Etsy Jam

Etsy Jam Episode 37: To Tag or to Title

In this episode, we talk about how you should put together your title and tags for the best SEO and which you should do first. We also discuss how the SEO grading in Marmalead works and what the TRUE meaning of keyword stuffing is. Spoiler alert – it has to do with turkey and gravy. Stick around for another great Etsy Jam feast.


There has been a discussion in our Facebook Group about how one should do their listings’ tags and titles. Eventually, it came down to two schools of thought. There are people who:

  • thinks that when you do your listing, you should do your titles first and then pick out what your tags will be from the keywords in your title
  • thinks that you should come up with all your keywords, put them as tags first, and then fit those into a title.

To Tag or to Title

If you start with finding the right keywords, it doesn’t really matter. If you want to take those keywords that you found and put them in your tags and then figure out your title – that’s okay. Or if you want to pick your keywords and put them in your title in an order that makes sense, and then putting those in your tags, that’s fine too. The ultimate and most important thing is to find the keywords first. Always start with finding quality keywords.

Related: The Quick and Dirty Guide to Finding Great Etsy Keywords

As long as we’re getting to the same spot at the end – which are keywords that end up in our tags and in our titles, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Whatever is easier for you and whatever works out for you. It doesn’t really make that much difference.

Targeting Keywords

You can have one target focus keyword. After that, you can have a number 2 focus keyword, number 3, and so on. You want this to happen because the front of your title is the strongest in relevancy search. The closer it is to the front, the better off you are and the stronger Etsy search thinks it is.

How does Listing Grades work inside Marmalead?

Tags in Title

It basically means “Tag and Title Match”. How many of your tags can you fit inside your title? If you have your title keywords written EXACTLY as it is in your tags, then Marmalead counts that as a tag and title match. That is good because Etsy likes to see that.

If it’s different; say you have “wedding dresses as a tag, but you have “wedding dress” in your title, then that’s not going to fit because it’s looking for your tag in your title. But to add to the confusion, if you had wedding dress as a tag, but wedding dresses” in your title – that would match. Because that’s a subset of “wedding dresses” so it would ‘technically’ find that phrase in your title.

In our grading, you don’t have to fit all 13 tags in your title because you are limited by the 140-characters. We only look for 7 tag and title matches for you to have a full score. Etsy is a different thing because they don’t really care how many you fit into your title. What they care about is if the tag exists in your title. Marmalead is just measuring how well you’re making use of that title to match as many tags as you can.


Renewing is part of the grading as well. People have asked us before “Why is my grade changing when I haven’t changed anything on my listing?”

The answer is: Your listing is getting older. While your listing is getting older, the market space is constantly having new listings being added to them. When people renew or one of their listings get sold, they are automatically renewed and go to the top too.

Keyword Stuffing Explained

There’s a lot of places where people talk about keyword stuffing. We see this in the Etsy Forums a lot. It comes up in our Facebook Group every now and then too. There are other thought leaders in the Etsy space that talks about keyword stuffing a lot and unfortunately, most times that we’ve seen it used, people are using that term incorrectly.

To best understand this, we should get back to before there was Etsy. Back in Google days. Way back in the day when they wanted to figure out how well a site was geared to talk about a specific keyword, there became a term known as “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing back then was the practice of writing really spammy content in a sense that you take a single keyword and you just insert it in every sentence you possibly can even though it looks awful and doesn’t really add a lot of value. It’s just the same keyword over and over.

If you’re putting a bunch of different keywords in your title and tags – that’s not keyword stuffing. It sounds like it is because you’re ‘stuffing’ all those keywords in there, but you are not using the same keyword over and over so you’re good. If your tag and title looks like “Wedding dress wedding dress wedding dress wedding dress” – that’s keyword stuffing. If you’re targeting something ‘wedding’ related, and 4 of your keywords have the word ‘wedding’ in them, don’t be overly concerned because they’re not the same thing.

We don’t grade the quality of your keywords

Your letter grade does not involve the quality of your keyword. At least not yet. That’s why we show the Marma-meter scores in the Tags table. We score how that tag is performing as far as Engagement and Competition.

Things that sellers can optimize to impact their keyword relevance

First, is choosing strong keywords to target (i.e. choosing words that are as high engagement and low competition as you can find and that are a good fit for your listing).

Secondly, you can make sure that you put them together in your shop in a way that makes Etsy want to find you to be the most relevant. That would be putting the target keyword in the front of your title and in your tags and make sure that those two things match exactly.

Third, is renewing. You can renew your listings to stay relevant in the search you are trying to target.

Things that you can’t control

When people search for you and then they visit your listing; whether or not they purchase. Although you can technically control the outcome because you can have great photos and compelling descriptions, the right price point, and making sure you’re targeting the right keywords. All of these techniques can help improve your conversion rate.

Related: 12 Simple Strategies to BOOST your Conversion Rate

In this episode, we talk about how you should put together your title and tags for the best SEO and which you should do first. We also discuss how the SEO grading in Marmalead works and what the TRUE meaning of keyword stuffing is. Spoiler alert - it has to do with turkey and gravy. Stick around for another great Etsy Jam feast.

29 replies on “Etsy Jam Episode 37: To Tag or to Title”

Thanks for answering some basic questions that have been bugging me for a while. “Key word stuffing” is being presented in books about Etsy, and apparently, that info is wrong. So… not everything in print is true. I’ve been avoiding stuffing key words like the plague, and I didn’t even know what it really meant.

Right!? Keyword stuffing sounds bad, and it is, it’s just not what we keep seeing people describe it as. Drives me nuts. Also Google gets mentioned a lot like this is how Google does it and what not. If you look at the top Etsy listings that come back in Google though, they look the same as the top in Etsy search!

your videos are WAY too long. I don’t think I am alone in saying that I don’t have time to watch something this long, running a business is a very time consuming thing. I think you might have info that would be valuable, I’m sure you could find a more time efficient manner to dispense it.

Our shorter videos are here at

I’m sure you’re not alone in your thinking. The podcast is for longer form thought though. They’re meant to be experiential. Whether that be hearing stories from other sellers or longer (and hopefully thought provoking) conversation on topics related to your business. That could be clearing the air on SEO topics or it could be related to organization or even creative process.

Business is very time consuming indeed. Breakthroughs only happen when you give the time to soak in various and sometimes seemingly unrelated information. That’s why you chose to go into business for yourself right? To be different than the other options out there. To say, “hey this has been my experience in life and I want to shape my business accordingly”. If you just follow the “10 steps to a great listing” then all we’ve done is tell you how to fill out a form. Your business is soooo much more than that.

If you fill in your title completely and have your keywords separated by commas you can copy and paste the entire title into the tag bar, hit enter, and Etsy will make all of your tags for you exactly how you typed them into the title bar.

It’s faster and eliminates the chance of a typo.

Hi Richie and Gordon, Thanks for the great jam and sharing your tips! I don’t understand why people are complaining about the length, especially when it’s something you can play in the background and multitask at the same time … Everyone has a choice and it is a shame that people are so unappreciative of your time and the great free content you so generously provide. On the topic of coming up with another word for “keyword stuffing” what about keyword stacking, or keyword diversification, keyword infusion, keyword targeted grouping/blending or keyword annexing? Just a thought.

Hi Yassi! Thank you!!! Actually exactly what you just said was the original concept for our jams. Many work alone a lot and we thought it’d be cool to have something you could put on while you work. Keep you company and learn some things at the same time.

I like “keyword stacking” as a new word. 🙂

I agree. I love listening to podcasts while I work, thanks to everyone at Marmalead for sharing all your valuable info, it has truly revolutionized my shop. Marmalead is a must if you want to be successful:)

Please do more on vintage selling. I have 62 items that are mostly one of a kind. Do I need to use the word “vintage” in the tags and titles? I have some “old” needlework to use to upcycle. do I need to say “Vintage Crosstitch” in my title and in at least one tag? Or, should I start with “Cross Stitch” ? Thanks!

Love the video and all the help. I’m not clearly understanding why I should only have one important word in the front of my title. Take for instance one of mine:
“Laser Tag Birthday Party Invitation for Kids – Personalized Printable File”

To me it’s important to have the fact that it’s a birthday invitation and what kind of theme. What would you suggest my title should say for it to be high relevancy?

I too am no longer “key word stuffing” as you have suggested in other videos. But I’m just confused on this one topic.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dani Ashbury

I would say your title is highly relevant for “laser tag birthday party invitation” and “laser tag”.

The one important word comes from the fact you can only have one word be the first word. In this case it is “laser”. It’s the very front position for relevancy, and while “tag” is a close second, it’s not as strong as “laser”.

Put another way, again in this example, your title is more relevant for “laser tag” than for “birthday party”.

Hey Gordon and Richie!
Loved this jam session!! I have listened a couple of times, love having you keep me company while I work. 😀 Thank you for clarifying the term keyword stuffing. . . I think we need a more positive word for this. . . how about ” Keyword Blitz ” Since we aren’t kicking a field goal!

Thank you for all you do for us!! Looking forward to the next Etsy Jam!

Ok I’m getting the understanding. Just started yesterday. I’ve been watching the videos. I wonder is there a submit advise area? My keywords and tags are a little more indept because I do awareness jewelry…so many colors…so many areas. I think I’ve gotten bogged down. I’m wiping at it all out but wonder a few things….before I do all this and then have to start over to fix things.
Do you offer a paid help start advise option?

There’s a Contact Us button inside the app! Or you can just send us an email thru success(!at)marmalead(dot)com and we’ll be sure to help ya out! There are limitations as to what extent we’ll be able to help you with but we will surely do our best!

I just found this episode and I LOVED it! Very informative and really enjoyed the football references….I laughed. Im a huge football fan.

Does getting rid of your poor performing items on etsy help seo? If so how much, I got rid of about 15 listing last night and the next afternoon i received sales. Im struggling to get sales and although im doing better than 94% of etsy sellers I want to be the best. My site is photohacklovers. I feel like my seo sucks. But I also feel like there are no more keywords to choose from because the market is over saturated.

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