What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. And Etsy SEO simply is a process of optimizing (getting better rank in search) your products placement on Etsy search results. Your goal is to show up in search as high as you can when someone searching for products you sell.
Keyword is a word or a phrase that describes your product. Normally, when your potential buyers search for items to buy they use some specific keywords. The first thing you need to do to start with the keywords for your products is to step up into your target buyer's shoes. What words or phrases would you use if you look for some particular item in your shop? Keep in mind that it’s always better to use phrases, instead of just words, because with phrases you targeting your product to more specific search term then to some very crowded search term (for example, “earrings” and “silver stud earrings”). Another positive thing about keyword phrases instead of words is that with phrases you will rank in a different combinations for that phrase. For example, for “silver stud earrings” you will rank on both “silver stud” and “stud earrings”, and also just “stud”, “earrings” and “silver”. Whereas with single word your chances to come up on Etsy search are not that great as those are very popular keywords. So by using phrases instead of words you basically multiply your chances to be found by potential customer.
Now, when you came up with some main ideas for keywords - play around with them a little by adding colors, shapes, materials etc to your keyword phrases as with these more specific combos you have higher chances to be found.
One important thing to remember though is that order in your keyword phrases is important for Etsy SEO. For example, for “red knit shawl” your product would be ranked well for “knit shawl” and for “red knit” but it won’t be ranked high for “red shawl”. For that you should consider additional keyword phrase, like “Wool red shawl”. It’s always better to use different words in keyword phrases to cover as wide range of keywords as possible.
Another good way to get ideas for your keyword phrases is actually right there on Etsy. Try to search for a similar items and look at the suggested phrases that Etsy search shows you. You will see actual search terms that customers use a lot on Etsy. That’s a great way to find a right keyword that you know for sure someone will search for.
If you're stuck you can look into your product description as well. You might find ideas there as you already tried to describe your item. You might also want to check your keywords with keyword tool which was designed to eliminate burden of Etsy SEO. It gives you all the important information about each keyword: how competitive the keyword is (how many items are in search results), their price range, views/favorites info and many other useful insights.
Now you have your keywords all ready. Where should you put those on Etsy? Well, for the best chances to show up high on those keywords Etsy search results you should have them in both titles and tags. For keywords that are either in title or in tag your item will rank too but it will be less relevant. Your keywords have also to be included in the item description, within the text. Etsy doesn't track the items descriptions but Google does. So your item will be better positioned than others with no keywords in the item description.
Your title can have up to 140 characters. You should do your best to use all of those characters, but make sure your title don’t look messy or spammy. You should put your most important keywords (that you want to be placed highest on Etsy search) in the beginning of the title. First few words have the most value in title for Etsy SEO so make sure you put there the most important keywords. Besides, your title shows up shortened in Etsy search so there definitely should be the most informative keywords for a buyer.
You can add up to 13 tags in each item. Plus you can have 3-5 additional tags that go from Category and subcategories you choose. You should definitely use all 13 tags and keep in mind those tags you’ll get from categories. Do not repeat tags that you can get for free from your product category path.
Tags have limitation of 20 characters so if you have long keywords phrases you’ll have to play around with them. Keep in mind that words order in a tag is important, so make sure you enter the most valuable combos for your items. And since words order in tag important - you probably would have to use repetitive words in your tags. That is absolutely fine with Etsy, but it may hurt your ranking in Google search. So if you can avoid repetition in tags - do it.
Order of all 13 tags is important for Etsy SEO so you can post them in any order you like.
Now, when you’ve added your tags and titles you should think of one important thing. Etsy search shows up only one item from a shop per search results page. So if all of your titles start with the same words and have same tags then each of your listing will be competing not only with other shop listings but with your own listings too. That’s why you should optimize your listings for a different keywords. For example, start one listing as “modern earrings” and the other as “contemporary earrings” for a similar item. You will need a lot of imagination to do this and it’s not always easy, so if you end up with a few products that optimized for the same keyword phrase it’s not a big deal as customers will probably look up a few pages, not just one.
Don’t change all of your tags and titles at once. Make a change, give it a day or two to see the result of your changes. Keep an eye on your search positions and statistics and then either keep that change or do something else. If you change a lot at once you just wouldn’t know what exactly worked from all of those things.
These are the very basic ideas on how you can work on Etsy SEO. There are a lot of other details and your items optimization will take a time. SEO is a process. So once you optimized your products and noticed increase in views from search it doesn't mean that it will always work. Some things might be great at this moment, but search engines are developing, search algorithms are changing, some keywords become trendy and some - less popular. Keep an eye on your search positions (again, keyword tool can help here as well) and update your products titles and tags accordingly. When you get used to the process and understand how to deal with it - it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.