About keywords in general: Keywords are an essential part of the Internet. We use keywords in everything from searching Google through to browsing products on Etsy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the term used to optimize pages of content so that search engines can match the term someone enters when they are looking for something with the content on the page and return relevant results. Without good SEO search engines are less likely to match content with search terms. Therefore love it or hate it, if we are reliant on people finding our content, be it a blog post or product, we need to understand a bit about SEO and how to use it to help our things to be found.
About Etsy SEO: So, while SEO is everywhere on the Internet, the Etsy search engine works in a slightly different way to other search engines (Google). Whereas Google will read the whole of the product description and look for ‘clues’ as to what the important terms are for the product, the Etsy search engine doesn’t read the product descriptions. It only reads the titles and the product tags. Therefore this is the only way that the Etsy search engine knows what products to return when someone is searching, is by the keywords used in the titles and tags.
If the keywords don’t reflect what the buyer is searching for, the products won’t get returned in search results.
For example, if I have crocheted an infinity scarf out of silk and wool hand dyed fiber in shades of red and orange and this is a fine scarf suitable for an autumn wedding, but I only use the search term “crochet scarf”, this scarf won’t be found for any other search terms like ‘infinity scarf’, ‘autumn wedding accessories’, ‘silk scarf’, ‘bohemian fashion’ etc. And because shoppers rarely search by technique when they are looking for items like scarves (and the fact that ‘crochet scarf’ will also return a lot of patterns, my scarf is likely to sink without a trace.
Therefore, to get found on Etsy, it’s essential to use all the keyword opportunities you can to stand the biggest chance of getting found.
Long tails vs general keywords: If you search on Etsy for ‘necklaces’ you’ll first notice that you get to a portal with different categories suggested and you then have to click again to start narrowing the search. If you click on Jewelry, you’ll see nearly 2.5 million products. It’s going to be VERY difficult to get on the first couple of pages for this search term. Therefore narrowing this down to, for example ‘raw crystal silver necklace’ reduces the number of products to just over 5000. It will be much easier to rank near the top for this ‘long tail’ search term.
How to Research Keywords
How to research Etsy SEO: The place to start researching good keywords is to think like a buyer. Why will someone by buying your product? What are the search terms they are likely to use. Try typing a couple into the Etsy search bar. You will see that when you start adding typing a word, some suggestions are returned. These are recent popular searches and therefore this gives you an idea of the terms people are using now. You may get some ideas here for ways people search for items similar to yours. Write down any that relate to your products.
You can also do the same with Google. Type in a short phrase (turquoise and silver earrings) and then scroll to the bottom of the page, and you will see a list of related search terms. In this instance I can see eight suggestions. Add any relevant ones to your list.
Keyword Research Tools
Google Keyword Tool: Another place to look for keywords is the Google Keyword Tool – https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner This is typically used by people researching advertising, however this is also good for researching keywords. However, it’s important to sense check keywords found with the Google Keyword Tool as these aren’t restricted to just shoppers, so people might be searching for tutorials or have other purposes in mind other than shopping.
Type in some of the keywords from your list and enter. Look at the Ad-group option and you will see a wide range of keywords which relate to your list. Look for keywords which have between 200 and 1000 average monthly searches – however this will depend on your market, you may need more or less. Either write down the terms you want or click the ‘add to plan’ button to create a spreadsheet.
Marmalead.com – the last place to look is Marmalead.com. This is a free and paid for service giving keywords which are used on Etsy for specific products. It is handy for getting ideas for keywords and can be used to double check the keywords you got from Google to check the relevancy on Etsy. Type in a keyword and you will see the number of results, the total number of views, the average views per week, the number of shops competing, the minimum, maximum and average price and average number of favorites per week. This is handy for seeing the competition for keywords. You are looking for keywords with relatively low total results and a high average views per week. To put this into perspective, on the Marmalead site they define 1009 total results with 10.9 searches as being ‘moderate engagement’’ and ‘low competition’.
Etsy’s search engine sees the words at the front of the title as being the most important and places the most value on these keywords. Therefore we should put the words we most want to be found with at the beginning.
The tags also tell Etsy’s search engine about the product, so the keywords we use in the title, should also be reflected in the tags. We’re likely to have spare tags, so we can use these for more keywords. Tags should replicate the keywords in the title. You can use the tags to add more keywords, although you are limited to just 20 characters so you may need to be creative!
REMEMBER TO THINK LIKE A SHOPPER NOT A MAKER
When you are doing your keywords, think if that is how a shopper will search for your products.
Now what? Leave it for a couple of weeks and check your keywords in Etsy stats. This will show you what is working and what isn’t.