Today we’re talking in depth about long tail keywords for Etsy sellers. We cover questions like What exactly are long tail keywords? Why should I use them in my shop? How do I find good long tail keywords and how do I apply them to my listings? Stick around for some sweet long tail goodness and to find more Etsy shop success!
Long tail keywords for Etsy sellers are what we’re all about today. This really is a very misunderstood topic. A lot of creatives and sellers on Etsy don’t know what to make of long tail keywords or how to use them. They are very valuable, but if you have no idea what you’re doing, they can lead you in the wrong direction.
What is a long tail keyword anyway? A long tail keyword is a more specific search phrase that is a combination of multiple keywords. An example of this would be “boho festival jewelry”. You can get even more specific with long tail keywords than this and an example would be “boho festival jewelry for people who like to go to loud music festivals”. This would be a SUPER long SUPER specific long tail keyword.
What are their qualities?
There are some qualities that go along with long tail keywords for Etsy sellers. One of these qualities is that fewer people will be using these long tail keywords in their searches. Why? Because they’re more specific. So, you have this balance where a lot of people can search using the keyword “jewelry” which is just one very broad word that casts a very large net. But, what exactly is being searched for with the keyword “jewelry”? Gold, silver, bracelet, earrings…it’s SO broad. The chances of a buyer actually purchasing a listing from this super broad keyword are pretty slim. Eventually, they’ll start to narrow things down because usually, they will have something in mind before they begin their search. This is where long tail keywords come into play.
The range that it is
Usually, if a shopper finds you with a long tail keyword, the chances of them buying your product are much higher. The problem with keywords are, there’s a range. On the one end, where you have one keyword in the search phrase, it’s super broad. There’s a lot of activity and searches on these broad keywords, but very few purchases. On the opposite end of this range, the keywords are SUPER specific. There might be one person in the entire world that will type in this super specific keyword. They may not have even searched for it yet, but you as the seller are sitting there with your fingers crossed hoping that one magical day, that one buyer will type it in and find your listing.
The promised land
Somewhere in the middle of this range is the happy place you want to be in. This is where you want to find your keywords and where keyword research comes into play. You want something that’s specific enough that people will search it and the results will be what they’re really looking for. You don’t want something that’s SO specific that there aren’t enough people searching it for you to even be visible.
This gets into the sales funnel that we’ve talked about before and people’s shopping patterns. A while ago, Gordon sat down with a handful of people and watched them shop on Etsy. One of these people was Gordon’s friend Alex. Alex was shopping for his wife and didn’t know what he wanted to buy for her. He started his search with something SUPER broad like “handmade” just to get an idea of what his options might be. From there, he stumbled across “soap” which he knew his wife would love. This lead Alex to change his search to handmade soap related keywords, which lead him to find that there are many different scents that come along with handmade soap.
Low and behold, not only are there different scented soap options, but there are variety packs! Since Alex wasn’t positive which scent his wife would like best, he thought the variety pack was a great option. Now, Alex switched to handmade soap variety packs. Alex is officially pretty far down his search path and is entering much more specific phrases for what he’s looking to purchase than what he originally started his search with.
We’re more alike than we think
Thinking of this example and what your shoppers might be using can be very helpful. Often you will be very similar to your customer in your searching habits. Obviously not always, but more often than you may think. We all have similar shopping behaviors which is why Etsy spends so much time doing testing in different shopper scenarios. Etsy realizes that a majority of shoppers behave very similarly.
Something to be aware of is this: the behavior of searching using long tail keywords is being rewarded across the board. This starts with Google. The more words you give Google describing what you’re looking for, the more accurate their results for you as a searcher are going to be. The same thing is going to be true of Amazon and Etsy and any other place you’re going to search. The more information the shopper can provide straight to the search engine regarding what they’re looking for, the easier the search engine can find more accurate matches and offer those back to the searcher or consumer.
The activity of doing this is training searchers that the more information they provide, the less junk they’ll have to wade through and the faster they’ll find what they’re looking for. Providing more information to a search engine, giving it more specific words and phrases is almost like applying a filter…before actually applying a filter. It’s filtering at the search level.
Bringing it back around
So, going back to you as an Etsy seller. Since using long tail keywords are like applying a filter, your direct competition for those keywords will be lower too. Why? Because there are fewer listings that will be using those keywords. You definitely want lower competition. The way Etsy cycles your listings through to shoppers in search is going to be more rapid if you have less competition. Of course, there’s always that caveat where you don’t want to be SO specific that hardly anyone is searching for what you’re using. If this is the case, you’ll be no better off than if you’re using a super broad keyword. In fact, using long tail keywords that are extremely specific can be more detrimental than using super broad keywords. At least with the super broad keywords, you’ll eventually be cycled through as opposed to never ever being found with super specific keywords. It all goes back to that happy medium with your long tail keywords.
Good grief! HOW DO I KNOW?!
Ok, so not too broad, not too specific. Got it. So…what keywords do you use? How do you know if you’re in a good range? How do you know if two bars or three bars in Marmalead are ok concerning your long tail keywords? Basically, the only way to know is to do those keyword searches inside of Marmalead and compare them. Get a feel for your market, because every market will be uniquely different. It will depend on what you’re selling, on how many people will be searching for your products in your market and what words they’re using to describe it.
If you’re selling “boho festival jewelry” that’s going to be very different from selling “Harry Potter slime” on Etsy. If you’re comparing keywords that revolve around “Harry Potter slime” to “boho festival jewelry” you might have the very best keywords for boho festival jewelry, but they’re not going to be as good as the keywords for “Harry Potter slime” because maybe right now, Harry Potter and Slime are very popular keywords with tons of search volume and engagement. Now, of course, the keywords for “boho festival jewelry” will be better for boho festival jewelry than if you called your boho festival jewelry “Harry Potter slime”…that’s not gonna go over well because folks searching for slime don’t want to see jewelry. But, this is where it’s more of an art than a science:) You have to know what’s in your market. And when we say better keywords, we’re talking strictly about searches and engagement. Some keywords like “slime” will have crazy high competition which make them not great keywords.
There are some other important facts to know about long tail keywords for Etsy. Something important to realize is that just because you may have found a listing for another seller on Etsy that is selling really well does NOT mean that a particular keyword you see on that listing is what’s making it sell. Could it be that keyword? Yes. But, it really depends.
You really can’t go search for a long tail keyword on Etsy, look at those listings, say, “Hey this has a lot of views!” and assume it’s a great keyword. In reality, the more specific that keyword is, the less likely it is that those views actually came from it. The reason is this: let’s say this listing with this specific keyword has 5,000 views or visits. They’re all coming from multiple places. The number you’re seeing is simply the sum total.
Now, you might be that one random person that typed in one of these really long search phrases for the very first time on Etsy. Of course, Etsy will bring results back to you with listings because that’s what Etsy does. So you click on one of those listings. Now, the seller of this listing can see that they were found by your super random and long tail keyword that you just happened to type in. Does this make your random keyword awesome? No. Because all those other views are coming from other keywords.
Etsy shop stats
This brings us around to your Etsy shop stats. If you’re not going into your Etsy stats to look at your listings, you need to be. Specifically what we’re talking about is, when you go to Manage Your Listings in your Etsy shop, if you go to any one of those listings, you can see stats specific to whatever listing you chose. It’s VERY important that you know how to do this and actually take the time to do it on your listings. The reason being that this is the best way to measure whether your keywords are working for you.
You can no longer look at rank (because it’s dead) and you can’t look at sales alone. You’ll get way more information from your shop stats than you will from your sales numbers. Make sure you’re looking at the section that shows you the keywords you’ve been found for. This is THE BEST WAY to keep track of changes you’ve made to your keywords and see whether they’re actually working for you or not. This data is straight from Etsy and they’re feeding it right back to you as a seller. It’s important to remember that just because something is working for someone else, does NOT mean it will work for you. Especially where keywords are concerned.
What we’re saying
What we’re trying to get across here is this: we don’t ever want you to think someone else is seeing success from a particular keyword without any basis for it. We don’t want you to run off and waste your time trying to use that keyword on your listings, only to later wonder why it’s not working for you.
So what do you do?!
The thing about long tail keywords for Etsy is that you’ll get found for them if you’re doing your keywords right. The one-off searches and the very specific or low volume keywords, like we said, have lower direct competition. They ARE longer phrases of the keywords you should be targeting. Again, imagine that line where on one end are really broad keywords and on the other end are really specific keywords. You want to be targeting the ones in that happy spot in the middle of the line.
When you’re doing this right and your shoppers are typing in those really specific long tail keywords, Etsy will look at your listings too and say, “Oh, if we put these keywords together, it’s a great fit for this really specific keyword this shopper typed in.” When this happens, you’re thrown into this pool and you’re viewed for it anyway. You also get the benefit of the search volume that’s coming from the keywords you’re actually targeting in that happy middle spot.
Bringing it back around
Of course, we want to tie this back to your Etsy shop stats. If you go look at that table on your listings and you see that there are keywords in there that you don’t have in your title and tags, you might be thinking “How the heck does this work? How am I getting views from a keyword I didn’t even use?” What we mentioned above is this exact thing in action. This is how Etsy operates. It doesn’t have to be a one for one match all of the time.
Now, if you do have a one for one match with what shoppers are typing in, that’s fantastic and gives you a much better relevancy score. But, you can see how those keywords Etsy shows you in your listings stats table will track back to the individual keywords you’re using and you’ll be able to see how they loosely match up together. This also allows you to get “accidental” hits. You might not be directly targeting them in your title or tags but you can see how they are derivative of the keywords you are targeting.
Use those exact one to one matches for the more competitive keywords that you’re explicitly targeting. When you do well there, those other keywords are gonna come along with it.
To make it simple: choose keywords that are specific enough to be targeted to a potential shopper, yet not so specific that no one is searching it. If you can do that, you’ll win search engine success on Etsy, which is what you’re really looking for in order to up your sales! Once you get this locked down, sellers will be finding you 24/7.
More thoughts on long tail keywords for Etsy sellers
Remember, it’s all about that balance. You’ll want to find a happy spot of how many long tail keywords to include in your listings. We wouldn’t suggest necessarily packing every single one of your tags with a long tail keyword. It could make sense in some situations to use shorter/normal keywords. Again, this all goes back to how people are searching. Your long tail keywords are hopefully being hit by a significant amount of shoppers. But, different people have different ways of describing things.
So, let’s say that some people swap in a word or swap out a word. For example, your keyword is “beaded boho festival necklace” and someone types in “beaded boho festival jewelry”. If you include “jewelry” as one of your tags, you’ll probably have a tough time getting views and sales from that “jewelry” keyword alone. This is because of how competitive the “jewelry” space is. But, by doing that (adding the word jewelry into your tags), if someone searches for “beaded boho festival jewelry”, then your listing would be a good consideration for this search result because you’ve included a lot of those same keywords in your listing. By including that extra jewelry tag, you can attract some of those other searches that are similar to your long tail searches.
As always, make sure to listen to this week’s Jam with Gordon and Richie. There are always extra details there that we don’t include in our blog write up. Also, don’t forget this is the last Jam for April! Make sure you listen to this week’s Jam in order to find that last Easter Egg. Then, write into firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what all the Easter Eggs were for April. The first person to write in with the correct names and the correct amount of Easter Eggs will win an awesome prize!
Happy selling, everyone!
16 replies on “Long Tail Keywords for Etsy Sellers – What You Need to Know”
ETSY Tags are limited to 20 characters–long tail tags cannot be very long!
Thanks for reaching out! You’re correct that tags are limited to 20 characters, but when you’re targeting longer tailed keywords you’ll need to break them up for your tags. Let’s say that your keyword is Silver Starfish Necklace. You have a couple of options for breaking this up. You could break it into Silver Starfish and Necklace or you could use Silver and Starfish Necklace. Either is fine as long as you’re able to match the tag back on to the title like a puzzle piece (you can’t skip or add words if you’re going after that exact match). Hope that helps, but reach out to us at Success@Marmalead if you have more questions or need more info.
That was exactly my first thought, too, 20 characters limitation. So if you have to break up the keywords, you can’t make “long tail keywords”. Just a sequence of keywords. Sorry, to me this was a super long article that didn’t do the job… Only your response answered what is really going on. That explanation should be in the article itself…
The long tail keywords you target are in your title and you’ll break them up only for your tags. This means you’re still targeting longer keyword/search phrases, you just have to break them up in your tags to work-around the 20 character tag limit. Hope that helps, but reach out to us at Success@Marmalead.com if you need more info or have more questions.
Does this mean, I should construct my title, then break it up to put in my tags in title order? But what I words are repeated in the long tails in the title? think a full worked example would be really helpful. Thanks
Thanks for your explanation of long tail keyword phrases. The examples you used “handmade soap variety packs” and “beaded boho festival jewelry” have less than 50 views/engagement per month. Wouldn’t these be considered poor longtail keyword phrase choices? It seems that the only keyword phrases with any views and engagement are the more specific keyword phrases, “handmade soap” and “boho jewelry. For jewelry, I find this to be the case 9 times out of 10.
I very carefully read this article and found it extremely helpful. Since I have been using marmalead the number of visits to my shop has doubled. I would love to be on one of your podcasts someday! Thank you for all this great information!
Very interesting stuff.
ONE? What do you mean by “one off search” in the paragraph titled “So what do you do?”
TWO? As you state, “the key words you’ve been found for”, are these the ones in the orange boxes under customers? So there’s one group of these not a set for each of my items?
Just a few questions…first, can you please tell me when Etsy released these new SEO tips? Today, 9.21.18, I logged into Marmalead and was greeted with a pop up window that said Etsy had just released new SEO tips for long tail keywords. I have yet to dive into the seller handbook to check for myself. Second, can you explain how Marmalead grades our listings for long tail? For the listing I’m looking at now, for example, “double layered” is graded positively as long tail, while “initial necklace” is graded poorly as “not long tail”. Judging from my own knowledge of my products and keyword research that doesn’t appear to be trustworthy grading. I don’t understand why Marmalead is pulling such poor “focus keywords” from my titles. Another listing for example begins with “gold morse code bracelet”. Some of the poorly graded “focus keywords” Marmalead pulled from that title are “morse code” and “code bracelet”. “Morse code bracelet” seems like an OK long tail keyword – why didn’t Marmalead grade that? I love Marmalead for keyword research, but I need to understand this before I can put faith in the grades my listings have been given.
Thanks for reaching out and we’re sorry you’re frustrated. We know that change isn’t ever easy but we’re glad we were able to work hand in hand with Etsy to make sure these changes are in direct alignment with the changes they’ve made to Etsy search. You can read all about them in their brand new Ultimate Guide to Etsy Search.
Okay, so first, the way you go about researching keywords isn’t very different now than it was before. Just now, you’re looking to be more specific or niche with the keywords you apply and focus on. So instead of using broader searches you’d work to get more specific or niche with your focus keywords and your tags. *With that said, if something is already working for you, let it keep working. You always want to start with your lowest performing listings first and work out from there.*
A lot of times when you get more niche with your keywords, your search and engagement numbers will go down because by definition, a niche keyword is targeting a smaller group of people. But those people in that niche are more primed to buy (since they’re looking for something specific) which is why Etsy is encouraging you to use niche keywords because they want your items in front of shoppers who are actually clicking and buying instead of in front of shoppers who are doing very broad searches and not exactly sure what they want yet.
So which do you want more? Long tail or good search and engagement? Remember that you’re looking for a balance. Try not to bottom out the search and engagement meters and try also not to top out the competition meters. Ideally, these keywords will be long tail also so you’re targeting shoppers that are ready to buy. But remember that balance is key!
Now let’s work to define some the terms in case that’s a point of contention.
Long tail keywords aren’t just about making keywords long. It’s about using keywords that target a niche and have a certain amount of specificity. So that means there is no cut and dry definition for what a long tail keyword will look like. Marmalead uses machine learning to study keywords and decide if they’re a long tail keyword or not. The machine learning generates a model based on multiple factors like what the Etsy market looks like for that keyword, what the search landscape looks like for that keyword, and what the keyword phrase itself looks like. But ultimately, it’s a lot more complicated than how many words make up a keyword. A good example is“Gift for her”, that’s a three word search phrase but it’s definitely not long tail because it isn’t specific at all and it isn’t targeting a niche. The results of that search would include hundreds of different kinds of items. So now that you have a better idea about what long tail is, now let’s look at what a focus keyword is.
Focus keywords are tags that are in your title, and any keywords in your title that can be recreated by combining two of your tags. So for example:
Say a listing is titled “Large Coffee Mug with Stirrers”. And let’s say the tags are “large coffee mug”and “mug with stirrers”.
Its Focus Keywords are going to be “large coffee mug with stirrers”, “large coffee mug”, and “mug with stirrers”. Those are all long tail keywords on their own so it’s going to have a high score in our Long tail Focus Keyword metric.
Long Tail Tags:
So now you’ve got a few long tail focus keywords and you’ve matched them exactly in your tags. But Etsy gives you 13 tag opportunities, so you want to do your best to be diverse with those tags and target as many different relevant tags as possible…and you also want to make sure that you make as many of those remaining tags as you can long tail.
So overall let’s look at how scoring works:
The way scoring works is we look at all of your focus keywords – tags that appear in your title. Those focus keywords get scored on whether or not they’re long tail like Etsy suggests they should be. If half of them are long tail, you’ll score 50% for “Long Tail Focus Keywords.” If all of them are long tail (great!) you’ll score 100% for “Long Tail Focus Keywords.” The REST of your tags which do not match your title are scored under “Long Tail Tags.” This way each of your keywords is scored exactly once. The focus keywords are worth more of your overall grade than tags since those are the ones your listing is targeting more than others.
I’m hoping all of this is helpful for you and helps but as always, reach out if you have more questions or if there’s anything you need cleared up!
I’m still in a fog on this. Are the king tail keywords part of the description? Drowning in words.
Hi Jane! Long tail keywords can be apart of your titles, tags, and your description. It’s basically where you put two or more keyword phrases together to create a longer, more specific keyword. So if you sell necklaces for instance, you might use a regular keyword like “Gold Necklace” in your tags, title, and descriptions. This is a basic keyword that has tons of competition on Etsy, so it’ll be really tough to rank high in Etsy search. You’d be better off using long tail keywords like “Dainty Rose Gold Cross Necklace.”
This keyword is for a specific buyer that’s:
1.) Looking for a necklace
2.) Looking for rose gold
3.) Looking for dainty jewelry
4.) Looking for a cross charm
In other words long tail keywords get pretty specific when they describe exactly what it is you’re selling. Once you’ve found some long tail keywords you want to use for your listings, you’ll pair them up in your tags; maybe like this: “Dainty Rose Gold” + “Cross Necklace” (among your total 13 tags for your listing). If these are your most important keywords you can use them again in your listing Title and in the first sentence of your Listing Description.
We hope this info is a least somewhat helpful! Long tail keywords (and overall Etsy SEO) is a pretty in-depth concept to wrap your head around. Here’s a video where we go into more detail on Etsy’s recent SEO changes while offering some helpful beginner SEO tips: https://youtu.be/vhRZGXt2-0Y
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Thank you. I found this article very helpful
We’re so happy you did! Thanks for reading🍊