How To Improve Your Etsy Shop Search Traffic

My daily interactions with the Etsy Forums led me to this most excellent post about how to improve your Etsy search traffic. I asked the author, Janie, and she so graciously gave me permission to share it on my blog.

"I often see questions about low traffic in the discussion forums, from people who want to improve search traffic to their shop. I often see a lot of the same problems when I look at their shops. I'm trying to balance my desire to help other sellers, with my desire to not type the same thing many many times. :) I thought maybe if I make a thread for this, then I can link to it sometimes, more people will see it, and it's more efficient that way. :)

This is a list of fixable problems that will hurt your position in search - and how to fix them. Listed in rough order of what I usually see first when I pop into someone's shop to answer their question about low traffic.

1) Titles that don't include the name of the actual thing. For example "Rustic Lumberjack Doll" is a better title than "Rustic Lumberjack." "Rustic Lumberjack Doll, Scarecrow, Oversized Doll" is even better because it contains multiple ways to name the thing.

2) Average or bad photography. Anything less than *excellent* photography will hurt your position in search. Why? Because when Etsy users search, find, and click an item, it reinforces that item's position in that search. If your items aren't being reinforced in the search with clicks, then other people's items are being reinforced instead of yours, and that hurts your position in the search. And photography is the #1 thing that makes someone want to click one item instead of another. I often see room for improvement in:
- lighting (some pictures are better lit than others, some have the wrong white balance because they have the wrong type of light)
- staging (in stores who are asking about low traffic I often see the opportunity to create warm and inviting scenes with some items - but I don't often see it actually being done)
- backgrounds (often too busy, taking attention away from the detail in an item)
- thumbnail cropping (for example zoomed too far out and your item is de-emphasized compared to other objects in the picture ... or zoomed in on the wrong location and the item looks cut off in a weird place)

3) Missing tags. You should have 13. This is to get your item in as many searches as possible.

4) Tags not complete search phrases - too many single words and not enough phrases - or too many adjective phrases, and not enough adjective + noun phrases. I know the tag textbox has a prompt that says “color / style / etc” but that's not really an accurate description of what tags should be. Think of tags as complete search phrases, instead of color and style descriptors. As often as possible, tags should be a full and complete search phrase that someone might type into the site-wide search box. Sometimes the 20-character limit prevents you from doing that and then you need to break it up into words or smaller phrases that describe the color or style. For example "red mug" is better than "red" and "mug" in separate tags. If you have room for two tags then "red mug" and "coffee mug" will serve you better than "red" and "mug." Another example: I recently learned in my own shop that "wire wrapped pendant" is a much better tag to have than "wire wrapped." Including the noun makes it a full search phrase.

5) Not including the same tags that people are searching for most often. How do you know which tags are commonly searched for? You can go to the Etsy site-wide search box and start typing one word - they have that list of suggestions sorted with popular searches at the top.

6) Not knowing there are tools to help you with Etsy SEO. You can use for this and it's free. You enter the name of your shop and a search phrase - they tell you which search result pages you appear on, and what are the most popular tags for items that do well in that search. Tweak your tags for that search phrase, check a few hours later (or the next day) to see how you did - are you showing up in the search you tried to fix? If you are, great! Pick another popular search and fix that too. If you aren't, pick another popular search and fix that too. :) Repeat as necessary until you’re getting more views.

7) Unintentional spelling mistakes in titles or tags. Unless you have the correct spelling in there too, someone who enters the correct spelling will not find you. If you want to get into a misspelled search on purpose because you know people search for the misspelled word often, that's ok. I do that with "wire wrapped pendant" and "wirewrapped pendant" both in my tags. But accidentally misspelling is probably going to hurt more than it helps and it's very fixable.

Those are my search-fixing tips for now. And I know I need to take my own advice and tweak a few things in my own shop - I'm off to do that! :)

Note I do not plan to reply to replies here - I just wrote this so I can link to it when I see questions about it. But feel free to add your own tips to this list, or bump this thread in the comments if you feel like people would benefit from it. Just make sure your comments are polite! I have replaced all of my examples with made-up item names or examples from my own shop, so it doesn't sound like I'm making an example of anyone, and I recommend you do the same...don't make an example of anyone in the comments. And please don't turn this into a complaining thread! It's just something helpful to link to when people need help.

Thanks, and I hope this helps you - or helps you help someone else!"

Thanks Janie!

Do you have any tips on how to improve your Etsy shop? Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!


April said…
Thanks a bunch, Sue! I can't wait to "digest" all this information and apply it to my Etsy Shop.
Always appreciate your input, tips, and encouragement!

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