Etsy SEO for Long Tail Keywords

How to use onsite SEO strategies to get your products ranking higher in Etsy's search engine.

Etsy SEOThere are a lot of good resources out there about Etsy SEO and how to optimize your Etsy product page for search engines, but I want to explore in more detail how to rank higher in Etsy’s own search engine.

After some careful experimentation it seems that Etsy SEO and their own search algorithm might not be that complicated for long tail search terms.

My wife’s Etsy shop AbleGrable sells vintage kitchen items. She has an item that is a Federal Glass bowl with a sunflower design on it. It was showing up in Etsy’s search for the phrase “federal glass sunflower bowl”. Granted this is quite a specific search phrase but I wanted to find a search where the product was showing up on the first page of the Etsy search results.

Her Federal Glass bowl was ranked about 32nd on the first page for this search. I started looking at the products ranked in the top 4 and looked closely at their product pages. The first thing I noticed was the product title of the first three items all the had the exact phrase “federal glass sunflower bowl”.

Being an SEO, I know how important a title is so it made sense the product title would be so indicative of how to rank the product. So the first step to optimizing your Etsy products for the Etsy search engine is the product title.

Disclaimer: So far these strategies appear to only be working for longer tail search phrases (4 words or more).

Step 1: The Product Title

Title tag – One of the most important aspects of onsite SEO is the title tag. Turns out Etsy pulls the page’s Title Tag from the item title. Also, I noticed once I changed the item title to include the exact phrase “federal glass sunflower bowl” it jumped up a to about the 10th spot immediately!

Just like your regular keyword research, the short tail search terms are going to more competitive and take a lot more than just an item title to compete. In this preliminary research, I haven’t discovered a pattern for the shorter tail keywords. The strategies in this post work better for long tail keywords.


H1 Tag – The item title is also your H1 tag which is another important onsite SEO attribute that helps search engines understand what your page is about. When you change your item title you are actually killing 3 birds with one stone (see next section). It’s just important to note the extent of the impact this item title can have on organic SEO.

Etsy H1 tag

Image alt tag – The final SEO attribute that the item title affects is the image alt tag. This tag communicates to search engines what the images on your page are about. Etsy automatically populates the alt tag of ALL your images from the product item title. Make sure to add the maximum number of images (5) to get your image alt tag on the page as many times as possible.

Etsy image alt tag

Step 2: The Product Description

Meta description – The next most important item in optimizing your Etsy products is the product description. I realized that Etsy creates the meta description of the page from your product description. Make sure the keywords you are targeting are located in at least the first 100 words of your product description to ensure they show up on search engines.

When I added the exact search phrase to the very beginning of the product description, my wife’s item jumped up to spot #4 in the search results for “federal glass sunflower bowl”.

Etsy meta description

Below you can see how the product page shows up in Google after optimizing it for the phrase “federal glass sunflower bowl”. You can see that the title tag (blue link) and meta description both contain the keyword as I have added them to the product details.

Etsy product google snippet

Here you can see how the product now shows up in the Etsy search engine for the key phrase. The most astounding thing about this process is how fast the search engine updated. This makes me think Etsy does indeed search for products on the fly instead of indexing them like a search engine like Google. This makes it very easy to experiment with different item titles to see how you can show up in the Etsy search results.

Etsy search ranking

The Etsy Search Engine Algorithm

There has to be much more to the Etsy search engine than just these two attributes but it’s not clear yet what is most important to Etsy. Besides the title and product description there have to be some metrics that Etsy looks at in addition. Looking at the top 4 products for our search phrase “federal glass sunflower bowl” I analyzed the number of product favorites, store reviews and date the store was opened. As you can see below there is no correlation.

These numbers may hold more weight in short tail search terms but that will take more experimentation and testing. Etsy may also treat different categories of products different than others. More competitive categories may be more difficult to game.

Etsy product statsTL;DR

  • Product titles and descriptions are the 2 most important attributes for optimizing an Etsy product
  • The product title dictates the Title Tag, H1 tag, Image alt tag of the page
  • The meta description of the page is populated from the product description
  • So far, product and store stats don’t seem to influence long tail keyword searches

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About the author: Scott Taft
Scott Taft loves good writing, good coffee and good music. He currently works at SEER Interactive in Philadelphia but in his spare time he loves blogging about content right here on OG Content. Learn more about Scott Taft here.
  1. jensdreamdecor April 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Hello, being a bit of a techno wimp, could you please explain what an image alt tag is…I have no idea ??

    • Scott Taft April 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Sure thing! The purpose of an alt tag is to describe the image so search engines know what it is of. It can be a short phrase or even a sentence – the point is to get your keywords into it.

      When you have an img tag in HTML, the alt tag sits within it like so:

      Hope that helps!

      • jensdreamdecor April 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        thanks, this is great information, hope to put it to good use :)

        • Delta Moon Soap April 18, 2014 at 2:26 am

          Thanks for the info. I now realize I need to use all my pix, I get lazy and just do a couple most of the time, anything that helps is a good thing!

  2. Angela @ pillowhead April 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Does the actual file name of the images you are uploading have any value then if Etsy is populating the image alt tags automatically? If I call my image picture1.jpg vs calling it handembroideredpillowpillowhead.jpg?

    • Scott Taft April 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Usually the image filename plays a role in onsite SEO but it looks like Etsy renames them automatically so I wouldn’t waste your time renaming images.

      For example, I tried calling one “federal-glass-sunflower-bowl.jpg” and it was renamed to

      • Angela @ pillowhead April 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm

        That’s too bad. Also explains why my pictures never come up in image searches on google.

        Thanks for your reply!

        • Scott Taft April 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm

          Good point. Kind of a missed opportunity on Etsy’s part. I imagine they could increase their traffic through Google Image search.

  3. LeAllyson Meyer April 25, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Scott – This is such good information. Thanks for taking time to research how Etsy handles this. I am going to my Etsy shop, Plum Beadacious, to try out some things to see if I can improve my SEO on products.

    • Scott Taft April 25, 2014 at 1:29 am

      Glad you found it useful, LeAllyson! Let me know if you need help.

      Btw, nice looking shop!

  4. Mariah May 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    i have read both ways on the description. That it either helps or it doesn’t. Some articles claim its all about tags and title.

    However this is good proof. My Shop is As you can see, I agree that description has something to do with it.

  5. AntiDote August 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    SO let me understand. There seem to be no mention of TAGS which are all over the Etsy forums alongside the Title and Description. What is their significance, if any, in terms of ranking on etsy search?

    Cheers, Davor

    • Scott Taft August 5, 2014 at 3:06 am

      Great question. Not sure…there might have to be another experiment.

  6. Destination Ltd October 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for the great info Scott! I am currently playing with mine in my Etsy shop and I am finding that it is a combination of title, description and tags. Corresponding your key search terms at the beginning of these seems to bring a higher relevancy in search.

    • Scott Taft October 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Good to know Tags are playing a part in rankings. I always imagined Etsy would take them into account but hadn’t tested them myself. Let me know if you come across any other interesting tidbits and glad you found this useful!

  7. Sharon (The Old Button) October 14, 2014 at 6:16 am

    What a great article. Really explains it easily to the non techie like me. Am off to check my meta descriptions & titles. Have signed up to your blog and look forward to more – especially if you look into shorter word searches and the benefits of tags….

    • Scott Taft October 15, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Good luck with the changes, Sharon. Let me know how it works for you!

  8. Matana January 25, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Scott,thank you for this article. I’d like to understand better, still not sure I understand what exactly is alt tag. Do I need to rename the image or just make sure title and descriptions will contain the same words? Also how to you check your ranking? Where do you see those numbers? Thank you so much again.

    • Scott Taft January 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Matana,

      So Etsy’s site actually populates the alt tag of an image automatically by pulling it from the title of your product. The title of your product is one of the most influential components on Etsy’s search engine so you want to make sure it incorporates terms people might be searching for.

      There’s no rank checking system for Etsy, that I know of! For this experiment I just had to literally count where in the search results our products were showing up.

      After implementing these tips we saw an immediate jump in rankings.

      Hope that helps! Good luck selling!

  9. Matana January 27, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Thank you for responding. I’m still trying,I did see sor resolves but I must say your category is deferent and may have much less of a competition, if the listing had 150000 or more, than it might be more complicated to rais the ranking.

    • Scott Taft January 27, 2015 at 2:03 am

      That’s a very good point. It looks like you’re working with jewelry mostly. That’s probably going to be much more competitive than the vintage kitchen items I was working with.

      But that’s the beauty of long tail search. You can rank for extremely specific queries. I would start with something very detailed and try to own that space.

      You might get less views overtime but people will most likely be finding exactly what they’re looking for.

  10. Matana January 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thanks again for your answer. I’m still trying to rank higher, I don’t want to miss the simple terms as well. It’s a learning process. I have a question about the copying of the title into my post, dose it mater if I’m having exact same order of the words in the body of the listing, or is it better to incorporate it into the discription in full seances? Also do you thing 3 words vs 2 are meter in tagging? And last does repleteting word matter or is better to look for new key words in tagging instead of repeating them?TIA

    • Scott Taft January 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I would generally default to what is best for your customers. You want the description to read well first and foremost.

      You’re asking some questions a lot of Etsy sellers are trying to figure out as well and ones I just don’t have the answers to without running tests.

      In general I think the product titles and tags are the most important for ranking. I would make sure you get your targeted words in those areas as a priority.

  11. Aura March 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    This was by far the most informative and well laid out explanation of everything SEO with Etsy. I’m struggling with it myself and want to get it down before I add more items because editing the 50-something listings already is a pain!

    Thank you!

  12. Caroline Marshall April 23, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Scott, I thought that it was the amount of time that had elapsed since the item was listed that determined how high it was in the search results (ie out of all the items that match the search term it is the item listed most recently that is first in the results). Is this not right?

    • Richie September 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Caroline, amount of time is just one component (unless you’re sorting by most recent, but default is by relevancy). We find that the newest listings (or renewals) get a bump in rank but it’s short lived if it’s not coupled with great SEO.

      Titles and Tags are the most powerful factors. Even more powerful when tags match words used in your title. Also the front of your title is more heavily weighted than the rest.

      You should check out and the blog which has webinars and training videos on the topic

  13. Angela Donato June 16, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Thank you for this article. No wonder why my stuff was not appearing in the Etsy search engines. Very helpful.

  14. Tomas July 21, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Hi all,
    we created products with researched keywords (that use Etsy visitors) + competition of this keyword.
    It will helps you to write right title, description and tags for better position in Etsy search.

    Look throw:

    If You will have questions – please ask.

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    Hi Scott,

    What a great article!!!

    Heard of RebelsMarket It’s the largest counterculture marketplace with a great selection of fashion, home decor & artwork.

    It would be a great addition for your next blog.

    Thumbs up!!!


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