Etsy How-to Etsy SEO

The Buckets Strategy

Yes, we’ve talked about it a lot. We mention it in different groups, in blogs, in our emails, and even in our webinars! What is this buckets strategy all about and how do you use it?

Think of keywords as markets. Every search is really a market. I like to take it a step further and think of markets as buckets. It has a specific set of listings that return and the shopper is somewhere in the Customer Journey.

It goes like this: Keywords are buckets. Listings go in these buckets. 

Here’s an example:

starfish jewelry

Pretend that I sell different kinds of starfish jewelry.

It’s going to take an awful lot of time and effort if I were to come up with a unique set of keywords for every listing I own. For Etsy sellers that sell hundreds of different items, this just isn’t feasible.

This is the type of scenario where the buckets strategy comes in handy.

I’m going to make several buckets for my listings.

  1. Starfish Necklace
  2. Starfish Bracelet
  3. Starfish Ring
  4. Starfish Earring
  5. Starfish Jewelry
  6. Silver Starfish
  7. Gold Starfish
  8. Gold Starfish Ring

buckets strategy

My first listing is a starfish bracelet.

starfish bracelet

It fits under the Starfish Bracelet bucket, but it’s also a Starfish Jewelry and a Silver Starfish so you can put them in there as well. It’s not a Gold Starfish or a Starfish Ring so save those buckets for later.

How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish bracelet] [starfish bangle] [silver starfish] [starfish jewelry] … [bridesmaid gift] [gift for her]

Note how I put my strongest keywords in the front for stronger relevancy in search.

Second one is a starfish ring.

starfish ring

It’s obviously not a Silver Starfish though, but it’s a Starfish Jewelry, a Gold Starfish, and a Starfish Ring. Those are the buckets where they would fit.

How do you title/tag this listing? [gold starfish ring] [starfish ring] [gold star ring] [starfish jewelry] [sea star ring] … [gold jewelry] [beach ring]

Note that I tend to put only 3 of my best targeted keywords per listing (3 buckets/listing). Since you have to have the keyword in your title, after 3 is probably too weak to target strongly. This is no reason not to use up all 13 of your tags though.

Third one is a starfish necklace.

starfish necklace

Same rules like last time. It does NOT fit under Gold Starfish, Gold Starfish Ring, Starfish Earring, Starfish Ring, and Starfish Bracelet. But it can fit under Starfish Necklace, Starfish Jewelry, and Silver Starfish.

How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish necklace] [starfish pendant] [silver starfish] [sea star necklace] [silver sea star] [starfish jewelry] [starfish charm] [seaside pendant] [sterling silver] [silver pendant] [sea star charm] [sea life jewelry] [sea star jewelry]

Note: Take a look at that example. Sometimes you have more than 3 targeted keywords for a listing. It’s a waste not to use them but it’s also a waste stuffing them in a single listing. One cool hack Richie discovered is to make a copy of your listing and put in your other best keywords to target a different market.

This ‘new’ listing is made specifically to spread out and target more keywords. Yes, you are allowed to do this as long as you have enough quantity to sell.

When I say ‘targeted keywords’ or ‘best keywords’; these are the strongest words that:

a. Best fits your listing; and

b. Keywords/markets you’re trying to target.

Essentially, I have covered 3 of my listings just by cleverly putting them in buckets. You can continue to do this with more keywords, starting from broad ones to super specific – that way you cover each stage of the customer journey.

It’s okay to repeat the same keyword (starfish in this case) multiple times in your listing. Not only you are reinforcing your relevancy in search, but you’re also covering multiple ways people might use to find your item.

And that’s the bucket strategy!

Over to you:

I’d love to keep the conversation flowing in the comments. What do you think of this strategy? Do you have your own techniques you are willing to share? Or maybe you’ve already seen improvements since you’ve used the system? Let us know!

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Etsy SEO Tip! How to maximize your best tags with the Buckets Strategy!

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15 replies on “The Buckets Strategy”

What are the 12 pages? Is that Marmalead ranking or something else?
I have been using Google to clue me in as to what the first keyword or word in my title should be. Should it be the color of the hat, hat, or style of hat. Their numbers have been guiding me.
I think the bucket idea is great but all of this is built on the 12.

Hi Susan,
I meant to say the pages within Etsy search. If you can have your listing on every page, that’s gonna give you the maximum exposure. The idea is to do this on every keyword you use so you’d appear on every page, on every search.

Love this idea just having a hard time figuring out how to do it for my product. I sell pillow covers and I do mostly french country or farmhouse rustic. Is pillow covers one of my buckets? then the style also another?


Pillow covers might be too broad to rank on. But you can use this as one of your broad buckets. For targeted keywords, the easiest trick is to describe your item; the color, the style, the materials can be used as starting points.

I didn’t think the order of keywords in tags mattered? Or are you talking about the order of keywords just in the title (which I know do matter).

Hi Lisa,
Yes thanks for pointing it out! That was a slight oversight. Yes I meant to tell order of the keywords in the title. Correct, tag order doesn’t matter (but it won’t hurt you either if you choose to tag them in the same exact order).

Could you tell whether it is correct to duplicate the same product within Etsy about 12 times in order to grasp all thematical keywords (choose for each duplicate different title/tags/main photo and description)?

Question: I make backdrop necklaces which is a very specific type of “bridal jewelry”. Should I still use “bridal jewelry” as a key word and tag toward the end of my title since I won’t EVER rank for that word anyway? Or maybe have some of them with “bridal jewelry” at the front just to switch it up?

Hi Noelle,
Yes you can do both. I like to include broad keywords (bridal jewelry in this example) towards the end of my listings because of 2 reasons:
1. Sometimes I can’t think of enough tags to use (it gets harder the more listings you have) and;
2. It’s a good way to ‘at least’ try and give the broad markets a shot even though the chances of landing within the first three pages or so is small.

I would try to use a different form of ‘bridal jewelry’ to use in front, something more specific. Etsy as we know, weighs keywords in the front heavier than the ones at the end and that alone is why you should not waste that space.

Thank you for your nice article.
I have a question: I noticed you used these two title keywords to your example: [gold starfish ring] [starfish ring].
If someone types at etsy search “starfish ring”, won’t listings with the keyword “gold starfish ring” appear too? I mean is it a good idea to repeat a phrase which already exists in another phrase?
Thank you in advance

Hiya! Yes if you search for ‘starfish ring’; ‘gold starfish ring’ has a chance of appearing in that search too. But so are other variations like ‘silver starfish ring’, ‘rose gold starfish ring’, and etc. would appear too. So it’s nice to have both the broad and narrow keywords for that listing if you have some extra tag space left.

this is great, but struggling to apply it to my store. I sell customized tees, mugs, hoodies and lots more. so for example, there might be dog tees, papa, grandpa, poppi tees, hoodies, sweaters, mugs, necklaces. So many variables. I could split it up to 10 buckets, papa shirts, papa hoodies, papa sweaters etc etc but then i would have about 50 in each and couldnt use the strongest keyword at the beginnng of the list . THen i would have about another 100 buckets easy, eg. anther 10 would be Nana shirts, nana sweaters, nana necklaces etc etc etc. does this make sense and do you have any tips on how to manage my 1K listings doing this LOL. soon to be about 2K if I get sorted lol

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