What in the ever loving F is SEO?
I feel like THIS subject is probably the one that is both the biggest mystery to some, but also THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. TO. BEING. FOUND. ON. ETSY.
I’m going to tackle today’s lesson in SEO in a way I wish someone had taught me.
As SIMPLY as possible and with examples from my friend Sam of Birch Jewellery who is really good at this stuff.
So WTF is SEO?
(Some of you are rolling your eyes like “Emily! It’s 2020. OF COURSE we know what SEO is. Stop wasting my time with your super awesome totally free and helpful tips”, but this is a space for all levels of experience and I KNOW some of you need help here! So shush and stop reminding me it's 2020. I'm trying to forget.)
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”.
AKA all the things we’ve been talking about this week, and also (most importantly) the WORDS you use to create your listings.
Etsy’s search system is essentially just a big old word match.
Search results contain all the listings that match all the keywords that a shopper types into the search bar.
So not rocket science at all!
In terms of where we’re placing keywords (aka SEO) in an Etsy listing, we’re talking about the words you’re using in:
- Your listing titles
- The 13 tags you assign to each listing
- The category you put your listing in (go deep! For example, someone who makes wooden signs would want to go: Home & Living > Home Decor > Wall Decor > Wall Hangings > Signs. Far better than lazily selecting Home & Living because it places the seller in all 5 of those categories.)
- The attributes you select (colour, celebration, occasion etc. AKA Bonus tags!)
The Etsy algorithm looks for keywords in all of these places.
(Note: They currently do not look in your descriptions, however the descriptions still have SEO value for internet search engines.)
- The more variety of keywords you use in these areas will make a listing valid for more searches, giving it a greater chance to be seen.
- When writing your listing titles, make sure the first 3 words you use describe the item most accurately. 60+% of shoppers are using tablets or phones these days and will only see those first 3 words unless they click to read more.
- Using whole phrases in your titles and tags (yes you can use a phrase as a tag!) work better than random single keywords.
- Phrases that are in both the title and a tag are strongest. (I know that seems repetitive, but just go with me on this one)
Simple enough right?
Where the trouble comes in is how the HECK do you figure out what it is exactly that potential buyers are typing into search when looking for your product?
Oooo have I got some juicy tips for you!
TIP NUMBER ONE
Start to type in the search bar as if you were a shopper looking for your product. Suggestions will begin to appear as you type. THESE are the phrases most often used by buyers.
Use 2 or 3 of those phrases for your title and tags. You can also extend those phrases with additional descriptive keywords that better match your item specifically.
Well well well...look who came up on the first page of search TWICE because she's so good at SEO! 😉
I mentioned earlier that you have 13 opportunities for tags.
Use all of them by filling in any blanks with more descriptive keywords.
Avoid repeating words, instead use synonyms or common spellings (I know Sam uses both jewelry and jewellery, and even common misspellings can work!).
But using a tag to repeat a word already used elsewhere is a waste of the tag.
You will get the best visibility by finding popular search phrases with less competition. It is worth picking search bar suggestions which have lower numbers of search results.
TIP NUMBER TWO
Pretend you’re a buyer.
Hop onto Etsy and type in a search for a product similar to yours.
Dig around and find one from what you would consider a successful seller. Someone who has had several sales of that item and who we can assume is playing a strong SEO game.
Click that item and then scroll down to the veeeeery bottom of the listing.
There you should find two headings:
Explore Related Searches and,
Explore Related Categories
Under each of those headings are the literal keywords and categories that buyers have searched (and matched) to land on that listing.
Steal some of them (I mean *ahem* take inspiration) and make them your own!
We're in the home stretch peeps!
I'll *see* you tomorrow to talk a bit about marketing and social media and share more information about our upcoming Etsy Market!
PS. Beyond running her beautiful shop, Sam also owns a social media management and content creation company called Frank Social. Check her out and, you know, maybe hire her if you ever need that kind of thing!