Do you need a certain number of listings to be successful on Etsy? If you don’t pay for ads, will Etsy hide your listing? Does Etsy hate vintage sellers? Stick around as we bust some juicy Etsy myths with Kara Buntin on this episode of the Jam.
Today, we’re bustin’ some juicy Etsy myths — which we always enjoy! There’s always a lot of conspiracies and ideas that get tossed around in the Etsy space. So, let’s take a look at a handful to find out if there’s any truth to these so-called myths or if they’re just plain old crazy 🤪
Let’s dive in.
Etsy Myth 1: Does the number of listings I have in my shop really matter?
Is there a magic number that I should be shooting for? People will throw out “100 listings” a lot… but is that true?
Nope, it’s not true! You can have one listing in your shop and sell a TON of it because you’re driving your own traffic. Etsy may like it because you keep selling it, so they keep showing it, and then they keep showing it some more, and you keep on selling it!
In general, it is better to have more listings on Etsy, which “rolls the dice more.” If you’ve got more listings to choose from then you have a more likely chance of being shown. But, there’s no guarantee that if you get to a certain number of listings then your sales will take off.
Etsy Myth 2: There is too much competition you just can’t be successful in Etsy.
Incorrect. There’s competition if you’re searching for “women’s jewelry.” But if you’re searching for “baptism gift for the baby from the godparents,” there’s very little competition for that. So it’s all about your keywords. Anybody can sell things (and there’s a lot that goes into that) but people still buy things that are in competitive categories. Is it more difficult? Well, yes – but it’s still possible.
What if I make my own website?
Getting off Etsy, because you think it’s too competitive? Well, with your own website, you’re now competing with the internet… so good luck! No, Etsy isn’t too competitive, it’s just how you go about it.
It’s important to keep in mind that you need to “niche down” in certain markets. You wouldn’t just say “Uh, I sell jewelry.” Yeah, that’s fine but people aren’t going to find you for that. You really need to be much more descriptive about what you’re actually selling. As people go through the sales process they’re going to start searching for jewelry, but eventually, they’re going to land on exactly what it is they’re trying to find. And that’s when you want your listing to show up; right when they’re ready to click that purchase button!
Etsy Myth 3: Being in a different country can slow your sales.
That’s not quite true, rank-wise. Canada has localized search which means that if you are selling in Canada, your listings are going to be shown to Canadian customers before American customers in Canada. Doesn’t that seem kind of like it’s an advantage? There may be anecdotal evidence that this has slowed sales from the U.S., but it could be other stuff. As far as placing in search, it doesn’t have any effect on U.S. searches. You can see international shops all the time because the U.S. doesn’t have localized search where we see only American results first. This one might be a toss-up. Etsy may tend to show people things that are closer to them.
What about shipping costs?
Here’s a good point: It costs more to ship from a different country, and it definitely takes longer (which can certainly affect your sales). $30 to ship something that costs $20 is going to slow things down!
Etsy Myth 4: If you don’t run ads on Etsy, they will lower your ranking.
Ads just don’t seem to convert for me, should I run them anyways so I don’t get dinged for not running them?
No! You don’t get dinged for not running ads. Kara Buntin doesn’t run ads in any of her shops, so let’s use her as an example.
She has sales in all three of her shops:
- Her first shop is old with a lot of sales.
- Her second shop is brand new last year and has a fair number of sales (when she makes an effort).
- And her last shop is a digital shop that just kind of sits there and sells about one thing a day.
Kara doesn’t run ads in any of them and it doesn’t really matter. You may think that Etsy has this mentality, “If you run ads, we’re going to show you better in search results” — but it doesn’t work like that. The organic search results algorithm is different from the ads algorithm. If you sell things through ads it sure will help that listing’s visibility, but Etsy isn’t going to punish you for not running ads.
Don’t run ads if you can’t afford them. They don’t work for everybody.
Etsy Myth 5: Placing your shop in Vacation Mode will hurt your sales.
This is 100% true as they emailed me and told me that my shop would no longer rank where it used to in search results.
Well, that’s true when you first come back from Vacation Mode, because Etsy uses recent activity as one of the ranking factors for your search placement. So, if you’ve been on vacation you won’t have any recent activity. This means Etsy is going to be missing a whole chunk of information that affects your ranking.
It doesn’t take very long to get back to your normal activity if you do certain things when you come back from Vacation Mode. It’s not a permanent situation – it’s just temporary and you just have to plan for it. There are certain things you’re going to have to do when you come back from vacation mode to get your sales going again and get the activity up.
Etsy Myth 6: If your keyword is in your title, you don’t have to repeat it in your tags.
But then I also hear the opposite. Which one’s true?
It depends on the keyword. If it’s a keyword that you think is really accurate and relevant for that listing then you should put it in your tags too. And if you do your keyword research, and you find which word order is good, put it in your title and tags in exactly the same word order. Etsy has said, that’s one of the strongest signals that you can use to tell them “yes this is a really good keyword and that’s what this thing is!”
Etsy Myth 7: Punctuation in your title can affect your ranking.
What about commas vs. bars when I’m separating my keyword in my title? Does it make a difference from one to the other?
To be safe, Kara Buntin just writes everything like a sentence. This is how she’s always done it because you have to take the computer and the customer into account. As long as you’re giving the machine the keywords, you can still phrase it as a readable sentence for a customer and they won’t stop and say “What did I just read?” which a lot of people do with a lot of Etsy titles. We’ve heard people say “don’t put a period in your title because it won’t read anything past the period.” Well, this makes absolutely no sense (especially if you include measurements in your titles)! Just use good grammar and you’ll be fine.
Don’t confuse the shoppers.
Etsy Myth 8: Opening more than one shop using the “40 Free Listings” perk will shut down both shops.
Nope, shouldn’t be a problem! If anything, Etsy is just going to charge you $8 to make up for that, but that probably wouldn’t even happen (it’s most likely not a high priority to Etsy). If you’re really concerned about something when it comes to Etsy, you can write to them, call, or even chat! Anytime Kara talks to them they say “Please tell people that they can talk to us and ask us questions!”
Etsy Myth 9: Etsy doesn’t care about Vintage Sellers.
Etsy does care about vintage sellers. While you may think Etsy doesn’t care, they do! We’ve heard “Etsy doesn’t care about supplies,” but we’re pretty sure Etsy talks more about vintage than they do supplies. Etsy even has commercials with vintage in them!
“On a scale of 1-10, how much does Etsy care about vintage sellers?”😂
Here’s Kara’s thoughts. Josh Silverman, the CEO of Etsy, does investor presentations from his home and he has a set of Hardy Boys vintage books on his bookshelf. So, Josh must enjoy vintage! Kara’s also pretty sure that Etsy people love vintage because we’re all a bunch of hipsters. I know she’s not wrong about me!
Here’s the thing though. Just like anything else on Etsy, you have to do the work to get noticed. You can’t just put something up and expect people to beat a path to your doorway. With vintage, you have to do the work just like everybody else.
Well, that does it, folks. Another list of Etsy myths, busted! Have a myth in mind that we didn’t cover? Put it in the comment section below and it could be included in our next myth video!
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One reply on “Are you a victim to these Etsy myths?”
Hi Kara, thanks for writing this. With regards to;
“Etsy Myth 2: There is too much competition you just can’t be successful in Etsy”
The question is, how do you develop the long-tail search phrases? And to specific to the product you are trying to sell. I would tend to think you would want targeted traffic to come to your shop for your product.
With a very general search phrase of
“baptism gift for the baby from the godparents,”
wouldn’t get a lot of traffic that isn’t interested in your product if you are selling a piece of jewelry? Maybe instead use “cross necklace jewelry for baptism gift from the godparents” Just a thought.