Everyday I get asked advice about Etsy and starting an online business. When I started 2 years ago I read everything -the good, the bad and the senseless. Probably one of the hardest parts of starting and then experiencing success on Etsy is cracking the code of SEO.

So let’s start from the top. What is SEO? It stands for Search Engine Optimization.

And what does this mean and why is it important? In essence, using phrases and words on your website and Etsy listings to help customers find your store and products.

There are several factors and tools that will help you be successful in SEO.

Say you’ve set up your shop. You have a few listings and now you’re patiently waiting for views, then favorites -and then your next sale. But you notice that nothing is happening. What’s wrong?

Check your listing title. 

  1. Does your listing describe exactly what you’re selling?
  2. Have you used ALL of your characters in the listing to describe your item?
  3. Are you using searchable terms in your listing title?

If you answered no to these then you have an opportunity to change your SEO.

DO: Use all characters in your listing typing bar. Try separating each description with a small dash.

DO: Use searchable terms that help describe your item. One way to know if it’s a popular search term is to type it into the search bar and see what populates. If similar items like your product appear in the search then you know that it could be a strong search term.

DO: Use the strongest search term at the beginning of your title. According to some experts, your listing title gets broken down by each searchable term. So if the strongest one is at the front then you get more bees with honey. If your weakest term is at the front then you may get less traffic.

See my example below from my shop:

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 3.26.29 pm

Check your tags. 

  1. Have you filled out all 13 tags?
  2. Do your tags match your listing title?
  3. Do your tags, listing title and first sentences of your description all have matching searchable terms?

DO: Fill out all 13 tags and make sure that they match the listing title. You do not need to worry about putting your tags in any particular order.

DO: Use the same searchable terms in your listing, description and tags.

DO: Tags can only be 20 characters long. So if you have a phrase like: “buffalo plaid scarf women” you will probably need to break this up. In my example below I used “buffalo plaid scarf” as one tag and used “women” as another tag. Doing this does not negatively impact your listing.

DO: Be creative and use other search terms in your tags since you will likely have tags left over once you’ve filled out the ones from your listing title. See below:

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 3.36.57 pm

Check your description. 

  1. Is your description too short?
  2. Are you not sure what to say?
  3. Are there searchable phrases in your description?

DO: Use 100 words or more. Be descriptive, yet searchable and have fun. This is your chance to convince the buyer that they should buy your product. Paint a picture for them so they can imagine themselves with your item. Create a scenario. Research (but don’t copy) how others might describe a similar item you’re selling.

DO: Include store policies and care instructions at the bottom. Why? Many times buyers will only see your listing and may not visit the entire shop. It’s wise to give them all of the information they need so they can decide if they would like to purchase from you.

DO: Be transparent and leave disclaimers. If you know that something is made of wool and may cause an allergy -then let the buyer know that. If you have a model that is a certain height and that could impact your design or the drape of a garment -mention that too.

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 3.46.17 pm

Research Marmalead: This website acts like your shop’s assistant. It takes the guess work out of figuring out what phrases or words will get you noticed. I used it for the first year on Etsy and it was a great educational tool. I tried not to rely on it because I really enjoy being self sufficient. Then once I got the hang of it, I unsubscribed.

Here are some Pros/Cons to using this site:


  1. Gives a grade for each listing. The grade you receive will indicate how strong and how likely your listing will get noticed.
  2. Offers newsletters and workshops to stay current.
  3. Offers graphs, charts and all sorts of tools to see how your listing will fair in each search term. It can be overwhelming, but also great insight.


  1. It costs $20/month. It will be up to you to see the value in that and how long you would like to use it.

Other factors impacting your SEO and Sales: 

  1. Amount of items in your store. Etsy says you need at least 50 or more items in your shop.
  2. Amount of the same style item in your store. In my store I sell small acessories and makeup bags. I usually will have at least 3-4 items that are the same style so that they can appear in various places. Be sure to mix up your titles and tags so that they don’t always compete with each other.
  3. Listing price. Are you priced too high or too low? Check out your competitors and analyze how much you spent on your making your product. Then decide how much you should charge.
  4. Your niche. Is your niche saturated? If so, how can you stand out amongst everyone else?

How do you know if it’s working? Renew your listings once you’ve edited, added or updated them. Then….

  1. Check your traffic. It usually takes about one week to 30 days for an item to naturally begin appearing in the Etsy search engine.
  2. You’re getting “favorites.” If someone is clicking the little heart in the corner that means that they see you and they like you! That’s progress.
  3. You’re getting sales. Well this is more than obvious. If this is happening, then stick with it! You’re doing something right!



5 responses to “Demystifying Etsy SEO”

  1. mysewingroots Avatar

    Awesome and helpful tips! Thanks for sharing!!


    1. R A V E N Avatar

      Thank you Diana!


  2. Uta C Avatar

    Great summary 🙂 Love it


  3. […] and no one is searching for a “Cabana bag.” Believe me. To find out more about SEO, go here. But for now, it stands for Search Engine […]


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