Thursday, October 15, 2009

Etsy SEO Cheat Sheet

Okay, since I guess a lot of people are confused by Etsy's SEO guide I've decided to do this quick and dirty cheat sheet. The guide is still a much better resource so I hope this post will make the guide easier to understand. You can download the full guide here: along with a video and other information. If you've had trouble downloading the Guide as a .pdf file try viewing it online in Google Documents.

What you are optimizing
This guide is to show you how to use the text you can edit in your Etsy shop to improve how search engines rank your shop. We're going to start with your main page and then move on to the item listings.

Introduction to Keywords
Think of keywords as important words and phrases that you want people to use to find your shop. To start targeting the keywords you want think of the best words to describe your product. We'll use mine as an example, a few obvious keywords are:
  • cuttlefish
  • squid
  • octopus
  • polymer clay
  • handmade jewelry
Now if I plug some of those into a keyword tool I'll get suggestions for other phrases I might not have thought of like:
  • deep sea octopus
  • giant squid
  • polymer clay beads
Not all the suggestions will be perfect so make a list of these keywords and select only those you think are best for your shop. You want to work these keywords into the text you write. You want to spread your keywords out among your shop, one or two per sentence. Hopefully these keywords (or a combination of them) will be what people will type into Google to find your shop. You won't always rank highly for all of them no matter how good your SEO is.

Shop Title
Your shop title is that bit of bold text right under your shop banner and search engines will consider it the most important piece of text on the page. This text will also show up in the title bar of the browser as "your shop title" by "your username". It has to be short and sweet, only the first 30 characters that you type into your title will be displayed in the title bar and in search engine results.

You want to write a title that says what you sell with some of your keywords. "Welcome to my shop" is not going to be helpful, tell us what you sell.

Shop Announcement
Your shop announcement lets you introduce your shop and what you sell. The most important part of your announcement is the first 160 characters because that section will get used by some search engines as the piece of text they show in search results like this:

That screenshot was made using a new tool Etsy has given us when we edit our shop appearance. If you click the link that says "View a preview of how your shop homepage will appear in Google search results" on the shop appearance editing page it will display how your search results for your page will look. This is a really valuable tool to make sure your title and announcement fit all the important stuff into the character limits.

The beginning of your shop announcement should be describing what you sell using some of your keywords. Leave any announcements of sales, how long you've been creating, etc. for after that introduction paragraph.

Section Titles
Sections are best created to better organize your shop however you can do a little SEO optimizing of the titles by using some of your keywords in them.

Item Titles
This is the most important thing to write about your product. This text is the most prominent, and goes in the page title and the alt tag for the image (another bit of text that search engines view). You have a total limit of 42 characters before the title gets cut off in the top of the browser and for search engines (however the total title will display on the page above your photos).

Again Etsy has a new tool for use to help see how much of our item title and description will get displayed in search results. Right below the text box for your item description when you create or edit an item is a link that says "View a preview of how your item will appear in Google search results" clicking it will display a preview of a google search result like this

It will update live as you edit your item titles if you need to work them shorter to fit the limit. You want to work in as many of your keywords as you can while still making the title make sense and sound like it was written by a person. A list of keywords is a bad idea, google is wise to that sort of thing and it will hurt you.

For items I also consider the colors or other major characteristic of the item as a keyword just for that item and make sure to use it. Descriptive names are going to be better for SEO than a cute name like "The Lulu dress" so it you want to name your products like that you need to put more description after the name like "Lulu, a knee length blue jersey dress".

Item Descriptions
Like with your shop announcement the first 160 characters of your item title are the most important. This is where you should describe your item. Leave any technical specifications like length, size, etc. until after you introduce us to your item. Again you need to use your keywords.

Tags and Materials
These are first and foremost the keywords you want to use to get found using Etsy's internal search so worry more about that than google when writing them. They will help but only a minor factor for google and in any case your Etsy tags likely already contain keywords you would be using for your items anyway.

These are simply links to your shop or items from other sites. Blogs, directories, other shops, etc. Google uses backlinks to help determine how good your shop is and more and better backlinks will help you rise in the search results. Some you can create yourself by writing a blog or submitting to directories but most shoudl come from other people writing about you. Don't be afraid to submit your items to blog writers and ask them to feature you.

I hope you've found this barebones desciption useful and it helps you understand the full guide better. Please let me know in the comments if you have questions and I'll try to answer them.


  1. Thank you for this...It really sums up all the technical mumbo jumbo in an easy to understand manner and I already feel like I'll be able to make some improvements to my shop after reading this.

  2. You are wonderful!!!! I know that I should be able to muddle my way through this and find out how to do it now. I know you've put a lot of your time into doing this and I for one an so grateful to you for that. Maybe now I'll be able to make my own improvements. Thanks, Lana

  3. thanks very much! It will be so useful to get me started on this whole SEO thing.

  4. I will be back to read this in it entirety, but I can say this is well written and easy to follow...thank you.

  5. Thank you! I truly understood this & thank you so very much xxoo The clueless of the world will sing your praise!

  6. Thanks so much! This makes it not so bad :)

  7. Fantastic!! Thank you.

  8. Another thanks from the previously clueless!

  9. Great help, thanks for this! And cool squids!!! :)

  10. Thank you, I did plow through the 25 page SEO form. Wish I would have found you first. Thank you for all of the time you took to do this.

  11. Thank you so much for this!! What a wonderful job you did!

    Take care and wonderful sales to you,


  12. absolutely fantastic ~ clear and to the point

  13. Thank you for the helpful summary of SEO. You've made something complicated much more simple to understand.

  14. Thanks for all of the simple and informative SEO info! I'm off to change all of my item titles.

  15. Very cool! Thanks for doing this.

    Good karma to you!

  16. Thank you...finally a clear description of what SEO is all about.

  17. Thank you for your clear explanation. It helped immensely and is making more sense. -Raychel

  18. Very clear and thorough! Thanks so much!

  19. Wow... thank you!
    Blessings and magic.

  20. Thank you for taking the time to explain all of this - so helpful.
    Warm wishes.

  21. Fantastic information, It will sure be an asset to follow

  22. Great post. I already made changes as a result of your article and hope to continue to make improvements. I plan to follow you, now that I've found you. Thanks again!. Barbara, and

  23. Thanks for your hard work! This makes it so much better!

  24. Thanks for this easy to understand cheat sheet. I posted a link to this blog article from my blog I hope you benefit from some more traffic. Again, thanks for your time and expertise.

  25. Thank you so much for posting this information. I downloaded the Etsy guide and became frustrated. This is so much more easier to understand.

  26. This is an invaluable help and the penny is finally beginning to drop with this. Thank you so much.

  27. Thanks so much. For whatever reason yours was so much easier to understand than the storque article. I think I finally get it. Now I just have to take the time to make sure my shop is in line with the SEO suggestions OyVay!

  28. I have been reading and reading about the Esty SEO...thank you for explain it so well. You are awesome!

  29. thanks for taking the time to put this together! i am a new etsy seller (well... working on it!) and this is really helpful.

  30. Thank you, Noadi, for sharing your time and expertise to write this. It is a helpful guide and helps to uncomplicate SEO. I appreciate being able to take advantage of what you have already learned. God Bless. Marie

  31. Thank you so much. Even though "bare bones" it was really helpful to see the rules simply! Thank again! Great blog!

  32. Thank you sooo much! That was so much easier to understand than the huge long Etsy guide and video!

    Stacia and Lucy

  33. A wonderful and easy to follow summation of a difficult concept-we really appreciate your work! Thanx!

  34. This is awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to do it.

  35. Oh goodness! Thank you so much for doing my thinking and processing for me! Do you come in a handy pocket version?

  36. That was fantastically helpful!
    I will pass this link onto my other Etsy seller friends as well. Prior to reading this, I was occupying my time trying to create a brand or style for my shop, but now I see that is a waste of valuable characters. Skip the cute names and insert descriptive phrases instead. Excellent advice. Thank you!

  37. Cute names have their place, as does branding, but you have to balance them with good SEO.

  38. thank you! each time I read somethign about this I get a little closer to understanding - think I just made a giant leap!

  39. Thank you for the info. Let's see if I can make some changes that will make a difference.

  40. Thank you so much for this! I have read and reread it about three times. You've shared such valuable information here that I can actually understand!
    You rock!

  41. I may be a bit late reading this, but THANK YOU!!!

  42. I found this post through Etsy Forums and boy, am I glad I followed the link! You made the confusing clear! Now I can confidently make the changes that I need to. Thank you!

  43. WOW Just what I needed I wish I had found this a year ago. I am going to put this knowledge to work today as I work on relisting items in my shops.


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