Basic Etsy SEO | the merriweather council blog

If you haven’t opened your shop yet, use this link to get your first 40 listings free :)

After seeing many confused sellers in the forums around the time I was checking in on that post regarding the slow sales, I decided to put a post together about SEO for your Etsy shop but, then I got this fancy pants software to record my screen, and so I thought it would be fun to do it that way – and I think it will be easier for you to follow. Sorry this caused a delay, but it’s for the better.

Additional Reading: Be sure to not fall victim to these Etsy SEO Myths

Even if you think you know the basics, take a look anyway, you never know. This is how I’ve always dealt with SEO and this is in line with Etsy’s guidelines. Keep in mind, search results change for a variety of reasons. And SEO is only part of the equation. Sometimes I see a listing of mine on the first page of search results, sometimes it’s a few pages back. It depends on many things but this will give you the best possible shot at having an optimized shop for Etsy’s search system.  Again, this is the basics.

Side note, does everyone hate the sound of their recorded voice? Yeah, right?

etsy lessons etsy SEO from Danielle Spurge on Vimeo.

I’m happy to follow up and answer any questions you may have regarding the content of the video. Please keep in mind that this is a basic overview ( Read: basic Etsy SEO ). Lots to expound upon here, that can be covered in another post.

How I generate keywords

I have a running list of keywords in Evernote that I can update from any of my devices – it’s just a list of words I think relate to my products. I generate keywords in the following ways:

  • Customers write to me and ask for a particular item in a particular way that is different than I would normally call it. Or, hearing people describe the work who aren’t in-the-know, so to say, about the technical terms. (Example, I’ve heard people call it an embroidery ring rather than a hoop… etc.)
  • The search bar on Etsy.
  • My shop stats – looking back at keyword referrers for longer periods of time, way back in the last bunch of pages of results rather than the first few.

Some quick tips:

1. Choose various BUT RELEVANT primary categories when listing items. For example, my phrenology hoops, I can do any of the following and they are still relevant:

1st art + collectibles, 2nd fiber arts, 3rd embroidery

1st home + living, 2nd home decor, 3rd wall decor

1st home + living, 2nd home decor, 3rd ornaments + accents

You get the idea.

2. Sprinkle your descriptions with the keywords for your title

Etsy doesn’t use descriptions for SEO, but Google does. Write natural sounding descriptions and just keep your keywords in mind when writing. This tends to be pretty natural as you describe the item, so you probably are already doing it. But again, Etsy DOES NOT read your product description for search results.

3. The first 30-40 characters of the title are the most important

In gallery view on Etsy – which is now standard as of spring 2016, only the first 30-40 characters of the title show. Put your MOST key phrase -or the one you are optimizing that listing for right in the front! Here is an example of what I mean…

Basic Etsy SEO tips from the merriweather council. Use keywords at the beginning of product titles for best SEO. | the merriweather council blog

Basic Etsy SEO tips from the merriweather council. Use keywords at the beginning of product titles for best SEO. | the merriweather council blog

4. Add keywords to your shop title

<Your shop – shop settings – shop title >

This is your headline text in Google results. You can preview it by using the “edit shop” feature on your main page and clicking the pencil icon to edit the title. (See below, under “merriweathercouncil” it says “hand embroidery…” that is my shop title.)

Basic Etsy SEO tips from the merriweather council. Include keywords in your shop title. | the merriweather council blog

Basic Etsy SEO tips from the merriweather council. Include keywords in your shop title. | the merriweather council blog

There is more you can do to optimize your Etsy shop. There are lots of resources to help you. Here is some info directly from Etsy. Like I said, SEO is just a part of the overall health of your shop, back links, social proof, custom service and branding are important as well.

Please leave any questions in the comments for me, I will answer them if I can! 

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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24 Comments

  1. Do you know if renewing your listings helps with SEO?
    Thank you so much for taking the time to make this video. I’ll be going through all my listings now and am so happy to have this as a springboard. SUPER helpful!

    • The way that etsy’s search results are brought up is through relevancy and recency plays into that so, yes, to a certain extend i think it can be helpful to renew. I like to renew after making changes to the title or tags to sort of “set” it. I find that renewing can help.

      • Thank you SEO guru. :) I never seem to get views through the search, so this is so helpful.

        • you are very welcome!

  2. Wow thanks for the help! These is a great lesson. I never thought to do some of these things! Thanks so much.❤️

    • *this! Sorry to leave two comments. I couldn’t let that typo slide.

    • great! i’m glad it was helpful. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Hey Danielle! Thank you for providing the most straightforward and easy to follow SEO tutorial I’ve seen! I have a question though that I haven’t ever found an answer to- does the order of the tags matter? Thanks!

    • you are so welcome, lena! I have heard people say it does and it doesn’t. I don’t think it does, just as long as the phrases match the order the words appear in the title so if the title is X Y T H you could have “TH” “YT”

  4. Great info Danielle ~ going to try this on my listings! Having a terrible month on Etsy. View’s are down 40% from last year for this month. Wedding season typically picks back up for us in January but hasn’t thus far. If this is any indication of what is to come ~ oh boy! Working on getting on shopify etc. as well. Thanks as always for you advice and encouragement! This was a great tutorial and the visual really helped a lot ; ) Suggestion ~ next tutorial go over stats, how to read them on Etsy etc. : )

  5. Hi Danielle, excellent advice here. I have a quick question about changing titles. I was able to get one painting featured in the Better Homes & Gardens blog and the link from that feature brought in a lot of traffic last year. But, now, I’m editing title names and am afraid that changing the title of that listing will take away the link to the magazine’s site (since the item name becomes part of the URL). What do you think about changing titles after a relevant media mention is linked to one?

    • Hi Kirsten, COngrats on the feature! That is wonderful. I wasn’t sure so I ran a little test with a listing in my shop:
      https://www.etsy.com/listing/104395787/personalized-necklace-initial
      I took off everything after the “…7/” and it worked, which I knew it would. Then I put in any random word after the “…7/” and it still worked so my guess is that you can change the title without losing the traffic.

      • Excellent! Thanks, Danielle. You solved my problem. :D

        After your comment, I tested this out with a new floral painting (which I had linked to on my blog.) I changed the titles around dramatically, but did not change the item number. And, yes, it still works.

        I found your site after searching for what happened with the etsy algorithm last year (my shop views plummeted by half without warning or explanation.) I’m determined to build the views and sales back up this year and grow an email list so that, whatever next etsy does next, art collectors are still able to connect with me. Your SEO article will help me take the next step in this process. :)

        • you’re welcome. I always aim to get as much traffic through search as possible

  6. Thank you so much for the lesson on titles and tags. I’ve never really known what was the best way to list an item so I am going to do some tweaking of my titles and tags as you have suggested. I just passed the 100 sales mark and thought my sales were on the upswing, but the last few months have been really bad. Hopefully, the changes I make will help. Thanks, again, for the video.

    • i’m glad it was helpful for you!

      • Hi Danielle,
        My sales almost doubled last year after tweaking my titles and tags as you outlined in your article. Thanks!! The tweaking seemed to take forever, but I am glad I did it and I felt really good about my shop. I also joined several teams and post regularly to the discussions. But… sales were great till December of 2015 and continue to be really slow in 2016. Did something change on Etsy?

        • That’s awesome!! Things naturally tend to slump off a bit after christmas. There haven’t been any changes to the system that they told us about anyway since the fall. :) I wouldn’t worry, very natural.

  7. Thank you for such great info! I’m curious if you have another post explaining back link, social proof, and custom service? Would love to know more!

  8. Thank you SO much, Danielle, for this tutorial and information! I have had an etsy shop for over 5 years and I thought I had kept up well with SEO as it has changed, but I somehow missed the info about matching an item’s tags with its title, and several other tips you shared here. I’m going through and updating my shop for sure!! Thanks again! :)
    -Deanna
    BadonHill.etsy.com

  9. Hi Danielle! I revamped all my titles and keywords immediately after watching the video a couple of months ago, and for a few weeks had great views (well, great for me, which was more than 10 each day), but then the views fell off, and I’m not sure why.

    -Judith Pudden
    jpuddenembroidery.etsy.com

    • There are lots of things to look for – if you haven’t taken my course, there is plenty of info in there regarding search and making your shop as optimized as possible. Optimization doesn’t end at SEO!! http://bit.ly/etsytrainer2

  10. Wonderful tips – thank you so much for taking the time to share these with us!