Etsy Jam Episode 45: Your Questions Our Answers

In this episode, we tackle some questions, submitted by you, our Marmalead family! We touch on topics like how to maximize keywords, how important conversion rates are, and the ever mysterious, search bar. So, continue on for another great Etsy Jam blog post, and make sure you check out our actual Jam for ever more in depth answers!

Without further ado, let’s jump right on in…

1. What do you do if your shop has 100s of listings, all shooting for the same 5-10 keywords?

Find other words. There’s really no other option. Most shoppers won’t go passed the first 3-5 pages of search results, so that really only gives you about 5 spots for any given keyword…so, if you decide to go with more than that, you just gotta understand, you’re competing with yourself, right? If you have hundreds of listings that are shooting for the same keywords, you really have to “cast a wider net” as we like to say. Get more niche. Attract people who are looking for something super specific. For example if you have thirty  listings with thirteen tags each, do the math here, that’s about 390 unique keywords you could be using. Talk about a wide net! It’s totally possible and very doable, you’ve just got to get creative…which is why you started an Etsy shop to begin with, right?

2. I found the PERFECT keyword, Richie, but it’s more than 20 characters long…what do I do?! Richie Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope! (Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh!) 

Well, young padawan, you’re gonna split it up! Not in your title, but definitely in your tags. Now there are two schools of thought here, but this is the one I agree with: 

Cut it in half. If it makes sense and you can read the tag split in two, go ahead and do it that way. But remember, if you DO split it in half and it doesn’t make sense, it really DOES NOT MATTER! It’s for the search engine NOT the shopper. No one shopping really looks at the tags anyway…I mean, unless you’re into a little light tag reading by the fire in the evenings. So, basically, it’s for the machine not the people, which sounds more Hunger Games than Star Wars, I know. Just make sure you understand that you can split them apart and they don’t have to make sense, because they really are for the machine/search engine at the end of the day.

3. After using your targeted keyword right at the front of your title, is it best to use less specific keywords like “gift for her” or should you keep with specific details long tailed keywords after that? 

I would say, stay more specific and here’s why: You HAVE to do this really intentionally. Basically, the more generic you go, the more competitive it is, the more competitive it is, the LESS likely you are to rank that listing the further back in your title it goes. So, let’s say you’ve taken your generic keywords and put them in the very front of your title. You’ve also done everything right to target them. Basically, you’ve put them in the front, you’ve matched everything, you have a renewing strategy and great, you’re showing up! Now, put the generic keywords half way through your title, and you’re probably not that competitive anymore because you’ve lost that competitive edge. Don’t do that. Put the less competitive keywords, the specific and unique one here, because you actually have a fighting chance with this placement. Otherwise, you’re kinda just filling space. 

Now, you’re struggling to find other keywords to spread across your listings, you could shoot for putting more generic keywords toward the front of your titles and target more competitive and generic markets and spots that you can still rank for. But, you definitely want to be careful when you do this. Make sure you’re using keywords that actually work for you, even the generic and competitive ones. And don’t just leave them there, double check and see if they’re working for you! Don’t leave words hanging out that aren’t helping you rank. If this is the case, find something that’s slightly more specific to you but still generic.  

Bottom line here: Make these things work for you. If you’re listings aren’t showing up where you think they should be, you MUST change what you’re doing. The beauty of it is, you can tailor your title and keyword placement to work in your favor. Experiment! Switch stuff up! See what gets you the best results!

4. Why are some texts duds when they are all green in Marmalead? I rank on the first page, it’s a relevant keyword for me, and my listing prices are within the average price range. So, why are these keywords not working for me, even if I’m ranking?   

Well, this could be a couple things. First, if you’re using an “average” price range, that could be your first problem! You could be disappearing into the average. Maybe there are forty plus other results on the page, plus ads, and you’re just blending into everything. Also, if your pictures aren’t standing out, that could also be an issue. A couple ways to tell if your pictures aren’t that great are if you’re showing up on the search page AND you’re ranking, but people just aren’t clicking. You MUST stand out! So, make sure you have unique, appealing pictures that entice buyers to click on your listing.

The other thing too is, if you’re targeting keywords that are too low of competition, that could also be a problem. For example, if you’re targeting something that only has ten results that come up, or maybe the buyer really did type your VERY rare keywords in, still, if there are ONLY ten results that pop up, they could be thinking…huh….is this it?? Are these my only choices? Maybe I should be searching for something else with more options. Because, the truth is, we really DO like options! 

Bottom line here: There really isn’t some black and white answer to this question. It definitely depends on what you’re selling and the audience you’re selling to. If you’re competing with a lot of other artists because you’re less specialized, concentrate on price range, standing out, and having awesome pictures! However, if you’ve found your own extremely specialized niche, add some other more general keywords that relate in, and don’t get discouraged if your sell rate is slow at first. If buyers actually know what you’re selling because you’re so specialized, this DOES increase the chance that they’ll actually purchase from you. Super low views, maybe, but more than likely, a very high conversion rate! 

5. Is there any merit to checking tags in both Marmalade AND the Etsy search bar? If it’s green in Marmalead but it’s not showing up for me in the Etsy search bar, is that a false positive that it’s a good keyword? 

Basically, if you’re looking in both because you have extra time, by all means, go for it! But, you’ll probably end up with more questions than answers. Can you imagine if every good search really populated in the search bar…what that would look like as a user experience?! You type in the letter “S” and get 25,342,185.456 search results….aaaand, how would Etsy seriously populate every single search on this letter? Also, how would it be politically correct…?! I mean, look what happened with Microsoft’s A.I Bot on Twitter…..oh, you don’t know about that? (Ahem, as your writer, I totally wish I had time to cover it, but since I don’t, here’s a shameless plug to go listen to our Jam for more fun details on this!) 

Soooo, back to the search bar. We’ve talked to a lot of sellers who have said it’s best if you can stay in front of trends that are about to happen. A good example of this would be to set up all your Christmas items BEFORE Christmas, BEFORE people start to really search for them.

We know the Etsy search bar is based on things that have been searched for recently. How recently, you might ask? Well, we don’t really know. Etsy doesn’t share that with us, BUT the point is if you’re only looking back at things that were popular in the last month or so as the seller, you’re really not setting yourself up to be successful in the future if Valentine’s Day is coming up.

And honestly, it doesn’t have to be as obvious as an upcoming Holiday. It could be a trend that you’ve caught onto that’s coming up, but it isn’t showing up in the Etsy search bar yet. Should you incorporate it? Absolutely! Definitely jump on it! Especially if listings are getting good engagement, clicks, and views! It that’s happening, keep at it, keep doing what you’re doing, because that’s what it’s all about. 

Also, an important thing to remember is that, yeah, while you may be able to do a search in Amazon, Google, Ebay, or anywhere else with a search bar and find lots of results (because they show you popular searches above all else), that does NOT equate to being a good thing for you as a seller. If you’re simply counting the number of searches an item has, and not taking into account if said item has action on it from the buyer, like viewing and buying, that will NOT get you to where you want to be sales wise or engagement wise. 

Bottom line here: You want to find the terms and searches that people are actually engaging with. Repeat after me: Engagement. Clicks. Views.

6. Should my conversion rate be the same for higher priced items, specifically ones whose use is primarily decorative? (Basically, does conversion rate change based on my target market, my target price range, my quality or my products vs. other products that buyers might find on Etsy?)

Sometimes it can very much based on the market and honestly it depends on what you’re selling. In general, retail has a very stable conversion rate, and yeah, some people convert really low. In case you didn’t know, Etsy gives a baseline for conversion. They want to see shops at 3%…now, remember, Etsy isn’t looking at each individual category, which if they could I’m sure they would and that would change the percentage given. I mean, if you’re selling something that’s again very niche and unique, you may not be getting as many views BUT your conversion rate might be WAY higher than normal because you get less window shopping and more purchasing. Again, it all depends on where you’re selling, and where you’re selling depends on what keywords you’re using. 

It’s important to be in the correct “neighborhood” within Etsy. Just like in the real world, you can set up shop in a higher end neighborhood and you’ll probab;y sell more expensive products and items. This  is also true goes for lower end neighborhoods. Switch the two around, however, try selling the higher priced item in a lower end neighborhood, or the lower priced item in a higher end neighborhood, and the chances are, you’re just simply not going to sell as much. Better move neighborhoods! And the way to do that on Etsy, are keywords. Your conversion rate is directly related to how you price your items and where you setup shop with your keywords.

Bottom line here: It’s not HOW MUCH you have things priced at, but WHERE you’re trying to sell them. Pay attention to your audience and who exactly it is you’re marketing to. And if necessary, “move neighborhoods” to fit your items needs.

7. Which counts more, a listing’s individual conversion rate, or a shop’s over all conversion rate? 

Short answer? It’s not just about conversion rates. That’s simply one piece of the puzzle. So, to ask which matters more, this conversion rate or that conversion rate, isn’t really what you want to focus on alone. Think about it all. How are your keywords, how are your search results, how is your engagement and based on that, how is your conversion rate? Renewals also carry a lot of weight on individual conversion rates, which play back into the whole search bar thing. 

Bottom line here (with a shocking black and white answer): We can’t isolate that ONE variable…make sense? As a seller and shop owner, make sure you’re not obsessing over one piece of the puzzle, but that you’re taking a step back and looking at this thing as whole.

Well everyone, we’ve come to our very last, but certainly not least BONUS QUESTION (duh, duh, duuuuuuh):

How long is a shop considered new?

Ok, the simply answer is, you pretty much have to show up to the party. What I mean by that is, you can’t open a shop and just kinda leave it there…that’s only going to keep you in neutral territory. It would seem that being new isn’t on a time based scale, but rather on the activity and action that you have going on. According to Etsy’s “How It Works” page, their listing quality is described as this: you’re showing up on the search page and people are clicking on your listing.

If Etsy continues to put your listing or shop up high on the search page, but you consistently get far less views than the shop right next to you, what do you think is gonna happen? That’s right, they’ll choose that other shop and more like it to rank higher than your shop. So time really isn’t a factor, activity is. 

In this episode, we tackle some questions, submitted by you, our Marmalead family! We touch on topics like how to maximize keywords, how important conversion rates are, and the ever mysterious, search bar. So, continue on for another great Etsy Jam blog post, and make sure you check out our actual Jam for ever more in depth answers!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops:

7 thoughts on “Etsy Jam Episode 45: Your Questions Our Answers”

    1. Thank you! Our friend Jade helped with writing up the Jam. Hopefully you’ll see more articles by her. I’ll let her know you enjoyed it!

  1. Great article!!! I have been advocating using foreign translations (Spanish and German specifically) as additional keywords when Im fresh out of ideas. Whats the thoughts on that?

    1. Thanks, Jay! I’d say if you find a lot of your customers are coming from Spanish and German speaking regions then go for it and see if you get many views from them. Keep in mind though that if they do a search in their native language and don’t find many results, they will probably try an English based search. So it will probably depend on the search term but give is a shot with a couple tags and let us know how it goes after a month or so! Good luck!

  2. Are titles supposed to be Search Engine optimized or User Optimized when writing titles? If User Optimized, do tags still have to match same order as keywords?

    1. It depends who you ask whether titles should be search engine optimized or shopper optimized. 🙂 Personally, I suggest optimizing titles for Etsy’s search algorithm instead of shoppers. If nobody can find your listings in search, the fact that they’re nice and human readable probably won’t be much of a benefit. Etsy claims tag order does not matter but a handful of sellers have reported that their testing indicates that tag order does in fact matter. It’s probably best to play it safe and make your tag order match your title keyword order.

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