Lately I've been spending a lot of time on Etsy trying to figure out how to improve my stats. I want more views, more favorites and more sales. Just like everybody else. I've been hearing, and thinking that I understood, everyone saying it's all about the Keywords. I was tagging my listings, using all 13 available keywords, thinking like a shopper and using words shoppers would think to use. Turns out I was doing it all wrong. I've been reading articles from the seller's handbook and have also found the community forums extremely helpful. So here are my top five mistakes and some other important things I've learned along the way.
Mistake #1: Not paying attention to my stats. I always check to see my activity, views and favorites, but I wasn't really paying attention to where the traffic was coming from. I missed out on some really great features where my cards were published. I didn't even know that one of our father's day cards was on Lonny.com until today when I went back to look at traffic sources from this whole year. Um, Lonny is kind of a big deal guys, I would have been telling everyone and their brother about that at the time. P.S. Check that out here.
Mistake #2: Listing Titles! The titles section has essentially turned into another keyword section, more or less. It's less about describing the item for the shopper now and more about the search algorithms. They way Etsy's search works, it uses keywords from the title, and the closer the words are to the front of the title, the more importance they have in the search. I thought I was creating good, descriptive titles for my listings, but according to Etsy's standards my titles were not so great. The absolute most important words should be grouped together at the front. So my old title would have been something like this: "Silent Night Holiday Greeting Card A7" but the new title is: "Cabin Holiday Greeting Card Set of 8 A2, Silent Night, Winter Cabin, Rustic, Snow, Stars, Hand Illustrated, Christmas, Recycled". Yep. People are banking on the fact that shoppers use the image, not the title.
Mistake #3: Using single word keywords instead of phrases. Apparently using phrases are the way to go. You get more bang for your buck, basically. The best way to use keywords is to use terms that shoppers would look for an item with. So for instance, my old tags were something like christmas, holiday, card, set, greeting, etc. But they should have been holiday greeting, christmas greeting, christmas card set, holiday card set, etc. Descriptive phrases.
Mistake #4: I wasn't keeping track of my keywords. I added what I thought was good and that was that. Wrong. You have to not only keep track of what you use, but you should be keeping track of what keywords people searched to find you. You need to be monitoring what terms are getting traffic and what terms aren't. If a term isn't getting you views, then it needs to go and something else should be tested out.
Mistake #5: I wasn't looking to see what keywords similar items in other shops were using. That seems pretty basic, but I wasn't aware that was available information. Apparently it is. At the bottom of each listing page there is a section called "Related to this item". Those are the keywords. Take note.
Notes, Observations & Research
Once I changed my listing titles in combination with the keywords, my views started going up almost immediately and my items popped up to the first few pages of the related browse sections. Ahhhhh! Why am I just now figuring this out?! Right? If you are reading this, you're probably thinking the same thing. Below are my notes from my research.
Etsy search is based on RELEVANCY, not recency. Meaning how relevant your item is to the search term used instead of how long ago it was listed for sale. This is why keywords and titles are so important.
1. The most relevant words that would be searched for should be at the beginning of item titles.
2. Phrases in titles should match phrases in keyword tags.
3. Single word Keyword tags are not effective, use phrases instead.
4. Vary listing names (titles) with synonyms. ie: childrens, girls, toddlers, so each similar listing is different. This will help to reach more people.
5. Recency does play a small role in search results, especially when a shopper searches for a broad term, ie: greeting card. Add items to your shop regularly.
6. Use shop stats to monitor and modify what is and isn't working. Test, test, test.
7. Compare to tags from your competitors. See what's working for them.
8. Create an ongoing list of tags for your items, to have on hand when you make new listings and also to track what you know works and what doesn't. Also keep track of the search terms people used to find your shop.
9. Use descriptive words, think about synonyms.
10. Reference the Google keyword planner for ideas.
11. Use the etsy search bar to start typing in your search term, it will pull up recent searches from shoppers and give you ideas for keywords that shoppers are using.
12. The Relevancy Search algorithm IGNORES punctuation, no needs to use commas or dashes. Google ignores this too, but looks for words grouped together.
13. Search the community forums for help. Use this space to ask informed questions. I find this more helpful than searching through old and potentially outdated articles. https://www.etsy.com/forums
And for now, that's all I know. If you know more than me, leave a comment below.