SEO… you've heard experienced sellers talk about it, you know that it refers to where you show up in Etsy search, and you know you want to get better at it so you can show up when your ideal customer is searching for a product like yours, but beyond that, you're feeling a bit clueless.
That's ok! And to be honest, I don't blame you for feeling clueless, because there is a lot of bad advice circulating about Etsy SEO. Some of this bad advice comes from SEO gurus who simply don't understand the particulars of Etsy's search algorithm. Other shaky sources include anecdotal advice from sellers who are just as clueless as you are.
Friend, it's time to breathe a sigh of relief, because I'm going to walk you through the areas where you might be going wrong with Etsy SEO, and help you understand what to do instead.
You got this!
1. YOU RENEW RANDOM LISTINGS ON A WHIM
You know that recency is still a factor in getting found in search (If you don't believe me, you'll have to watch my experiment inside the Get-Found Guide.) and so every day you pick a few random listings and renew them – hoping that the Etsy search engine bots will now smile upon that listing and show it to thousands of potential customers.
This scattered approach just isn't very effective. What Etsy cares about most is making money (let's just be honest, right?!) and so they will always show the listings that are relevant AND ALSO sell well (hence, making them more money with their commission on each sale). So instead of focusing on every listing in your shop and wasting money on the items that simply aren't selling, you should pour your efforts into your most popular items. Create similar listings and related products. And if your items are truly flying off the shelves, you'll never have to pay to renew them, because they renew automatically each time someone buys.
Quick tip #1: If you try to revive a listing twice by renewing it, and it's still not selling, just let it die out and try something new. Let the sales do the talking.
Quick tip #2: After you change keywords on a given listing or upgrade the photo, that is the right time to renew. You do want to get that revised listing back into circulation to see if it will now take off and bring in some sales.
2. YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF KEYWORD IDEAS COMES FROM YOUR FRIENDS
While the advice to “ask your friends how they would search for your products” can be helpful, it's far from being the whole picture. Even your friends have a more intimate relationship with your products than a stranger would. And people often use different terms and phrases in different parts of the country (or world!) You're going to have to use more powerful tools than just your friends if you want to up your game and get found more often.
No worries! The Google Keyword Planner is like 5 million friends all rolled into one. (And they're all amazing at SEO 🙂
If the Google Keyword Planner intimidates the crap out of you, don't stress. I'll show you exactly how I use it, how I cut through the noise, and which metrics actually matter to help you get found.
3. YOU KNOW THAT SEO WILL TAKE A LOT OF TIME AND WORK, SO IT'S JUST NOT FOR YOU
This belief makes me so sad, because getting good at Etsy SEO is the sole reason I'm able to set my two Etsy shops on autopilot and walk away. I do tons of other things online beyond my Etsy shops, like host a podcast, write blog posts, create digital products, and build an incredible community on Facebook. I am growing my business in amazing ways, and yet my two Etsy shops continue to earn me a nice chunk of change on the side with about 10 minutes of effort from me each month. And no – I am not kidding about that 10 minutes part!
How am I able to do this? Because I invested some time and work upfront to master Etsy SEO.
I am not sitting here telling you, “Look at me! I make a full-time income from my Etsy shop so you should listen to everything I say.” My shops are not a full-time business for me. I make anywhere from $500 to $5,000 a month between my two Etsy shops, but the key is that I spend almost zero time and effort on them! It's incredible. If you're a busy mom looking to make some cash on the side, then mastering Etsy SEO, is, in my opinion, the fastest way to make that happen.
I'm not opposed to hustling at social media marketing, working with influencers to get your products featured, or pitching to magazines. Those are all amazing ways to grow your business, and I believe they will take you from 3 and 4 figures, to 5 and 6 figures. But if you're just starting out and your time is limited, I encourage you to get your SEO ducks in a row first, watch the sales come in, and then move on to more advanced marketing tactics.
4. YOU USE YOUR OWN SHOP STATS TO FIGURE OUT WHICH KEYWORDS TO TARGET
I'm not opposed to looking at your shop stats to get an idea for how people are finding you. Maybe you'll discover that a random tag you used on one little listing is actually bringing you a lot of traffic, so you should focus on using that phrase more often. That's great!
But the problem with turning to your shop stats first in order to figure out which phrases to target is that your shop stats will never tell you about the thousands of keyword phrases you're missing – the phrases you'll find by using the Keyword Planner and other exercises I walk you through in my guide. All you will know is that “wedding cake topper” is a phrase that works well for you. So you'll decide to optimize 20 more listings for “wedding cake topper”. Fabulous! Now you'll have 20 listings appearing for “wedding cake topper” and zero listings appearing for 1,000 other incredibly valuable keyword phrases that would also bring in customers and sales.
If I wasn't already using the word “agendas” in my titles and tags, it never would have shown up in a search phrase in my stats. Do you see how stats are a catch 22? They're only showing you bits and pieces of what you're already doing. Meanwhile, there are thousands of phrases that could end up being even more profitable for you.
So please, go beyond your shop stats and get comfortable with the Keyword Planner and the other amazing tools I teach about in the Get-Found Guide. These tools are worth their weight in gold, and any Etsy seller who refuses to use them is leaving money on the table.
5. YOU BELIEVE THAT PROMOTED LISTINGS ARE FEAST OR FAMINE
You'll have to keep on paying to sell your items, and Etsy will have you on a ball and chain. (Slaps head!) I've made $1,051 in sales from promoted listings in the past several months, and whether I keep them running or not, they are incredible for helping me to refine my SEO strategy and show up on the first page more often.
Here's why: When someone searches on Etsy and is shown relevant listings, Etsy doesn't care whether that listing is promoted or not, if someone clicks on your listing and makes a purchase, you just moved up in Etsy's algorithm and are now shown more often. Promoted listings can allow your well-made, beautiful products to “jump to the head of the line” and stay there long after you quit promoting them (if they sell well!)
The other reason promoted listings are so powerful (and why I cry a few silent tears when I hear sellers talk bad about them!) is because they are the only tool available on the market right now that can tell an Etsy seller which keyword phrases have a high click rate and a high order rate.
It's incredible! There is no other way to determine which phrases not only bring my shop the most traffic, but also bring me the kind of traffic that converts into sales.
Here's a look inside the kind of data you'll get on a listing you promote:
This is just one of the listings I promoted. (FYI – 3X the return on your ad spend is great if you've set the correct price for your products. We're making a healthy profit on each sale. And my cost per sale went down as I honed my promoted listings strategy.)
Etsy shows me which keyword phrases had a high click rate, and which keywords had a high order rate. Cha-Ching! I can't figure that out directly from any other source.
Using promoted listings has helped me narrow in on which phrases my ideal customer searches for to find my products. And it's helped me to eliminate those phrases that aren't money-makers for me (even if they bring in traffic.)
Promoted listings are simply brilliant! And I'll walk you through my entire process and what I've learned after testing them for 6 months.
Please don't listen to the naysayers who have only tested promoted listings for a week or a month or to the people who simply don't know how to use advertising effectively. I've got your back, friend! 🙂
If you're unsure if the Get-Found Guide is right for you. Here are what some of my happy customers have to say!
Thank you for this guide! I have watched the videos and followed the steps and… I saw my 2 fashion illustrations on the first page of Etsy within 30 minutes!!!! I used only 2 key words and bit up the competition of almost 27k !
Also my Louboutin illustrations are featured on their suggested paintings window.
Anna of Works by Anna Hammer
Hey Beth Anne, I just wanted to share this pic with you and to say thank you for the tips!!! 🙂
Jennifer of LittleBCottonShoppe
“I FINALLY GET ETSY SEO! Praise God in heaven, I figured it out. And here is my proof – just listed this for the first time and it is debuting on Page 1 of the “girl boss” search, kitty corner to the Brilliant Business planner (the girl boss earrings!)! BIG thanks to Beth Anne Schwamberger for her help along the way!!
Jill of Favoring Brave
I would love to add your story to my list of happy customers. I am so passionate about Etsy SEO, and I've poured my heart and soul into the Get-Found Guide to Etsy (while making sure it doesn't cost you your soul to purchase it!). I'd love for you to check it out!
Hugs, High-Fives, and Happy SEO-ing!
~ Beth Anne