ETSY 2018 SEO Update: 5 things you need to know

By | August 10, 2019

There have been some big changes on the
Etsy platform this year and the biggest one by far is the recent changes in the
search algorithm that was announced last month in September by the Etsy team.
So what are those SEO changes and what does it mean for your handmade shop?
Let’s dive in. When it comes to Etsy SEO,
one thing is for sure – it always comes with some speculations,
some forum talks, some rumors and really that’s not what
we want to do here. We finally have some clarity because we
finally have an official statement and a brand new shiny SEO guide from the Etsy
team themselves, so we’re not going to speculate.
I’m not going to dive into some crazy SEO strategies.
I really want to take the time though with you to understand what really
changed and what really is going on with Etsy SEO these days.
And to do that, I want to review five very important
points. The first one is CSR or context specific
ranking. Now we knew that before September,
before the announcement in September, but it’s still important to understand
what it is and to note that Etsy now uses a technology called CSR or context
specific ranking. And in plain English it means that Etsy
tracks and analyzes shoppers’ behavior on the platform and that the results
they will display for each shopper or for each visitor will be different. So if you type in ‘minimalist bracelet’
on Etsy and I type in the same keyword on Etsy search and we compare our result
pages, we take a screenshot and we compare to
see what’s going on, this would actually look very different.
And that’s because Etsy with the CSR technology is able to know what I’m most
likely to click on, what I’m most likely to like and to
purchase, most importantly,
purchase really. And same for you.
And so they are going to display different results to each of us so that
we can see things that we’re most likely to actually purchase.
So there is no such thing as ranking number one because everyone has a
different number one result for each keyword search.
Number two is to focus on long tail keyword.
Now I want to put this graphic on the screen for a second and it’s actually a
graphic that is part of the Etsy SEO guide on their website.
And what this represents really is the search volume on the vertical axis and
the conversion rate on the horizontal axis for a given keyword.
And the part of that arrow of that graphic that’s orange are long tail
keywords. Long tail keywords,
don’t get as much volume as the general keywords,
but they get a much higher conversion rate. So in plain English:
people don’t look for these keywords as often,
but when they look for them, they’re more likely to purchase and
that’s really what we want. And again,
that’s something that we knew before the announcement that Etsy made in
September, but now they’ve really officialized it
by saying that you should focus on long tail keyword.
Now, what is a long tail keyword?
Well, a general keyword would be,
for example, ‘baby gift’.
Now, a long tail keyword would be ‘baby
romper dinosaurs’, and the reason why ‘baby romper
dinosaurs’ is a better fit is that although not as many people are going to
look for this specific keyword, people who are searching for something
like ‘baby romper dinosaurs’ are much more likely to buy because they know
exactly what they’re looking for. If you think about how someone wanting
to purchase a baby gift might behave on the Etsy platform,
the first thing they might type into a search as a keyword will be probably a
more general broad keyword like ‘baby gift’. That’s when the visitor or the shopper
is just really trying to find even just an idea of what to get as a baby gift.
And then they’re going to see results and they’re going to notice a few
rompers there and maybethe think, ‘okay,
you know what? That’s actually a good idea.
Let’s get a baby romper’ and maybe they’re going to start a new search with
that keyword instead. And as they’re browsing the results from
that specific research, they start noticing a few rompers with
dinos on them and they’re thinking, ‘Hey,
that’s a great pattern. My friend Karen would absolutely love
that. She would think it’s so cute.
This is what I want to get’. And then they were type in the search
‘baby romper dinosaurs’ and so that is a much more targeted,
much more specific way to search for something to purchase on Etsy. And that’s why Etsy is advising you to
actually focus on those keywords because it will help you rank better and also
because it will help you make more sales,
which in turn will help you rank better. So it’s really a virtuous circle.
So to sum up with a long tail keyword: less volume in search,
but more conversion is good an you need to add long tail keywords to your
listings. It’s good for SEO,
it’s good for sales and it helps Etsy understand what it is really that your
product does and what your product is so that it makes it easier for Etsy to put
it in front of the right people, the people that are ready to purchase
your products. Our next point is titles.
Now this is part of actually getting your listing clicked on when it shows in
search because that is going to actually boost your SEO score when someone clicks
on your listing because Etsy thinks, ‘oh,
this listing is working, we want to show that a bit more’.
And we already know that to get your listing clicked on your images,
and most importantly, your featured image,
the main image of your listing, of your product is super important.
So I’m not going to dive into the details of how to take pictures in this
video, but Etsy said something else about how
to get your listing clicked on that they pay attention to and recommend you pay
more attention to, and it’s your titles.
Now, it’s always been important for Etsy SEO
but what they’ve said is that they recommend they’d be short and easy to
read. Now,
let’s break that down: short.
You can use up to 140 characters for your titles,
but Etsy is pretty much saying you don’t need to necessarily use all of those
characters for your titles. Instead,
they want you to keep in mind that those titles need to be easy to read and
there’s two reasons for that. The first is mobile friendliness.
Most people are now using the app to shop.
So they’re using their mobile, they’re not using a desktop and it
doesn’t show the same amount of characters than on the desktop one on
the website. So you want to keep that in mind in your
title because mobile shoppers really are a big chunk of the visitors on the
platform. And then the second is that you want
titles that are created and written by humans for humans and not by humans for
computers. And let’s be honest,
when you find a listing and the title is something like ‘Mug Coffee Cup,
large Coffee Cup, fine time gift gift for her cute mug
Sarcasm Mug, coffee Mug,
Coffee Mug 12 ounces’ this isn’t really human friendly.
This is a human, a shop owner that has decided to put as
many keywords as possible in the title so that Etsy,
the computer behind the algorithm will pick that up and score their SEO,
score that listing higher. But really it is not really human
friendly, and so when Etsy’s saying ‘short and
easy to read’, that’s part of what they mean. You want to have a title that people
feel like they can click on because it resonates with what they’re looking for.
So be descriptive of what your products are,
but don’t start stuffing your title with keywords and trying to use absolutely
those 140 characters. The title like ‘set of four Ceramic
Espresso Cups Ruby red’ is a good title. It’s more human,
it’s short, it’s easy to read and it will play
nicely on mobile as well. The most important thing,
it will get you more clicks, which will one more time help you with
your SEO score for that listing. Point number four is all about the
shipping. Now this one is a touchy one and it has
made a lot of makers and a lot of Etsy shop owners really quite upset,
and here’s what Etsy actually said: to make it easier for shoppers to find
listings with competitive shipping prices, Etsy search factors shipping price into
search ranking. Lowering your shipping prices makes your
items more likely to rank higher in search”.
Fact. It is now official.
If you can lower your shipping prices, it will help you rank better in the Etsy
search results. Now,
there are a few things you can do here, but I won’t get into the details too
much because I want to stay very factual with this video rather than diving into
the strategy, but very quickly here are a few things
you can do. Add the shipping to your item price,
split the shipping cost between your item price and the actual shipping fee
so that you can decrease the shipping fee.
Set a minimum order amount, set a minimum order quantity,
and finally only allow for free shipping to local area or local orders so that if
I’m in Australia, I want to ship for free in Australia – that’s fine,
but I’m not going to ship for free to the US because that is just too
expensive and I can’t recoup the cost myself.
I know it’s not easy for every shop and every niche and depending on the type of
products that you’re selling, I know for those of you who are selling
bigger, larger items,
it might be complicated to actually decrease that shipping fee.
But do try to take it into consideration because not only it helps you rank
better because of the algorithm change, but it also gets you more sales,
which again, that virtuous circle,
more sales=better conversion rate; better conversion rate=better SEO
score. Number five,
and that’s the last point today, and I want to talk about renewing items
a little bit. Now it appears that renewing your item
isn’t quite as useful as it might have been in the past. Etsy does say in their SEO guide that
items that are new or renewed get a small temporary boost.
They also say that it might not be entirely worth it.
Let me read exactly what they have to say about it.
‘{Renewed listings} get a temporary boost {that} can last anywhere from a
few hours to a few days, depending on how often people are
searching for a particular item. Regularly renewing your items or
creating new listings just to get this small boost isn’t an effective search
optimization strategy. Instead,
we recommend focusing your time and efforts on improving your tags or
working to help increase your conversion rate.”
This is really a nice way of saying The effort isn’t really worth it
compared to all the other points that “don’t
bother”. we’ve mentioned in this video and that
they mentioned in their SEO guide that are really going to make a difference in
your SEO game. Now,
before I let you go, there’s one last thing I want to mention
and then I want to give you three quick tips.
The thing that I want to state before I go is that pro and premium account on
Etsy do not get preferential treatment when it comes to SEO score.
I know that’s something that is being discussed widely all over the Internet,
in forums on Reddit and on Facebook groups,
and it is simply not true. Etsy has confirmed that themselves and I
really don’t think they’re lying to you, so don’t feel that if you don’t upgrade
your pay plan on Etsy, your item won’t rank as well because it
has nothing to do with it. Now,
3 tips. Number one,
SEO is important to make sure that your item get found,
but once your item is actually displayed in the search results,
you have to make sure that people click on it and that they will purchase it,
so really pay attention to the quality of your product images because that is
key to more sales, a better conversion rate and a better
SEO score. Number two,
don’t put all your eggs in the Etsy SEO basket.
I know it’s tempting because it feels like it’s so important and because
everyone seems to be talking about when you sell on Etsy,
but really it isn’t. It’s important to pay attention to it.
It’s important to take note of those changes and to make adjustments if
necessary, but really you want to be driving your
own traffic to your store as well. My recommendation has always been and
still is to use Pinterest and an email marketing strategy to do so.
So it would really recommend you look into diversifying your sources of
traffic so that you don’t rely only on the traffic that Etsy sent you.
And then my last tip is to read the SEO Guide.
If you’re watching this video, if you’re selling on Etsy,
if you think that Etsy SEO is important and you’re about to make changes to your
listings to accommodate for the new announcement that Etsy made,
but you haven’t read the Etsy SEO Guide I believe that it is way worth your time
to actually sit down for 45 minutes – it’s really not that long – and to read
it from a to z. Now I’ve summed that up for you in this
video so it’s better than if you didn’t know anything about it,
you definitely know more now, but I would still recommend you go and
read every single thing in this guide before believing anything that you read
on forums, Facebook groups,
or anywhere else on the Internet. It’s important that you use facts and
when Etsy releases an official announcement,
pay attention and take the time out of your week to actually read it.
I’ll put the link to it below in the comments so that it’s easy for you to
access. If you liked this video,
make sure to subscribe to the channel and just below the video,
I’m putting the link to my free resource library full of guides and checklists to
help you grow your handmade shop. It’s completely free to access it,
so make sure to check it out as well as the free facebook group,
the Tizzit circle, where myself and thousands of other
makers are there to answer your questions and support you in your
handmade business journey. I will see you next Tuesday.
I have a lovely week. Bye Bye.

37 thoughts on “ETSY 2018 SEO Update: 5 things you need to know

  1. Tinker Treasure Post author

    I've been working on mine for the last three weeks 😳 I'm also re photoing. I'm on a making break at the moment while I brush up on what I have already done. I will start making again in the new year with my new collection which will be available in Feb

  2. Jo Strange Post author

    Thanks Deborah – great video. I love how you explain things!

  3. Laura Jones Post author

    Thanks Deborah. This is a great video and really helpful. You're absolutely right about the forums. People offer advice and it isn't always up-to-date based on the new algorithm and therefore, although well meaning, it isn't helpful and just gets sellers confused.

  4. Nancy Russell Post author

    Great video, Deborah. Everything is so well and clearly explained.

  5. Aubrey McClintock Post author

    Thank you. I feel so much better about my SEO decisions! I think all the noise and conflicting opinions and 'hacks' were getting me off track.

  6. Kittywitty Papercraft Post author

    Thank you for your clear, helpful video, Deb!!

  7. Carla Amaro Post author

    Thank you Deborah for clarifying these topics in such a simple way.

  8. garfieldgurl Post author

    Thank you so much, Deb! This really helps me feel less overwhelmed with the new changes.

  9. tappingflamingo Post author

    It would makes things a lot easier if the tags allowed more than 20 characters. One of my items I sell are guitar string bracelets, which does not fit in the tag. I also make guitar string ornaments…that does not fit…etc.

  10. Jennifer Ladd Post author

    Really helpful Deborah!!! Love your videos and the way you explain things

  11. Lynette V Post author

    Great and informative video, thank you! Does ETSY take a percentage of the sale? Is that why they are pushing to have sellers include postage in their pricing (lower postage rates = higher viewage)?

  12. Beth P Post author

    Your tip about using Pinterest and email marketing to drive traffic. Should this traffic be driven to your standalone site, or Etsy? Not sure where to place my focus. While I agree having a standalone site is good, and I have one, I'm not sure if I should be driving traffic to my Etsy shop, or vice versa.

  13. Elizabeth Payne Post author

    Great video, as always! I was looking for the link to the Etsy SEO guidelines that you mentioned. What do yo think of tools like Marmalead? By the way, in the forums, I always mention you and Jenni (Fuzzi and Birch) when it comes to suggesting relevant Etsy training!

  14. Leafling Bags Post author

    With only 20 characters for tags its almost impossible to use long tail keywords on Etsy .

  15. Diane Phipps Post author

    Thanks Deb. Again, a very well explained and encouraging video.

  16. Addie Rouse Post author

    So very helpful, thank you so much!! Love your videos!

  17. Tayler Long Post author

    I'm doing some research on Etsy and other platforms for a client of mine and your videos have been very helpful. Thank you!

  18. Tina M Fam Post author

    I've been on etsy 12 years I've always hated it, so many changes so many alogrithms that haven't worked how they say. I still keep stuff on there because I don't know what else to do. I've paid for 2 courses and just can't get it to work for me!! What the heck do i do now? It all feels so messy

  19. anis yanis Post author

    Hi Deborah i'm designer and i work with a c partner in china that prints the designs we make . And shipping the artwork directly to our Customers.
    i'm just wondering what the 3 options should i choice..thank you so much

  20. Zebrano Wood Craft Post author

    Hey thank you for the video, very nicely explained! My visits from Etsy search have decreased by about 50% since last year but overall my shop is healthier than ever because I’ve been driving my own traffic (mainly through Instagram and YouTube).

    I’ll be beastmoding my SEO this week though after getting up to date on all the changes!

  21. Joyfulness Post author

    Hi, Deborah. I have a question cause I'm a new Etsy seller. Can I use PayPal personal account (now premier) to accept payment for Etsy or do I have to upgrade my account to business account? What do you think? Need your help. Thanks!

  22. Mary Fournier Post author

    This is really great info! Thank you for breaking everything down in a very clear and easy to understand way.

  23. Çağın Uçar Post author

    Thank you very much for the video. My shop is getting a lot more views lately, I applied bunch of different seo tactics from different youtubers. Such as short precise titles, long non repetitive titles etc. But it still seems like there is always a listing that sticks to the 1st page of it's category and stays there. All these changes I made didn't make much difference actually. Now I think what matters most is the amount of traffic, favorite and sales it gets as soon as it is listed. What is your opinion on that?

  24. Dmitry Ihnatiev Post author

    Hi there to all guys! How can I find Deborah shop on ETSY, I just want to see what she selling, how many customers she has.. etc. I'm talking about that I want to see her successful store, before use all these information she gives. (I do not mean the store that sells courses). Thanks

  25. Craig Anthony Post author

    This was great info thank you – cant wait to put it into effect.
    Glass Art & Modern Lighting =

  26. Felipe Post author

    The shipment is the most stressful part of the business. I live in Brazil and I want to export all over the world and taxes is 4 times higher than my product. I'm really strugglin to find a way to oevercome it.

  27. iLove2Paint . Ayala Art Post author

    What a great video. I am thinking of reopening my shop and this has helped a lot.

  28. namescamila Post author

    Thanks for this video, I've been struggling to get my listings seen on etsy for a while now

  29. Cohee Jewelry Post author

    I am unclear on how to use the long tail keywords since Etsy only allows 20 character tags. I can usually get only two word descriptors.

  30. Despe Murat Post author

    Hi guys check this app for etsy seo, its amazing and have free trial !

  31. Brenda Bordas Post author

    Thanks your info was very helpful to me. I appreciate the way you broke things down. Tags do need to be longer in order to give us sellers a better chance to describe our products for searches.

  32. Paul Argueta Post author

    Thanks for sharing. Digital marketing & SEO work. Most people don't have the patience or take the time to learn it, let alone wait for the results. It's like planting seeds and farming.

  33. Paul Argueta Post author

    Thanks for sharing. Digital marketing & SEO work. Most people don't have the patience or take the time to learn it, let alone wait for the results. It's like planting seeds and farming.


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