So you've come up with the perfect Etsy store idea and spent weeks creating and refining your product. You've taken amazing photos and written detailed descriptions answering all of your potential buyers' questions. You know that it takes a while for sales to start with a new store so you've been patient, but now it's been months and you still haven't made any significant sales. If you've checked off all of the above, but your views are still nearly nonexistent, then the problem might be with your SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the way that Etsy ranks each of its millions of listings every time a buyer searches for something.
Why is SEO important? Well, think about the way that you shop. Let's say you're looking to buy a green pillow. You'd probably go to the search bar on Etsy, type "green pillow", and press search. You'd look at the first 1-3 pages of results, and then make your decision on which one to purchase based on the ones that you've seen.
But wait—did you know that there are over 67,000 results for "green pillow" as of writing this article? That's over 250 pages of search results with amazing products that will likely never be seen by potential buyers because their SEO was not good enough for Etsy to rank them in the first few pages.
Optimizing your listings seems like a daunting task when you're first starting out, but I promise it's easier once you understand how Etsy ranks your products. Here's three simple tips to help you get started:
1. Choose relevant tags
Let's go back to our "green pillow" example. By the time you go on Etsy to find your new pillow, you already know that the sofa you'll be putting the pillow on is green, so the pillow needs to also be green to match. If you came across a beautiful orange pillow in your search results, you may click on the listing, and you may even favorite it, but ultimately you won't be purchasing it.
It may be tempting when you're starting out to try to cast a wider net with your tags to get more views, but buyers that come across your listings with broad or irrelevant tags will not become your customers. Instead, aim for tags that describe your product (green pillow), uses or activities related to your product (living room decor), and the demographic you are targeting (mother's day gift). That way, when your listing shows up in someone's search results, it will be exactly what they are looking for.
2. Make sure your tags and titles are matching
Yes, this will make your titles look a bit cluttered, but it is one of the most important factors in Etsy's SEO. Because Etsy doesn't have a separate SEO field like many standalone websites, it relies heavily on your titles and tags.
It may seem a little backwards, but try creating your tags before you even start typing your title. Once you have those done, just copy and paste your tags word for word into your title and separate them with dashes or commas. Make sure to list the most relevant tags at the beginning of your title, since your first few words will be more heavily weighted.
3. Make the most of your tags
Remember that Etsy's search function is essentially just a jumble of code—it can't look at your product photos to see what you are selling, so it relies solely on the information you give it to determine what your product is and what types of buyers it should show your product to. You only get 13 tags, each with a maximum of 20 characters, that you have to use to capture the essence of your product. There's no room to repeat yourself or waste characters here.
Choose descriptive 2-3 word phrases that your target customer would search for. Think about it—most people wouldn't simply type just "green" or "pillow" into a search bar. Buyers are smart enough to know that they would get millions of irrelevant results to sift through. In our example, we would tag our listing with "green pillow" as one tag instead of "green" and "pillow" as two separate tags. Not only will this help you conserve tags, but it will more closely mirror the phrases potential customers might search for.
Hopefully this article has helped to build your understanding of the way that Etsy ranks your listings, and feel free to visit my Etsy store to see how I put these tips to action. Leave me a comment below if you have any other questions about Etsy SEO or if there are any topics you'd like me to cover in future posts!