In this series of 5 blog posts, I am going to go through the five steps you need to follow to make products that sell like crazy on Etsy.
The five steps are:
- Create a customer psychographic profile to understand why your customer will want to buy your product
- Use your customer profile to create a product press briefing BEFORE you create your product.
- Take photos that are better than your competition.
- Find keywords that are relevant to both your product and customer.
- Write a description that uses your customer profile to sell to their emotional reason for buying.
This is the 4th Step in the series.
Once you have great photos, a brilliant product briefing and a perfect customer profile, it’s time to turn your attention to working out how to get your product in front of as many people as you can.
Step 4. Find keywords that are relevant to both your product and customer.
The more people who see your product, the more chance you have of making a sale.
In the online world, getting visibility boils down to two things:
- market the hell out of it or
- make sure your product is set up so that all the search engines find you.
Ideally, you need to do both.
Marketing your product can take the form of ads or promoting it in social media, both of which takes time, effort and sometimes money. So to make sure you get the ball rolling from the get-go, you need to make sure the search engines love your product first.
This means you have to get to grips with search engine optimisation (SEO). Knowing how to make SEO work for you isn’t so difficult if you know your audience and your product. And if you followed steps 1-3, then you should be ahead of the game already.
What is a search engine and SEO?
In basic terms, a search engine wants to show relevant, popular results to the user, based on what the user has entered in the search bar. This is trying to ensure that the user will find what they are looking for.
For Etsy in particular, the main goal is to make sure the customer finds something they want to buy. It also needs to make sure the customer stays on Etsy longer.
The Etsy search engine does not care where a sale is made as long as the customer buys something from the site.
This conflicts with you as a seller: you want the customer to do all their shopping in YOUR shop.
And from a customer’s perspective, all they want is relevant search results from a site they trust, and that solves their need NOW!
Each website has its own search engine, e.g. Google, Bing, Etsy, Pinterest. Google and Bing, and others like them, look at external websites to find their results. Etsy, Pinterest, and other market place sites, look for matches on their own sites. That is, Etsy only looks on Etsy and Pinterest on Pinterest.
Search engines all behave similarly; they are all looking for matches to whatever the customer has typed into their search bar.
The search engine uses an algorithm to do its search. This is a complex formula that tells it what to look for and where.
Each search engine algorithm works differently. The algorithm prioritises factors such:
- how much authority does the website or shop have
- whether the search result is relevant, based on what the user was looking for
- how up to date the search result is
These priorities will vary for each search engine.
Because Etsy’s search engine is ‘controlled’ by Etsy, you can easily work out how it works and where it looks. This helps you focus your efforts to make sure you get seen.
What are keywords?
The Etsy search engine takes into account the following:
- how popular your product has been with other customers, i.e. how well it is selling, favourited, etc.
- your shop quality
- words in your title and tags that match what the customer has entered.
How Etsy rates your shop is not something you have much control over. BUT you can control the words you use to make sure that you are at least in the search engine’s shortlist.
You must pay close attention to the words you use in your titles and tags to make sure your perfect customer finds you.
The words and phrases that you use to describe your product are called ‘keywords‘.
These can be singular words but usually consist of several words. If several words are used, the exact order of the words is important. The more words you include in your keywords, and thus the more specific you become, the keywords start to become what is termed ‘long-tail keywords’.
A single word, or short keywords, are likely to be general terms. These might be the type of thing the customer is looking for, but there is usually a high competition for them. So unless you are at the top of the list, i.e. you are high on all the other criteria the search engine uses, you could be several pages down in the search results.
Short keywords are not specific enough to be an exact match for the customer. Usually, they are a term that a customer will start browsing for and will then begin expanding on to filter out the results.
Long-tail keywords are less popular searches but more likely to get a sale.
What is a long-tail keyword
A customer starts creating their long-tail keywords when they realise there are too many results in their search. What this means is that the search criteria are getting more specific, and the results should be more relevant.
For example, you might think ‘knitted jumper’ is a great keyword for your product. If a customer types in ‘knitted jumper’ in Etsy, they get search results below, i.e. 33,346 products are found. Unless you are on the first few pages you will never be seen by the customer.
If the customer types in ‘ladies knitted jumper’ in Etsy, they get 2,601 products are found. This is much better and more likely to be spotted.
If the customer types in ‘yellow ladies knitted jumper’ in, they get 56 products found. This is great.
Finally, if the customer types in ‘yellow short sleeved ladies knitted jumper’ in Etsy, they get 4 products found! You will definitely be on the front page now, irrespective of your shop quality!
So you see the more relevant words that you can put in your title and tags, the more chance you have of being found.
You are never going to know the exact combination of words that a customer will put into the search bar. But Etsy helps us here. Once the search results start dwindling in numbers, Etsy changes from looking for the exact word sequence to matching the words, in whatever order they find them.
Etsy will include you in the shortlist as long as you have used the words in your titles or tags.
So concentrate on a just few short keywords in your title and tags. Keywords that get good search and have relatively low competition. These are your target keywords.
Fill the rest of the space in your title and tags with words that your perfect customer ‘could’ use to describe your product. Etsy will use these extra words to match the random search criteria that a customer could use.
Updated 2021: Etsy has been making changes that incorporate more personalised and contextualised search results for a customer. This makes it even more important to add in as many descriptive words as you can in your title and tags. Etsy is looking for words that will add context to your product so that they can decide whether that specific customer is likely to be attracted to your listing.
So if the customer’s context is that they have recently been buying and favouriting a lot of bedroom articles and then do a search for wall art. Even though they have not searched for ‘wall art for the bedroom’ Etsy will bring in the bedroom context into the search results and will want to display items that includes both the search term and the context. You will need to have the terms ‘wall art’ AND ‘bedroom’ in your title and tags to be considered.
This makes it even more important not to waste space in your title and tags. Populate them with as many different words as you can think of so that you give yourself the greatest chance of being found based on the context of different customers.
- If a customer searches for “pink polka dot halter neck bikini’, unless all these words, in whatever order, are present in your title and tags you will be excluded from the search results!
- Leaving spare space in your titles and tags is a wasted opportunity for getting your product seen.
- There is no need to keep repeating the same word over and over again.
- Make sure your title is still readable for the customer while sprinkling it with your target keywords.
It is your responsibility to make sure you can do all you can to feed into the algorithm to make sure your products are found. You need to understand what your perfect customer is looking for, the phrases they are using to search for and then make sure those phrases are included in the titles and tags of your products.
If you are ready for the final step, go to “5 steps to create products that sell on Etsy! Step 5 – Brilliant Descriptions“.