There 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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
- 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