Etsy.
As complex as SEO appears, it doesn’t have to be. We aren’t here to take over the world or reinvent the wheel. We are simply learning the baseline of SEO and how you should be using it to bring customers to your shop organically.
Do you feel a headache brewing?
No worries, let me break it down on how this strategy works.
Etsy created this fancy formula called an algorithm. The algorithm determines how Etsy ranks your shop based on whatever search term is used.
Give me a sec, I'm getting to the juicy stuff...
Think about the shopper experience, let's take our seller hat off and replace it with our shopper hat.
As a shopper, let's say we are looking for baby girl headbands. The algorithm kicks in and begins searching through every shop on Etsy. The hunt is on for items that relate to the words or words placed in search.
Once the search is complete, a list of items is presented. The algorithm has populated products only relevant to the search term and ranks each product accordingly based on the search term used.
Pretty swanky, huh?
"So how does the algorithm determine which products are relevant to the search term used?"
I thought you would never ask!
Etsy determines which products to present to the shopper and their ranking status based on specific criteria. This is all achieved by sifting through certain key elements within each seller's shop. This, my friend, is the inner workings of Etsy SEO.
Your job is to ensure these elements are 1000% on point as they can make or break your success with Etsy. If executed correctly, your shop will rise in the search page rankings. Thus, increasing the chance that someone will click on your item. The end result is sales.
Cha-ching! (Gosh, I love that sound – it just never gets old).
So, what does this mean for you? How can you make this work for your shop?
If your SEO sucks or even nonexistent, your listings will not be included in the relevant search. What's worse, you will subject your shop to the sound of crickets – I’m talking about serious radio silence. Unless of course, you are driving your own traffic (which you should always do despite Etsy SEO. I'm just saying!)
Also, let’s not forget, you are wasting precious time and money with a shop that isn’t driving you any sales.
I can remember my first few months on Etsy, it was not pretty, the struggle is all to real. And although those days are behind me, I can’t forget how stressful it was for me not knowing what to do or even what I was doing wrong.
To fix this rather annoying problem, I have put together some simple tricks you can implement to increase your Etsy shop traffic and place you on in front of your ideal customers so you can start making sales. Here goes…
1 | UNIQUE SELLING POINT
The most essential aspect of attracting shoppers is not exactly the product, but what makes your product better than your competition. Your products should stand out in a way that convinces shoppers they can’t live without it.
There are so many options to choose from. You have about 1.5 seconds to convince shoppers why they should shop with you and what makes your products better than the next.
The key is to understanding that is not always about what you're selling, but the message behind your products that your competitors doesn't focus on.
Your unique selling point should be a blend of what your customers want and what your business is good at doing.
Things to think about:
- What can you add to give your product an element of uniqueness?
- How are your items going to impact potential customers lives?
- How does your product solve a problem for shoppers?
- How can you refine your product to fit more into the needs of your audience.
It's totally okay to pivot and make changes to better suit the needs of your audience. Things that I've sold at the beginning of my journey, I no longer offer. And that's okay -- it's called growth. You are under no obligation to stick with one thing. In fact, it's encouraged to evolve and find new ways to grow along with the trends.
As you make mistakes along the way and learn more about running a business, it becomes incredibly easy to identify what does and doesn't work. Obviously, the things that doesn't work you will either make changes to or chunk it all together.
At one of my very first craft shows, a customer recognized my logo and instantly came over to my booth. She gushed for 10 minutes about how much she loved my products.
I have to say I was completely stoked? Here I was, this new seller, and someone recognized my efforts and loved it. Remember, your ultimate goal when creating products is to serve your audience.
I am in a market where hair bows are huge right now...quite saturated. However, that didn't stop me from pursuing my business goals. Don’t allow a saturated market scare you away, to me it speaks that there is a need for these items and I want to be a part of it.
Moral of the story: Even if you are part of a niche that has tons of sellers offering the same thing, don't let it deter you from your success. Make it work for you. Put a twist to your products -- add something special that stands out from the rest. In this case, my logo did just that for me.
When I first started out, I didn't have much rhyme or reason for most of the things I implemented outside of my desire to make money. Along the way I learned more about my audience and potential shoppers. This helped me to create more focus on the products I created and the offerings I provided.
My unique selling point for my hair accessories is that I make vintage accessories that inspire play and promote self-love. My unique selling point isn't primarily about just hair accessories. But the message behind the products I sell.
2 | SELECT YOUR KEYWORDS LIKE A BOSS
Vital. Essential. Must-Have.
Yup, keywords are all of these and more.
Keywords are words and/or phrases used to describe your products. Keyword selection is finding the most accurate words that best describe each listing. Number one mistake most Etsy sellers make?
Using keywords based on the seller's point of view, instead of the shopper.
Shoppers are not looking for "The Butterfly Bow Collection". What does that mean to a shopper?
Don't get me wrong, I am all for the cutesy titles and names I've created for my products. In fact, I've used them myself and continue to do so.
Unfortunately, they get you nowhere when you are adding them as a major part of your title. If you want to be the badass, boss seller that I know you are. Get rid of the cutesy names within your titles and replace them with keywords that truly describe your product. Only include keywords that shoppers are familiar with when they are on the search for something. Any technical terms that only you would know as a seller should not be included in your titles and tags. Instead you can gracefully include them in your descriptions.
Need some keyword ideas? Use a keyword tool. You don't have to figure this out on your own. I learned this the hard way when I started out. After 5 months of opening my shop, I got a clue and well the results speak for themselves.
Can you tell when I started getting serious and using tools such as Marmalead and eRank to help take some of the pressure off my plate.
3 | LEVEL UP + OPTIMIZE YOUR ETSY SHOP TITLE
There is this space right under your shop name known as the shop title.
This text is what people see in the search engine, such as Google, that links right back to your shop. Shop titles are limited to 55 characters and describe your shop and the items you sell.
Choose wisely and make good use of this space. You can use this space for:
- You can even go with something simple such as your name or business name
4 | SHOP SECTIONS MATTER TOO
If you are not utilizing your shop sections, you should absolutely do so now.
For starters, it helps shoppers navigate your shop easily when searching for products. Think of sections as a filtering tool.
If you have over 100+ products, who would want to shuffle through pages of products to find what they are looking for?
Uh, not me!
Even if I am browsing, I certainly don't want the inconvenience of going through 10 pages worth of products. I am way to lazy for that.
The longer a potential buyer remains in your shop, the greater the chances they will buy something. Why not make it easy for them to do so?
Before you create your sections, be sure to name them with appropriate keywords. Etsy uses your section names as another SEO tactic for shoppers to find you in search.
5 | GET YOUR LISTINGS IN ORDER
Your listing consists of several components: categories, attributes, title, tags, and a description. Each of these components help Etsy search understand what your listing is about and if your listing belongs in the results of a searched term. Let's talk about each…
Categories are similar to tags. These are keyword phrases that are broken into sections that describe your product. You want to add as many options that are relevant to the item you are listing. The more specific you are, the better chance you get to match within a search.
Attributes provide shoppers with details about your listing. Attributes range from the color of your item to the shopping occasion that item could be used for. Like categories, attributes behave like tags as well. It’s all about helping you match with what shoppers are searching for. Keep in mind, categories and attributes are not totally precise. But that’s okay, you want to use what are the most relevant. You will use your titles, tags, and description to give more of a custom feel.
When writing your titles, make sure they are descriptive as possible, but keep it short, sweet and to the point. When shoppers are skimming through searches, you want to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. Always lead your title with keywords that describe your item the best. This is important because this what shoppers see first as they browse, so choose accordingly. I suggest using some type of punctuation or separators so that shoppers can read your keyword phrases.
You get 13 of them. Don't blow them off, use every one of them. Here is your chance to shine. You will use the tags section to describe your item using your own words. Use variety, avoid using single keywords, and avoid repeating the same tags, and don’t repeat phrases that you have already used within your categories and attributes.
A simple hack: the keywords you used in your title, place them into your tags as well. Duplication in both places creates a stronger match and indicates to Etsy that those keywords must be relevant.
Descriptions are a biggie for me when it comes to the ultimate customer experience.
Shoppers don't have the ability to inspect our products before purchasing. Outside of photos, the description communicates what your shopper will be receiving. It's a creative way to answer your shopper questions before they have a chance to ask them.
Be sure to snag the opportunity to sprinkle in some keywords throughout your description.
6 | INBOUND LINKS, MY FRIEND
I had no earthly idea what this was or that this was an actual money-making strategy. I stumbled upon this term by accident on Pinterest.
Inbound links are links that are directed back to your site from another website. For example, your shop is part of a product roundup on someone's blog. In that content, the blogger mentions your shop and links back to your Etsy pages, which is an inbound link.
Here's an example of a guest blog post I wrote on At Home Entrepreneur.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
Inbound links tell the search engines machine that people are interested in what you have going on. In return, you are rewarded by being pushed up in the search ranks. And where does that get us...MORE SALES!
As intimidating as SEO can be, it really isn't too scary to tackle. Implementing these practices will create a solid Etsy SEO strategy to ensure that your shop ranks high in search. Keep in mind, Etsy’s algorithm is ever-changing. What works for one shop, may not work for yours. Use these best practices, put in the work, and remain consistent.
Got questions? Ideas to share? Let me know in the comments.
If you are just getting started...be sure to grab my free download: The Etsy Kickstart Planner.
The Planner, walks you through tackling 5 stages of starting your Etsy shop to marketing beyond Etsy. Designed so that you don't have to do it all on your own. You are given the tidbits to get things accomplished the RIGHT WAY in order to give you the rock solid foundation you need to accelerate your Etsy shop growth.
Let me know if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!