The Jam

Busting Etsy SEO Myths

When it comes to Etsy SEO, there’s a whole lot of hype and hoopla that gets thrown around. How well can you separate Etsy SEO facts from Etsy SEO myths? Find out in this myth busters inspired episode of The Jam! 

Today we’re going to be talking about eight common Etsy SEO myths and whether they’re fact or crap! We hope you find these helpful and that they speed you along to finding even more Etsy shop success!

Myth 1: The order of your tags matter.

Nope! They don’t matter. You can basically move your tags to any spot you want. It doesn’t have any bearing on your search results whatsoever! Etsy looks at whether something exists in your tag, but it doesn’t really care if it’s the first tag or the last tag. However, the order within each tag DOES matter, which can seem to confuse Etsy sellers. When we say the order of your tags doesn’t matter, we mean the order of each individual tag itself as a whole doesn’t matter. But the words within a particular tag does matter. You can’t skip words or change the word order and expect that tag to still be an exact match for what’s going on in your title. 

For Example

Let’s say you’ve got “silver starfish necklace” as a keywords in your title. Then, let’s say you go down and you make a tag that’s “silver necklace”. This will not be a match, because the words within the tag aren’t matching up with what’s going on in the title. And remember, if you’re breaking up a keywords across a couple different tags, it does need to match what’s going on in that keyword you’re looking to target. 

Myth 2: The order of the keywords in the title matters. 

This is actually true, but not for the reasons that most people think. A lot of sellers think that the order of their keywords matter for SEO purposes. This actually isn’t the case anymore. The reason why Etsy (and therefore Marmalead) wants you to put your best and most descriptive keywords right at the front of your title is because there are so many shoppers that visit Etsy from a mobile platform. These shoppers are only seeing a small portion of your title on their mobile device. It’s really important psychologically for buyers to see the keywords that actually matches up and is confirmation for what they’re looking for in terms of the picture and listing over all. So, it IS best that you put your most descriptive, most representative keyword right at the front of the title. 

Now again, this is not going to help you in terms of SEO or search placements on Etsy. But it does help in terms of the experience your customer will have and making sense of the listing right off the bat. Remember, it’s about 60% and growing of shoppers that are visiting Etsy from a mobile platform. And a bonus point to this myth, while it doesn’t help your Etsy SEO, it actually does matter for Google SEO. We don’t talk a lot about Google SEO and we’re definitely not Google SEO experts, but we do know that working in a couple of those most descriptive keywords right in front of the title does matter for Google SEO. 

A little shameless Marmalead plug

If you’re curious about what your title looks like on a mobile device, you can see that in Marmalead on your listing detail pages. You just pull up one of your listings and scroll down. We’ll show you exactly what your title looks like in mobile search results and then on the mobile listing page. Etsy also (on some devices) truncates your title on your actual listing page too, they don’t actually show the whole thing on a mobile device. If 60% and growing of customers are visiting Etsy from a mobile device, knowing what your title looks like to that percentage of customers is a big deal. 

Myth 3: My listing descriptions are part of Etsy SEO.

Nope! This one is definitely incorrect. Etsy does not look at your descriptions. Where your descriptions really do matter is in closing the deal. It’s a sales factor.  (At this point in our Jam episode, there’s a crisis with a sneeze! So, if you want a bit of a laugh, make sure you listen to find out what happens to Jade😂) They are very important even though they’re not a part of your SEO  or being found in search, they’re certainly part of your conversation rates and getting them to where you want them to be. You’re telling the story for buyers. You’re really describing your product and trying to make a connection with your potential customers.

But bonus, Google actually does look at 140-160 characters of your description, so if you can conversationally drop in a few of your primary keywords into that first little bit of your description (be sure it’s natural), Google will look at it. Just make sure you’re not stuffing it with keywords, this is not a good thing to do. It won’t work for Google and it will look really strange to the average Etsy shopper and they’ll probably think something is wrong. The goal of your description again, is to connect with your customer and clearly communicate what your brand is and what you’re selling. 

Myth 4: Repeating keywords will hurt me. 

No, it’s not going to hurt you. Unless you do what we just mentioned above and try to stuff a whole bunch of keyword garbage into your listing. That will hurt you. Repeating keywords, however, won’t hurt you. If you have a listing titled “starfish necklace beach necklace” and use them both as tags, the fact that you used necklace twice will not hurt your listing. Etsy doesn’t mind this at all and will look at things in context. Etsy is looking at “beach necklace” as one kind of thing and “starfish necklace” as one kind of thing.

It’s really important to remember that there’s going to be some tweaking for that SEO strategy. Specifically as it pertains to your keywords. You’re very likely going to need to do some tweaking over time. You might find that those keywords (even though you’re targeting necklace twice) are both really working for you. You also may find that you want a little bit more diversity and that one or the other may be working better. This is where you’d have the opportunity to tweak things and optimize it a little bit more to get you in front of an active audience. At the end of the day, you just want to make sure that you’re getting movement from the keywords that you’ve applied to your listing. 

The real benefit

In this specific example, the real benefit would be if a buyer is searching for “beach necklace” by having that term in your title like this, you’re going to be a stronger match than other products that don’t have that. So if someone else listed this same thing, as “starfish necklace beach” and didn’t have “beach necklace” because they figured they already have necklace for starfish, they might still match for that “beach necklace” term because those words are in there, but because you have them together, it will make you a stronger match. What it doesn’t help you with is if someone is searching for necklace, Etsy isn’t going to see that you have necklace in there twice. As long as the words is found they don’t care if it’s eight times or once, it’s the same credit for having the word there. 

Myth 5: Etsy doesn’t care if my shop policies are filled out. 

Well this is a HUGE false! If Etsy is giving you room to fill something out, please, please do it. Etsy is using pretty much every piece of information you offer them to help match you up with the right shoppers for your shop and products. As Etsy leans more and more into AI based technologies, this is going to become even more important. Fill out your policies, fill out your About section, fill out your materials section. If there’s a section to fill out, do it. Also, your policies protect your as a seller! They help you communicate with your customer what they can and cannot expect from you. You don’t want to set your customer up to have unrealistic expectations and you definitely don’t want to leave room for assumption from the buyer.

Etsy even has templates in place that you can use for these to make it easy for you. It’s just one more way for Etsy and your customer to know that you’re a serious seller. You also don’t want to spend your time answering questions about policies that you could have just put under your shop policies. But the biggest thing is that shoppers will expect to see shop policies because so many other shops have them and they might not even write you to ask that question they have in the first place. They’ll just go somewhere else where it’s stated and they already know. 

Myth 6: The Etsy search bar shows the most popular searched keywords. 

True-ish. They show you searches that are being done more than other searches. For example, if you type in a letter like P, Etsy will autocomplete and show you the most popular searches that have been done that start with P. But, what’s the time frame on these searches, what are we looking at here? Is this the most popular in the last five minutes? Most popular in the last day? Month? What time period are you really looking at? And the shorter that time period gets, the less helpful those are going to be to you as a seller when you’re swapping out keywords, unless you enjoy doing your SEO multiple times a day. Which most sellers probably don’t. 

The bottom line is, it really isn’t enough information to build an SEO strategy off of. Either way, even if we’re encouraging you to use this as a way to generate keyword ideas, you then want to take those keywords back to a set of tools (obviously we’re hoping you choose Marmalead’s) so that you can learn the information and data. Ultimately, this will help you create a solid SEO strategy based off of more information than just knowing that the keyword is popular-ish at a given time. You want the full picture and not just part of the picture. The Etsy search bar isn’t going to show you the competition on a keyword or the engagement or a number of other things. You will just simply know that it has been searched before and that’s about it.

Myth 7: If I add more photos, it will improve my Etsy SEO.

Absolutely not. Etsy does encourage you to have ten photos, but they are not going to penalize you if you don’t have all ten photos. Etsy recognizes that essential there are some products out there where it would be pretty hard to take ten photos. Maybe you sell downloadable birthday invitations. It will probably be kinda tough to get ten unique photos for a product like this. 

But you certainly want to make sure you’re giving your shoppers as much information as possible and your photos are a great way to do that. If you have a necklace, you want to show a potential buyer where that’s going to fall on their neck or what it will look like in different lighting. Be sure to show what the back of the piece of jewelry looks like and what it looks like from the side. So for someone selling something like this, getting ten photos to ensure your customer doesn’t have any questions will be a bit easier. You can really build a story with photos and intrigue your customer into purchasing your product by being creative with photos. But no, it does not improve or hurt your SEO. 

Myth 8: Etsy SEO is the same as Google or Amazon SEO.

Stop it. Noooo. No it’s not! We don’t know that we can say that anymore emphatically. Why would it be the same? Each of them are completely different algorithms and you’re going to optimize in different ways for each platform. Also, the goals of each platform are completely different. Google’s goal is to sift through a ton of information and find the most relevant information for you. Etsy’s goal is to find the most relevant products for you. These are 100% different things that they’re trying to accomplish, so obviously they want to have different algorithms to accomplish those two things. They’ll look completely different and they should. 

Also, Etsy is a niche marketplace where as Amazon is based on having everything. They do have handmade products now, but more than anything it’s about commodity on Amazon. This isn’t to say that information from these different platforms is useless in terms of building an SEO strategy, obviously it’s not. Several times in this episode alone we’ve mentioned optimizing for Google.

So yes, we know that information from these platforms is helpful and will help you find trends! We’ve found that trends on Pinterest can be predictive of what will be popular on Etsy, so it’s not that the information is useless to you in terms of building an Etsy SEO strategy. You just have to be mindful of the fact that the algorithm are completely different.  What you also need to remember is that 80% of engagement on Etsy starts with a search from the Etsy platform. So you want to make SURE that you’re optimized for Etsy search because that’s a huge number to just be missing out on if you’re only optimizing for Google. 

Final thoughts.

We hope you found these Etsy SEO myths to be helpful to you and your shop! Were there any myths that you thought were true? Are you excited to learn a myth that you never knew before? If so, drop us a comment and let us know below!

Happy selling, everyone!


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7 replies on “Busting Etsy SEO Myths”

I recently read an Etsy article that stated they don’t want you to keyword stuff your title. That it’s best to keep is shorter and more descriptive. Do you know if this is primarily so they can use your items for offsite ads? What are your thoughts on this bit of information?

Hi there! Thanks for reaching out!The reason why Etsy wants a shorter and more descriptive title is actually more about them helping you connect with the right customers. By that we mean, keyword stuffing often leads to a confusing and spammy looking title that will turn many customers away. But there’s also some confusion about what keyword stuffing means. If you have filled your title with descriptive keywords that are very relevant to your listing, that isn’t keyword stuffing. If you can describe the item with fewer keywords and it looks like you’re just jamming others in there to target as many buyers as humanly possible even if a keyword is only ‘kinda’ applicable…that’s keyword stuffing. Don’t make your titles spammy and don’t use irrelevant keywords. Be clear and concise. Concise doesn’t have to mean short. Etsy offers you 140 characters and so far, there are no penalties for using all the characters they offer. But remember to write titles that wouldn’t annoy you as a shopper. Write titles with your shopper in mind first and the algorithm in mind second. Also keep in mind that including the exact same keyword over and over again in the title is also considered keyword stuffing. Sometimes folks think if they use a keyword or search phrase a bunch of times in a title, that will make them more relevant for that keyword…this is not so. Remember too that as many as 50% of Etsy shoppers are coming to Etsy from a mobile device and they will only see the beginning of your titles on their smaller devices. So it’s important to make sure WHAT the product actually is is clear and right up front in your titles. To address the second part of your question about offsite ads, certainly the keywords you use will be something they look at no matter what! But by no means does Etsy say the primary reason to make your titles clear and concise is for off site ads. It’s an important piece of helping you get your listings in front of the right customers, at the right time!

What about using a more conversational tone in the title, such as using connector words ie. “with”, etc. It seems that small words like this can be used strategically so as not to break up a chance or intentional keyword. I get very annoyed by run-together, repetitive wording in a title.
Also, one situation I’ve come across as an Etsy shopper on an iPad, is that key information in the latter part of the title is almost lost when that listing is clicked on- unless it is either repeated in the description or I remember to click on the title so that it appears in full. I’ve been considering this as a seller as I try to put more vague info in title so that I can be specific in description…. however, now I know that keywords in title only, is what counts. Your app has made so many aspects of Etsy clear! Finally! And I’ve read their info. for hours and hours! If only you could address their lousy shipping profiles…😜 Thank you!

so how to rank on a newly opened shop? adding only keyword title, keyword tags to rank is now a myth. all my lisings are on the last page and are not ranking even i see irrelevant listings ranking better than me.

Hi quotes print!

Thank you for reaching out! It’s good to keep in mind that Etsy works to help newly opened shops gain a footing in the marketplace by giving them an SEO bump for a period of time. That means when you first open up, you really want to make sure that you open strong to take advantage of that bump. With that said, there are a couple of things that might help answer your question and clear up some of the confusion.

First, the importance of choosing relevant and applicable keywords for your title and tags is certainly not a myth! In fact, it’s still the absolute best way to help Etsy match up your listings with shoppers who are searching for products like yours in the marketplace. But, you’ll need to understand that it’s no longer possible to know how a listing is performing by looking at it’s rank or page number.

As Etsy has shifted further into an AI based search algorithm, they’ve started using what’s called contextualized search results (CSR). CSR means that every shopper is going to see a different set of results even if they’re doing the exact same search because now, with CSR, their results are influenced by things like their location, the time of day they conducted the search, their search history, and many other data points in their personal shopper profile. Because results are so individualized, rank and page number is different for each person. Your item might be showing up later in search for you. But it might be showing up on the first page for someone else!

So what do you do? What CSR means for you is that you won’t be able to look at rank or page number to see how you’re doing. Instead, you’ll need to turn to your Etsy shop stats to see which keywords are bringing you movement, and which are not. Keep the keywords that work, and work to change out the keywords that don’t.

Fortunately, none of what I’ve explained really changes how you’ll use Marmalead. The goal is still to find relevant and applicable keywords to apply to your listing. Thankfully, Marmalead makes that job a lot easier than it would be without a set of tools! However, if you still have questions about the Myths blog, or about this answer, or anything else…please feel free to reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to help!

Warm regards,

Team Marmalead

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