To start off this miniseries on Etsy shop SEO, I want to touch on keywords in general before we begin talking about where and how to use them.
When someone does a search – whether it’s on Etsy, Google, Bing, Pinterest, etc.- the associated search engine has to decide which results to display (and in what order) out of the numerous possibilities.
With Etsy’s algorithm, that decision is made primarily using keywords. And even though Google’s organic search has moved very much toward user intent and also gives a lot of weight to factors such as quality backlinks, relevant keywords are still an important part of getting your shop and products found there.
Within Etsy itself, the two most obvious places to search for keyword ideas are the search bar and similar products. When you click through listings of items like yours that are coming up high in search, you can look at the keyword phrases used in the titles and tags to get some ideas for your own listings. While there are always exceptions that make you wonder how in the world the listing ended up on page one, for the most part keywords are a major factor.
Etsy’s search bar has an autocomplete feature that is based on past searches which have actually been done on the platform. So it’s a gold mine of suggestions for your listings. By typing in as many variations of your main keywords as you can think of, many more ideas are generated. Here’s an example using the phrase “knit hat.”
See those lovely keyword phrases? Those are longtail keywords (typically 3+ words), and one reason they’re so useful is because they help to snag people who are further along in the buying process. Someone searching “knit hat” might be browsing. But someone searching “knit hat with ears” is on a mission! The autocomplete feature can help trigger longtail keyword ideas for you to incorporate in your listings to more intentionally target buyers and get your products in front of them.
Google has autocomplete as well, and I highly recommend utilizing it in your quest for relevant keywords. The search queries shown in the dropdown list have been typed before by Google users or appear as content on the web. Keep in mind that not everyone starts on Etsy when searching for a product you sell. In fact, I’m willing to bet the majority of people begin on Google or another search engine. (I know I do – even as an Etsy seller, and even when I’m searching for something that’s likely to be found on Etsy.)
(Knit hats for cats. That’s really a thing?)
There you have a general overview of why keywords are important (especially those longtail ones) plus some uncomplicated yet effective ways to find ideas for your own listings right on Etsy as well as by using Google autocomplete.
I encourage you to spend some time going through the processes I’ve described and start compiling a list of relevant keyword phrases you’re not currently using. Those will come in handy when we cover titles, tags, and descriptions.
A note about tomorrow:
I have had many readers tell me that the Google AdWords Keyword Planner confuses them and they’ve given up on it, so I am going to share a very targeted way I like to use it to generate keyword suggestions for listings. After doing it this way and getting a feel for the tool, you may feel more confident growing and expanding your use of it.
Tomorrow I will be sending a video workshop link to subscribers, so be sure to get on the list if you’re interested! It will be available exclusively for subscribers and only through the weekend.