One of the main benefits of selling on Etsy is gaining access to the over 90 million active customers on the platform. But, with 4.5 million other sellers also competing for those customers, it is important that you take every opportunity to optimize your shop and listings for search ranking and discoverability.
Over time we have sold 750,000 items in Spoonflower’s Etsy shops and our team has learned a lot about what it takes to get found in search and be successful on the platform. In this third and final article in our Etsy Success Series, we are excited to share our top five tips to help sellers get found through Etsy’s search and drive more traffic to your listings.
And don’t miss bonus tips as you read from Isabella Diaz, Etsy’s Community Education Manager!
To assemble a group of keywords to use in your listings, take on your customer’s mindset and think about all of the things they might search for if they were looking for your product. If a shopper knows exactly what they want, enough to type in a very specific search query, they are much more likely to buy from you.
These super-specific search queries are called long-tail searches. In order to gain traffic from these customers that are ready to buy, you want to use a diverse selection of keywords to match with as many relevant long-tail searches as you can. These keywords you discover in the process below will inform your product’s title, tags, and description.
Think about what the customer may type in if they have seen a picture of your product but are now trying to find it again. What words would they search for?
Do not use keywords that are unrelated to your product. The long-term success of your listing depends on how well you can describe your product to the search algorithm. If your product is showing in unrelated searches, it could result in fewer shop visits and low conversions (paying customers), which can in turn lead to your listing being deprioritized in future searches.
1. What is your product?
Use common terms to indicate what your product is or how it is used.
2. What makes your product unique?
Have you created something brand new or uncommon? In our Spoonflower Etsy shops, we dedicate a lot of title space to describing the featured design. We know that niche and long-tail keywords are the sources for most of our traffic, so when creating a listing we think hard about the design and what someone might type into search to find it.
Long-tail searches often involve color, subject matter (think dog, cat), or style (think boho, or mid-century modern). Be sure to think about synonyms and all of the words a customer might use to describe your product.
3. Do you offer variations?
If your listing offers the product in different materials, colors, or styles – be sure to mention those near the top of your item description. If you think the variation could match a common search, make sure to also put it in your listing titles to tags.
In Spoonflower’s Etsy shop, Petal Signature Cotton is our most popular fabric, and since “Cotton Fabric” is an extremely common search query we include that phrase in our listing titles.
We also make sure to call out some other types of fabric available in our listing tags to make sure our listings show up for customers searching for “Purple Dog Minky Fabric” as well as “Purple Dog Cotton Fabric”.
“I highly encourage all sellers to read through Etsy’s Ultimate Guide to Search–it is packed with information that will help you understand how search ranking works on Etsy and how you can improve the overall visibility of your shop and listings.
Try not to get discouraged or be afraid to experiment and pivot when something isn’t working. It can take some trial and error on the way to growing a business!”
– Isabella Diaz, Etsy’s Community Education Manager
Now that you have identified a mix of high-value and long-tail keywords, it is important to use them in the most efficient way possible across your title, tags, and in your item description. As a general rule of thumb – the terms used in your title should be the highest value and be most directly related to what your product actually is. Save more loosely related terms like “Father’s Day Gift” for your tags.
Don’t be afraid to max out your character limit! Maximize your relevant keyword coverage in titles and try to use all of the characters allowed. Keep in mind that your title can be up to 140 characters, but only a preview of the first 20-40 characters will appear on search result pages. Make sure to lead with words that make it clear what the product is.
You can and should use multiple keywords or phrases in your listing tags. When we add tags to Spoonflower listings, we pair the product name with each high-value keyword when there is room. For example, instead of just having a short tag for both “Floral” and for “Wallpaper” we will use the phrase “Floral Wallpaper”–this increases the likelihood we will have an exact match to the customer’s search query and help us rank higher in results.
Optimizing titles and tags is key to getting found for search queries, but we know typing a query into a search box isn’t the only way shoppers find things to buy on Etsy. There are navigation windows and filters and category pages to consider. To get found by shoppers browsing by these other methods, you will need to provide data via attributes.
When creating a listing, Etsy will provide you with many opportunities to include additional information, called attributes, for your product. Etsy decides what attributes to collect based on research into buyer behavior, and the data collected in these fields will allow your listings to be indexed for discovery in all types of placements where customers may go to discover new products.
While attributes are an excellent way to provide details in addition to what will fit in your titles and tags – it is important to include any high-value data in as many places as possible. For example, Etsy will ask you to make selections for color in attributes, but you should also include important color terms in your titles, tags, or item description.
As a marketplace, Etsy wants to know that the shops and listings they send traffic to will provide a positive experience for their customers. You want to have as many positive reviews and as few cases as possible to build trust with Etsy, and potential buyers.
Set Realistic Expectations
Most Etsy customers know they are dealing with a small business, so as long as you are communicating truthful and accurate information on your listings, most will be understanding. For example, you want to make sure your posted production times are in line with what you can deliver. You also want to make sure your photos accurately portray the color and size of the product so be intentional with your photography and staging.
Be Responsive to Messages
We have found that Etsy shoppers are far more likely to reach out with questions pre-purchase than on our website or other online marketplaces. This is a great opportunity to build a relationship with a potential new customer. Not only can you help them purchase exactly what they are looking for, but customer feedback via messages is our favorite resource to help improve our products and listings.
Deliver the Goods
Etsy customers have high expectations for packaging and delivery. Be sure you are providing tracking for your shipments that is accurate and prompt and that your packaging communicates the value of your product. Consider including a handwritten note or printed postcard that tells the customer more about you and your business and to thank them for their support and remind them to leave a review.
Establishing a successful Etsy shop can take time, and while new-ness has value in the Etsy search algorithm, the performance history of your listings and shop is factored in as well. Utilize social media or other forms of direct traffic to drive your existing customers to purchase and leave reviews on new products – this will help boost your listings in search so new customers can find them as well.
“Offsite Ads through Etsy is an easy way to promote your listings on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bing, and more!
Prioritize the platform you feel most comfortable engaging with your customers and potential buyers. You don’t have to use every channel to promote your business. Choose the ones that feel most aligned with your brand and communication style.”
– Isabella Diaz, Etsy’s Community Education Manager
As Sr. Manager of Third-Party Marketplace Strategy, Emerson Jones is on a mission to increase visibility and sales for Spoonflower artists by connecting them to new customers on platforms like Etsy and Amazon. She has been with Spoonflower since 2015 and currently works from her backyard hammock in Durham, North Carolina.