Making A Case For Etsy Keyword Research
If you’re here, you probably already know that Etsy keyword research is important. In fact, you’re probably ready to learn the strategy and get out of here. But before we rush into anything, let’s chat for a minute about why Etsy keyword research is the most important thing you can do to build a solid foundation for Etsy SEO.
I’m going to use an analogy here. It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous. I know this. Just stay with me, ok?
Don’t Fear The Etsy Algorithm!
Etsy SEO is a complicated beast. It was once simple, but now it has a brain. (Read more about that here.) And that brain gets smarter every day. I imagine that The Algorithm is some sort of hairy snake-like monster that gains strength as we feed it more search suggestions.
Too weird? You’re creative. Use your imagination!
Here’s the thing. You can fight the Etsy SEO beast with your violent weapons… A/B testing your listings, changing up your tag methods, stuffing and unstuffing your titles, etc.
There is value to this. And many of these strategies will help…until The Algorithm changes again. However, it’s like cutting off the tail of the beast only to have two more grow back in it’s place.
The only way to defeat this Etsy SEO beast (or to stay alive as we continue to fight, if I need to continue this analogy) is to build a solid foundation of keyword research on which we can stand on as we whip that sword around.
See, I knew I was going to take that analogy too far. But you get what I’m saying, right? Just ignore me if the comparison isn’t resonating.
All we really need to know is that Etsy keyword research is the foundation for Etsy SEO. Strategy may change over time, but the foundation will always be important.
The lesson here- if you’re stuffing and unstuffing your titles with keywords that you’ve found in other peoples’ listings or have chosen at random, you will get nowhere. The Algorithm is going to destroy you. On the other hand, just one high-quality, well-researched focus keyword can give you solid footing in the search results.
High-Quality Etsy Keywords
So what makes a keyword great?
- It specifically and accurately describes your item. (Relevancy)
- It is a phrase that your many of your ideal customers already type into search engines in order to find items like yours. (Demand/Search Volume)
- It is a phrase that not too many sellers already use to describe items like yours. (Competition)
- It is a phrase that generates search results that your ideal customer will likely favorite, click (and hopefully) purchase. (Engagement)
- It is at least 2-3 words that customers will use when they are ready to make a purchase. (Long-Tail Keyword/ Niche Keyword)
- If your goal is to sell on Etsy, your perfect keyword will be a term that Etsy customers use to find items like yours. (Etsy-Relevant)
Well, that’s intimidating, isn’t it?
Not to worry. It’s nearly impossible for even the most experienced Etsy sellers to find the perfect keyword. In fact, I’d argue that there is no perfect keyword. If it helps, think of Etsy keyword research not as math, where there’s typically a correct answer, but as science instead. We use data to generate a hypothesis. Then we test it and modify as necessary.
One Strategy For Etsy Keyword Research
Before we start, it’s important to note that there’s not one single master strategy for Etsy keyword research. I’ve seen the Etsy experts use vastly different strategies to get similar results. What I’ll do in this post is present one Etsy keyword research strategy to get you started (or to get you focused!) Once you’ve tried it, you may want to modify the process in a way that works better for you.
So to get started, you’ll want to choose one listing or item.
Step One: Generate Keyword Ideas
Make a list of words and phrases that potential customers may type into the Etsy search engine in order to find your specific item. You can use these questions to guide you, combining words and phrases that make sense.
- What is it? Try to be specific. Your hypothetical item is not just a purse, for example. Its an envelope clutch, foldover clutch purse, crossbody bag, etc.
- What are the synonyms for your item?
- What is it made of? Consider this only if customers may use the material to search for your item. If customers wouldn’t know your material, don’t use it!
- What color or size is it? This may or may not be necessary. If you’ve listed your color and size in your attributes (which you should!), you don’t need to list them again. However, if it is a special color or the size is a search term that people use to find items like yours on Etsy, you should consider this.
- What is the item’s primary use?
- Who is the primary user of this item? Again, this may or may not be important. If you make children’s clothes, for example, that’s important. Other examples- Women’s shoes, diabetic supply bags, Christian bumper stickers, bridal jewelry, etc.
- What is the style of the item? Use your judgement here. Style words may or may not be important or useful in choosing a primary keyword.
- Does this item work for only one specific occasion? Here are some examples of when it might be important to specify an occasion in your focus keyword: bridal/wedding, baby shower, 3rd birthday, first holy communion, etc. Here’s a non-example: Christmas…Unless your item is specifically a Christmas item. (A sweatshirt that says “Ho, Ho, Ho! or “Jolly Merry Christmas! or something like that.)
- Is there anything really important or special about this item? Think about things that people may search for that are important to them. Is it vegan? Recycled? Just so you know, “handmade” doesn’t typically count. Most items on Etsy are handmade.
Step Two: Screen Your Keyword Ideas Using Etsy
So if we’re specifically working on Etsy SEO, we need to make sure that Etsy customers are the target audience. This means that we’ll want to use real phrases that Etsy customers use to search the site.
We can do this a couple of ways, but the easiest and most efficient tends to be to use Etsy itself.
Here are two ways Etsy provides us with the information you need for your Etsy keyword research:
- When you start to type in the bar, Etsy will auto-populate a list of additional search terms. These are popular search terms that people have recently used to find items in Etsy search.
- When you type in a broad term and hit “search,” Etsy may provide you with a horizontal list of more specific search terms in orange boxes.
So let’s use this information for our Etsy keyword research.
Start to type your first keyword idea into the Etsy search bar. Type slowly to give it a chance!
- If your keyword auto-populates, it makes the list. Highlight it, star it, circle it…
- If your keyword idea doesn’t auto-populate, change, add or delete words from your phrase until Etsy sees something it likes.
- Look at the additional search terms that Etsy suggests. If and only if they describe your item accurately, add these phrases to your list of possible keywords.
- If nothing auto-populates for your search term, either cross the keyword off your list or save it for an extra tag. People aren’t searching for that keyword on Etsy, so it probably won’t be a very good choice.
Go through and do this for all of your terms on your initial list. Your initial list should be much longer now. It should also only contain keywords that were auto-populated by the Etsy search bar.
Step Three: Analyze Your Keyword Ideas With An Etsy Keyword Research Tool
Either will work, but if you’re a new seller, I’d suggest you use EtsyRank because it offers an Etsy keyword research tool for free. You can upgrade to either an EtsyRank Pro or Marmalead plan later. (I’m not an affiliate for either.)
I’ll use EtsyRank today to show you the Etsy keyword research process.
Once you’ve created your account and connected your Etsy shop on EtsyRank, you’ll want to use the keyword research tool to analyze each keyword idea on your list. You can find the keyword tool in lots of different places on the site.
Look back at your list of Etsy-approved keyword ideas. Start with the keyword that describes your item most accurately and type it into the keyword tool on EtsyRank.
EtsyRank will then give you lots of information about your keyword idea.
The Etsy SEO Rainbow
The first thing you’ll notice are the colors. Each color represents your keyword’s quality on a given metric.
On EtsyRank, the metrics include:
Competition: This basically tells us how many times this keyword is used as a tag on Etsy. The fewer the listings, the better. You don’t want to have to compete with 25,000 other listings for top billing in search results.
Demand: This is a measure of approximately how many people search for this term online. EtsyRank uses the Bing search engine to estimate this metric because it’s not something that Etsy openly supplies to anyone.
Engagement: This is a measure of how likely Etsy buyers are to view and/or favorite items when they have searched for a particular keyword. This metric measures engagement over the lifetime of the keyword.
In general, it’s best have green boxes across all three metrics. Remember though, that keywords are rarely perfect, and it’s unlikely that this is going to happen.
Knowing this, it’s helpful to have priorities.
So what’s most important? If you’re using EtsyRank, the order of importance is this:
- Demand- First, you’ll want to know if people actually search for the keyword. If nobody uses that keyword to search the internet, nobody will find your product.
- Competition- This is the second most important metric. You need to find a level of competition that you can handle. It’s possible to be found in search if you’re competing with relatively few listings. It’s nearly impossible to be found, however, when you’re competing with 30,000 other listings. If you’re a high volume seller, you may be able to get away with high or very high competition levels because you have a history with your keywords. If you’re new, you’re going to want to look for very low, low, or medium levels of competition.
- Engagement- I think of engagement as a tie-breaker. If you’re between a couple of keyword choices, choose the one with higher engagement.
The Long-Tail Graph
EtsyRank also provides a long-tail keyword graph that can really help to narrow down your keyword ideas. If you’ve been using the EtsyRank keyword tool and ignoring the long-tail graph, I’d highly suggest that you read EtsyRank’s guide and start using the graph to your advantage. There’s a picture of a dinosaur in the guide, and that really helps me understand the graph better. (Because I like visual comparisons. And because I am basically a child like that.)
If you want the abridged version, know that you’re going to look for a dot towards the bottom right of the graph. Those are the keywords that people use when they are ready to make a purchase. However, you don’t want something that is so far to the right that no human being ever searches using that keyword. It’s a delicate balance!
Using the long-tail graph also modifies your priorities. As a trade-off for using a keyword that is more niche (and more likely to generate sales), the demand metric decreases because fewer people are using that phrase to search. In this situation, make sure the demand is at least a low or medium. Then use engagement and competition to evaluate the quality of your keyword. Hopefully your competition is at a medium, low or very low and your engagement is high or very high.
Here’s an example for you:
Let’s say that I’d like to use the keyword “mermaid tail.”
This keyword analysis tells me that “mermaid tail” is probably not the best keyword for me. The demand and engagement are both delightful shades of green, but the competition is entirely too high.
I could try a different term next, but “mermaid tail” is exactly what I am trying to sell. In this case, I’ll make the term more specific. I’ll try “mermaid tail blanket” instead.
If this strategy is working, you’ll want to try to get even more specific. I’ll try “knit mermaid tail blanket.”
It doesn’t always work this well, so let’s just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful keyword phrase.
Ok, the moment is over.
Be A Master of Combination
Now I’d like you to notice that my keyword phrase, “knit mermaid tail blanket” contains multiple keywords: “mermaid tail” “mermaid tail blanket,” and “knit mermaid tail blanket.” It’s a combination keyword. A special 3-in-1.
A better example might be something like “wood sign” and “sign decor.” You can combine those keywords, even if one is better than the other. Your combined keyword would be “wood sign decor.”
If you can do this, list the terms as a combination keyword. It’s a waste of space to list them separately in your title. I’ll also give you a bonus point. (It means nothing. But I’d really like to give it to you.)
Look For Related Terms
Now that you have one really strong keyword, scroll down the EtsyRank keyword page. You’re going to see a list of tags related to your keyword search. You can use this list to get additional ideas for keywords (because it’s really helpful to have more than one keyword!)
Step Four: Make A Master List of High-Quality Keywords
One high-quality keyword is great for Etsy SEO, but more are better. Make a list that you can use to refer to when completing your title and tags. You can also use the list to feature different keywords for similar listings. After all, you want to rank for multiple keywords, right?
Make sense? I hope so! If you have any questions, I’m happy to help or to provide insight. You can discuss below or send me a message with the form on the side.
Now What Do I Do With These Keywords?
The first step is to download my free basic SEO checklist. It will help you work through my complete strategy, so you can get found in search (minus the overwhelm!)
Etsy Keyword Research Example