Etsy Jam Episode 2: Jen Carey

Welcome everyone to the second episode of Etsy Jam!

First before we jump in to stuff too much, I’d like to make announcement that we’ve released the worksheets we talked about last week thru an email. If you didn’t receive the email, you can login to the Marmalead website and as soon as you get on to the Keyword Search page you’ll see a link to the videos describing what the worksheets are and a link to the worksheets themselves. You can download them and start using them!

Basically what we’re trying to do with those worksheets is help you guys measure when you’re making changes to your listings whether or not those changes are actually having a positive impact.

With us here today is our guest Jen Carrey whose Etsy shop is THEmodernBAZAAR!


How did Jen get started with Etsy?

Jen: “I started beading and bought buttons and make things out of it. When I started on Etsy I thought, “Oh I’m just gonna find a shop that is really successful and I’m gonna emulate that and duplicate what they do and I’m gonna make just as much money as they are”. That wasn’t working and I think once I’ve found my authentic self in designing, I kinda started to take off. It was really good.”

How did Jen achieved success?

Jen: “It’s just working hard, being diligent with it, great customer service, and photography. You have to work your butt off, and if you do, it can be great! We support our family on it [her shop].”

Did you try selling at Craft fairs or other places online before you opened a shop on Etsy?

Jen: “No we didn’t. I was a Chemical Security Expert before this, so no. I actually quit my job last March and it’s been a year since I’m doing this full time.”

I like selling on Etsy because…

Jen: “I love what I do, I love our customers, and I love being on Etsy. They provide us with a really great opportunity. It’s even gotten better when we started using your tool!”

How do you decide what listings to attack and which listings to do research for?

Jen: “Last night, I went on and I looked up ‘personalized ring’ and I know that’s a very broad keyword but I was wondering if I can rank on that. Then I noticed that the #1 and #2 listing under ‘personalized ring‘ was a coordinate ring – which we sell. So I was like, “Huh, that says something right there, cause we’re not even ranked on ‘personalized ring’“. We don’t rank in the top 500 at all, but our competition sells $18 rings and it’s cheaper than ours (since it’s plated).

What I did is I went in and I opened up their listing. I copied their tags; I took one of my listings, I took all of my tags, figured out which ones to keep and which ones to add. I took that listing and I copied it. Then I changed my title and tags with the same keywords as theirs. From a brand new listing, I automatically created a new listing that is ranking on page 3!”

"I don't usually try to rank for 'personalized ring'. I don't like to do it if it has a lot of competition. If I find a market with low competition and people are talking about it, then that's where I wanna rank usually."

How are you deciding which keywords to keep, and which ones to scrap or borrow something else they have?

Jen: “I take out generic ones. Like ‘gold rings’ etc. I took that out and replaced it with mine like ‘coordinates’, ‘stamped rings’ and ‘personalized jewelry’.”

How often do you renew?

Jen: “I don’t even know how much I renew per day. I renew almost hourly on all my targeted listings.”

Gordon's Pro tip: If you've used our worksheet, you can modify that and start tracking how many hours and see when you might fall off of that first page. That would give you a good sense of how frequently you might need to renew things on average.

Being fresh to Etsy, teaching yourself jewelry crafting and all that can be overwhelming. Where did you go for resources for all of that, how did you know all that stuff?

Jen: “Trial and error. I read a lot, learned stuff from them, learned stuff from you guys. I do not go to the forums, that’s the only thing I don’t do on Etsy. And I’m also part of a jewelry designer community. That helps me a lot too. It’s all trial and error. Hard work and kept studying things.”

What are you doing to promote your Etsy shop?

Jen: “I use Pinterest a lot. I used to have an ad running on FB. Im not really doing much on social media but luckily we have a decent following on Facebook and Pinterest. I also use Promoted Pins a lot.”

Do you still actively seek out press opportunities? Did they just call you up or email you one day? How did that happen?

Jen: “I’ve never actively searched for anybody. We’ve been in InStyle magazine last Mother’s day and that was just people that picked us up or saw our stuff on Etsy. I have not done anything, even blog outreach.”

How do you compete with cheap versions of your jewelry?

Jen: “That’s a great question. It’s happening with our ‘gold filled’ rings. We’re competing with Etsy shops that have $18 cheap gold plated rings that they buy overseas. What I’ve done recently is that I started adding more value to my listings. I educated my customers what the difference is between a gold filled jewelry and a gold plated one. That helped. We’ve been thanked a few times for giving that information and explaining the difference between a $18 ring and a $60 ring.”

You don’t go into the Etsy forums. What lead you to steer away from the Etsy forum?

Jen: “I think it’s easy to get caught up in what’s Etsy is doing and I try not to be a part of that only because it is nerve-wracking a little bit whenever they change their algorithms. I guess I just didn’t want to jump on in any negative bandwagons. I keep thinking that if I work hard, it’s good enough.”

"We're not ones to sit on forums and complain about things. If something is changing, we just change with it."

Can you talk a little bit how you price your jewelry?

Jen: “I have a formula. I take the cost of goods, plus labor if we have people to help us polish and things like that. Also we have multipliers for wholesale prices and a multiplier for retail pricing. As far as pricing goes, I do look at my competition and this is one of those things that you can go crazy over how you compare to everybody else. If you do your thing, and you’re confident what you’re putting out there, and the reason why you do this and if you can justify the money you’re asking for, then I think you’ll do well.”

You mentioned your customer base was changing. How would you tell other sellers to recognize when your customer base is changing and how to get to know your customer base?

Jen: “To be honest, there were younger people that bought $28 bracelets from us and were leaving negative reviews. We figured they are not the age group we were targeting. We’re targeting people in their 30’s primarily, people that have this experiences that they can put on our bracelets and necklaces. People that had gotten married, had babies, bought a house, all different coordinates, people that have had a lost in their lives. I want to work with people that are having these life experiences either happy or sad. We want to be there for every event in their life.”

Jen’s why: Why she do what she does.

Jen: “My Dad died 5 years ago and I wore a charm with his name on it. I wore it on my neck for about 2 years and found such comfort in that. It became important to me to help other people that are going through these similar things that I went through. I hear sad stories everyday from customers but knowing that we are helping these people get through tough times mean everything to us. I have to stay in tuned with that and if I keep that in the front of my mind then things go well for us.”

How do you do SEO for very similar items without finding yourself competing against yourself?

Jen: “I’ll compete against myself all day long! I don’t see a problem with that.”

"I'm a firm believer that the difference between people that succeed and people that don't is just the people that do it. It's only a matter of actually doing it."
Welcome everyone to the second episode of Etsy Jam! With us here today is our guest Jen Carrey whose Etsy shop is THEmodernBAZAAR!

Etsy Jam Episode 1: Q&A

Welcome to the first episode of our weekly Etsy Jam! We have asked a couple of questions inside of our FB Group and people jumped in with their own questions. We picked them up and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.


1. With Patterns now, are the SEO algorithms for websites separate from Etsy SEO formulas? Do they market the websites more for search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo?

With Pattern, they’re serving up a separate website. The SEO for that will be completely separate than the SEO you’re used to for your listings to be found inside Etsy. The separate website is going to be on the internet. Of course, the SEO will be separate for that and people will be finding Pattern sites using search engines and the SEO for that is gonna be driven by how the SEO works for those search engines which is very different from how SEO on Etsy works.

Keep in mind with Pattern, also, is a way to be able to have a little bit of extra creative control over what your Etsy shop looks like without going to fully owned hosted like WordPress type solutions. Your normal Etsy shop not using Patterns also gets picked up by search engines, so you’re going to see that optimization for Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

2. I have a vintage jewelry shop and it’s very difficult to find optimal keywords in Marmalead for my items. It seems that market is very refined. Any suggestions for non-handmade items?

Its a lot of the same as with handmade items. You have to find and kind of step out of the uniqueness and start to think about the way people are gonna start finding your items. I know a lot of your stuff is one-of-a-kind, maybe it IS one-of-a-kind for your shop, but its not a “one-of-a-kind” in the world. I am sure there’s a problem that it solves – some solution that is gonna be consistent across other products. I would try to find those.

3. I would like to know if there’s a plan to somehow connect by correlation (maybe a factor or something) Marmalead engagement with Google Keywords. Any 3+ word strings seem to have Low or Very Low Engagement and the 2 word string ones are just too broad and there is too much competition to be realistically seen in a market like ‘jewelry’.

When you’re attacking one of these really broad keywords, typically these ones that we see like ‘jewelry’ have extraordinarily high engagement and competition level on those keywords is excruciatingly high. This spaces are super competitive and super crowded and there’s a lot of people vying for attention for keywords like jewelries. To succeed in this markets, aim for more niche sections. People are able to compete in this super duper crowded spaces but it often relies on something more than just putting the keywords at the beginning of your title and inside your tags and renewing your listings. Those are the 3 main factors which will influence your rank on Etsy.

Since this places are so crowded and so many people are doing those things, Etsy has to rely on something else to decide how to rank these listings. It could be your review scores, it could be number of sales that you have, it could be the percentage of people that convert to be customers after they visit your listings. These are the kind of details that Etsy doesn’t directly share with us – how they’re algorithm works. We know those are factors; we don’t know how they play into things. So for those really broad keywords that have a lot of competition, you might not be able to jump in right off the bat and compete in those spaces so attacking those longer string keywords is going to be your best bet even though they might have lower engagement. You’re going to be seen there more than you will if you attack those really generic keywords. Once you build up a history of reviews, sales, repeat customers, and things like that – you can try attacking those broader keywords and you might have more success in those spaces.

Furthermore, if you get ranked on page 10 for a highly engaging keyword, then you’re not really getting that true engagement. You’re not getting the views because you’re so far back. You’d be better off being on pages 1 or 2 of something not as highly engaged.

4. Is there a threshold for views per week which is a number that we share with you guys in Marmalead that would determine whether it’s good or bad? Or is this factored in with competition/listings featuring this keyword?

When we score engagement in Marmalead, we factor everything together. We’re looking at “Views per Week” which is the clearest indicator of engagement that we have from Etsy versus the amount of competition that you’re seeing in those areas. If you’re in a competitive area, that’s gonna require more views per week to drive the engagement score up. There isn’t necessarily a threshold that you should be looking at that “Views per Week” number. You should just be balancing that with the number of results that are showing up and the number of shops competing in that space to get a sense of which keywords that you’re looking at have the highest engagement against the competition.

This is the thing we’re trying to do with Marma-meters. The scaling you see there (from Very Low – Very High) is weighted to account for the crowdedness of the space you’re looking at.

5. What would you say is a good conversion rate from views to sales?

Etsy suggests that 3% conversion rate is a good target and in our Shop Fitness Calculator we’re seeing about 1.1%. The average that we’ve seen with the Shop Fitness Calculator is right around 1.1% and this is from sellers just like yourselves on Etsy reporting how many views they’ve had and how many sales they’ve had over a certain time period.

There’s a misconception about the Shop Fitness Calculator that people are saying it’s biased because the only people that are taking it are doing really well on Etsy. That’s not true. We actually have people from all walks coming to Marmalead and taking their Shop Fitness Test. So whether you’re just starting now, been here for a long time, or maybe you haven’t found success yet it’s really a mix of everybody. It’s an accurate sample.

6. Discussion about results when using refined words vs. more common words. Why it is important to use both?

Generic keywords and long tail keywords, if you think about it, they are stages of a customer’s buying cycle. If you’re the shopper, chances are you’re starting with something pretty broad, maybe you need some ‘wall art’. After you start looking at some wall arts, you’re gonna start to get more refined with your search. You might go with something more particular – like an ‘oil painting print’. You’re going to be more and more specific about the item you want and the more specific someone is about their search – the closer to buying they are. That is why it is important to use different types of keywords because you’re reaching different stages of people in search of an item.

7. Difference of views based on Etsy search page vs. Marmalead and why there is a discrepancy.

There are a lot of reasons for this now, and Etsy keeps giving us more reasons for this. If you’re logged in Etsy and you’re doing some searches, the results you’ll see are personalized to you. The general order are gonna stay roughly the same but here and there they’re going to sprinkle some things: maybe listings you’ve visited before, or shops you purchased from before etc. So if you go to Etsy and search that same keyword and go to Marmalead and do the same, the results they’re delivering to you are personalized for you and the ones you’re getting back from Marmalead are a generic set of results – since we’re not passing your identity back to Etsy to pull custom results for you. Marmalead shows you generic set of results that haven’t been altered in any way.

If you’re not logged in to Etsy or you’re using Incognito Mode, you can still see some small discrepancies in the way search results are returned to you versus returned through Marmalead. The reason this happens is because Etsy likes to play with their search algorithm to keep each search result fresh for potential shoppers.

The other reason why this happens is because the results Etsy is returning to us through their API is much closer to how they deliver results through their mobile app. If you do a comparison of what you see in the mobile app vs what we show you in Marmalead, those two are much closer than what you would see in their website.

8. The right way to use the Marma-meter. Is this really just green-green-green?

Yes, those are ideal. Those are great scenarios but if you find something that has lower competition and has decent engagement, and you think it’s something that’s gonna start to sprout; feel free to invest in that. If we’re thinking long term, it’s okay to invest in some keywords that you think will grow over time as far as engagement goes. Especially if they have small competition to boot with.

When you look at the Marma-meters, the number one thing that you should consider is Engagement. You always wanna be finding keywords that have High Engagement. If you’re targeting keywords that people aren’t engaging with (i.e. they’re not viewing, they’re not favoriting) then you’re going to have a tough time finding sales in that area.

Bonus: Is it Working Tracker

We’ve been hearing a lot from people that they’re enjoying Marmalead and they are getting addicted doing a bunch of searches and stuff (thanks a lot guys!).

But how do you know it’s working? We have put together the simplest way of measuring this.

It’s called the “Is It Working Tracker”. You can get a copy of the PDF file here and the instructions are available as well. Hopefully it’s not too hard for you folks.

Closing:

That’s been it everyone. I hope you enjoyed our first episode. You’re welcome to attend next week! Etsy Jams every Thursday 9AM PST / 12PM EST

Welcome to the first episode of our weekly Etsy Jam! We have asked a couple of questions inside of our FB Group and people jumped in with their own questions. We picked them up and that's what we're going to talk about today.

Busting Popular Etsy SEO Myths

The Etsy search bar. The number of times you should use your keyword. The eternal battle between commas and forward slashes. Even the order of your keywords in your title. We’ve probably all seen these topics at least once in our span as an Etsy seller (I know I do).

Which of these SEO myths hold truth? Let’s find out.


This is a written version of a Blab we recently made with Melissa Kaiserman of MakerySpace.com and Dan Safkow from MakingItOnEtsy. You can watch (or listen to) it here: Making It On Etsy – SEO Myth Busting by Marmalead

Myth 1: The order of Tags matters.

No. You can totally move your tags to any spot that you want. It doesn’t have any bearing on the search results. Etsy looks whether or not something exists in your tag and it doesn’t really care whether it’s the first tag or the last tag.

Myth 2: The order in which I put keywords in my Title matters.

Yes, but not for Etsy SEO. Shoppers like to see the keyword they searched in a title as confirmation they’re in the right place and Google for SEO cares about this. Etsy SEO however no longer cares about this. 

If you put a word closer up in your title, then Etsy – just like people – the earlier these words are in your title, the more important they must be. Think of it kind of like a subject line for an email, if you want someone to open your email, you’re gonna say the most important stuff first.
Here’s an article straight from Etsy help: How Etsy Search Works
“The beginnings of titles have an especially strong pull. Keep words that buyers are most likely to search for close to the front.”

Myth 3: My descriptions are part of Etsy SEO.

Nope. Etsy doesn’t look at descriptions. Where your descriptions really do matter is in closing the deal. So inside of your descriptions you should be completing the picture for people. Describe things in ways your photos can’t.

Related: How to Write a Great Product Description

Bonus question: When sellers take their title and put it in the first paragraph of their product descriptions, does it hurt them at all?

No, it wouldn’t hurt them necessarily at all. The only thing that it might do is confuse the buyer. The thing we’re trying to avoid is sellers worrying about how often they should be using keywords in their descriptions.

Example: If I’m selling ‘jewelry’, maybe I want to use the word ‘jewelry’ a certain number of times in my description so that I’ll increase my relevancy. You don’t have to worry about that as a seller.

Myth 4: Repeating keywords will hurt me.

“If I have a listing titled ‘Starfish necklace, beach necklace’ and I used it both as tags, the fact that I used ‘necklace’ twice; will it hurt my listing?”
Etsy doesn’t mind that. Etsy looks at things in context. They’re looking at ‘beach necklace’ as one kind of thing or ‘starfish necklace’ as one kind of thing. The only downside of doing this is that you’re using part of your title twice. You’re using that space in your title to say ‘necklace’ twice where you could have used a different keyword in there. But if you really want to target those keywords, don’t be afraid to put them both.

Myth 5: The number of pages somebody go through when they do a search.

“Are people only looking at the 1st page? 2 pages? 5 pages etc?”
We’ve done some shoppers’ study, and in our experience, everybody is very impatient. If they don’t find what they’re looking for pretty quickly, they leave that search and move on to the next one. Some people do browse past 5 pages but they’re mostly in ‘browsing’ mode, not in ‘buying’ mode. The reason for this is as people flip through pages and pages of search, their interest in buying dwindles because they can’t find what they’re looking for. If they’re serious about buying, they would have left the search and began typing similar search terms.

Myth 6: Etsy doesn’t care if my shop policies are filled out. True or False?

False. With one of the recent updates in search, Etsy started looking if you have your Shop Policies filled up. The more comfortable shoppers are shopping on Etsy from any sellers, the more comfortable they are with all the good sellers like you. Have your Shop Policies filled out.

Myth 7: The Etsy search bar shows most popular search keywords. True or False?

Update! This is true now!

False. As per conversation that we had with Etsy Support, what they’re actually showing in the search bar are recent searches from people. It’s actual searches people are doing, but they’re not the most popular searches. It is also based on what things you’re gonna start typing out – like an autocomplete.
It’s also flawed since it is an autocomplete and it’s based on the first word that you type which may not be the most important keyword in the phrase, and there’s no way to do it backwards to see what they might put in front of the second word.

Myth 8: I’m doing everything right and it’s not working. Help!

A lot of times it feels like you’re doing everything right and all logic points that this is the right way to go but if you’re not getting the results, something’s not right. If you think you’re doing everything right and it’s not working, get out of your circle and bring someone else to help you out. Don’t give up. Reach out to us, reach to your teams, reach out and get help. If it’s keyword based, try and get other people to describe it to you. If it’s photos, get some feedback from other people, even on people you normally don’t get feedback from. Keep trying!

Myth 9: Only listings that have a momentum of sales perform better.

“I can’t break into the top 100 because I don’t have the momentum of sales and you need sales. All the other shops are successful and they’re the only ones that are gonna stay at the top because Etsy just wants to support them. They don’t care about the new shops.” 
Is there any ground to it?
It is plausible. They do take into consideration things like views, favorites, sales, momentum and bunch of other stuffs and why wouldn’t they? Etsy wants to keep promoting things that are selling. They get paid not just when you renew, they also get money when you sell your product. But here’s the good news, they do want new shops to break into the market. They have a vested interest to grow and to do that, they need more shoppers and more sellers. You can, even as a new seller, build that momentum and you can be up there just like everyone else. Get quality photos, use the right keywords and renew frequently. That’s how you’ll seize your chance to start gaining momentum.

Myth 10: Renewing my listings doesn’t matter. 

“Just going in and renewing that listing whether I make changes to it or not; does it matter?”

Sales matters more than recency. Focus more on getting your listings sold (and renewed if you have another to sell) and you’ll get more mileage than if you just renew frequently. Basically everyone likes a fresh listing and now the best way to signal your fresh listings is to

Yes. Recency does matter. Though it is not the only thing that we’d recommend you to do, of course we still recommend tweaking your keywords every now and then but as far as this myth goes, it is confirmed.
Renewing gets you seen, and the more you get seen, the more you get sales and the more you get sales, the more they come back.

Bonus question: What if you have one-of-a-kind type of listings?

How to gain traction with those, it’s not like an item that you can sell and renew in a continuous basis.”
Without per-listing momentum, it’s your shop in general. It has a factor as far as conversion rates and sales momentum go, not just on a specific listing. Etsy just wants to make sure they get more sales for everyone so they can make more profit too. So Etsy would be looking for conversion rates of the whole shop. Like how well does a shop do in general and not just on this one off listings.

So next time you find yourself in the midst of a clashing debate in the forums on common misconceptions about Etsy SEO; these bits of information might help you gain the upper hand.


Over to you:

Got any good SEO myths we didn’t cover? Follow up questions?
Well, let us know in the comments!
Maybe you have a friend that just can’t sleep because she did not put the word ‘necklace’ 5 times in her description? Share it to them!

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Get Found on Etsy with MarmaMeters

Get Found on Etsy with the new Marma-Meters

Introducing our latest addition, the MarmaMeters. It’s the next level in our quest to help you get found on Etsy. It’s a right-brain friendly green, yellow, and red system of measuring three important criteria of keywords.

Those criteria are Engagement and Competition.

Engagement

Measures how much shoppers are interacting with listings. While search volume counts the number of times shoppers have searched for a keyword, engagement means they searched, and then went on to interact (view and/or favorite) the listings on the page. Higher engagement is always better.

Competition

Measures how many listings are trying to be found in this search. The more competition there is, the more challenging it is to keep your listings at the top. In the most competitive searches, listings are being added/updated by the second. Lower competition is usually better.

 

How it helps you get found on Etsy

Let’s take a moment to define “getting found”. It’s targeting keywords that have solid engagement. You’re not found until you’re seen.

Found = Views.

Our MarmaMeter ratings are data driven by Etsy data and scale to the size of the market. For example, when a keyword is rated with “High” Engagement, we’ve taken views per week and scaled it to fit the level of competition.

Whether you’re an analytical show-me-the-numbers-left-brain type or a creative just-tell-me-what-it-means-right-brain type, you’re going to love the Marma-Meter.

We’re doing the heavy lifting for you so you can quickly see what keywords are a good fit, and still showing the numbers you’re used to for when you want to drill down further.

Examples

Here we have a search for “silver jewelry”. You’ll notice that Engagement is actually “Low” even though it has 56 Views/Week. That’s because for the number of competing listings (Competition is “Very High”), it’s not really that impressive.

 

Here’s how the Marma-Meter looks in Keyword Comparison. Now you can sort out the good from the bad keywords even faster!

Don’t worry, the numbers you’re used to are just below. 

Not sure where to start?

Head over to our Shop Fitness Calculator and see how you’re doing for the keywords that your shoppers are using to find you. Then jump over to Marmalead and use the new Marma-Meters to find related keywords that work even better!