The Buckets Strategy

Yes, we’ve talked about it a lot. We mention it in different groups, in blogs, in our emails, and even in our webinars! What is this buckets strategy all about and how do you use it?

Think of keywords as markets. Every search is really a market. I like to take it a step further and think of markets as buckets. It has a specific set of listings that return and the shopper is somewhere in the Customer Journey.

It goes like this: Keywords are buckets. Listings go in these buckets. 

Here’s an example:

starfish jewelry

Pretend that I sell different kinds of starfish jewelry.

It’s going to take an awful lot of time and effort if I were to come up with a unique set of keywords for every listing I own. For Etsy sellers that sell hundreds of different items, this just isn’t feasible.

This is the type of scenario where the buckets strategy comes in handy.

I’m going to make several buckets for my listings.

  1. Starfish Necklace
  2. Starfish Bracelet
  3. Starfish Ring
  4. Starfish Earring
  5. Starfish Jewelry
  6. Silver Starfish
  7. Gold Starfish
  8. Gold Starfish Ring

buckets strategy

My first listing is a starfish bracelet.

starfish bracelet

It fits under the Starfish Bracelet bucket, but it’s also a Starfish Jewelry and a Silver Starfish so you can put them in there as well. It’s not a Gold Starfish or a Starfish Ring so save those buckets for later.

How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish bracelet] [starfish bangle] [silver starfish] [starfish jewelry] … [bridesmaid gift] [gift for her]

Note how I put my strongest keywords in the front for stronger relevancy in search.

Second one is a starfish ring.

starfish ring

It’s obviously not a Silver Starfish though, but it’s a Starfish Jewelry, a Gold Starfish, and a Starfish Ring. Those are the buckets where they would fit.

How do you title/tag this listing? [gold starfish ring] [starfish ring] [gold star ring] [starfish jewelry] [sea star ring] … [gold jewelry] [beach ring]

Note that I tend to put only 3 of my best targeted keywords per listing (3 buckets/listing). Since you have to have the keyword in your title, after 3 is probably too weak to target strongly. This is no reason not to use up all 13 of your tags though.

Third one is a starfish necklace.

starfish necklace

Same rules like last time. It does NOT fit under Gold Starfish, Gold Starfish Ring, Starfish Earring, Starfish Ring, and Starfish Bracelet. But it can fit under Starfish Necklace, Starfish Jewelry, and Silver Starfish.

How do you title/tag this listing? [starfish necklace] [starfish pendant] [silver starfish] [sea star necklace] [silver sea star] [starfish jewelry] [starfish charm] [seaside pendant] [sterling silver] [silver pendant] [sea star charm] [sea life jewelry] [sea star jewelry]

Note: Take a look at that example. Sometimes you have more than 3 targeted keywords for a listing. It’s a waste not to use them but it’s also a waste stuffing them in a single listing. One cool hack Richie discovered is to make a copy of your listing and put in your other best keywords to target a different market.

This ‘new’ listing is made specifically to spread out and target more keywords. Yes, you are allowed to do this as long as you have enough quantity to sell.

When I say ‘targeted keywords’ or ‘best keywords’; these are the strongest words that:

a. Best fits your listing; and

b. Keywords/markets you’re trying to target.

Essentially, I have covered 3 of my listings just by cleverly putting them in buckets. You can continue to do this with more keywords, starting from broad ones to super specific – that way you cover each stage of the customer journey.

It’s okay to repeat the same keyword (starfish in this case) multiple times in your listing. Not only you are reinforcing your relevancy in search, but you’re also covering multiple ways people might use to find your item.

And that’s the bucket strategy!

Over to you:

I’d love to keep the conversation flowing in the comments. What do you think of this strategy? Do you have your own techniques you are willing to share? Or maybe you’ve already seen improvements since you’ve used the system? Let us know!

If you know someone who you think would benefit from this article, share it with them!

Etsy SEO Tip! How to maximize your best tags with the Buckets Strategy!

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Etsy SEO – Marmalead vs Google Keyword Planner

Marmalead outperforms Google Keyword Planner for Etsy SEO

Etsy SEO can be confusing. Many Etsy sellers have turned to tools like Google’s Keyword Planner for help in finding which search terms shoppers engage with.

Over the past 6 months, we have been running a study to collect actual search terms from actual Etsy shoppers. This is an important first step in developing Marmalead and vetting it against other Etsy and non Etsy SEO tools on the internet. Here are the 50 most popular search terms we’ve collected over the past 6 months:

Etsy SEO: Top 50 Shopper Searches

  • gift for her
  • christmas gift
  • coral bracelet
  • handmade doily
  • necklace
  • jewelry
  • wall art
  • nursery decor
  • statement necklace
  • earrings
  • iphone 6 case
  • bracelet
  • home decor
  • infinity scarf
  • dangle earrings
  • gift
  • printable art
  • bridesmaid gift
  • nursery art
  • digital paper
  • boho necklace
  • soap
  • personalized baby blanket
  • scarf
  • baby blanket
  • christmas
  • gifts for her
  • wedding invitation
  • beaded bracelet
  • planner stickers
  • initial necklace
  • wedding gift
  • inspirational quote
  • handmade soap
  • art print
  • wedding invitations
  • headband
  • stud earrings
  • gemstone necklace
  • baby shower gift
  • bohemian jewelry
  • bar necklace
  • printable
  • christmas ornament
  • boho headband
  • coffee mug
  • lip balm
  • boho bracelet
  • boho jewelry
  • christmas cards

Armed with these keywords, let’s dive into a comparison of Google Keyword Planner and Marmalead in order to see which tool performs better in predicting shopper engagement to achieve the strongest Etsy SEO.

Google Keyword Planner

The first thing we did was dump these keywords into Google Keyword Planner to see what the global Google Search volume looks like:

Search Phrase Google Avg Monthly Searches
gift for her 5,400
christmas gift 18,100
coral bracelet 880
handmade doily 30
necklace 135,000
jewelry 368,000
wall art 165,000
nursery decor 9,900
statement necklace 14,800
earrings 201,000
iphone 6 case 301,000
bracelet 135,000
home decor 135,000
infinity scarf 40,500
dangle earrings 4,400
gift 165,000
printable art 1,300
bridesmaid gift 2,900
nursery art 2,400
digital paper 5,400
boho necklace 1,600
soap 246,000
personalized baby blanket 2,400
scarf 110,000
baby blanket 14,800
christmas 1,220,000
gifts for her 90,500
wedding invitation 90,500
beaded bracelet 1,900
planner stickers 9,900
initial necklace 22,200
wedding gift 18,100
inspirational quote 27,100
handmade soap 9,900
art print 5,400
wedding invitations 368,000
headband 90,500
stud earrings 18,100
gemstone necklace 1,000
baby shower gift 4,400
bohemian jewelry 4,400
bar necklace 9,900
printable 12,100
christmas ornament 6,600
boho headband 590
coffee mug 22,200
lip balm 74,000
boho bracelet 320
boho jewelry 5,400
christmas cards 165,000

It’s important to note that Google uses search volume to indicate engagement in keyword searches. While they may seem like an omnipotent Big Brother sort of character at times, Google doesn’t have a window into every site that is served up in their search results. For this reason, search volume is the deepest reliable way for Google to determine engagement.

Etsy Search Data

Etsy, however, shares view and favorite information with us.  This gives us a much better picture of buyer engagement (and helps Marmalead give you a leg up in Etsy SEO!).

Here are our same 50 keyword phrases matched up with the average number of views and favorites per week for each relevant listing returned by Etsy:

Search Phrase Etsy Results Etsy Views/Wk Etsy Favs/Wk
gift for her 728,614 759 84.4
christmas gift 1,228,215 599.5 70.3
coral bracelet 22,465 7.9 1.3
handmade doily 32,439 10.3 7.9
necklace 3,500,180 656 72.9
jewelry 10,528,747 407 53.4
wall art 1,617,250 252.5 32.1
nursery decor 480,707 184.1 28.8
statement necklace 208,792 152.3 21.6
earrings 2,243,580 280.2 49.4
iphone 6 case 145,035 616.8 70.8
bracelet 145,035 828.8 71.7
home decor 3,995,076 273.2 43.3
infinity scarf 142,372 204 36
dangle earrings 932,827 90.2 17.8
gift 6,774,105 750.2 80.4
printable art 453,875 105.6 18.7
bridesmaid gift 461,135 442.2 48.2
nursery art 405,168 101.2 13.9
digital paper 432,600 69.1 11.5
boho necklace 191,950 85.2 17.1
soap 234,877 201.1 23.6
personalized baby blanket 19,525 115.2 10.6
scarf 611,613 566.6 66
baby blanket 184,882 149.1 14.7
christmas 2,652,756 1701.4 95.5
gifts for her 728,485 771 87.8
wedding invitation 266,893 204.8 13.3
beaded bracelet 694,711 87.6 11.1
planner stickers 119,147 286.9 29.2
initial necklace 118,724 288.1 24
wedding gift 1,262,178 346.9 33.2
inspirational quote 150,271 116.1 14
handmade soap 201,438 86.3 12.7
art print 2,311,877 176.3 22.7
wedding invitations 266,888 212.4 16
headband 627,734 437.6 32.8
stud earrings 286,374 226.1 43.9
gemstone necklace 278,100 73.4 10
baby shower gift 486,509 87.6 10.1
bohemian jewelry 281,894 97.8 20.9
bar necklace 46,681 445.9 29.2
printable 1,100,848 272.7 26.1
christmas ornament 449,083 203.4 25.6
boho headband 32,894 50.6 8
coffee mug 121,436 488.6 64.6
lip balm 31,554 76.1 9.7
boho bracelet 139,117 40.6 13.5
boho jewelry 505,365 102 22.3
christmas cards 222,410 340.9 29.9

Let’s look at an example. One of the top 50 search phrases is “coral bracelet.” In fact, we found that Etsy shoppers used it a total of 126 times in our study. BUT looking at the view and favorite information from Etsy, we can see that very few shoppers actually engage with listings found in this search (7.9 views per week and 1.3 favorites per week on average).

So which is better?

When we match up the shopper engagement data provided by Google’s Keyword Planner to Etsy’s view information, we get this:

Etsy SEO: Google Keyword Planner does not match Etsy views

If Google Keyword Planner were a good predictor of which searches enjoy the most buyer engagement on Etsy, these two graphs would closely overlap. It’s easy to see in this chart that the keywords flagged by Google Keyword Planner as being more popular are NOT the same ones that shoppers are actually engaging with on Etsy. Now let’s compare the same Etsy views with how we measure shopper engagement within Marmalead:

Etsy SEO: Marmalead strongly matches Etsy views

Perhaps unsurprisingly (since we’re getting our data straight from Etsy), Marmalead is spot on for seeing which keyword searches have the highest engagement from shoppers – and will allow you to reap the best Etsy SEO for your listings.

Perhaps Google Keyword Planner is a better predictor of which searches will have more favorites on Etsy? Let’s look:

Etsy SEO: Google Keyword Planner does not match Etsy favoritesAgain, it’s easy to see there really isn’t a strong correlation here between which searches Google thinks have strong engagement and which actually demonstrate engagement on Etsy. Here’s the Marmalead data for the same set of searches:

Etsy SEO: Marmalead strongly matches Etsy favorites

Looking at these charts should make it clear to see that using Etsy’s own data to determine engagement is MUCH more reliable than using Google’s data.

Want to learn more about Etsy SEO and why Google’s numbers are so different from Etsy’s? Tara Jacobsen, a 14-year SEO veteran put together a fantastic guest post which is riddled with great information!

Etsy SEO can be confusing. Many Etsy sellers have turned to tools like Google’s Keyword Planner for help in finding which search terms shoppers engage with.

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4 Elements of an Excellent Product Photo

Product Photo

Selling online has become very popular as a way to market everything from yard sale treasures to family collections. There is nothing that will make or break a sale faster than the product photo you list with it. This is the only look your prospective customer will have at your product and an out of focus, blurred or badly lit picture is a good way to lose a sale. Don’t worry; we have some simple tips that will help you. It is all about making the product look appealing. A few easy steps can ensure you have a much better chance at selling your wares.

1. Lighting

It is important to have a lot of natural light if possible. Use your windows or white wall space to get a good shot. Pay attention to shadows. You do not want to place your product where the shadow is obvious. You may consider taking the picture outside if it is a nice day. Use the white balance on your camera and edit your picture before you post it.

(Pay attention to the shadows)
Shooting against the light underexposes your photo

2. Flash

Avoid using the flash on smaller items; especially if the item is something that sparkles, like jewelry. The flash will create a glare. If you have to, tape a bit of tissue over the flash. You may need the flash on larger items or items that are dark. Play with the lighting and backgrounds to get the best look. Using a box as a shadow box sometimes softens the picture.

coffeeoverexposed
Do not overexpose your shots

Related: How to Write a Great Product Description

3. Background

One of the biggest mistakes people make when taking photographs of things they are listing, is not paying attention to the background. If your table is a mess, place a pretty cloth over it. Use simple backgrounds. Books, soft cloth, paper, lace and wood can make lovely backgrounds. Simply crop the picture to cut out any clutter around it. If you are selling something like a handbag, take a picture of it sitting on a table and also hanging from something like a purse hook, or even a door knob. People want to see how the bag will look on their arm. If you can take a picture with someone holding the bag, that is even better. Ask a cute friend to model a sweater or necklace and take several shots at different angles. Something like earrings may be too personal to photograph in someone else’s ears. In that case, a picture of the earrings on a black cloth or in the earring case is better.

coffeebackground
Pay attention to your background

4. Honesty

If there is a flaw in the item, make sure you list the flaw and do your best to show the flaw in at least one photograph. As long as you disclose the information in a clear and honest way so that the customer knows exactly what they are buying, you will still make the sale. The problem comes in when you do not explain the nick or scratch or show it in the photograph. Honesty is the best policy.

Point out the small details
Point out the small details
There is nothing that will make or break a sale faster than the product photo you list with it. This is the only look your prospective customer will have at your product and an out of focus, blurred or badly lit picture is a good way to lose a sale.

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What I’ve learned in a year and 1,100 Etsy sales

Special Guest post by Michelle of FourLetterWordsCards

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YAY! I am coming up to my 1 year anniversary on Etsy. Things have certainly been a learning experience and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished in a year. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned along the way. (Also, add what YOU’VE learned too – the more helpful info, the better!)

1. Don’t expect everything to go as planned.

When I opened my first shop (A week before I started FourLetterWordCards,) I had HUGE ideas of making jewelry and selling pretty stuff. Except no one visited and it stayed stagnant. Part of the problem was my photos, my tags and titles, my descriptions and the fact that I was in an over saturated market. Once I put my time into something I truly loved and had fun with (this shop,) things blossomed and I started working on EVERYTHING.

2. You think you know…

I thought I had a good grasp on how to run a shop online. HA. HA. HA! LIES! There is so much crap to learn, it isn’t even funny. There will always be someone who does something better and someone who you can learn from. Be open to suggestion and pay attention to what other’s are doing. The more you learn, the better!

3. For only 1 million dollars, you can learn…

There are a lot of people that want your money. They’ll sell you this workshop, this plan, that online fail-proof business. If you don’t have the time to find free resources – then by all means, give your money away. But if you have the time to invest in yourself and read, GOOGLE THAT CRAP! You’ll save yourself money and not fall into the online ponzi scheme of learning from someone who may not even have an Etsy shop or know exactly what they are doing.

4. Invest in yourself.

Take the time to actually invest in your business and yourself. Buy the materials you need, purchase the organizing crap to make your life better. Put money where your mouth is and faith in yourself. If you’re always going crazy because you have a messy office (my own problem,) you need to find some time and resources to fix it. The less crazy you are, the more time you have to dedicate to your business.

5. Always work on improving!

Holy crap. I’ve changed my logo like 4 times to date. I have another change in the works soon and will be rebuilding my website this month. This is the third time I’ll be changing my website…in a year. Next year, I have new photos that will be taken of ALL my products and more changes in the works. There isn’t SOMETHING you can’t improve and if you remain stagnant, you’ll bore yourself eventually and your customers. Make things look as good as you can and then improve gradually. Your sales will thank you!

6. Do right by your customers!

Customers are the blood of your business. Without them, you have no business. Granted it can be hard to always see eye to eye with them, but it’s our priority to do right by them. I’ve had customers never get an item, even though it showed as delivered. I’ve taken care of them and even though Etsy would have supported my decision, I still tried to ensure they were happy with everything. Thank them for their purchase and make purchasing from you an experience! I always include a thank you note and other goodies – because I want them to have FUN and to feel like family.

7. Streamline

At some point, you’ll double, triple and quadruple your orders. You need to figure out a process that allows you to do the most work in the shortest amount of time. Streamline everything you can and find a pattern that works for you. I’m still learning this and have so much more to figure out. I can do 100-150 cards a day – eventually I’ll need to learn how to get more done, in a shorter amount of time.

8. Have an online presence!

Be somewhere online. I’ve gone mad trying to navigate ALL social platforms and have figured out I’m happiest on Instagram. Figure out what social media works best for you and do something with it. Fans will find you and eventually buy your stuff!

9. Price yourself correctly.

Don’t undercharge in order to be competitive. When I first started – I actually priced myself against competition. It was okay for awhile, but I realized in order to price well for wholesale and actually make money – pricing for myself and products was smarter. You’ll only ever have the chance to make as much as you ask for – so be fair to yourself. I’ve raised my prices and charged more for certain items and the world didn’t blow up. People buy my stuff MORE now that I charge accordingly. It is awesome!

10. HAVE FUN!

Etsy and an online business or anything really – should be fun. Sometimes crap is tedious and boring and there are certain things we hate doing. But please for the love of GOD – HAVE FUN DOING THIS STUFF! If this is a side business, it should be a way to make money and enjoy yourself. If this is a full time business – it still needs to bring you enjoyment. I LOVE the fact that I work for myself and answer to me, myself and I. I don’t have to do something I don’t want to and I can plan out each of my days, based on my mood. That is incredibly powerful and having the freedom to choose – IS AMAZING! Never forget that you are here to make your life and those around you BETTER!

So what have you learned? What are you most proud of within your business? What are your goals for your business and what are you celebrating?

YAY! I am coming up to my 1 year anniversary on Etsy. Things have certainly been a learning experience and I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished in a year. Here's some of the things I've learned along the way.

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michelle

This is a guest post from Michelle, a Marmalead customer, friend, and Etsy shop owner. Check out her shop (and buy some cards or mugs) FourLetterWordCards.