Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 1 - Let's Get Started with SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is probably one of the most difficult concepts to grasp when it comes to your Etsy shop. After all, you are an artist and not an internet marketing guru.

The reason why I'd like to present this to you on Day 1 is because SEO takes time to produce results. (I don't mean to scare you away by making things complicated right from the beginning. I just know I wish I had started with this).

Therefore, if we make the changes I'm about to suggest as early in the game as possible; you should be able to see the results sometime during the course of this 30-day challenge.

In the easiest terms, SEO is what sellers need to do in order to be found on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. when someone searches for a type of product, a company name, a color or anything really.

With Etsy, there are specific places in your shop and listings that you need to be aware of and they are as follows:

- Your Shop Title

Most people would be tempted to use their username and it is probably the 'brand' you wish to sell your goods under. For example, when I first signed up on Etsy I chose 'EarthyHabitat' as my username and immediately assumed this should also be the title for my shop.

Big Mistake! Not only did I not realize that 'EarthyHabitat' would not be a term my brand new potential customers would look me up by but also, I completely missed the fact that Etsy adds the phrase "by [username] on Etsy" to the end of such title.

For my first few weeks on Etsy, I was known as 'EarthyHabitat by EarthyHabitat on Etsy"

Now, the shop title is one of the most important places to optimize for search engines. You'd want it to include words that customers would look for as they relate to the products you sell.
My store sells jewelry, therefore my shop title it is now 'Handmade Jewelry, Earrings, Bracelets, Necklaces and more' + Etsy's phrase.

This results in:

Now people searching for 'Handmade Jewelry' and/or 'Earrings' and/or 'Earthy Habitat' can find me among their results. Yay!

Please, do keep in mind that this does not guarantee that when someone searches for 'Handmade Jewelry' your shop will show up on the top results, or the first page of results, or even the fifth page. After all, you are not the only person here selling 'handmade jewelry'. There were others before you and there are others with more money than you who might be even paying serious cash to improve their ranking.

Either way, you still took a HUGE step by simply changing you shop title. You went from 0 (yes, zero) chances of being found to 1 in 30,000,000 maybe? It is a truly remarkable difference and this cannot be argued.

- Your Shop Announcement

Did you see what's coming up right below my shop title on Google? Yes, I went crazy with keywords!. I thought of all the possible terms that potential customers could search me up by tried to combine them into a sentence where they would not look as 'desperate' for attention as possible.

I must admit, it still looks pretty 'needy' but hey! each one of us can and will choose how much and up to what level do we want to abuse all these 'tricks'.

So, your shop announcement should definitely include some important and relevant search terms.

You are still more than welcome to include random information and even tell us about yourself if you want to, but this can be done very nicely towards the end of such announcement.

Thankfully, search engines would just pick the first few lines of your announcement and use those words to place you under the correct search results.

As a quick side note... a few years back, I happened to apply for a Google's Ads Quality Rater position which demands you pass a screening process where you have to rate websites according to their relevancy in a search query (phrase, term, etc). From that experience alone, I can testify that every single word you put in your shop title/announcement makes an enormous difference on how your page gets rated.

My suggestion? Grab a piece of paper and write as many keywords as possible, write sentences with them, change the order of the words based on importance, eliminate *wasted* words such as 'and, the, or, etc'. But don't get frustrated over this either! You will later and forever continue to improve on this so for now just give it your best shot.

If you are out of ideas for keywords, here is a list of places you can get them from:

- Google's Keyword Tool
(Type a general term that defines your products such as 'jewelry'. See information on related keywords and popularity)

- Search major retailers that sell your type of products. See what keywords they have used when coming up on Google.

Back to the important places....

The same principles explained for the shop title and shop announcement will apply to your shop listings (items). The title of your item should be very descriptive and as full of keywords as possible.

As for the descriptions, you should use related keywords on the first two lines of it. It may be quite hard at this point to come up with different terms that would still be relevant but that's where you need to do your homework. Grab a thesaurus if necessary and start writing down those words!

The more you use different terms for titles, descriptions ,etc... the more you increase your chances of being found.

One tool I particularly enjoy using is this:

HP Color Thesaurus
(Type the name of a color ["brown" for example] and it will return related names for that same color so you don't have to use 'brown' on each one of your 'brown' items.)

Also, one important thing to remember when choosing your keywords is that you are still in the 1 of 30,000,000 group when customers search for 'handmade jewelry'. But if you look at Google's keyword tool results, you will notice that there appears to be a group of 500 individuals (under the popularity column) who search for 'handcrafted original jewelry'.

If the 'big retailers' are busy fighting over the thousands of customers who search for 'handmade jewelry', why wouldn't you attempt to get those 500 potential customers who are searching for something else? I bet that would be easier, wouldn't it?

Hint: Use a couple of your item listings to address those 500 individuals by placing those keywords in those titles and descriptions. Now, when they will search for 'handcrafted original jewelry', you will come up in their results page within the first few pages. *wink* *wink*

Well, it seems like you have a lot of work to do for a DAY 1.

Go on, research, make changes, list items on your shop and keep these SEO tips in mind while doing so.

Once again, the reason why I want you to focus on this first is because Google and other search engines will have to 'VISIT' your page to notice these changes and take action. As you can understand, they are busy busy search engines so they will not visit you right away.

(From the day I made my changes, they took about 2 weeks to visit me :(. I then learned how you can become 'friends' with search engines and have them visit you more often but this is something I'll discuss some other time.)

Please come back and post about your experience, ask questions and feel free to include additional information I may have left out.

I will do my best to post Day 2 tomorrow but if not, it will certainly be here within the next 48 hours.

Good Luck.


  1. Lots of great tips - I'll be reading you daily for more good ideas. Even though we're competitors in the same swamped jewelry category! But the more we all learn and improve, the more business we each bring to the Etsy market, and that's good for everyone!

  2. Great article. I especially liked that you pointed out the importance of using synonyms. I'll be back tomorrow for more tips.

  3. Great tips! Just changed my keywords around. Thanks!