Optimizing your Etsy shop and item listings Part 2
When you list an item on etsy it gets featured for about 15 seconds on the home page and that's it! If you want more people to see your listing, it's up to you to make it happen. Good news is that there are lots of other opportunities to get your listings featured at etsy, and at other sites so you can drive traffic to your etsy shop. We will address all these promotional avenues in upcoming articles, but for the moment let's concentrate on using keywords in listing titles and descriptions so we're ready for the searchbots to give us a great page ranking.
When you create a listing at etsy, you add titles, item descriptions, and tags. Its through these titles, item descriptions, and tags that etsy (and the rest of the search engines, like google, for example) index (or rank) your listing.
Your listing gets put into a group with other etsy listings that use titles and tags similar to yours. Its important to place your listing in the 'group' or 'category' where people shopping online for your item will find it. Etsy's searchbots are computer robots that search out bits of information on listings in order to index them. The etsy searchbots will 'read' your listing and assign a page ranking for it. Obviously the higher your listing is ranked in the search results, the more exposure it will get, the more people that will see it, and the more opportunity for you to make a sale. The problem is that shoppers aren't robots, shoppers are people and your listing has to be an interesting read so it engages your customer to click on it. If you just use keywords separated by commas (and lots of people still do this) the searchbots will treat it as SEO spam and 'ding' your relevancy for it. So you have to write your listing (titles, item descriptions, and tags) with both people and robots in mind.
When you create a listing title (when you fill out the listing form at etsy to post a new item) if you scroll down the listing form page just a fraction you can see how your ad will appear on google as you type your etsy item listing title and your item description. Being able to view how your ad will appear on google is extremely important! Just make sure your title 'reads' properly on google not only with syntax, but also by being interesting, engaging, descriptive, and having keywords included too.
Your shop name, shop title, shop description (profile) and your listings all provide opportunity to gain the attention of the searchbots and raise your product listing page rankings dramatically, but unless you know 'where' to place these keywords and key phrases, even a well-written ad can end up being seen by eyes that aren't interested in your work. Proper keyword and key phrase selection is essential, last time we talked about compiling a list of keywords and key phrases specifically for your business. Keep this list handy.
Keywords. These are the words and phrases that are included in your shop, titles, profile, listings, listings descriptions. You let the searchbots know the keyword categories you want to be in and then they determine how 'relevant' you are and give you a page ranking.
It doesn't matter how good your product is, if people can't find your product, they can't buy it. I'm not here to tell you to change anything about your shop, I simply want to point out where search engines go to gather their bits of information they use to determine your 'relevancy' and rank your listing. The most important place the searchbots look is at 'titles'. Titles are given the most weight by searchbots followed by the first line of your description under that title, and then again in the very last sentence of your description. Its in these aforementioned areas where you need to place your keywords.
The use of keywords starts right with the name you select for your shop. Optimized shops include a high ranked keyword in their shop name, Jim ArnoldsChessSets, (chess sets is my number one keyword), for example. The other place for keywords in titles is of course in your individual listing titles. When you look around your competition at etsy look for how they incorporate their keywords in their titles (in addition, look how 'you' are incorporating them at this given moment). When you place keywords in titles, the searchbots will look at the first 30 characters so you want to place those keywords right up front. 'Spaces' do not count, commas, periods, etc. do count. While 'Titles' are most important, there is another area of interest to the searchbots and that's in the first line of the descriptions that follow the 'Titles'. Examples of these descriptions include your shop tag line (that group of words right below your shop name on your home page), the first line of any shop 'announcement', the first sentence of your profile, the first sentence of your product descriptions, and, just recently, I've learned that the last sentence of your profile, the last sentence of an item description, and the last sentence of a shop announcement are also areas to place keywords. When optimizing 'titles' we said it was the first 30 spaces that mattered to the searchbots. When optimizing 'descriptions' its the first 60 spaces that matter to the searchbots (some experts claim you get read up through 120 characters by searchbots in these areas) so you have more room to be creative in your keyword use in these areas. Spaces do not count, commas, periods, etc., do count.
That's the framework, that's it!
The tedious part of course is to apply this knowledge to a listing. I want to again caution you from just jumping in and re-writing, do some research on your own first. You have to do your keyword homework, get that keyword list together. Next, in light of what you now know about keyword placement, look at the listings of your competitors on page one and pick them apart word by word, if you look at several of them, you'll see exactly what they are doing. Then find one of your listings and do the same thing, you might find out you've kind of been optimized all along. The way to check is to find where your listings are ranked right now. If you have a listing on page one in a category where people look to buy what you sell, then don't change a thing, if you spend an hour trying to find one of your listings in a category you know people search to buy your product, and can't, optimizing will help (along with the other suggestions given in part 1 last week). Optimizing will increase your search hits from both etsy and google. Having your listings and shop optimized will increase your relevancy across the net.
Next week we will write a good etsy listing and apply this SEO knowledge. In the meantime, keep working on your keyword list, and start looking at your existing listings and the listings of your competition, locate where your listings rank (page, position on that page)....are you easy to find? are you relevant? can you find yourself in the categories you want to be in? Take a peek at your keyword list, punch up some of those keywords in the etsy searchbox on the homepage and see how many total listings there are in each of these different categories you want to be in (it will be harder to get page one exposure in the highly competitive cats, and way easier in the 'niche' cats we talked about, so find some 'niche' cats to include in your keyword list). I make chess sets, I thought it was pretty much cut and dried...Kings, Queens, a board....a chess set!, All my keywords revolved around 'chess sets', but one of my 'niches' (I just found this out a couple months ago) is wedding cake toppers. Totally unrelated, but a new source of business discovered because of 'keyword niches'.
Research and homework, once we get a feel for where we want to be and/or where our listings now stand, and get armed with a list of keywords and key phrases, we'll be ready to put them where the searchbots want to see them. Next week we'll pick apart the listing form and start writing optimized listings.