How do you like to break up the keywords in your listing titles? In this episode Richie and Gordon chat about the most popular keyword delimiters among sellers and share a sweet suggestion for which one will give you the BEST use of your Etsy titles and tags. Find out if you are missing out on ranking for hidden keywords in your title. This is one Etsy Jam you don’t want to miss.What the heck?!
Some of you may be familiar with what a delimiter is and some of you might not. Like me (Jade) you might have been scratching your head going, what in the world are you talking about?? Dots? Delimiters? What ARE those?! Well, for those of you like me, here’s the explanation of what a delimiter really is:
A delimiter is the character or punctuation that goes between words to separate them. This character could also be the lack of a character like a space. Basically, instead of one run on string of letters, there is a separation between the words so we can more easily read them. Delimiters can literally be a space, hyphen, comma, period, the sky’s the limit! Well, not literally the limit, your keyboard is actually your limit 😉
What’s your favorite?
We asked our Facebook group what their favorite delimiters were. Delimiters are used so often by sellers in their titles and there are all kinds of different delimiters. So, we wanted to see among our users what the most popular ones are that they use. The top three that came back from the poll are these:
~In third place with 13% of the votes: A pipe. It’s used like|this|to| separate|keywords.
~In second place, with 18% of the votes: A dash or hyphen. It’s used like-this-to- separate-keywords.
~In first place, used most by our Facebook group users with 54% of the votes: A comma. It’s used,like,this,to,separate,keywords.
Best of the best
Other common delimiters were tildes, slashes and double slashes. What we’re going to do in this jam, however, is to convince you that there’s really only one delimiter that is the best option for your Etsy SEO. The best delimiter is…..druuuum roooooll…….a space! Whaaat?? That’s right, you heard us right! No commas, no pipes, no dashes, just spaces between your keywords. There are several reasons why this is the best choice for you and your SEO.
Less is more
The first reason why spaces are the best delimiter choice is: you’re using less characters for your delimiters. If you’re only using a space between your words, you’re not taking up unnecessary characters in your titles. Remember, Etsy only gives you 140 characters to begin with. If you’re taking up six or seven of those characters with commas or even worse taking up fourteen characters with dashes including spaces, those are characters you could be using to fit more keywords in your title! There is a definite benefit in using less characters and only including a space. If you want to be in the top 4-10% of sellers, it’s little things like this that will give you that extra edge needed to accomplish this.
Mix it up
The second reason why spaces are the best delimiter is: you can get clever about how you mix your keywords together in your titles. For example: I have a listing and the keywords that I’m using in my tags on my listing are “card for him” “birthday card” “funny birthday card” and “funny.” Now, if I was using a typical delimiter system in my Etsy title I would separate these keywords by commas or pipes or whatever. If I’m just using spaces, however, I can play around with how the keywords overlap each other and with what order they go in. For example, I could use “funny birthday card for him” and match all four of these tags at once in my title using way less characters.
Just a little accident
The third reason to use spaces in your titles is for accidental keywords. You might be wondering how you can have accidental keywords, but it’s kinda along the same lines as moving your keywords around and seeing where they work best. There could be keywords hidden in your title that you don’t even realize buyers are searching for.
For example: There’s a listing on Etsy. The full title for this listing is “castironmermaidbottleopener, rusticbrown,nauticalbeer/sodaopenernautical,wallmount.” This actually isn’t that crazy of a title when you start looking at other titles on Etsy. It’s pretty standard format, there are keywords with a very long tail keyword at the beginning. Then, there’s a delimiter which is a commas between each of their keyword phrases. Now, pretend I’m a shopper on Etsy searching with nautical wall mount. The above listing will show up somewhere in the search results because it includes nautical, wall and mount.
The million dollar question is WHERE it’s going to show up in search, could be on page fifty because it’s not a strong match. Why isn’t a strong match? Because this title has nautical and then a comma before wall mount. Etsy sees this as not matching what the shopper typed into search. However, if the comma is removed, it’s an exact match! Basically, you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain by only using spaces. In the above example, you would end up with a bonus tag title match with the use of spaces.
You might wonder how much this accidental keyword can possibly help you. But would you turn away even one sale? Of course not! And it’s this kind of thing that gives you that needed edge above other sellers.
You might be confused if…
…You think NOT using a comma or pipe or something like this will confuse the Etsy search algorithm. Maybe you’ve thought up to this point that Etsy won’t know where your keywords start and stop if you’re not putting commas in there to tell it. This simply isn’t the case. You won’t confuse Etsy’s algorithm by not using delimiters. The Etsy algorithm is looking to see that the buyer typed in something like “funny birthday card” and all Etsy is pulling back is if it’s in a title and tag. All of them. At this point, we’re not even sure they care about the twenty character tag limit, they’re still going to be giving the highest priority to the listings that matches the exact search phrase the closest.
Now, if you type in a crazy long search phrase that’s fifty characters long it obviously won’t fit into a tag. It won’t match on a tag for the listings pulled back, but if those fifty characters exist in the title exactly like they were typed in, Etsy’s looking at that.The algorithm is seeing it’s a strong match and all it knows is that it needs to bring this to the person searching. You’re really not going to confuse the algorithm.
Think about it, Etsy wants you to sell more. They aren’t trying to confuse you on purpose. They’re trying to constantly find titles from millions of sellers that match millions of buyers searches. Without constantly trying to re-educate millions of sellers about changes they’ve made because…that’s a nightmare. If Etsy considered delimiters in titles, if their algorithm needed them, they would be very specific about what characters you could put into a title and how you should place them. OR they wouldn’t even let you enter in the delimiters and might instead tell you to give them your keywords so they could enter the delimiters in themselves. But, they’re not doing this. They’re not looking at it this way.
You also might be confused if…
The other aversion sellers have to using spaces instead of a particular delimiter is the concern that when shoppers see this it could look spammy. Maybe shoppers will search and feel like some titles that come back make sense, but others look like words just thrown on a screen. Honestly, we can see how this would be a valid concern for sellers who wouldn’t want to use spaces and drop all their delimiters.
If you’re using keywords in your title that aren’t super descriptive of your listing like on sale, bogo, or fun free gift then yeah, that might look kinda spammy without delimiters. This is why we highly suggest using descriptive keywords that apply to your listing. Doing this along with more common keyword searches, it won’t look as spammy, it will look more like you’re using a lot of different keywords to describe what a buyer is looking for.
Basically, use spaces! The benefits of using spaces definitely outweighs the concern about readability. Just make sure you’re using those descriptive keywords that apply to your listing. Chunking up your title with other characters causes you to not match for all those accidental keywords that are already in your title. Don’t miss out on a sale because you used a comma! That comma isn’t worth it, we promise.
As an Etsy seller, you have A LOT going on. We don’t ever want you to miss you on the benefit you can have from making small changes and implementing new techniques. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Don’t partially do something and wonder why it’s not working. Small changes add up and make a difference giving you that needed edge as a seller.
Again, use your spaces! Get rid of your delimiters! The Etsy algorithm will thank you…and your sales will too;) As always, thanks for reading/listening! If you’re ever interested in being a guest on one of our jams (and having a super awesome blog written about said jam) reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Happy selling, everyone!