Etsy How-to Etsy SEO

Your Top 6 Beginner Etsy SEO Questions Answered

If you’re thinking about opening a new Etsy store, or you are in the beginning stages of opening your store, it is a smart idea to educate yourself about the best practices for getting views and sales on this growing platform. To help you kickstart your new Etsy business venture, here are some of the most commonly asked beginner Etsy SEO questions.

1. What Is The Exact Definition Of A Long-tail Keyword, And How Can I Research These Words?

When people talk about long-tail keywords, they are referring to phrases that are likely to include descriptive words that help search engines and shoppers find your Etsy products. It’s important to note that just because a phrase has three words, it isn’t necessarily a long-tail keyword. “Gift for her” for example, clearly doesn’t describe a niche market. Etsy has shown that the more specific shoppers get with their search phrases, the higher the likelihood of a sale. The more that you can niche down your search terms and keyword phrases, the higher the chances for YOUR success.

So how do you know if you’ve niched down enough? To verify whether there’s still a demand for the long-tail keyword phrases you’re targeting, check out your phrase in Marmalead. You’ll gain valuable insight into forecasted search volume, engagement and competition. If the competition is too high, you likely need to niche down more. If the engagement is too low, there may not be enough shoppers targeting that niche.

If you’re working with a non-long tail keyword, you can make it into a long tail keyword by adding descriptive words. This can increase your chances of favorable placement in search results. In the same way, if you’ve found a keyword that’s too specific and not generating enough engagement, remove some of the descriptive phrases from your keyword.

competition vs conversion for keywords
More generic searches like “necklace” may have much more volume, but more descriptive long tail searches like “silver starfish necklace” have a better chance of resulting in a sale.

2. What Are The Benefits Of Using A Focus Keyword?

A focus keyword is a phrase you include in both your listing title and tags. Focus keywords tell Etsy that your listing is a strong match for that phrase. This will help you appear in search results more often for that phrase. Always make sure that two or three of your most critical long-tail phrases are mentioned in tags and title.

3. How Often Should I Review My SEO?

As with any ongoing business concern, Etsy shop owners need to remain diligent about reviewing their listings and making changes as necessary. But how often is really necessary? It will depend on the market you are in and how quickly things shift. In your market, it’s important to stay abreast of seasonal demands, holiday trends, and adjustments to other products. Like all markets, changes are part of the landscape. Monitoring your listings and subsequent changes helps to ensure you aren’t missing out on valuable conversion keywords. Although it can be tempting to a beginner, Etsy SEO doesn’t work as a set it and forget strategy.

Using Marmalead will help you brainstorm keywords, score your current phrases and forecast the performance keywords.

While reviewing your listings, double-check to make sure that you use every drop-down you can to describe your product. The information you fill out will help Etsy to categorize the product and place it in front of ideal shoppers. Keep in mind that if you are able to categorize your products under 2 subcategories, it will still match the parent categories. It’s in your best interest to get as specific as you can with the categories you select.

keyword engagement over time
Trends come and go. Check back on your keywords regularly to make sure shoppers are still engaging with them.

4. How Long Does It Take To See Results After Making Changes?

It’s comforting to know that Etsy updates product listings with new keywords nearly immediately after you submit the changes. However, it could take a bit of time for your adjustments to settle into the search results of the platform. Once this happens, you should start noticing more engagement, such as likes, clicks, and sales conversions. For optimal results, you should give Etsy two to four weeks before measuring the results of your changes.

5. I Read Somewhere That I Shouldn’t Change All My Titles At Once. Is That True?

Yes, this is true. It’s best to avoid making significant changes across a large number of listing at once. Instead, focus on making strategic improvements and changes to your listings using a focused approach. By doing so, you can keep better track of the changes you made. It will also help you measure your adjustments to learn what is working for you and what isn’t. Before making potentially adverse changes to your listings, keep in mind that your listing has a basic keyword credibility score. Swapping out multiple keywords across a large number of listings can negatively affect your Etsy keyword credibility. It could even potentially be reset to zero.

6. What Do I Do About A Long Tail Keyword (Or Any Keyword) That’s Longer Than The 20 Character Limit For Tags?

Etsy listings give shop owners thirteen tags that help shoppers find each product on Etsy. Each tag has a maximum 20 character limit. When working with long-tail keywords, it is easy to find your tags exceeding this character limit.

An option to optimize for these longer phrase terms is to split it into two tags. For example, if you’re selling a “white gold seahorse bracelet,” break the phrase to “white gold” and “seahorse bracelet.” When writing your title, be sure to use the phrase in the same order. If you construct your listing correctly, Marmalead recognizes the longer two-tag keyword as a focus keyword.

Opening and running an online Etsy store is definitely an opportunity to connect with an entire market of engaged buyers who are passionate about vintage, handmade, and custom-crafted products. Even understanding beginner Etsy SEO will give you a huge advantage over your competition.

Do you have any Etsy SEO questions?

Do you have any Etsy SEO questions we didn’t answer in this article? Ask us in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.


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10 replies on “Your Top 6 Beginner Etsy SEO Questions Answered”

We’ve been using Marmalead which is much more user-friendly than another similar service we tried. Thanks for keeping the end-user in mind.

However, every keyword we find in our niche which is all green or promising enough is not a long tail keyword. And all the long tail keywords we search for have low volume!

We’ve kinda been going around in circles like this. There is definitely people buying in our niche so either these shops are getting traffic from non-seo sources or I can’t find the right keywords!

But for the moment our listings haven’t benefited greatly from changes we’ve made.

Is there a question here? Dunno!

Hi Mick, thanks for the kind words! I definitely hear your challenge about finding those unicorn keywords that have strong search/engagement and are still long tail. One strategy that our friend Kara discusses is using more generic keywords in your tags that when combined could form various long tail phrases. In a market where it’s nearly impossible to find long tail keywords with strong engagement, this could be a good option to try out and see how it works. Swap out the tags which aren’t delivering views on a couple of your listings, use this strategy, and check back with your stats in a week or two to see how well it works for you. Hope this helps give some ideas!

Hi Monica! For keywords that are really important to you (ones that really describe your listing well and have good engagement on Etsy), you definitely want to include them in both your title and your tags. This gives you the best shot at being included in search results for those terms. Etsy has shared before that tag order doesn’t matter. However, there’s also no harm in keeping them in the same order as they appear in your title. Cheers!

Good eye! 🙂 And Etsy doesn’t limit their shoppers on the number of characters they can type in the search bar to 20 either. So what do we do? A great way to target these longer phrases is to break them up across multiple tags. So using your stained glass example, you could include “stained glass” as one of your tags and then to match the phrase “cardinal stained glass” just include the tag “cardinal.” Etsy combines tags so if you have the phrase “Cardinal Stained Glass” in your title along with “cardinal” and “stained glass” in your tags, you’ll still be a strong match. Marmalead can help you check your match for multi-tag phrases too – they’ll show in the “focus keywords” section of your listing page. It only takes one extra tag (for “stained glass”) to match multiple different stained glass phrases like “celtic cross stained glass,” “coaster stained glass,” “custom made stained glass” etc. Just include tags for the first part of each of those and the same “stained glass” tag can be combined with all of them.

Our sales fell last year by 60% due to algorithms changes. When this happened, we changed our titles and tags to bring up the scores in Marmalead to A+, A & B+. This did nothing for our being found. When we found out that tags don’t have to make sense (per Kara) we started changing tags and that made our scores in Marmalead go down. I don’t understand the scoring thing. When you have a good score in Marmalead I thought our ranking would go back up but it hasn’t happened. Any suggestions?

Hi bellfas! Thanks for reaching out and we’re sorry to hear about the drop in sales last year! The Etsy algorithm is always changing and getting smarter so as to better connect shoppers to the products they’re looking for. But the bottom line remains the same- solid keyword research and the application of those keywords in a way that’s optimized for the algorithm will create your primary opportunity to connect with your target audiences in search.

It’s important to understand that grading is only one peice of the puzzle. But let’s talk about that piece. Grading looks at your SEO factors or the factors that go into getting found in search. Getting found in search is based on how well you apply your keywords to each listing. Do you have enough engagement from your focus keywords? Are you using all 13 tags? Are you focusing on niche markets and not just broad searches? All these are important. But what grading doesn’t look at is if you’ve chosen the correct keywords for your listing. In other words, if you’re selling a Handpainted Garden Gnome but you use the keywords Digital Wall Art, and Handmade Christmas Card, as long as you apply the keywords in the way that Etsy Search needs them to be structured, you could still get an A for that listing. Again, grades look at how well your keywords are applied. They don’t tell you if you’ve chosen the right keywords. If you are finding that you’re not being found in search, then the first step is to change the keywords on your listing to those that are being searched by your target audience but that aren’t so high in competition that you’ll be lost in a sea of competitors.

Now let’s talk about scoring. The way scoring works is we look at all of your focus keywords – (tags that are matched exactly in your title and tags). 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 hope this offers some direction but feel free to reach out to us at Success@Marmalead if you have more questions or need anything clarified.

Thank you for the great article! 🙂

One thing caught my attention in it, because I haven’t heard of ‘keyword creibility score’ yet. What does that mean exactly? I’ve tried to rerad it several times to understand in the context, but I still don’t udnerstand it. Would you be so kind, to explain it to me with orher words the quoted section please? 🙂

“Before making potentially adverse changes to your listings, keep in mind that your listing has a basic keyword credibility score. Swapping out multiple keywords across a large number of listings can negatively affect your Etsy keyword credibility. It could even potentially be reset to zero.”

What we’re referencing here isn’t something official called a listing credibility score…but the idea that Etsy gives a listing and shop score that lends credibility to your listing and your shop overall in the eye of the algorithm. That is to say, if a listing is doing well (getting movement and selling well) then it lends credibility to the listing and to the shop overall. And if a listing isn’t doing well (not selling at all, no movement whatsoever on the listing) then it takes away credibility from the listing and the shop overall.

So let’s say that you make a bunch of changes to your listing without knowing what keywords were bringing you movement and which were not. Well you could be removing/changing out the keywords that were really beneficial for ones that aren’t and by doing so would effectively be removing the traffic/sales you have for that listing. That would, in effect, take the credibility of that listing to zero because you’ve refocused it but you’ve done so without regard for the keywords you actually WERE successfully targeting.

So all in, the idea here is to pay attention (through your Etsy shop stats) to the keywords that are bringing you movement. KEEP THOSE KEYWORDS and then work to change out the keywords that are not bringing you movement. In other words, don’t mess with something that’s already working for you as it could mean that it will stop working for you and that’s definitely NOT what we want. Hope this helps explain it a bit better but reach out to us at if you have more questions.

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