Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Secrets to Optimizing your Etsy Shop

By Robert Edwards As I mentioned in my previous article, Etsy has been working on improving the site's ranking in Google searches. They've hired an SEO firm to help them do this, and in doing so have made it easier for us to do the same for our individual Etsy shops. In any web page there are component parts that the search engines use to determine the relevance of a given page to the term a person searches for. Some of these elements you can change in a minute or two; some are not so easily edited. To do this you need to figure out what your customers search for to find your stuff. People search for very specific things when they're ready to buy, and those are the terms you need to look for. Some of you use Google Analytics; that can help with this a lot. Once you know these terms, they should be used as your keywords. Many of you have heard of the keyword META tag; it is in the HTML code of every web page. You can edit the keyword META tag in your Etsy shop simply by changing the names of your store sections. If your customers search for "handmade peyote earrings" and you sell that type of earring ... name the section Handmade Peyote Earrings. Your META Description Tag is the first two sentences of your Shop Announcement. This should contain your most important keyword or search term in the first sentence. If your general search term would be wire wrapped jewelry, mention that exact term in the first sentence. Then you can mention wire wrapped rings etc, and finally your policies, sale offers etc. Your shop Title (NOT your Etsy ID) is also your Heading 1 text. This should be one or two of your most important keywords or search terms. This shows in the blue bar at the top of the browser window and also as a bold line of text just above your Shop Announcement. The body text includes all of the text on the page. It is important to note that overuse of your search terms is considered spamming. As a general rule, if you mention a term for every 100+ words on the page, you should be OK. I did a word count of the text on my Etsy shop home page and it came out just over 600 words. So I shouldn't mention my search terms more than five or six times each on the page. I just optimized it yesterday; and so I need to wait and see what Google thinks of the changes I made. I expect it to move higher in the rankings within a couple of days. If you have a page similar to mine - with about 600 words on it - and use your main search term in each of the elements above, you will have used it four times. This should be plenty of times. Most of us have a lot of items and we want to draw customers into the shop, where they can see everything we have to offer. By using the most searched for keywords - the store section search terms - to draw people to your shop, you should generate some traffic. In my Etsy shop I target the term handmade silver jewelry. But in my item titles I use the words handcrafted and sterling instead. Since Etsy puts 20 items on a page, there are 20 opportunities to use alternate keywords. This will help to get people in who search differently. By doing this in a deliberate way and taking advantage of the tools Etsy has given us, we can all help Etsy become THE place online to shop for handmade jewelry!

Robert Edwards is a proud member of the Jewelry on Etsy Team - JET. He is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years experience in the jewelry trade. Visit his website for custom made silver jewelry. This article may be reproduced as long as it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2009 Robert Edwards

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Optimizing an Etsy Listing

Big news at Etsy! They are working on improving how an Etsy item page appears to Google and other search engines. They have re-designed the way the Title and Keyword META tags are written, so they are more attractive to Google and other search engines. By writing your item titles and descriptions in a certain way and choosing the correct Etsy tags, you can increase the likelihood of being found in an internet search. Etsy has hired SEO experts to help them figure out how to put your listings in front of as many shoppers as possible. This is great news … it should help our items get a lot of exposure. The first change is … Your Item Title will come first … THEN your shop name and finally at Etsy. So, if a listing looked like this: Jewelry24Seven on Etsy: Handmade Silver Earrings … now it will look like this: Handmade Silver Earrings by Jewelry24Seven on Etsy This is a HUGE difference. Search engines look for the most important search terms first in the title, so putting the name of your item at the beginning of the TITLE tag should make a big difference. Try to use terms people would search for on Google when writing your title - terms like handmade silver earrings, as shown in the example above. Don’t forget that Etsy will add your shop name and the word ETSY to your title, making it unique … and longer. So writing a short and descriptive title will get better results. The next change is that the Keywords META tag will now have only the tags in it you choose when you create the listing. This solves a couple of big problems. Because every word in your keywords tag must appear as visible text on the page, listings could look spammy to a search engine in the past. We didn’t have control over the terms Etsy put in the Keyword META tag, and might not have added those terms to the description. If those words they put in the META tag were not on the page, the listing would not be picked up for searches. Choose your tags carefully. They should be descriptive and popular search terms. When you write the listing, make sure you use these search terms one or two times as visible text (no more than 2 times) in the item description. A good way to figure out what to choose as a search term requires a friend who is willing to help you. Someone who shops online, but who never shopped online in your shop would be ideal. Show your friend a piece of jewelry you made and … ask them what they would search for on Google to find it. Take note of the number of sites listed for each given search term. Popular searches turn up a much higher number of results. Keep in mind that most people who are looking to buy something search for very specific things, which means they use 3 to 5 words in a search term. So “silver ring w/ 8mm faceted garnet” is more likely to be used by a serious shopper than “garnet ring”. Garnet ring is a good search term but is very general in nature and probably would be used by someone who is just browsing. Serious shoppers know what they want and look for it. Time to go over all my listings … I’m going to use this knowledge to make them stronger. I hope all JETS do the same … it should help a lot!

Robert Edwards is a proud member of the Jewelry on Etsy Team - JET. He is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years experience in the jewelry trade, specialzing in handcrafted silver jewelry. This article may be reproduced as long as it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2009 Robert Edwards