Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 3 - Listing your Items & Tagging

You've made it to Day 3 of our challenge. Congratulations!
Etsy demands a lot of time and hard work but the results at the end of the day are very rewarding.

Today, we'll focus on listing items and tagging them the best way we can.

During our first two days, we discussed the importance of keywords and how these 'special words' help people find us.

When someone searches for an item on Etsy, the search algorithm working behind the scene looks at all listings (active products) that contain the search term either in their title or in any of the 14 tags made available to sellers for each item. The results are usually displayed based on the 'most recent' ones. So if you listed a 'blue scarf with polka dots' a week ago; you might need to jump to page 20 or so to be able to see it.

Now, don't get discouraged if your item does not show up within the first 10 results. After all, the user searched for 'blue' only and he/she might not be interested on buying a scarf at this time. Instead, focus on those customers who will search for 'blue scarf with polka dots' and try to provide them with other words in your title/tags that they might also search for.

For example, you might want to include the word "circles" in case they look for "blue scarf with circles".

The search above would still be relevant to your product and you want to make sure that this scarf will come up.

All in all, the main goal you should try to achieve when listing an item is to use as many descriptive words as possible. I'm not suggesting that you write a 20+ words title. In fact, I would keep the title somewhere between 5-8 words (clean, simple to read and descriptive enough to make the customer want to click).

After the title, you will still have the 14 tags. Use these wisely!

Originally, my impression was that tags and titles did not have any kind of connection among themselves. Therefore, when I initially listed my items, I would repeat most of the keywords in my title among my tags as well.

It turns out, I was just wasting very valuable 'tag' spaces since Etsy looks at the combination of both in order to display the search results. (I probably still have several items that I have not fixed. Once again, this is another reason why I decided to write this blog. If I had known this sooner, I would have done it right the first time!)

What words to use in your tags?

Well, the first 2-3 tags should be your main categories/sub-categories. Etsy does this automatically when you get to the 'add tags' page and you are prompted to select a main category to begin with.

From that point on, I usually assign a couple of tags for variations of the color of my item.
Let's say I labeled my item as "Brown Handmade Necklace". Then, I would probably use two of my tags to throw the words "chocolate" and "coffee" somewhere in there.

I don't just do this for the customers as a matter of fact. I mostly do this for treasurers. Yes, some Etsy sellers will search for treasury items by color (or related words for such color) and I definitely want them to find me and feature me, don't I?

The rest of the tags can be use to accommodate more of those keywords that you were not able to fit in your title.

And here is one trick I discovered just a few weeks ago...

If I 'reserve' at least one of my tags for 'season/event ' specific words, I can easily update these automatically using the tag tool.

What? How?

Well, let's say that because of 'valentine's day' you have planned to assign your last tag of each item to use this phrase so that shoppers looking for valentine's gifts will see your items in February.

Then comes March and you realize that 'valentine's day' is not a useful tag anymore. However, you are just about to start a 'free shipping' promotion for your entire shop.

Luckily for us, EtsyOnSale is one of those third party tools we talked about yesterday that will help us make these changes without having to go through each item one at the time.

Simply go to their site (, log in and click on the tag tool. You will want to remove the 'valentine's day' tag from all your listings first (this means your items will not have 13 tags each and one space available).

Once you receive their email confirming that this has been completed, simple add the 'free shipping' tag to all your listings and you're done!. You will now be found by anyone searching for 'free shipping' on Etsy.

If you need ideas on what seasonal tags to use, the merchandising report from Etsy is the #1 place you will want to look. It usually comes out way before the next month begins, so you have plenty of time to plan ahead and make your changes.

Here is the link to the one for January:

Tagging items properly is very important. Your main goal should be to get the right people to see your product and by 'right' people I mean those customers looking for what YOU sell.
You will frequently hear from others that mistagging your items will not only confuse buyers but will most likely not bring you any actual sales.

Also, do keep in mind that using the most effective tags is yet another process that will require long hours of research, testing, fixing and frustration. Once again, take one step at the time.

As far as item descriptions go, my personal suggestion would be :

- Describe the item as accurately as possible. (I'm horrible at doing this but I know it has to be done).

- Mention sizes, colors, shapes, materials, themes, etc.
- Add a few marketing lines. (why should they buy from you?)
- Tell them a bit about your creating process (Did you make this product in 10 days? wow! they would certainly want to hear all about it)

Keep it as short as possible but do include all of the above.

Pricing, Shipping and Photographs are some major areas that we will discuss and work on some other day.

For now, grab your thesaurus, research your competition's tags, read the merchandising articles, work on your products and be list items as frequently as you can.

(One new item per day should be one of your personal goals during this process). If you only have about 5 right now and will not be making more for the next 2 weeks. Then list one item every 3 days or so.

The idea behind this is that new items stay at the top of those search results we discussed at the beginning of this post for a while (depending on your category, of course). And you will want to get a little bit of attention consistently.

Good Luck with everything! I'm off to listing some new stuff .


  1. Great info! I am forever changing my tags but now I am no longer wasting them by using repeats from item title! Thanks!

  2. I want to thank for this blog series. I have been following along and taking your suggestions. I have seen a jump in my shop views. Thanks so much for all of your hard work and research.


  3. Love your articles :). I learned a lot in the last few days and will be coming back for more.