Etsy SEO Changes 2018 is here! Etsy has just released a shiny new SEO guide. In this jam, we cover three key takeaways from this guide and what they mean to you as an Etsy seller. We also discuss changes to Marmalead to help you maximize Etsy’s new suggestions and get ahead of your competition. Continue reading to learn more about how you can have Etsy shop success with Marmalead!
The first thing: Renewing Listings
The first takeaway we’re going to chat about has to do with renewing listings. Etsy is now suggesting that sellers optimize their listings for conversion rather than spending time on renewing them. They even mention that you’re probably not going to see a whole lot of benefit from renewing your listings anymore. In the past, if you had your SEO teed up and you were picking the right keywords, just by spending a little money and renewing a listing, you got a nice little bump in visibility. You could move up a little bit in search results and be seen by more people.
That now seems to have slipped by the wayside. Some people have reported that they’re not seeing that same impact of renewing listings. Etsy is now confirming this. They’re saying that they don’t really want you to lean on that anymore.
A side note
First, we’ll cover the three key points in the Etsy Guide. Then, we want to take you through some changes that we’ve made inside of Marmalead. We want to do this to make sure you guys are taking full advantage of these new guidelines from Etsy.
The second thing: Title Length
The next thing that Etsy talks about in their guide is title length. Etsy gives you 140 characters for your titles, but it sounds like they don’t want you to necessarily use all 140 characters of your title. They say that although it’s important to be descriptive and use relevant keywords and phrases, sellers should strive for titles that are short, concise, easy to read, and that effectively describe the item. This is news to us as they haven’t really gone so far as to recommend that titles be short and concise before. Obviously, it makes good sense to have an easy to read title for shoppers who are visiting your listings. But, the idea that they’re hoping that titles are short and concise is a new one.
The third thing: Long Tail Keywords
Another main thing that they talked about in the guide is a focus on long tail keywords. This is kinda a buzzword that’s been thrown around quite a bit lately. People have known that it’s good to target longtail keywords. You might not be getting as many views from using longtail keywords, but the quality of views that you’re going to get should increase. Your conversion rate should see an increase as well. This is the first time, however, that Etsy has officially said, “Hey guys! You should be focusing on longtail keywords!” They said it makes a lot more sense to focus on these longtail keywords instead of trying to compete for more popular generic searches like “jewelry” or “bracelet”.
Back to the first: Renewing Listings
Let’s go back to the first change we talked about which is renewing listings. We want to share some of the changes that are live right now in Marmalead to help you maximize these suggestions that Etsy is making.
Bye bye birdie
For renewing listings, given that this is something that Etsy is saying doesn’t have the same impact as it did before, what we’ve done inside of Marmalead is to remove renewal recency from being a factor in your grades. Previously in Marmalead, if you went into your listing and then went to your listing detail view, there was a bar that showed you how recently that listing was renewed. As time went on the bar would continue to go down the longer the time between renewals went. This would actually hurt your grade because we knew that Etsy liked to see fresh listings. Hey, good news! That bar is now gone and it is no longer included in how we are grading listings inside of Marmalead.
All about that shipping, bout that shipping, no renewing
Another change you’ll notice for renewing listings inside of Marmalead is on the search results page. In the past, if you did a keyword search in Marmalead, in the section where you see high-level data there was a box that showed average renewals. This would share with you the results that came back from Etsy and their API regarding how often on average those listings were being renewed. But since Etsy is moving away from renewals as a factor in optimization, that information is now gone and we have replaced it with percent free shipping because we know that Etsy is encouraging sellers to use free shipping.
So, at a glance, you can see for that keyword landscape what percentage of those are offering free shipping. Etsy breaks down shipping by country, so we’re showing shipping where it’s being shipped to the country of origin. For example, if it’s made in the US it’s being shipped in the US and shipping is free. We’re not going to indicate if it’s being made in the US and being shipped to Canada because that’s international shipping and of course that will cost money. We’re limiting this right now to items that have free shipping when they’re shipped within the country where they’re made.
Back to the second: Title Length
The next big thing we covered in the guide was title length. Again, this is the first time Etsy has gotten into the game of suggesting shorter and concise titles. So, how are we addressing this inside of Marmalead? One of the things we’re allowing you to do now is to quickly spot check your titles for mobile viewing on each of your listings. If you have used the Etsy mobile app to shop on Etsy before, you’re familiar with the fact that titles are cut off quite a bit. If I do a search in their mobile app it pulls back a bunch of listings and it doesn’t show very much of my title at all. It shows about 20-30 characters of my title and that’s it in the mobile view.
Then, if I click into the listing, depending on what device I’m on, depending on how large my screen is and how large my font size is set to, it’s going to show another chunk of my listing title. But in most cases, it’s still not going to show the entire listing title. It’s not going to show you the full 140 characters.
We want you to get a good sense of what your titles are going to look like to someone who’s shopping on a mobile device. So, we have now added inside of Marmalead a place you can quickly see where we estimate those breakpoints are going to be and which words in your title are actually going to make it into Etsy’s mobile app, which is what you want to focus on. Why? Because more than sixty percent of shoppers are using the mobile app to shop and that number is growing rapidly. So you don’t want to leave out mobile shoppers when you’re writing your titles.
All about the phone
People have been doing more and more things on mobile and Etsy knows this. They’re investing a lot of their own resources and beefing up their mobile experience for shoppers as well as sellers. It makes sense to be aware of what’s being presented to the majority of shoppers on Etsy in regards to your title. It’s the first text that someone can read about your listing. They see the photo, they see the price, and then the title. It’s the window into your listing. Since mobile shoppers make up 60% of Etsy shoppers, you want to know if they’re seeing words that are cut off weird, have funky delimiters, or if the words at the very front of your title aren’t reflecting what you’re wanting them to see right away.
Not too long, not too short
Also, for listing title length we are using the average lengths that we’re seeing Etsy show inside of the mobile app to give you a metric for your title length. If it’s too long (meaning it will definitely be cut off inside the mobile app) we’re going to show you that. If it’s too short and you should beef it up more we’ll show you that too. There’s a good green zone in there that you should be aiming for with your title lengths.
Similar to the description scores you see inside of Marmalead, the title information that we show is not included in your overall grade. For now, those are just nice things to know. They’re things that can help you optimize for sales. It’s not a factor in your SEO. But it helps with readability and it helps customers be able to understand your listings better. It doesn’t have a direct impact on your grade for it to be an important factor in your overall strategy.
The other things we’ve added around title length in Marmalead are inside your listing details section. We’ve added some of the features that we have for descriptions themselves. You can see what the readability looks like for your title! If you’re using a lot of unnecessarily big words with multiple syllables, it’s going to bump your reading level up and your overall readability will likely go down.
We’ve always shown this for descriptions but now you can see it for titles as well. We also show your sentiment which is how positive or neutral or negative the words in your title tend to be. Again, you’re probably familiar with this from descriptions, we’ve just pulled it down into your title section too since it seems like Etsy’s putting a lot of weight on titles now and making some suggestions around them. As a seller, it would be good to pay attention to that.
Fewer tags but higher quality
The biggest impact under the title length section is something that DOES affect listing grades inside of Marmalead. Previously in Marmalead, we recommended that you have six or seven tags in your title because as we all know, the more tags you match with your title the stronger you’re targeting those keywords. But encouraging a higher number of tags in a title kind of goes against what Etsy is now recommending. So we’ve completely removed that. You are no longer suggested to have a certain number of tags inside of your titles. However, the tags that you DO include in your title need to be higher quality, which we’ll get into more a little farther down.
Back to the third: Long Tail Keywords
The biggest thing you’ll notice for long tail keywords is when you do a keyword search in Marmalead, boom, right across the top is going to be an indicator of whether or not the keyword you searched is a long tail keyword. Now, when we were getting into this we were trying to find a good definition of what a long tail keyword really is. It’s one of those things where you’ll know it when you see it, right? I can look at a keyword and tell you whether or not that seems like a long tail keyword. But, to look at a word right off the bat and programmatically know whether it should be considered long tail or not wasn’t a trivial task.
Doing our research
So, we were looking at other references online. Some people define long tail keywords as three or more words. We got to thinking about that. Some tags that people use like “gift for her” or “gift for him” are three-word combinations. But we don’t think anyone on the planet would suggest that either one of those is actually a long tail keyword. Purely looking at the length of the keyword wasn’t a good indicator. What we actually ended up doing was to take a ton of different factors into consideration.
We then put them through some awesome machine learning stuff and it came back with a model that can accurately predict whether or not, based on not only the Etsy market landscape but the Etsy searcher landscape (the activity of people searching on Etsy), a keyword or search phrase is long tailed. It’s a balance of all these different factors. At the end of the day, Marmalead is able to show you for any keyword whether or not we predict if it’s going to be a long tail keyword or not.
In case you don’t know
For anyone who is not familiar with what this long tail keyword business is, it’s basically this: you’re trying to target a much more niche market. Something that fewer people are searching for and that fewer people are interested in. But when you get those people and you’re targeting their exact terminology, they’re your ideal buyer. This is because you’ve given them exactly what they’re looking for. It goes back to the sales funnel that Richie always talks about.
On a journey through the funnel
You’re walking through the mall, not sure exactly what you’re looking for and decide, maybe you want to look for jewelry. So you start looking for jewelry stores in general. You find the store you want and you start looking at specific kinds of jewelry. Your search becomes narrower and narrower and narrower. You started your quest by looking for jewelry, but jewelry doesn’t actually lead you to the purchase. Your purchase is coming from when you get to that very specific moment of deciding exactly what kind of jewelry you’re interested in.
For ages now
People have been doing this on Google for forever. Google much prefers that you have long tail keywords. They know that people type a whole mess of things into the Google search bar. The better they can show results that are targeting exactly what people are searching for, the easier time the people that are searching are going to have in finding those results. And the easier time the content providers are going to have being matched up with people who are legitimately interested in their specific content. Especially since most people don’t scroll past the first page of Google. It’s the same way for Etsy, the shopper is only going to scroll through so many results before they decide to redo the search they were doing.
Back to long tail keywords in Marmalead
So, for long tail keywords, you do a search in Marmalead and right at the top, right above the Marmameters, it tells you right off the bat if it’s long tail or not long tail. We also show that in the Comparison Tool. You can quickly throw in four different keywords and see which ones are registering as being long tail keywords. It’s a metric that will help you decide between those different keywords.
Something else we changed inside of Marmalead is the Marmameters. Those bars that show you the number of searches and amount of engagement and competition that the different keywords are enjoying from Etsy shoppers. In the past, the Marmameters would give you a good spread of low searches, high searches, low engagement, and high engagement.
People that were targeting long tail keywords inside of Marmalead noticed that often times these long tail keywords have fewer searches than the behemoths out there like “jewelry”. You’re going to find an insane number of people that are searching for jewelry. Now, those people don’t generally go on to purchase right from that search. They’re almost always going to be purchasing based off of a search that they do later that is a much more specific search. But, that crazy high search volume is why those numbers come out so high.
It wouldn’t be uncommon for sellers to look at something that has full search and engagement bars and think it’s a perfect keyword. What they might not be seeing there is, almost all the time when that happens, you’d also be seeing full-on competition and your competition meter would be red and totally topped out. Normally this means there are over 50,000 results coming back which is exactly what Etsy doesn’t want you to target.
So, we’ve adjusted the meters so that when you’re looking for long tail keywords, you’re not stuck looking at one or two bars of searches or engagement when you have a legitimately good long tail keyword in front of you. You could get full bars from a long tail keyword for search and engagement and even the average keyword should have an average number of bars for search and engagement. This should be a whole lot more comforting to people who are trying to find good long tail keywords and not freaking out because search and engagement are so much lower.
All in the details
And for the eagle-eyed people out there, you may have noticed that the comparison bars in the Marmameters are slightly taller now. We did this to hopefully highlight that exact situation when you’ve done a keyword search that’s pulled back 50,000 or more search results and your competition is blown red. You don’t want to be targeting that keyword. You won’t have a good time with that one:)
The other place we show these are inside of Listing Details. If you go into your listings and you click on any of your listings inside of Marmalead, at the very bottom of that page we show you a tags table that shows all the tags that you’re using on that listing. Next to each one of those now is a little dot that tells you whether or not that tag is a long tail keyword. So at a glance, you can see if you’re set up right now to target long tail keywords. It also gives you a good road map of which ones aren’t long tail that you should be thinking about replacing ahead of other ones.
Again, Etsy is recommending that you use long tail keywords and more phrases in your tags instead of single word tags. Most of the time a single word is going to result in something that isn’t a long tail search and will come back with an insane amount of competition. That’s not to say that every single word is not a long tail, because we’ve found a couple single words that are in fact, long tails! Remember, don’t assume…do the research.
Shiny and new
The other place that you can see long tail keywords is again on the Listing Details page inside of this shiny new focus keywords table. This is a whole new concept inside of Marmalead, this idea of focus keywords! What is a focus keyword? Focus keywords are the keywords that your listing is currently set up to target. Now, what does that mean? Etsy’s told us that if we match our tags and our title that means we’re more strongly targeting those keywords that are in both than the ones that just exist in the title and the ones that just exist in our tags. So the focus keywords table is built to show you the tags that you’re using that exist in your title, but not only that, the two tag combos that exist inside of your title.
No more dinging
As people are searching around for keywords it’s common for them to find words or phrases that are great to use, good long tail words that have good search volume and good engagement and they see that and want to use them. But then they realize it doesn’t fit inside their twenty character tag. Now it needs to be broken up into multiple tags. Instead of dinging you for each of those two individual tags that you have to break it into, in the new focus keywords table, these are being treated (and you can even see that) as a single keyword that your listing is now set up to target. It shows you the full keyword that’s a combination of multiple tags that you’re using.
But what does it mean?!
So, how do you use this and what does this mean for you as a seller? Again, listings are no longer being graded on each individual tag. In the past, if you picked four awesome tags and your other nine tags weren’t so great, you’d take a big hit on that in your grade for your listing. That could just purely be a function of the fact that you had to split up your tags. All of those not so great tags that you were using were really just combinations of larger keywords that wouldn’t fit inside of a single tag.
No more are you going to get dinged for tags themselves that aren’t performing that well. What we want to be looking at is how well your focus keywords are performing. Your focus keywords are going to be the ones that matter the most. Those are the ones that you want to look at the search volume and engagement on and whether or not those things are long tail or not.
You can totally get an A+ on a listing by using all of your tags, matching one high-quality long tail keyword with your title, and making sure that the majority of your other tags are also long tail. This seems to be much more in line with what a lot of other coaches in the space have been recommending. Setting your listings by picking just a few keywords that you really want to match strongly instead of fitting as many in your title as you can. Now that Etsy has come out and said that yes, this is how things should be set up, we’re following that too and we want to make sure that you guys are following that inside of Marmalead as well.
Where to learn more
The guide in and of itself is the best place to start. If you haven’t read through Etsy’s new guide yet, do that. Familiarize yourself with their words directly from them. Then, whether you’re listening to our Jam on iTunes or Sticher or YouTube, or maybe reading this blog, this is a great source of information as well. And get inside our app! We always have tool tips around a lot of our stuff, so as you’re poking around and seeing all the new things in there, you can always reference back to those tool tops to see exactly what we’re trying to show with the different numbers and meters and colors…all that fun stuff 😉
Many of these things are about what’s happening right now. We’re going to have to continue to evolve with the landscape. None of what we’re doing at this moment is necessarily what we’ll be doing a year or five years from now. The marketplace will continue to evolve and Etsy will continue to evolve search. We are all going to have to continue to take advantage of whatever opportunities are in front of us at the time and keep moving forward.
As always, be sure and listen to this week’s Jam! It’s full of extra details about herb gardens and new guinea pigs that you don’t want to miss out on!
Happy selling and have fun with the new Etsy SEO changes 2018!
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