Complete Etsy SEO Guide 2021: Increase Visibility and Sales Conversion

30th August, 2021

When wanting to sell niche and unique products, Etsy comes up in everyone's mind as the go-to place for the storefront. While other selling platforms may also exist (we also have an eBay SEO Guide and a Facebook Marketplace Guide if you are also interested), Etsy is seen as an attractive platform due to the ease of setting up an Etsy shop and cost-effectiveness of listing (5% merchant fee and $0.20 listing cost). However, those frustrated with a lack of sales may want to look towards applying search engine optimization techniques. If you do not know what SEO is, reading our simple language glossary can give you up to speed in the common jargon Digital Marketers use. For this guide, we will help you optimize your Etsy storefront by:

  1. What Etsy's search engine platform is looking for and what contributes to the customer experience score.
  2. Conducting your keyword research
  3. Applying keywords and writing effectively towards titles, tags, categories, and specifications.
  4. General principles of effective product photos
  5. Writing an effective "About Us" section and picking good store policies.
  6. How to maximize the number of 5-star reviews and deal with negative complaints.
  7. How to use translation services to reach international audiences
  8. Establishing backlinks with other pages
  9. Using Etsy's Search Analytics to effectively evaluate performance.

How does Etsy's Search Engine Work?

What determines the rank of my product listing?

Etsy has publicly disclosed some of the factors that contribute towards rankings on their search engine. Etsy has stated that Etsy's Search Engine looks for:

  1. Relevancy of Title and Tags: Etsy uses a product listing's title and tags to match to direct searches made by customers. Etsy favors exact matches to searches made by customers, so having relevant keywords, especially long-tailed keywords, will help boost the ranking of the site in those sites with commercial intent.
  2. Relevancy of Category and Attributes: Etsy has pre-set categories (the general product category that is being used) and attributes (the condition of the product, the size of the product for instance) that the user can narrow down characteristics of the products being sold to their taste. Making sure that categories of the product listing are correctly specified and all relevant attributes are entered in is crucial.
  3. Listing quality score: A score of the conversion rate of a storefront's listings relative to the number of clicks on their products. This score is supposed to list products that users want to buy, rather than products that play the "SEO game."
  4. The Recentness of Listing: Newer listings are given a temporary boost in ranking for Etsy to more accurately understand the performance of a given listing.
  5. Customer and market experience score: Etsy uses a combination of the customer's star reviews of products, the completeness of store policies, and the completeness of the About section to rank the quality of a listing.  
  6. The Shopper's Habits: Etsy keeps track of all listings a website lists to better tailor listings to users. So, if a particular client who bought a product from your Etsy store does a similar search, Etsy will rank your products higher for that search.
  7. Language: Etsy not only supports English as a language but other languages, such as French, Spanish, etc. Etsy has an auto-translation function for titles and keywords done by natural language processing, but typically underperforms translations done by the storefront owner.
  8. Postage Price: Of listing of the same combined price, consumers tend to prefer listings with cheaper shipping costs than ones with lower shipping prices. Etsy ranks listings with cheaper shipping costs higher as a result.

What determines my customer experience store?

By far one of the most important factors of your result ranking highly, it involves many other factors that just customer star reviews. Factors that improve your customer experience score include:

  1. High Volume and Average of Product Reviews: The clearest metric for confidence in an Etsy shop storefront, star reviews both increase customer-experience score directly and indirectly through greater confidence in clients in purchasing from a storefront.  
  2. Complete and Relevant About Section: Having a complete, well-written About section signals a clearer customer experience to Etsy. This means that it details the relevant context of the Etsy storefront, the unique selling points of the website, and has a personal connection to the storefront owners. The About section also supports multimedia and linking of personal profiles, which Etsy promotes.
  3. Shop Policies: Etsy's customer experience store rewards stores with clear and consumer-friendly stores, particularly when using Etsy's designated template. Consumer-friendly scores, such as free returns, also increase the customer experience score.

Those are the general factors that increase the factors that will increase a customer experience score. However, some factors negatively impact a customer experience score:

  1. Etsy Buyers Filing cases against You: Cases are the dispute resolution mechanism that Etsy uses for any issues with product delivery and product accuracy to advertised. Etsy heavily punishes shops that have open cases and want sellers to be transparent about products.
  2. Intellectual Property Infringement Notices: When Etsy finds a listing that infringes on the copyright of a particular product, the product listing is to be deleted and the storefront is negatively impacted in customer experience score. This can be reversed with successful counterclaims made through the filing of successful counter-notices.

Tip 1. Go Through Keyword Research For Your Listing

Why Keyword Research?

Keyword research means that, before any writing of the website, you have a complete idea of what users are searching for. This will mean that your title and tags can be more tailor-made towards those searches and will help understand what consumers intend for when they search given products. Keyword research is conducted by analyzing the results of both Etsy's internal search engine and other search engines, such as Google or eBay.  

What Should I Look For When It Comes to Keywords?

These are the characteristics that make these keywords more effective to look for:

1. Regional Synonym Keywords: Certain regions of the world have different terminologies for products. For instance, a listing for custom flip flops in the United States would be called "custom thongs" in Australia.

2. Long-Tailed Keywords: These are lower volume, lower competition words that are more linked to specified searches. The "long tail" comes from the fact that it falls on the long tail of a keyword's volume to competition distribution. This helps find more specialized searches that give your product an easier chance to rank highly.

3. Attributes-Based Keywords: Any keywords linked with the attributes of the product, are one of the most important keywords to look for. These are directly linked to unique selling points of the product listed and comprise a large share of long-tailed keywords. These include the product's size, colour, material, style, and solution the product is trying to solve.  

4. Demographic Keywords: These are specifications of who exactly will buy your product and what circumstances the product will be used. This includes terminologies such as "wedding" or "father's day" for specific listings, that help users with commercial intent around an event.

What Tools Do I Use For finding When Searching For Keywords?

When looking for particular keywords, there are some websites and extensions that can help give comparisons:

  1. Keywords Everywhere: A free Google Extension that helps find both keywords and long-tailed keywords on Google-listed websites. To use Keyword Everywhere effectively, start searching with generalized product terminologies (e.g. vintage watch) and compare what search terms are in Bibliography. Although, the free version does not come with direct viewing of estimated search metrics.
  2. SEMRush: A more comprehensive paid version that compares everything SEO-related, this focuses on websites. There is a Keyword Magic Tool that, when entering a list of comparison words, gives keywords to compare for and breaks down estimated search statistics.
  3. Etsy Competitor Searching: Using this form of competitor analysis by searching successful product listings in the same category gives an idea of the characteristic keywords that are important to list. For example, when searching competitors in the search term "vintage watch," there's an estimated time manufactured of "1980s," the type of movement is "mechanical" and the watch brand "Vostok."

Tip 2. Write a Concise, Keyword-Targeted Title For Your Listing

What should be the ideal length of my Title?

The rule of thumb for the ideal title length is "short enough to be read concisely but long enough to make your product stand out." An example of a vintage mechanical watch with a title saying, "vintage watch," would not perform as well as other product titles as the product does not have any unique characteristics. Meanwhile, the title "Vintage Russian Raketa Copernicus Mechanical Watch Built in the 1980s" gives a more direct search criterion for people interested in that particular brand of watch. Try to avoid repeating terminology, such as cases where you both include "for Mother's day" and "women's," as they both are linked and make titles more clunky to read.

What Keywords Should I add to my Title?

For the Title, the most important keywords are keywords associated with the specification keywords and target demographic keywords. These are longer-tail keywords that are most commercially relevant to your title, as they establish the selling point to the customer and target keywords with the most sales conversion possibility. So for keywords for a father's day personalized chopping board, placing the words "Personalised Medium-Sized Wooden Chopping Board for Father's Day" in your title. This includes both the specification keywords of "personalized," "wooden" and "medium-sized," and the target demographic keyword of "for Father's Day."

Tip 3. Use All Your 11 Tag Slots for Long-Tailed Keyword Phrases and Multi-Word Tags

The 11 Tags are essential to picking up the wider range of Etsy searches. You must have the following characteristics for these tags:

  1. Use Phrases Rather Than Singular Words: Breaking up keywords into chunks will render a tag less effective and take up crucial tag slots for your search terminology. For instance, you should not separate the phrase "personalized" and "watch box set," rather you should use "personalized watch box set" as the 2nd phrase matches more closely with what an Etsy user will search.
  2. Cover all Unique Attributes and for Long-Tailed Keywords: When finding the most effective long-tailed keywords, unique product attributes should always be included with the general product category to ger most customized searches. For example, picking the keyword tag "Red Wool XL Turtleneck" is an effective tag as the attributes of the product create a long-tailed, more commercially relevant keyword.  
  3. Make Sure There Are No Spelling Mistakes: Spelling Mistakes are heavily penalized with tags, so check spelling with a spell checker such as Grammarly or in a word processor such as Word.
  4. Write Keywords in Only One Language: Etsy segments keywords for specific languages. So, words written in German for the English-speaking side of Etsy will perform poorly. It is better to write all keywords in one language initially, then designate translations to the English-speaking tags.
  5. Don't Repeat Words in Tags: Repeating Words in tags give a less effective reach in terminology. It is better to use different synonyms to capture different terns  
  6. Don't Repeat the Category or Specification Sections: Tags are designed for more specialized searches, and for including classifications that fall out of the category and specification section. Including category and specification tags are redundant as they are already repeated. Try to find more specialized attributes of your product for attribute keywords.  
  7. Use Regional Phrases: Some products have different descriptions in particular regions and mean you cover a broader range of geographies.
  8. Plurals Don't Matter: Don't worry about specifying plurals, as they do not affect tag visibility.

Tip 4. Picking the Right Category And Specifications

For picking category and specifications, the best category and specification is always the most accurate product descriptions. So:

  • Categories: Pick the category that matches the product. So, if you are listing a pocket watch, specify it in the "pocket watch" category
  • Specifications: Take measurements and read product descriptions to get an accurate description of the product. For instance, for a wool jumper, take down the material made, size of the jumper and colour of the jumper for the specifications.

Tip 5. Include Professional Taken Photos and Videos for Your Storefront

Professionally taken photos of a photo are always important in any product listing. For those photos to be effective, you must:

  1. Include Product Photos From Multiple Angles: To increase trust in the quality of the product, having photos from multiple angles will help give clarity to the surrounding product
  2. Have Contrasting Backgrounds: Make the product the focal point of the photo with the background being a contrasting colour, so the product is easily seen.
  3. Go for High-Resolution Photos: Pixelated Photos make the listing look less professional, so going for high-resolution product shots is ideal.
  4. Include A Short Video Moving Around Product: Video's where all products angles are moved are highly effective, as product designers have a greater idea of the shape and clarity of the product.

Tip 6. Write a Complete "About Us" Page Complete With Shop Policies

What Should I Write for the "About Us" Section?

For the "About Us" section on Etsy, this is an opportunity to find keywords that establishes your niche product and increases the trustworthiness of your webpage. The "About Us" section should include:

  1. Details of Your Shop Origin and People Involved: Etsy's selling point is personalized, niche craftsman. Giving a backstory behind your shop and connecting personal Etsy profiles to the shop will increase the "customer experience" score.
  2. Include Multimedia: If you have any photos or videos that link to the overall store, Etsy rewards stores with more multimedia as it furthers personalizes the experiences and establishes backlinks with other pages.

What policies should I use for my storefront?

Policies are essential to store success as they heavily contribute towards customer experience scores. The policies that should be seriously considered are:

  1. Free Shipping If Possible or Low-Cost Shipping: Consistently, for products of similar prices, customers prefer free shipping over reduced prices with shipping attached. Wherever possible, have free shipping as there's a significant boost to product listings in that category.
  2. Clear Returns Policy: Offering a returns policy that is reasonable for your product helps boost customer experience scores. Customers trust the authenticity of products that can be for return.
  3. Warranty Policy: Offering a warranty policy with clear conditions boosts consumer conversion as they trust, with any defects, that the issue will be solved.

Backlinks, a term for any links to other websites, are essential in increasing traffic to a specific website. For a fuller guide to establishing backlinks, we have a full guide linked here. But, here is a summarization of backlink techniques most important:

  1. Guest Blogging: Contributing to guest and reviewer blogs is the best method of increasing reach towards your store. For a more complete guide, click here.
  2. Building a Personal Website: Having an e-commerce website that links your Etsy landing page is a good start to more traffic. If you need to know which website builders are best, the link to it is here.
  3. Create Social Links: Having Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube pages that you can link your products create a social media profile that can increase overall engagement and drive traffic to an Etsy page. If you want to see a Facebook Marketplace SEO guide, click here.

Tip 8. Utilize Manual Translation Services for Your Etsy Writing

Manual translation services are underappreciated services that you should use for more international reach. Services offered on Fiverr for freelance translation services should be used for languages such as Spanish, German, French and Portuguese. More manual translations can capture more nuances with languages not seen with other languages.

Tip 9. Have Strategies for Maximising 5 Star Reviews and Deal With Negative Reviews

Maximizing 5-star Reviews:

5-Star reviews are the bread and butter for customer experience scores on Etsy, so implementing a strategy to maximize the volume and percentage is key. A good customer service strategy includes:

  1. Clear and consistent Dispatch and Shipping Times: Following your set estimated arrival time is essential, as a large share of customers file complaints with late delivered items. Always make sure that any estimations of shipping your storefront gives are reasonable.
  2. Quick and Direct Customer Responses: Answering direct questions about products quickly means customers have more confidence in the products they are thinking of buying.
  3. Accurate Descriptions and Photos of Products: Customers will penalize and file complaints about products that do not match the listing or are defective in any manner.
  4. Add Small Touches to Products: Writing personalized product letters or adding small treats to deliveries makes the opening experience more effective. This is an easy method to win over customers.

How to Deal With Negative Cases Opened:

Every store owner will have to deal with customers that are not satisfied with their buying experience. In order to mitigate this, there are strategies to manage these:

  1. Take Preventative Measures: Telling owners about changes in Shipping Times, have complete policies, and fleshing out descriptions prevents negative reviews from a misalignment of client's expectations.
  2. Be Transparent and Proactive in Communication: Having transparent responses to issues will ensure clients don't suspect fraud or foul play. This can be done by providing tracking information as efficiently as possible.
  3. Offer Returns and Warranty When Applicable: If a product experiences a defect, a warranty or defect policy that is reasonable will usually make sure customers close negative cases.

Tip 10. Use Etsy's Search Analytics to Measure Performance of SEO:

What's In Etsy Search Analytics?

After all previous steps are conducted, use Etsy's Search Analytics to evaluate the performance of your website. There are two broad categories of analytics, which are sales funnel analytics and search analytics.

What's Are Etsy's Sales Funnel Analytics?

Etsy's sales funnel analytics are the statistics that align with a traditional sales funnel. These analytics go with the following order:

  1. Visits to your shop: First stage of the Sales Funnel. How many users clicked onto your shop.
  2. Visits that resulted in a sale: Final stage of the sales funnel, this is just the sales conversion rate from the people that visited your shop
  3. Average order value: The average value of orders made, given a certain time period.
  4. Total earnings: The gross revenue of your shop in a given timeframe.

What's Are Etsy's Search Analytics?

Etsy's Search Analytics are more linked towards the direct searches made in Etsy's search engine algorithm. It comprises of the following statistics:

  1. Search query: Exact Wording of searches your website appears in .
  2. Impressions: How many times shoppers saw your listings for this query.
  3. Position: The placing that your product listing has in a particular search engine query.
  4. Visits: The total number of times shoppers browsed your shop. “Browsing” means that a shopper viewed your listings and shop.
  5. Visits per impression: The percent of times a person saw your listing in search and visited your shop.

Final Notes on Using Etsy Search Engine Optimisation:

While this list will give a definitive start towards effective search engine optimisation of Etsy product listings, there's always experienced professionals at SocialMindr to assist the complex world of search engine optimization. Continual research and iteration through keyword research and Etsy's Search Analytics will mean you can better take advantage of trends.

Written by

Alistair Schillert