With millions of buyers around the world shopping online during the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to tap into the market by optimizing your Etsy listings. “There really is no substitute for the kind of visibility a good search ranking can bring,” says Kate Sitzman, owner of yarn and fiber shop woolgatherings based in Duvall, Washington. With over 15,000 sales, Kate relies on one overarching question when polishing her listings to improve her chances of getting found by shoppers: What words would a buyer use to find her products?
Refining your titles, tags and item descriptions is one of the most effective ways to increase your shop's exposure. Here are five techniques you can use to help your shop get found by shoppers of all kinds this season.
1. Lead With Your Strongest Keywords
Search engines rely heavily on written content to determine how relevant listings are to a shopper’s query. Whether potential buyers are searching within the Etsy marketplace or typing a query into a search engine like Google, you can increase your chances of getting found by incorporating strong keywords throughout your titles, tags and item descriptions. Your keywords should answer a buyer’s basic questions about your items, including what it is, what it’s made of and who it’s made for.
When it comes to using keywords and phrases in your shop, the order of your keywords matters. Place your strongest keywords at the beginning of your titles and in the first line of your item descriptions. Google pays more attention to the first several words in your title when ranking search results, and the shoppers searching for products on Google can only see roughly the first line of your item description in the list of search results. Etsy’s search tool also prioritizes the first several words in your titles when ranking search results, so put your strongest keywords up front.
2. Max Out Your Tags and Titles
Your tags and titles are the primary way shoppers find your items within Etsy search, so it’s important to use plenty of descriptive keywords in your listing titles and in all 13 of your tags. “A good trick is to ask your friends what they would type in the search bar if they were looking for a similar product,” suggests Pauline Hagan, who runs Benu Made, a jewelry shop based in Prague, Czech Republic. She also recommends utilizing compound tags (in other words, groups of words like “black dress” or “garden hat”) to squeeze the most keywords into your listings.
Many experienced sellers regularly review, experiment with and update their listing tags, using Shop Stats to measure success. Check out Give Your Titles, Descriptions and Tags a Makeover to learn more about what to include.
3. Approach Your Listing From the Shopper’s Perspective
“Generally, shoppers are looking for gifts by type, price and recipient — or some combination of all three,” says Mary Andrews, senior manager of merchandising at Etsy. “To capture their attention in your listings, emphasize why your item would make a great gift based on their needs and highlight examples of potential recipients in your product descriptions.” Additionally, consider the appropriate gift recipient when creating your tags (such as gifts for her, gifts for dads, gifts for kids). You can also update your tags, titles and descriptions to reflect seasonal trends and search terms, when relevant. For more inspiration, read Mary’s 2016 Holiday Merchandising Guide. To learn more about how to market your items as gifts, check out How to Make Your Items More Giftable for the Holidays.
4. Categorize Every Item Correctly
Buyers often sort search results by category when shopping on Etsy, so it’s important to select the accurate category — and sub-categories — for each of your listings, as well as an occasion, style and recipient. (Keep in mind that categories typically refer to what an item is, as opposed to what it’s for or what it’s made of.)
Within the Search Terms section of your listing, assign an occasion that is pertinent to a specific holiday, like Christmas or Hanukkah. You can consider including some seasonal tags to match what your ideal customers might search for this time of year. If you sell small holiday gifts, you could try keywords like stocking stuffer or stocking filler. Could any of your items be used as seasonal decorations? If so, consider tags like holiday decor, Hanukkah decorations, Christmas ornaments, Christmas baubles, Christmas wreath or similar terms.
5. Think Globally
Etsy automatically translates your listings into your customers’ preferred languages, but there are a few things you can do to optimize the experience for your global shoppers. First, double-check that your default shop language matches the language you are most fluent in — the translation tool will take care of the rest. Keep in mind that the names of certain items vary by location, and sometimes do not translate literally. For example, a “sweater” in the United States is called a “jumper” in the United Kingdom and a “pullover” in Germany. In many cases, Etsy’s search engine is still able to help shoppers find your items by referencing your item’s categories and subcategories. (Learn more about automatic translation on Etsy.) Since sizes aren’t translated, it's best to supply measurements in both metric and imperial units, if possible.
Remember, finding the right keywords for your items takes time and experimentation. Don’t forget to periodically check your Shop Stats to identify which keywords draw the most views to your shop, especially when experimenting with seasonal tags and titles. If some of your keywords are not attracting views, swap in new ones to see if they perform better, or try additional variations of keywords that are working.
Editor's Note: First published on Etsy's Seller Handbook