Etsy 102 – Etsy SEO: How to Be Found in Etsy Search

etsy seo

As of July 2015, Etsy had over 32 million items for sale on its site from 1.4M sellers, and one of the biggest concerns we hear from Etsy sellers is “How in the world can I ensure that people find my products when they search for them?”

But just showing up isn’t enough. If you’re like the majority of shoppers out there, when you search for a product or a website, you rarely go past the first page – in fact, one study suggested that less than 10% of Google searchers went past the first page of results. Given that information, it can seem like a daunting task to have anyone find your products, but don’t worry – it comes down to just a handful of SEO tricks.

SEO Basics

SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” is the process of improving how high you show up in search results. When you hear “SEO”, it’s probably being referred to web search engines like Google or Yahoo, but marketplaces like Etsy also have their own internal search engines that can be optimized. Each search engine or marketplace creates its own priorities for how it displays search results, so in this article we’ll explore only Etsy’s.

It’s All About Relevancy

Etsy’s search result algorithm tries to determine how relevant products are to what was being searched for, and relevancy comes down to basically three things for Etsy – WHAT the product is, HOW customers respond to it, and WHEN the product was made available to customers. There are six things that you can do to affect the “WHAT”, “HOW”, and “WHEN” to improve your Etsy SEO:

1. Title – “WHAT”

Why It Matters:
-It’s the clearest description of what your product is
-It’s the first thing a customer reads
-Etsy directly uses the words in the title to determine relevancy

How To Optimize It:
-Clearly describe your product at the beginning of the product title (Etsy uses the first few words in its algorithm and only shows the first 35 characters)
-Use words you think a shopper may use
-Use proper spelling and capitalization
-Don’t use the same word many times
-If you have many similar products, list them as variations or change the order of words slightly so you’re not competing against yourself
-Add secondary descriptive words at the end

Good Examples:
-Vintage Gold Necklace with 14-inch Chain
-Custom Rustic Wedding Invitation – 5×7″
-Baby’s Bib with Cars and Stars – Cute and For All Ages

Bad Examples:
-14-inch Necklace – Gold and Vintage
-wedding invitation, yellow invitation, rustic invitation for weddings
-OMG Super cute bib for babies that has cars and stars on it fits everyone

2. Keywords/Tags – “WHAT”

Why They Matter:
-They help Etsy determine what your product is outside of just the title
-They let you get your product in front of more customers who aren’t searching for your exact specific product

How To Optimize Them:
-Use all 13 keyword slots you’re allowed
-Be a mix of specific and general
-Put yourself in the shoes of customers – if you wouldn’t use them yourself to search for your product, don’t use them
-Repeat only the most important words from your title
-Put the most important words first in the keywords just like the title, but the order of the keywords themselves do not matter
-List synonyms and variations of your product
-Search for your product on Etsy to get ideas of what else exists – the suggestions are based on actual Etsy searches
-Phrases are better than single words
-Don’t worry about capitalization or adding an “s” at the end to make them plural – they’re treated the same
-If you have room, you can add a few misspellings of keywords, but the number of people searching for a misspelling will be far less than people searching for a real keyword

Good Examples:
-gold necklace, vintage necklace, yellow necklace, rustic necklace, gold jewelry, vintage jewelry, gift for mom, gifts for her
-custom wedding invitation, rustic wedding invitation, custom invitations, handmade invitations, handmade wedding invitations
-bib, baby’s bib, girl’s bib, boy’s bib, bib with cars, boy’s bib with cars, homemade bibs

Bad Examples:
-gold, vintage, jewelry, necklace, yellow, necklace gold, necklace vintage
-paper products, things for weddings, wedding, invitation, weding, weddig, homemade, handmade
-cute, boys, girls, baby, babies, cars, homemade

3. Category – “WHAT”

Why It Matters:
-Etsy adds up to three categories (based on their category tree) to your list of keywords for a total of up to 16
-Customers can filter results by category

How To Optimize It:
-Put your products in the proper category
-Be as specific as possible

4. Images – “HOW”

Why They Matter:
The number or quality of images does not directly improve search ranking, but images help indirectly because:
-They help grab customer interest and lead to clicks, which improve relevancy
-They help convert sales from your pages, which improves relevancy

How To Optimize Them:
Show a variety of images:
1. The plain shot – Your product clearly visible against a plain white background – it’s the best way to show your product for what it is and the plain background helps show off the details, even for a white product
2. The close-up – A zoomed-in shot of the fine details of your product – this image can help show off the texture of your item and the quality of your work
3. The reference point – Your product next to something else to show relative size (such as a necklace on a neck or a bar of soap in a hand) – this image gives customers a better sense of how big your product is since it can sometimes be hard to visualize when given just dimensions
4. The lifestyle – Your product in its “natural element” – this image is perfect for a piece of art or clothing to help the customer get a sense of what it’ll look like in action
5. The container – If your product comes in a nice-looking box or case, showing an image of that can help complete the circle for a customer

If you’d like some extra help with your images, take a look at our image optimization service.

5. Description – “HOW”

Why It Matters:
The description does not directly improve search ranking, but it does help indirectly because:
-It helps convert sales from your pages, which improves relevancy

-It helps lead to favorites/followers from potential customers, which improves relevancy

How To Optimize It:
-Be just as robust as if you were actually having a conversation with someone
-Be a mix of both sales-focused and technically descriptive
-Put the most important information first
-Ensure that all of someone’s questions are answered by what you write: How big is the product? Who is it for? How did you make it? Why is it better than something else? What is it made out of?
-Use proper grammar and spelling
-Match your brand style

6. Renewed – “WHEN”

Why It Matters:
-Newer items are given more weight by Etsy’s algorithm
-Customer can search and sort items by which ones are newer

How To Optimize It:
-Renew your listings frequently
-Vary which listings you renew (powered by eSale) is a great service for automatically renewing your Etsy listings to improve their search rankings.

What Doesn’t Improve Search Rankings

-Attributes such as style or occasion
-Order of keywords
-Listing count
-Shop sections
-Your location relative to the customer

Final Tips

-Test, test, and test some more
-Don’t change a lot of things at once – try a few things at a time to see what works
-Give it time – improvements in search results don’t happen overnight
-If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to send us an email at and we’ll be happy to answer any questions!