In this two-part series, Patrick breaks down insights for Etsy SEO, then shares with you proven action items that can generate results. All the information here is relevant for 2017.

For makers all over the world, Etsy has become one of the go-to outlets for selling your wares online. The platform makes it easy for nearly anyone to enter the space, set up shop, and start selling. As an individual who is passionate about both Etsy and SEO, I’m sharing with you some tips to improve your SEO on Etsy from my firsthand experiences.

I’ll begin by saying that I’m no Etsy superstar, but I will say that with the little time I do devote to my Etsy store (PGwoodgoods), I’m pleased with the results. We’ve established that I’m on Etsy; now, let’s talk about how I use it: It’s a hobby for me. I’m an SEO by day. Digital marketing is my focus, and beating The Big G is my quest for the clients I serve here at BlackTruck Media + Marketing. However, I am a woodworker by night. After my children are in bed, I venture into the shop and make things. It’s my release. Turns out that release can be turned into a small business; I’m pleased with the results of it over the last two years since I’ve “been in business.” In that period, I’d estimate 80% of my hobby’s revenue has come from Etsy. It is the dominating platform for people selling items like I sell.

PGwoodgoods on Etsy

SEO for Etsy vs. SEO for Google

Working in the search industry for some time and focusing much of my attention on increasing traffic, I figured that a similar methodology would translate nicely over to Etsy. I found that to be the complete opposite. I opened my Etsy store in late July 2014, with the goal of having all my product listings in, and optimized, by that year’s holiday shopping season. Following a similar approach to on-page SEO techniques I knew worked in the land of Google, I was determined to sit back and watch the sales start rolling in.

And I sat. And I kept sitting. By the end of that season, I had one sale for $15. Apparently, I am not as good as I thought I was.

While balancing life and work, I spent the first quarter of 2015 studying Etsy best practices and I learned a major element: SEO for Etsy is VERY different than SEO for major search engines. While they both have a focus on relevancy and authority given to quality content, the biggest difference is the way in which they read and use keywords.

In what feels like a move out of the 2005 SEO playbook, Etsy loves meta keywords. Etsy gives you the ability to stuff place 13 meta keywords into each listing, and an additional 13 that feature the materials used to create your handmade item. The more you use, the better the chance you have of gaining relevance in Etsy search amongst a slew of other items. I will add that the materials tags do tend to get chunky as they show in the right-hand summary box of each listing. The meta tags are visible, but are buried at the very bottom of your listing.

Understanding Etsy Paid Listings

Another often misunderstood feature built into Etsy is paid listings. While Etsy has always had their own internal paid promoted ads, they’ve also expanded their partnership with Google Shopping. While options are quite limited in what you can do beyond simply turning them on or off, they can be effective – without breaking the bank, as many fear. You have the ability to set your daily budget for max spend. That’s it. Etsy does the rest. You don’t have to write any special content to help with your ads internally or within Google Shopping.

Make the jump to part two of the series, where we dive deeper into action items that can generate success for your Etsy store. Read: SEO Tips & Action Items for Your Etsy Store.