Etsy tags are the keywords that get your shop noticed. When shoppers type something into the Etsy search bar, it’s your tags that speak to Etsy and lets them know if your product is a match for the shopper’s search. For Part 2 of the Your Shop, Your Way series, here are my bestest tips on how to find Etsy tags for your awesome handmade items.
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SEO is the magic sauce of the internet. Unfortunately no one knows the recipe and it keeps changing anyway.
Etsy SEO is no different. The rules are not permanent and you just have to do your best and keep up with any changes.
Tags are the basis of Etsy SEO. They are the keywords that help customers find your listings. They are super duper important, but not the be all and end all of your shop. So respect them, but don’t let them own you.
This is part 2 of the Your Shop, Your Way series. I’m dishing out all my best Etsy advice minus the bullshirt. I’m sharing everything I know and ask that you take it with a grain of salt because what has worked for my shop might not work for yours. I want to help you create a thriving shop and fulfilling business that is ALL YOU!
And there is one thing that I know for absolute sure about your shop. You NEED excellent tags.
The Thing About Tags
There are a few things you should know about Etsy tags.
They don’t work instantly. You need to give your tags a fair trial before you give up on them. I suggest 3 months, then re-assess the health of the listing.
They need to describe your item 110% accurately. Don’t be vague or confusing. If you put a ‘safe for children’ tag on a set of kitchen knives, Etsy is a gonna be mad at you! Don’t anger the Etsy gods, keep your tags relevant and honest.
Etsy gives you 13 tags, use them all! Don’t miss a single opportunity to optimize your SEO.
A little known fact about Etsy tags is that you need a focus tag. One tag to rule them all so to speak. This focus tag needs to be at the beginning of your title and in the first sentence of your product description too. And don’t use the same focus tag on more than 2-3 listings.
You need to vary your tags from listing to listing, otherwise you’re just competing with yourself. They don’t need to be radically different, just mix up the wording.
Don’t use one-work tags. They won’t serve you. Two-word minimums are what you need.
Get the Workbook
I created a workbook to accompany this series. Included is a printable tags worksheet to help you out with this post and find the best tags for your handmade items.
The honesty train is pulling into the station… the workbook is not free. But this whole series of posts is, and I really hope you find it valuable! I’m dishing out my best advice! S
o if you find this post helpful, go grab the pretty workbook and help me out with my goal of diversifying my income! 😀 (ps. It’s only $7) (pps. what’s that, like 2 coffees?!) (ppps. one coffee if it’s really fancy with extra shots in it. lol)
Describe Your Item
So let’s try to solve the puzzle of Etsy tags, shall we?!
You need a jumping off point, so start by describing your item.
Make notes about your item like who it’s for, what colour it is, what size, what occasion it’s for, etc.
Is it great for birthdays or is it beach chic? Is it green or suitable for toddlers?
For example, let’s say you made a hand printed tea towel. More specifically, it is a blue and green ikat pattern made with non-toxic inks on organic linen fabric.
These are the details you will use to help construct your list of tags. But there’s more to it than that.
(There’s spaces to write all this down and keep it organized on the worksheets.)
Think Like a Customer
The first thing to do is to think like a customer. Let’s continue with the example of the tea towel.
No one is going to type “blue and green ikat pattern linen tea towel made with non toxic ink” into search. Not. a. single. person.
But they might type “handmade tea towel” or “linen tea towel” or “housewarming gift”.
You need to get into a customer mindset. What will someone search for that might bring up your item?
Keep in mind, the customer does not yet know that your item exists. They’re just looking for a tea towel or a hostess gift, they have no idea that what’s been missing from their life is a blue and green ikat patterned, non toxic, organic linen tea towel!
Now you’re going to use the basic descriptive keywords you’ve come up with to find Etsy tags that will get your shop noticed.
How to Find Etsy Tags
There are several different ways to find appropriate tags for your listings. Here are some of my preferred methods. (Still using the tea towel example.)
- Start with a very basic description of your item, like we did above. Type it into Etsy search bar and look at how Etsy auto-completes the search. Now you can see what keywords get frequently searched for. Make note of anything that’s a match for your item.
- Check out the competition by searching for your basic keywords. Pick a few listings that are similar to what you’re offering. Scroll down to the bottom of the listing and check out what tags they used! (The first few are actually the categories) But look! I was spot on with ‘housewarming gift’ and ‘drying towel’ is a good one!
- Look at your own stats. Check out what people have searched for in the past to find your shop or items. No need to re-invent the wheel. Here’s a snap of the latest terms used to find me. (Keep in mind that my shop is currently closed while we are between homes. Moving is the best, eh?!) This definitely helps me understand what keywords are working for me and gives me ideas on how to build on those.
- Use a tool like Marmalead or eRank. Both are specifically for Etsy sellers. Marmalead is a paid service. I’ve heard it’s totally worth it but I’m hesitant to pay for yet another service that may or may not pan out. There is a free and paid version of eRank, and I use the free version when I’m researching tags.
How to Determine if the Tags are Good
Here’s where I find eRank to be handy.
eRank has a keyword tool. You type in your keyword and it tells you all kinds of useful keyword statistics about it like average clicks and competition.
The trick is in finding keywords that have high searches, clicks and click through rates but low competition.
It will also give you a list of similar keywords and a little info about those. There’s quite a bit of info to be had from the free version, you just have to dig a little. From the list below, if you click on the keyword you can get more info.
eRank can really help you decide if the tags you’ve come up with are any good. Then again, eRank might tell you they’re terrible and you can say “fork you, eRank. I’m trying them anyway!”. Your shop, your way, and trial & error is queen.
When to Change Your Tags
Never change your tags on a listing that is performing well! You’ve found the magic sauce, don’t mess with it!
Otherwise, you could look at tweaking your tags every 6 months or so, or seasonally if you have a lot of holiday specific items.
I’m more of the ‘set it and forget it’ philosophy. I do use some holiday tags that I’ll switch out in the new year. But otherwise I tend not to mess with my tags too much unless the listing is really not performing well.
Other Etsy teachers might tell you differently. But I live in the real world of school pickups, music lessons, anniversaries, family dinners and endless appointments. I don’t have the time or energy to be switching my tags up regularly, and I’m guessing you don’t either. 😛
Ok. So now we’ve discussed Pricing your Handmade Items in part 1 and how to find Etsy tags for your listings in part 2. Next up is How to Decide What New Products to Try, How to Promote Your Shop, How to Read Your Etsy Stats and 32 Bonus Gift Ideas for Orders. So get yourself a snack, it’s a lot of info!
And grab the workbook. Seriously the printable worksheets are really going to help you work through all this stuff and keep it organized!
Happy Keyword Searching!