Etsy has just released an article which details plans for the 2017 Etsy search updates. Last year they acquired Blackbird Technologies – a machine learning company. The purchase caused a bit of a stir in the Etsy community and spawned countless questions and even more conjecture. But now we finally have some details about Etsy’s plans. Here are 7 key takeaways from the announcement:
1. Etsy and its sellers are a team
Right off the bat, Etsy makes a point of reminding sellers that when they are successful, Etsy is successful. Etsy knows that search updates and algorithm updates can cause stress for sellers and they want to help minimize that by reminding sellers that Etsy’s success depends on seller success. Etsy says:
2. Watch for search bar updates
Etsy breaks their 2017 search focus areas into two groups: helping buyers find the right items and building better tools for sellers. The first way they plan to help shoppers is by “getting them started with the right search terms.” This is almost certainly a reference to their search bar suggestions which they’ve been providing shoppers for quite a while. As shoppers type in the search bar, Etsy provides suggestions from a pool of other recent search terms. In order to help shoppers get started, they will undoubtedly be providing more personalized search term suggestions right within the search bar to help each shopper begin with the best possible search term for them. Etsy says:
3. Changes to the search results page
The next thing Etsy plans to do for buyers is to help them “navigate their results in meaningful ways.” This could partially be referring to new filter options for shoppers which Etsy covers later in the article. But this likely includes other changes as well. There are vast possibilities but this could include things like quick product views on the search results page to pull key listing information further forward. This could also include features like “suggested listings” based on the search term and personalized browsing history. Etsy says:
4. More specific ways to describe listings
As part of their list of updates for sellers, Etsy announced that they will be providing new ways for sellers to “convey specific information” about listings. This will likely be tied to some of the upcoming search filter updates. This will allow sellers to fill in information which helps to differentiate their listings from others. Etsy says:
5. New search filters
Etsy announces new search filters in 2017. Currently, shoppers can filter by category, location, handmade/vintage, price, color, and ordering options. New ways to filter results could include things like seller rating, downloadable/handmade/vintage, size, and item quantity. Some sellers are even hoping for the ability to filter by items with coupon codes or those which are on sale. Etsy says:
6. Don’t freak out
Again, Etsy is sensitive to the apprehension that surrounds any updates to the flow that helps customers find products. They remind sellers that they’ll keep them up to date as changes are made and will be sure to provide actions that sellers can take to make sure their shops are in the best possible standing. Etsy says:
7. Did I mention Etsy and sellers are a team?
Just as they opened the article, Etsy closes it with a reminder how important their relationship with sellers is. The last thing they want to do is completely turn the system upside down that is working for so many sellers. Changes will be slow and careful and deliberate. Keep an eye out for updates, make the necessary changes to your shops and everything will be fine. Etsy says:
So what does this mean for the future of Etsy Search and Etsy SEO?
As Etsy begins to take advantage of the specialties of Blackbird Technologies, they’re looking to deliver a more personalized and intuitive search experience for shoppers. So what does this mean for SEO strategies? The core components that affect rank aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Etsy will still draw from listings’ tiles, tags, and recency. The majority of the changes are around HOW shoppers will get to those results pages and how they will navigate them. There will be other factors that Etsy introduces which will affect rank but the core algorithm is unlikely to drastically change. What does this mean for you as a seller? Sit tight and keep doing what you know works until Etsy announces changes. There is no need to jump the gun and start guessing how to update your listings for changes that may or may not happen.
What does this mean for Marmalead?
Marmalead’s algorithms measure engagement with search terms. Etsy is changing how they help shoppers find the right search term. So measuring which keywords they arrive at and which keywords enjoy the best engagement is still just as important as it used to be. In fact, with the crippling of Google’s Keyword Planner and Etsy’s planned changes to the search bar suggestions, Marmalead is becoming even more valuable to sellers as the best Etsy SEO solution available.
For the latest interpretations of Etsy SEO and search updates, subscribe to the Marmalead Blog.
Early on, search volume was the go to metric. The more something is searched, the better it must be, right?
Well not anymore. Not in 2016.
Search engines have gotten much smarter. They have to be, there’s so much content out there! They care about quality now. Quality in the search world means engagement.
Engagement is what you really want because that’s what search engines want. It’s very competitive. If you want to keep ranking in search, your content needs to get people engaged with it. That’s part of how search engines determine which results to show when there are millions to choose from.
They see what works and do more of it. We should all do that.
Search Volume is Top of the Funnel
Search Volume is where it starts, it’s the top line number. The real magic is in between Search Volume and making a Sale.
The funnel looks something like this in a simplistic fashion:
There’s just too much variability to measure at the top (Search Volume).
Adding an item to a cart and closing a sale would be great if there were more data available.
That leaves us with views and favorites are where you can really measure something meaningful at scale.
4 Things You Should Care About Instead of Search Volume
1) Are Shoppers Engaging with the Keywords I’ve Chosen?
If shoppers are searching a keyword, but not engaging, it’s not doing you any good. It’s both a waste of a keyword and your listing will seem un-engaging.
When shoppers search, they start by scanning the listing images to see if it’s what they expect. If it’s not, they bounce to another search. Does it really matter if you’re ranking for a keyword that’s popular yet shoppers don’t engage? (Answer: No).
The next steps are important too. When they see interesting (clickable) listings, they click. If they really like what they see, they favorite it or even add it to their cart.
Your goal is to get sales. The best way to do that is to measure the actions as close to the sale as possible.
That’s Views and Favorites.
2) Feasibility of Ranking for the Keyword
It doesn’t matter how good a keyword seems if you can’t get ranked for it. If you’re just starting out, it’s going to be difficult to rank for highly competitive keywords. Listings with a track record of engagement and high conversion rate will receive preferential treatment.
When you’re starting out, it’s super important to choose keywords that you can win at. Choose competition you can handle, and once you have a track record of success, increase the level of competition.
3) Are My Keywords Creating Customers?
The ultimate test of your keywords is whether they’re getting sales. While you won’t know exactly what keyword brought the buyer, you can make educated assumptions about it. Keywords with high engagement are likely to bring more sales.
You can test this by measuring whether you’re getting more views to sales after changing your keywords around.
4) What Does The Future Look Like?
I’m assuming you’re in this for the long-term. That means you’re not just looking for keywords that work well today, but also keywords that will get better with time.
To use the Marma-Meter as an example, this would look like Low to Moderate Engagement and Low Competition. That would signal the potential for growth in Engagement AND that your competitors haven’t swarmed it yet.
You’ll, of course, need to bring your own market expertise to the table in determining if this keyword will grow in the future. You know your market better than anyone and that’s part of your competitive advantage.
With so much we can measure, it’s more important than ever to measure what really matters. Search Volume is a vanity metric that can easily send us on a wild goose chase. Time is a precious resource for all of us, so let’s use it wisely.
The Etsy search bar. The number of times you should use your keyword. The eternal battle between commas and forward slashes. Even the order of your keywords in your title. We’ve probably all seen these topics at least once in our span as an Etsy seller (I know I do).
Which of these SEO myths hold truth? Let’s find out.
No. You can totally move your tags to any spot that you want. It doesn’t have any bearing on the search results. Etsy looks whether or not something exists in your tag and it doesn’t really care whether it’s the first tag or the last tag.
Myth 2: Does the order in which I put keywords in my Title matter?
Yes. If you put a word closer up in your title, then Etsy – just like people – the earlier these words are in your title, the more important they must be. Think of it kind of like a subject line for an email, if you want someone to open your email, you’re gonna say the most important stuff first.
Here’s an article straight from Etsy help: How Etsy Search Works “The beginnings of titles have an especially strong pull. Keep words that buyers are most likely to search for close to the front.”
Myth 3: Etsy uses product descriptions for ranking.
Nope. Etsy doesn’t look at descriptions at all for ranking. Where your descriptions really do matter is in closing the deal. So inside of your descriptions you should be completing the picture for people. Describe things in ways your photos can’t.
Bonus question: When sellers take their title and put it in the first paragraph of their product descriptions, does it hurt them at all?
No, it wouldn’t hurt them necessarily at all. The only thing that it might do is confuse the buyer. The thing we’re trying to avoid is sellers worrying about how often they should be using keywords in their descriptions.
Example: If I’m selling ‘jewelry’, maybe I want to use the word ‘jewelry’ a certain number of times in my description so that I’ll rank higher. You don’t have to worry about that as a seller.
Myth 4: Will repeating keywords hurt my rank?
“If I have a listing titled ‘Starfish necklace, beach necklace’ and I used it both as tags, the fact that I used ‘necklace’ twice; will it hurt my rank?” Etsy doesn’t mind that. Etsy looks at things in context. They’re looking at ‘beach necklace’ as one kind of thing or ‘starfish necklace’ as one kind of thing. The only downside of doing this is that you’re using part of your title twice. You’re using that space in your title to say ‘necklace’ twice where you could have used a different keyword in there. But if you really want to target those keywords, don’t be afraid to put them both.
Myth 5: The number of pages somebody go through when they do a search.
“Are people only looking at the 1st page? 2 pages? 5 pages etc?” We’ve done some shoppers’ study, and in our experience, everybody is very impatient. If they don’t find what they’re looking for pretty quickly, they leave that search and move on to the next one. Some people do browse past 5 pages but they’re mostly in ‘browsing’ mode, not in ‘buying’ mode. The reason for this is as people flip through pages and pages of search, their interest in buying dwindles because they can’t find what they’re looking for. If they’re serious about buying, they would have left the search and began typing similar search terms.
Myth 6: Etsy uses your Shop Policy for ranking. Is this true?
Yes. With one of the recent updates in search, Etsy started looking if you have your Shop Policies filled up. The more comfortable shoppers are shopping on Etsy from any sellers, the more comfortable they are with all the good sellers like you. Have your Shop Policies filled out.
Myth 7: The Etsy search bar shows most popular search keywords. True or False?
False. As per conversation that we had with Etsy Support, what they’re actually showing in the search bar are recent searches from people. It’s actual searches people are doing, but they’re not the most popular searches. It is also based on what things you’re gonna start typing out – like an autocomplete.
It’s also flawed since it is an autocomplete and it’s based on the first word that you type which may not be the most important keyword in the phrase, and there’s no way to do it backwards to see what they might put in front of the second word.
Myth 8: I’m doing everything right and it’s not working. Help!
A lot of times it feels like you’re doing everything right and all logic points that this is the right way to go but if you’re not getting the results, something’s not right. If you think you’re doing everything right and it’s not working, get out of your circle and bring someone else to help you out.Don’t give up. Reach out to us, reach to your teams, reach out and get help. If it’s keyword based, try and get other people to describe it to you. If it’s photos, get some feedback from other people, even on people you normally don’t get feedback from. Keep trying!
Myth 9: Listings that have a momentum of sales rank near the top.
“I can’t break into the top 100 because I don’t have the momentum of sales and you need sales. All the other shops are successful and they’re the only ones that are gonna stay at the top because Etsy just wants to support them. They don’t care about the new shops.” Is there any ground to it? It is plausible. They do take into consideration things like views, favorites, sales, momentum and bunch of other stuffs and why wouldn’t they? Etsy wants to keep promoting things that are selling. They get paid not just when you renew, they also get money when you sell your product. But here’s the good news, they do want new shops to break into the market. They have a vested interest to grow and to do that, they need more shoppers and more sellers. You can, even as a new seller, build that momentum and you can be up there just like everyone else. Get quality photos, use the right keywords, renew frequently to be recent up there cause that’s your chance and once you start gaining a momentum – we have found that you are going to stay near the top.
Myth 10: Renewing your listings give a quick bump in rank.
“Just going in and renewing that listing whether I make changes to it or not; do I get a bump in rank?” Yes. Recency does matter. Though it is not the only thing that we’d recommend you to do, of course we still recommend tweaking your keywords every now and then but as far as this myth goes, it is confirmed.
Renewing gets you seen, and the more you get seen, the more you get sales and the more you get sales, the more they come back.
Bonus question: What if you have one-of-a-kind type of listings?
“How to gain traction with those, it’s not like an item that you can sell and renew in a continuous basis.”
Without per-listing momentum, it’s your shop in general. It has a factor as far as conversion rates and sales momentum go, not just on a specific listing. Etsy just wants to make sure they get more sales for everyone so they can make more profit too. So Etsy would be looking for conversion rates of the whole shop. Like how well does a shop do in general and not just on this one off listings.
So next time you find yourself in the midst of a clashing debate in the forums on common misconceptions about Etsy SEO; these bits of information might help you gain the upper hand.
Over to you:
Got any good SEO myths we didn’t cover? Follow up questions?
Well, let us know in the comments!
Maybe you have a friend that just can’t sleep because she did not put the word ‘necklace’ 5 times in her description? Share it to them!
Introducing our latest addition, the Marma-Meter. It’s the next level in our quest to help you get found on Etsy. It’s a right-brain friendly green, yellow, and red system of measuring three important criteria of keywords.
Those criteria are Engagement, Competition, and Category Page.
Measures how much shoppers are interacting with listings. While search volume counts the number of times shoppers have searched for a keyword, engagement means they searched, and then went on to interact (view and/or favorite) the listings on the page. Higher engagement is always better.
Measures how many listings are trying to be found in this search. The more competition there is, the more challenging it is to keep your listings at the top. In the most competitive searches, listings are being added/updated by the second. Lower competition is usually better.
The category page is the grid of categories that show up when shoppers search for something too broad (like “gift”). The category page encourages shoppers to narrow their search before looking at specific listings. You usually want to avoid targeting keywords that result in a category page.
UPDATE: Etsy has since updated this section so the categories now appear on the left-hand side of search. That makes the categories less obtrusive to shoppers so this score is no longer very important when choosing keywords.
How it helps you get found on Etsy
Let’s take a moment to define “getting found”. It’s more than ranking. It’s ranking for keywords that have engagement. You’re not found until you’re seen.
Found = Views.
Our Marma-Meter ratings are data driven by Etsy data and scale to the size of the market. For example, when a keyword is rated with “High” Engagement, we’ve taken views per week and scaled it to fit the level of competition.
Whether you’re an analytical show-me-the-numbers-left-brain type or a creative just-tell-me-what-it-means-right-brain type, you’re going to love the Marma-Meter.
We’re doing the heavy lifting for you so you can quickly see what keywords are a good fit, and still showing the numbers you’re used to for when you want to drill down further.
Here we have a search for “silver jewelry”. You’ll notice that Engagement is actually “Low” even though it has 56 Views/Week. That’s because for the number of competing listings (Competition is “Very High”), it’s not really that impressive.
Here’s how the Marma-Meter looks in Keyword Comparison. Now you can sort out the good from the bad keywords even faster!
Don’t worry, the numbers you’re used to are just below.
Not sure where to start?
Head over to our Shop Fitness Calculator and see how you’re doing for the keywords that your shoppers are using to find you. Then jump over to Marmalead and use the new Marma-Meters to find related keywords that work even better!
Now before you throw your hands up with Etsy sellers everywhere and start getting nervous about your products’ abilities to rank in a shopper’s search results, take a step back and remember something: Google and Bing have already been personalizing their search results for YEARS. The tools, methods and strategies that people use to successfully rank on Google are still very much relevant to Google SEO – in spite of personalized search results. The same will be true for these Etsy search updates.
There will STILL be a lot of commonality on Etsy. Everyone will see MANY of the same generic listings but there will be some listings which appear because of where someone is, what they have searched for in the past, and which listings they’ve engaged with. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the factors Etsy will be using and how you can use the latest Etsy search updates to your advantage.
Someone in the US searching for “football earrings” will get results about American Football. Someone in the UK will get results for what American’s call soccer (and the rest of the world calls football – you weirdos 😉 ). If your listings aren’t deemed relevant to a particular country, then you have less of a chance of showing up for those countries. If you feel like you should still be relevant, then you should work on your international SEO. While you may not be able to move your shop around the world, keyword suggestions can help you find alternate descriptions for things like soccer and football.
What has the shopper searched for in the past? What listings have they clicked from their search results? What listings have they added to a list or favorited? Unlike country personalization, there’s no easy way to try to make your listings more relevant. Instead, this places more weight on the first impression that your listings make – and the brand loyalty you build with your customers. Whenever a shopper clicks on your listing in their search results, you want to make sure you’re delivering a fantastic experience so they’ll either come back later, add your listing to a list, or favorite it. You can do this through excellent product photography and through great thorough descriptions of your listings. If your branding is consistent across multiple listings, as shoppers search, they will recognize your products and return to your other listings despite them potentially being lower in the results list. This behavior will strengthen your position for that shopper and for other shoppers like them.
What’s the next logical step for Etsy?
What do shoppers share with others? What do they tweet about or email or text to their friends? Mapping out these networks provides another way to boost a shop’s listings within search results for shoppers and friends of that shopper. How do other sites do this? They use what developers call “query string parameters” which is a fancy way of saying “information in the URL.” When you click an article posted on Facebook, chances are the link will contain special information which will allow the site to track where you found the article. Adding these types of tracking codes to listing URLs would allow Etsy to see if you shared a link with a friend. Is this definitely Etsy’s next move? Not necessarily. But it’s a logical next step in personalizing search experiences even further so don’t be surprised to see it in the next few rounds of Etsy search updates. Anticipate this and make your listings share-worthy!
How will this affect the keyword research you do in Marmalead? Well, the short answer is, it won’t. Remember how Etsy said there will still be a lot of commonality in search results? Only a handful of listings will get bumped up based on a shopper’s personal information. You will still want to use Marmalead to measure the overall shopper engagement with different keywords to understand the best tag/title combinations to target. You will still want to use Marmalead to understand the size of the market you will be competing with for each keyword. You will still want to use Marmalead to understand the price spread of each keyword and learn where you should be pricing your products to be competitive.
Summary of Etsy Search Updates
These new changes to Etsy’s search algorithm put more weight on the quality of the listings you’re putting in front of shoppers. This is something Etsy has stressed in the past – just like when they said they’d give priority ranking to shops who had filled out their policies. (Speaking of which, you DID fill out all your policies, right? Right??) At the end of the day, Etsy’s goal is to sell more products to more shoppers. They’re constantly testing to see what works best. Any changes they make are aimed at getting more shoppers in the door and getting more of those shoppers to spend more dollars. They’re trying to put more quality listings in front of shoppers. So let the changes work FOR you and make sure your listings are the best quality they can be! You’ll find yourself doing better than ever!
Still feeling nervous about the Etsy search updates?
Take several deep breaths (or have a couple of glasses of wine)
Keep making sure you’re targeting the right keywords
Make sure you’re using those keywords in your tags and title
Keep an eye on your pricing vs your competition
Fill out all your shop policies
Improve your product photos
Write fantastic shop descriptions that answer shoppers’ questions before they even ask
Deliver an unforgettable customer experience to keep them coming back time and time again
Yes, we’ve talked about it a lot. We mention it in differentgroups, in blogs, in our emails, and even in our webinars! What is this buckets strategy all about and how do you use it?
Think of keywords as markets. Every search is really a market. I like to take it a step further and think of markets as buckets. It has a specific set of listings that return and the shopper is somewhere in the Customer Journey.
It goes like this: Keywords are buckets. Listings go in these buckets. Ideally, you would want to be found in the first 5 pages; so you fill each of these buckets with 5 of your listings.
Why 5 pages? Well, you could go 10, 25, or 30 pages but at this point, you are only competing with yourself. A lot of shoppers never go past 5 pages, so anything more than that would only be a waste. I would refocus and put the remainder of my listings in a different bucket instead.
Pretend that I sell different kinds of starfish jewelry.
It’s going to take an awful lot of time and effort if I were to come up with a unique set of keywords for every listing I own. For Etsy sellers that sell hundreds of different items, this just isn’t feasible.
This is the type of scenario where the buckets strategy comes in handy.
I’m going to make several buckets for my listings.
Gold Starfish Ring
My first listing is a starfish bracelet.
It fits under the Starfish Bracelet bucket, but it’s also a Starfish Jewelry and a Silver Starfish so you can put them in there as well. It’s not a Gold Starfish or a Starfish Ring so save those buckets for later.
How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish bracelet] [starfish bangle] [silver starfish] [starfish jewelry] … [bridesmaid gift] [gift for her]
Note how I put my strongest keywords in the front for stronger relevancy in search.
Second one is a starfish ring.
It’s obviously not a Silver Starfish though, but it’s a Starfish Jewelry, a Gold Starfish, and a Starfish Ring. Those are the buckets where they would fit.
How do you title/tag this listing? [gold starfish ring] [starfish ring] [gold star ring] [starfish jewelry] [sea star ring] … [gold jewelry] [beach ring]
Note that I tend to put only 3 of my best targeted keywords per listing (3 buckets/listing). Since you have to have the keyword in your title, after 3 is probably too weak to rank well. This is no reason not to use up all 13 of your tags though.
Third one is a starfish necklace.
Same rules like last time. It does NOT fit under Gold Starfish, Gold Starfish Ring, Starfish Earring, Starfish Ring, and Starfish Bracelet. But it can fit under Starfish Necklace, Starfish Jewelry, and Silver Starfish.
How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish necklace] [starfish pendant] [silver starfish] [sea star necklace] [silver sea star] [starfish jewelry] [starfish charm] [seaside pendant] [sterling silver] [silver pendant] [sea star charm] [sea life jewelry] [sea star jewelry]
Note: Take a look at that example. Sometimes you have more than 3 targeted keywords for a listing. It’s a waste not to use them but it’s also a waste stuffing them in a single listing. One cool hack Richie discovered is to make a copy of your listing and put in your other best keywords to rank on a different market.
This ‘new’ listing is made specifically to spread out and target more keywords. Yes, you are allowed to do this as long as you have enough quantity to sell.
When I say ‘targeted keywords’ or ‘best keywords’; these are the strongest words that:
a. Best fits your listing; and
b. Keywords you’re trying to rank on.
Essentially, I have covered 3 of my listings just by cleverly putting them in buckets. You can continue to do this with more keywords, starting from broad ones to super specific – that way you cover each stage of the customer journey.
It’s okay to repeat the same keyword (starfish in this case) multiple times in your listing. Not only you are reinforcing your relevancy in search, but you’re also covering multiple ways people might use to find your item.
Now let’s pick up where I said “you would want to be found in the first 5 pages”. If you do it right, and you filled each of your buckets with 5 of your listings (and assuming that you rank well in that keyword), you might see something like this:
One listing for every flip of the page for 5 pages! It’s like having 5xmore chance of landing a sale! That right there is the power of the Buckets Strategy.
Over to you:
I’d love to keep the conversation flowing in the comments. What do you think of this strategy? Do you have your own techniques you are willing to share? Or maybe you’ve already seen improvements since you’ve used the system? Let us know! If you know someone who you think would benefit from this article, share it with them!
Etsy SEO can be confusing. Many Etsy sellers have turned to tools like Google’s Keyword Planner for help in finding which search terms shoppers engage with.
Over the past 6 months, we have been running a study to collect actual search terms from actual Etsy shoppers. This is an important first step in developing Marmalead and vetting it against other Etsy and non Etsy SEO tools on the internet. Here are the 50 most popular search terms we’ve collected over the past 6 months:
Etsy SEO: Top 50 Shopper Searches
gift for her
iphone 6 case
personalized baby blanket
gifts for her
baby shower gift
Armed with these keywords, let’s dive into a comparison of Google Keyword Planner and Marmalead in order to see which tool performs better in predicting shopper engagement to achieve the strongest Etsy SEO.
Google Keyword Planner
The first thing we did was dump these keywords into Google Keyword Planner to see what the global Google Search volume looks like:
Google Avg Monthly Searches
gift for her
iphone 6 case
personalized baby blanket
gifts for her
baby shower gift
It’s important to note that Google uses search volume to indicate engagement in keyword searches. While they may seem like an omnipotent Big Brother sort of character at times, Google doesn’t have a window into every site that is served up in their search results. For this reason, search volume is the deepest reliable way for Google to determine engagement.
Etsy Search Data
Etsy, however, shares view and favorite information with us. This gives us a much better picture of buyer engagement (and helps Marmalead give you a leg up in Etsy SEO!).
Here are our same 50 keyword phrases matched up with the average number of views and favorites per week for each relevant listing returned by Etsy:
gift for her
iphone 6 case
personalized baby blanket
gifts for her
baby shower gift
Let’s look at an example. One of the top 50 search phrases is “coral bracelet.” In fact, we found that Etsy shoppers used it a total of 126 times in our study. BUT looking at the view and favorite information from Etsy, we can see that very few shoppers actually engage with listings found in this search (7.9 views per week and 1.3 favorites per week on average).
So which is better?
When we match up the shopper engagement data provided by Google’s Keyword Planner to Etsy’s view information, we get this:
If Google Keyword Planner were a good predictor of which searches enjoy the most buyer engagement on Etsy, these two graphs would closely overlap. It’s easy to see in this chart that the keywords flagged by Google Keyword Planner as being more popular are NOT the same ones that shoppers are actually engaging with on Etsy. Now let’s compare the same Etsy views with how we measure shopper engagement within Marmalead:
Perhaps unsurprisingly (since we’re getting our data straight fromEtsy), Marmalead is spot on for seeing which keyword searches have the highest engagement from shoppers – and will allow you to reap the best Etsy SEO for your listings.
Perhaps Google Keyword Planner is a better predictor of which searches will have more favorites on Etsy? Let’s look:
Again, it’s easy to see there really isn’t a strong correlation here between which searches Google thinks have strong engagement and which actually demonstrate engagement on Etsy. Here’s the Marmalead data for the same set of searches:
Looking at these charts should make it clear to see that using Etsy’s own data to determine engagement is MUCH more reliable than using Google’s data.
Want to learn more about Etsy SEO and why Google’s numbers are so different from Etsy’s? Tara Jacobsen, a 14-year SEO veteran put together a fantastic guest post which is riddled with great information!
We’ve been getting a bunch of questions from our users lately asking;
“How does someone incorporate the data given by Marmalead to their shops?”
“How can I use Marmalead in finding great Etsy keywords?”
Well in this article, we show you how to make Marmalead work for you.
Let’s give you an example:
Suppose this mug is one of your items.
The first thing you would want to do is to brainstorm the keywords that you’ll use for this listing.
I would start off by typing in the keyword ‘coffee mug’ to see how popular this tag is.
With 50k results, I know there’s no way I can get myself to the front page. Let’s now look at the two tools available for us to gather more keywords.
The Tag Cloud displays the relevant keywords that other sellers use. The larger the word, the more popular it is.
The Other Ideas, on the other hand: pulls out search terms that people type in Bing.
You can use both of these to help you build up keywords that you can then use for your listing.
I’ve picked the words ‘best coffee mug’, ‘big coffee mug’, ‘custom coffee mug’, and ‘personalized mug’.
I suggest you to build a list of 15-20 keywords, but for simplicity let’s use those words as an example.
Fire them up with the Keyword Comparison tool (this will save you a lot of time).
Based on this data, I can safely say that tagging my listing with these words will land me on the first couple pages of my target category.
I have just 4k and 2k listings to compete with. Along with a high number of views per week: 49 and 165 respectively.
For higher relevancy in search: I will put my best keywords in the front of my title and tags (hat tip to Michelle).
It should look like this:
Big coffee mug – best coffee mug – custom coffee mug – personalized mug – unique coffee mug – funny coffee mug – quote coffee mug – coffee cup – ceramic coffee mug – gift for him – gift for her – birthday gift
If you have several coffee mug listings, you can shuffle around your best keywords so you still get the benefit of being on the first pages.
Hi my name is Tara and I am an SEO addict! I have been working in SEO and marketing since 2001, before there even was a Google or an Etsy. I currently rank on page one of Google for keywords like “Realtor SEO” and on the first page of Etsy for “Etsy SEO”.
I don’t say this to brag, but to let you know that I am knowledgeable and successful at actually DOING SEO for my business on both Google and Etsy.
Now, there are some serious SEO differences between Etsy and Google. With that said, should you use Google Keyword Planner OR Marmalead for your Etsy SEO Research?
There Are A Lot Of “Experts”
I am writing this post because someone was talking badly about my favorite Etsy SEO tool, Marmalead, and confusing the nice sellers on Etsy who are just trying to figure out how to get their listings to rank so they can sell more.
It seems that there are a few “experts” out there who are saying that Marmalead only tells you what keywords people are using while Google shows what people are actually buying (false, and more about this later).
Tip #1 – Please check out your experts before you go changing a bunch of things in your store. Are they SEO experts or are they just well meaning people who know a little about SEO?
How SEO Works
SEO can sometimes be a mystery to new marketers. It seems like there must be some kind of magic mojo that people are using to get to the first page of Google or on the first page of Etsy listings. That is just not true!
Both Etsy and Google are databases that use words to rank the results that should appear first. They do this very differently and that is an important distinction!
Google has spent years battling spammers who are trying to game the system. There were entire industries built around trying to trick Google into putting bad sites on the first page. They have mostly fixed this now, but they are super vigilant about what they rank well, changing the rules often.
To rank well on Google you have to have certain elements on your page or site:
One or two main keywords that you are trying to rank for
A strong title that is keyword rich
Content that supports the targeted keyword
Formatting in your post that shows emphasis on your target keyword
Backlinks to your page from outside sources
Etsy ranks things differently than Google does. They place absolutely no weight on the content of your description, instead using the following criteria to rank your product listings:
That is it for what YOU can do to manipulate your listing rank in Etsy. Now, there are definitely factors working behind the scenes that depend on the number of sales you have, the number of items in your store and even the percentage of views to favorites your items get, but that is a post for another day.
For now, let’s just look a the things that we can control!
Tip #2 – Before you start worrying about anything else, get good at writing great title descriptions and picking good tags for your products.
It is easy to get romantic about companies and think they are looking out for our best interests, but they aren’t. Companies like Google and Etsy are designed to make a profit, period.
How Google Makes A Profit
Google’s customer is the searcher. They have built a business on providing great results when you are looking for something and they are not going to jeopardize that one principal to make the people who provide the content they index happy.
Google’s search profits come from selling ads on their network (called Adwords). These are seen on the sides websites, in blog posts and even on YouTube videos.
How Etsy Makes A Profit
Etsy makes a profit two ways. First from the sellers who are paying $.20 for every product they list. There are tens of MILLIONS of products listed on Etsy today (estimates are in the 30-40 Million item range, equaling six million dollars there alone).
Additionally they get paid when an item SELLS. This is an important distinction that we will look at more now.
What Is Commercial Viability?
Commercial viability is the difference between using the Google Keyword Planner and Marmalead to do your SEO keyword research!
Google is not at all concerned with how much you sell (commercial viability), except as it pertains to Google making a profit. You can rank for hundreds of keywords in Google and never sell anything.
Etsy on the other hand is a website dedicated to commercial viability (Ecommerce). They want you to sell more, so you list more, so you pay more, so you sell more…in a dazzling spiral of commerce.
Buying Keywords Versus Searching Keywords
So let’s get down to brass tacks now and start looking at searches. I will use my product, a business calendar, as an example (because I can show you the behind the scenes data).
First let’s search for “business” on Google, which is a broad keyword and not good for selling:
As you can see there are 6.5 BILLION results for this keyword search. Holy buckets, batman, that is a LOT of competition and not really commercial viability. No one searching for “business” on Google is going to find my little planner pages for sale.
Results include an online business magazine, Bloomberg’s Twitter account and Forbes magazine.
There is a LOT less competition here, only about 125,000 results. BUT the main thing to know is that every one of the results is something to buy!
Results include a water bottle label, a tie and a business card.
I KNOW, you are thinking that I am not even using Marmalead or the Keyword planner, what the heck! When you are looking at numbers this big, it is super important to understand the motivation of the search. Someone searching for that broad a keyword on either Google or Etsy is probably not going to be BUYING anything today!
Now let’s move on to my actual product, a business calendar!
As you can see I get keyword results that are factually correct, there ARE about 210 searches per month on that exact search term in Google and people ARE willing to pay $4.27 a click in Adwords. BUT what does that actually tell us? That the search volume for my business calendar is low across Google, not sure how that is helpful even to someone like me who understands SEO better than the average bear.
Additionally the keywords that they suggest are not relevant to my product, calendar software, scheduling software, business calendar software.
If I wanted to find actual buying keywords in Google I would have to add “for sale” or other commerce based keywords to get a clear picture of buying terms.
Now let’s look at that same data in Marmalead, which is using ONLY Etsy data to provide results!
We can see that there are 1,566 competing products and 58 shops competing. Interesting, not all that helpful for SEO research (good for product development though), but what IS helpful is the total views (quite substantial at 221,846).
The average favorites per week (4.4) will help me to know if I have targeted the right keyword. If I have a high ranking but but a low favorites per week compared to the average then I will know that my product is not a good match for the keyword and there will be few purchases from ranking for that word.
The reason that is is important is that I would effectively be “wasting” that keyword and should instead target one that is more relevant to my selling something.
Now let’s get down to the meat of the argument that Marmalead is only displaying keywords that other sellers are using. That is EXACTLY right! These tags and additionally the tag clouds are a compilation of the words that other SELLERS are using in their listings.
Words for me like business planner (obvious), and printable planner (a staple of my niche), but also words that I hadn’t thought of yet like small business and business printable.
THESE unthought of words are the magic that Marmalead shows us!
These words are the ones that sellers have aggregated over time to be selling words for products like mine. And because they would not be used at scale if they were ineffective for selling products, I can safely assume that some or all of them would help sell products in my store too!
Because Etsy is an ecommerce site to begin with, we don’t have to worry about whether the words are buying words or just informational words. All the words are selling based, unlike in Google.
You Can Lead A Horse To Water
This is an already epic post so I will just mention a few things that may be what is really frustrating Etsy sellers.
SEO just gets the eyeballs, it is your description and pictures that will sell the products. I have read a bunch of comments that sellers are ranking better but not selling more. Well, that is not SEO’s fault. SEO got the people to at least have the OPPORTUNITY to buy, but if your descriptions are bad or your pictures are blurry, they are not going to convert to a sale.
You can be great at SEOing for the wrong keyword. Another thing that will not help sales is to find a “popular” keyword that doesn’t really match what your product is. For example, I did use “business planner” in my title and keywords for the business calendar so I do rank for that term on page one of the Etsy search (#32 today) BUT it is not exactly a good fit. The business planners are more robust than my product and I doubt that this term will drive many sales.
DO NOT change too many things at once. I have been reading that people are sad because they spent days using the Google Keyword Planner to change all their listings and now they aren’t getting any views. While it is tempting to get all this done at once, that is a recipe for disaster. Work on one product, get a good ranking, check your sales and then work on another one!
Last but not least, SEO is much more an art than a science. You have to try things, see what works and then change or pivot if you see that something is not working. As you do it more, you WILL get better. My shop and my products are only a couple of months old but I do rank in the top page for many different keywords. That is because I already know how to do SEO and can look at the data and figure it out easily. You will get there as you do more SEO research too!
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This is a guest post from Tara Jacobsen, an SEO expert since 2001. She is a current Marmalead customer and a Etsy shop owner herself, having started her Paperly People shop in the late summer of 2015. If you would like to learn more about Etsy SEO, please visit her article, SEO For Etsy Sellers | Ultimate Etsy SEO Guide.