It’s tough to stand out as an e-commerce store.
Especially in SERPs.
But if you cater to the right niche, there’s another very valuable outlet to get you more traffic and sales:
With a winning Etsy SEO strategy, you can optimize your online store to bring in more relevant visitors who are more willing to buy.
Is Etsy Right for Your Business?
But before we dive into the tactics, let’s first answer a critical strategic question:
Does your business belong on Etsy?
Unlike Amazon, Etsy is a niche marketplace. It’s not right for every retailer and product. To sell on Etsy, you should:
- Sell high-quality physical products. The most popular categories on Etsy are home, jewelry, clothing and games. Handmade and vintage products sell well there too.
- Not rely on Etsy as your sole distribution channel. Only 30% of Etsy sellers rely on it for their full-time income. It can be a very effective addition to your existing e-commerce store, but it’s more of a side hustle—so keep your expectations in line.
With that said, Etsy is a large marketplace with a lot of potential.
As of December 2017, Etsy has 1.9 million entrepreneurs serving 33 million customers—and those numbers are growing.
Active buyers went up by 16% in 2017 versus the year before. But the number of sellers to compete with is growing too: Active sellers increased by 10% in the same period.
So, let’s dive into how to leverage these opportunities with Etsy SEO.
Etsy SEO: How to Grow Your Store and Get More Traffic (2-Phase Strategy)
By optimizing your Etsy store page, you can rank both in Etsy…
And in Google search.
Winning with Etsy SEO requires a two-phase approach:
First, you need to optimize your Etsy store page from a marketing standpoint. Then, it’s time to get more visitors to your store.
Let’s get started!
Phase 1: On Page SEO for the Etsy Search Engine
The Etsy search engine takes into account many of the same factors that Google and other major search engines do.
Follow these steps to make the most of your Etsy store page and position it to be easily found by searchers.
1) Choose the Right Keywords
Start with traditional keyword research to set your foundation.
Then, look at the keywords used in top-performing Etsy stores similar to you. CraftCount is a helpful website to find a list of the top stores by country, category and overall.
While your creative side is valuable on Etsy when it comes to building your products, you’ll need to rein in that side when it comes to choosing your keywords. Focus on simple, practical terms—not creative descriptions.
Melinda Wood Designs put it this way:
“One thing I did when I first started an Etsy Shop was used creative and unusual words to describe my artwork.
Things like ‘Abstract Series No. 24’ as a title for your Etsy item is extremely poor. Instead, use keywords like ‘Abstract Art, Minimalist Decor, Modern Paintings, Black and White Artwork.’
You want to use simple words that your customers will type in to find what they’re looking for.”
2) Optimize Your Tags and Titles
Your Etsy titles and tags are critical factors in being found through search.
Ask yourself these five questions to build an optimized title and tag for each product in your store:
1. What type of product is it? (e.g. a journal)
2. What is the sub-type of the product? (e.g. a leather journal)
3. Who is the target market? (e.g. new moms)
4. What is it made out of? (e.g. leather or fake leather?)
5. What color is it? (e.g. black)
Then, search for those keywords and phrases on Etsy. Ideally, you’d like to see examples of other similar products that are selling well and have positive reviews. Then you’ll know whether or not that product title and description resonates on Etsy.
Let’s search for our example product above, “black leather journal for moms:”
Based on this search, we can see that there’s some demand, with 85 results.
We can also see that there are additional keywords to consider (e.g. “planner,” “birthday gift for mom,” “faux leather”), and that personalization and alternate colors are in demand.
3) Craft Your Store and Product Descriptions
Your descriptions will need to strike a balance between a few factors.
First, make sure you’re aligned with what customers expect from the Etsy marketplace. Put your creativity on show here. Second, make sure you use keywords that you found in the steps above.
If you’re just starting out, your store description is less important than the product listings.
When it comes to describing your products, make sure to include all the practical details like measurements, weight and material type. For some customers, factors like leather versus imitation leather make a big difference.
4) Invest in High-Quality Product Photos
Do your products have fine details? Do they look best in natural light?
Put their best features on show and make those details pop by upgrading your photos. The quality and quantity of your product photos cannot be overstated.
Check out this article for additional tips on taking great Etsy photos that really show your products off.
And don’t forget about optimizing your images from a traditional SEO perspective, too—this can help them get found in Google Image search.
5) Get More Reviews
Reviews show that you’re a legitimate business and reassure potential buyers.
If you have no reviews, customers are less likely to purchase because there’s no social proof.
Think of it this way:
Would you rather purchase from a seller with 100 reviews or one review?
Everything else being equal, a high amount of positive reviews suggests high quality. High-quality reviews will also help you convert more browsers into buyers, so you get two benefits from obtaining reviews—rankings and better conversions.
You can never have too many positive reviews, so make an effort to reach out to past buyers and encourage them to write reviews.
Follow the advice in Elissa Carden’s “7 Secrets for Getting Five-Star Reviews on Etsy” to get more high-quality reviews.
Phase 2: Getting More Traffic to Your Etsy Store
Now with an optimized presence on Etsy, you can work on attracting store visitors from the rest of the web.
Here’s how to do that.
1) Link Building
Building backlinks to your Etsy store is the most effective way to bring in more quality traffic.
There are three strategies I recommend:
- Get Google Backlinks. In addition to its search engine, Google runs a variety of properties such as YouTube that offer free backlink opportunities. Read my past article on how to get Google backlinks for tips on this link building technique.
- Search for Your Product Images. If you’re putting in the effort to get high-quality and appealing images, there’s a greater chance that people will use those images in other places. Conduct a reverse image search to find people who are using your images without linking to you, and simply ask them for a backlink as credit.
- Leverage Ideas from Competitors. Find out where your competitors are getting their links from, and then do the same. Monitor Backlinks gives you an easy way to track your competitors’ backlinks, quality metrics, anchor texts and more.
Claim your free 30-day trial of Monitor Backlinks to get the full experience!
2) Partner with Related Etsy Sellers
Once a person feels comfortable buying from one Etsy seller, they’re likely to make more Etsy purchases.
Your job? Network with other Etsy sellers and explore if they’re open to cross-promotion opportunities. This can help you expand your customer base and attract more interested buyers.
To verify whether another sellers offers a quality product, buy one of their products first. If you like it, contact them to propose a collaboration.
3) Combine Etsy with Other Marketing Channels
Etsy can only get you so far on its own. You’ll also need to look further afield to bring in more customers.
In addition to Etsy, you should also be using:
- An e-commerce website. There are several advantages to using your own website. You have greater control over the technical side of things (e.g. the ability to use plugins and marketing automation), and you can better control your marketing presentation as you won’t be directly next to many other similar sellers.
Use an e-commerce platform like Shopify where you can sell on your terms.
- Social media. This is how you build your brand. After you have a website and Etsy store set up, set up social media profiles for your business (a Facebook account at the very least). General social media rules still apply—engage and connect with others before you ask for the sale.
- Traditional SEO. Practice SEO fundamentals to keep acquiring more traffic. Check out my article “SEO Quick Wins: Rank a New Website with 14 Steps in 14 Days” to get some momentum.
Final Thoughts on Etsy SEO Success
With Etsy SEO, you can attract more prospects who are searching for what you sell.
If Etsy is a major distribution channel for you, take time each week to browse the categories related to your products and see how competitors are describing their products.
This will help you stay connected to what Etsy buyers and sellers are searching for and buying.
Bruce Harpham helps with content marketing strategy for enterprise software companies. His work has appeared on CIO.com, InfoWorld and other leading websites.