The Jam

Top 5 Etsy Questions From 2020

Exactly how accurate are Marmalead’s predictive numbers? Why are longtail keywords so important? I’ve been using Marmalead and my sales are still down! What do I do? Is it possible and HOW do I get an A in Marmalead? What do I do with keywords that are longer than Etsy’s 20 character tag limit? We’re going to be tackling these questions today and we hope it helps you find even more Etsy shop success!

Let’s jump to it

Today we’re chatting through the top 5 etsy questions that Lisa sees consistently in our Marmalead inbox and in our Marmalead Q&A’s. These are pretty specific to 2020, but there is also a bit of cross over form year to year on some of those etsy questions. 

1. Why doesn’t the predictive data make sense in 2020?

The first thing to say here is that much of the data remained accurate and chugged along per usual. But it’s true that no one could have predicted the pandemic or its exact effects on various markets. What we saw happen for many Etsy sellers was amazing! But there were also many that really suffered. Certain markets boomed while others languished. 

Predictive data

With regard to our predictive data, the numbers for each keyword are heavily influenced by what happened with that keyword in the 12 preceding months. So let’s take the keyword Face Mask. In the 12 months prior to March of 2020, that keyword was getting very little action. Then COVID happens and all of a sudden, there’s a nationwide shortage of PPE, and mask mandates all over the place. People are searching everywhere for masks and those on Etsy who could pivot did. The engagement level for the keyword Face Mask soared. Overnight. There was nothing in the previous data that would have indicated that might happen. 

Do the noodling

So ultimately, when using any kind of predictive data, you’ll also want to combine it with some common sense noodling (a term Gordon coined). Are there extraordinary circumstances involved? If so, start looking closer at the short term data for better insight on what’s going on in the moment. 

Marmalead search results for "spring wreath" showing searches, engagement, competition, historical engagement and forecasted engagement
Forecasted engagement for “spring wreath” from Marmalead

95% Accuracy

Marmalead takes a lot of pride in the accuracy of all our data including the predictive data. Currently, across thousands and thousands of keywords, the predictive data is 95% accuracy point, so it’s incredibly useful information! Just remember that extraordinary circumstances call for some extra evaluation where predictive data is concerned.

This is exactly why we show the data we do inside of Marmalead. We’re not just showing you a search number  or engagement number and saying “Hey this is what it’s going to be over the next 30 days.” We show that engagement over time chart so that you can use that as a seller when you’re looking for keywords and really understanding how that keyword has changed over time. When you see what the search and engagement prediction are, check that chart and just do a little gut check. Does it make sense? Is it where it should be based on what you’ve seen before? 

2. Why are long tail keywords so important?

Because they help you zero in on specific audiences that are looking for products like yours. 

If you’re not using long tail keywords, chances are very high that you’re lost in a sea of competition because of the broad keywords you’re using. 

chart showing the relationship between search volume and conversion rate for keywords
Generally, as search volume for a keyword decreases, conversions (or sales) increase

Long tails get you sales!

Long tail keywords are a way to cut through a lot of that competition. By using keywords that are more specific and descriptive, you are appealing to customers who are closer to making a buying decision instead of customers who are at the beginning of their search process and not totally sure what they’re looking for just yet. Essentially, long tail keywords will see lower numbers of engagement, but their engagement is more focused and will cut out a lot of the noise you’d see using broader keywords.

An example

For example, imagine that we’re trying to do SEO for Marmalead, but we’re a very specific type of software. The keyword we want to go for is “software” but that’s not going to work out so well. You’ve for big companies like IBM searching for specific kinds of software that Marmalead isn’t a fit for. Then, if you narrowed it down to Etsy sellers, that’s still not really niche enough. What if that particular Etsy seller is looking for photo editing software? Or book keeping software? Usually when sellers find us, they’re not even looking for Etsy SEO software! Sellers usually just search for more sales with Etsy and we’re an avenue for that. 

The long tail keyword is what your customer is using to find a product just like yours. Instead of searching for “clothes” your customer might be niching down to “black ankle running socks”. 

3. I’ve used your tools and I’m still not making any sales. What do I do?

Are you playing the long game or the short game? 

We would say the top two reasons we hear this from sellers is:

1. They’re expecting overnight success


2. They expect the tools to do the work for them.

Overnight success

So let’s talk through an expectation of overnight success. I guess what I’ll say here is that overnight success should rarely be an expectation. That just isn’t the way 99.9% of businesses function. We tell customers on a regular basis that 2-4 weeks is pretty average for your first round of testing a well researched batch of keywords.

And that 2-4 weeks doesn’t count the time it takes you to research the keywords. An SEO strategy is insanely beneficial! But it’s something you build and that build generally takes time. I will say that building that strategy with Marmalead is about 1000 times more efficient than it would be without it. But it still takes time!

Stay positive, work hard, make it happen

Doing the work for you

Then there’s the expectation that the tools will do the work for you. Again, the work of creating a solid organic Etsy SEO strategy is much easier WITH the tools than without. But Marmalead can’t do the research for you. Each Etsy shop is different and we can’t tell you which keywords are best for you. We can tell you how to apply them. We can tell you how Etsy’s algorithm likes things structured.

No one knows your business like you!

But at the end of the day, no one knows your business and target market like you…so it’s up to you to define and pursue those customers by choosing the keywords they’re using to find products like yours in the marketplace.

Don’t change it all at once

Another thing to consider as a seller is, if you’re coming into Marmalead and you’re finding a whole slew of good keywords, but you change all of your listings at once, you’re going to have a bad time. You’re not going to have overnight success with this strategy. It might even take a longer period of time to see the results from all those changes made at once, than if you strategically went through and changed a few listings a day or a handful of listings here or there.

You don’t want to make huge, sweeping changes to your listings. You build of keyword credit inside of Etsy. Even if you’re replacing keywords with better keywords that will work better for you in the long run, you’ll now have to start at ground zero for credit with those new keywords you’ve put on your listing. It takes time to build up results from this. This is something we cover in our training videos and Q&As as well! 

Dig in and do the searches

More times than we care to count, someone has written in and said “It’s not working for me”…so I’ll jump in to check things out and see they’ve completed 10 searches in two weeks. For most markets, that’s hardly scratching the surface!! Especially in the more competitive markets, you’re going to have to really dig in and find ways to niche down your keyword game and set yourself apart from the crowd! 

Again, the good news here is that Marmalead definitely makes all of this easier! Yes, it’s still going to take a lot of effort on your part…but the tools will make that effort far more focused and efficient!

4. How do I get an A grade in Marmalead?

Listing letter grades inside Marmalead

The factors you’ll work with to change your grade are the factors in your SEO Factors box on your listing details page. We go over these in detail in the training video and we also have at least one blog dedicated to the subject of grading and how it fits all of the data and tools we offer.

One piece of the puzzle

But we will say this: we know for many, many folks, grades are incredibly important and it’s hard for them to see past anything less than an A. I’m here to tell you that thought process might not be the best use of your time and energy. Yes, it’s important to work towards better grades. But it’s also important to understand your grade isn’t the ONLY piece of the puzzle that matters. 

Work to understand all the factors

Our advice is this: Once you understand the factors that go into your grades, that’s step one. Then, you want to understand how each of those are impacting your grade for a given listing. Once you understand those things (and again, we offer a lot of content to help you gain that understanding), then you want to work with your grades on the 80/20 principle.

Get them to a decent place by researching out and applying good keywords (that’s 80% of the work). Then, wait to see what works and what doesn’t. Spend that last 20% tweaking things here and there once you’ve gotten some real world feedback from your shop stats on your listing performance. 

Don’t change what’s working for you!

If you have a C listing, what you DO NOT want to do, is change it just because it isn’t an A. If that C listing is working for you and performing really well, let it work! The grade is only one part of the equation. The grade simply tells you how well you’ve applied to keyword. 

5. What do I do about a keyword that’s longer than 20 characters and won’t fit in my tags?

We answer this question in SO many places but it remains one of our top etsy questions from year to year. So we’ll answer it here also just to make sure it’s fresh!

Break it up

If you have a keyword that’s over 20 characters, you’ll just break it up across a couple of tags without skipping words or changing word order. For example, you’re using the keyword “silver starfish necklace”. This will fit in your title, but if you go down to put it in your tags, it won’t fit.

For example

So you can do “silver” “starfish necklace” or “silver starfish” “necklace”, you just want to be sure you’re not skipping words or changing the word order that you used in your title. As long as you do that, Etsy WILL see it as a match for the longer search. Especially for your focus keywords (those keywords that are matched exactly in your title and tags)- you want to make SURE that when you split up the keyword, you’ve not skipped words or changed the order so that Etsy’s algorithm knows it’s a keyword you’re extremely relevant for.

Marmalead's keyword comparison tool showing results for breaking up "silver starfish necklace" into "silver" + "starfish necklace" or "silver starfish" + "necklace"
Ways to break up “silver starfish necklace” illustrated in Marmalead’s keyword comparison tool

To come full circle with it – If you have a keyword that’s longer than 20 characters, you’re just going to break it up across a couple of tags and you’ll be good to go!

Final thoughts

Before we wrap this up, we just want to say- if your question wasn’t answered here and you’ve not yet found your answer in the other materials we offer – Please feel free to reach out to us at and we’ll be more than happy to answer it for you!

Happy selling, everyone! 

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