Product Listing Keywords for Craft Sellers
Welcome to Episode 32 of the Craft Seller Success podcast. Are you struggling to come up with good keywords for your craft products? How do you know if the keywords you are using are things that people will actually search for? How can you research great keywords without spending a fortune? All this and more in this episode of the Craft Seller Success Podcast.
Listen to the Product Listing Keywords for Craft Sellers podcast here, download it for later or read the transcript below.
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This is the Craft Seller Success podcast from Tin Teddy. Episode number 32 – Product Listing Keywords for Craft Sellers
Welcome to the Craft Seller Success Podcast – helping craft sellers sell their crafts
Hi, I’m Deborah Richardson from Tin Teddy.
When selling craft products online, of course we want people to find our items so that they can buy them. It is no good having the most wonderful products in the world if no one has any idea they even exist.
One of the ways we can get our products found is by using SEO – Search Engine Optimization. That is ensuring that our product listings include potent keywords which will be found by search engines.
Keywords are the little soundbites that describe your product. They are what people actually search for.
Someone searches for something, and the search engine tries to find items that match that search as closely as possible.
Important – keywords are rarely actually single words. They are more often than not short phrases. This is very important. There was more about this subject in the last episode, episode 31 Etsy SEO – Tags and More – Getting Found on Etsy.
In this episode, I am going to be talking about how to find the strongest keywords for your products, so as to give them the best chance of being found by people using search engines such as Google, Bing and marketplace search engines such as on Etsy or eBay.
I will be talking about how to find the most useful keywords for your particular products, how to be sure they are what people are actually searching for and how to make the most of them.
This is a potentially huge subject.
Keywords are important to anyone selling items online, writing blog posts and articles, posting YouTube videos, creating courses, well basically pretty much any sort of internet content.
Because being found by search engines is so important, to so many different people, there are countless books, courses, blogs and articles on keywords and SEO. There are folks whose full-time job is studying this subject so as to advise big companies on how to get the best keywords and come up at the front of searches.
I am only going to be able to scratch the surface in a podcast like this. What I am therefore going to do is try to give you a good overview, very much from the point of view of an average craft seller. I know that you are probably busy and do not have the time and resources to devote to this that a big company might have.
So I will try to give you some really useful ideas and tools to allow you to come up with keywords that will really help you. I will include details of more resources at the end if you want to investigate further.
So, thinking caps on, let’s create some great keywords.
What Keywords will People Use for Your Products?
Let’s start by thinking about what search terms your target market may use to find your products. You can probably think of a few very quickly.
In previous episodes of the podcast, I have mentioned that one of the first things to do is think of the most basic “What is it?” descriptions. What short phrases best describe your product. Keep it simple. What is it?
If you sell a range of bright coloured knitted hats you have probably already thought of keywords such as “knitted hat”.
In the last episode, I recommended using these “What is it?” simple keywords in your product’s title, within the listing description and in any tags, such as those used on Etsy.
This will help your products get found.
But let’s try to improve on those basic keywords. Because there is a problem with them that you may have already noticed.
Let’s go back to your “Knitted hats” – this is a keyword that does indeed describe your product and may be something that people search for, but you are probably going to have quite a bit of competition for it. There are no doubt loads and loads of people selling knitted hats, aren’t there?
Using the Etsy search engine there are 133,964 results for “knitted hat”! And on Google there are… 3, 910,000 results! (Correction, there are over 54 million! I must have had something checked when searching before, sorry about that.)
How are you going to compete with them and get your products to the front of the search engine results?
Well, the honest answer is you probably can’t for a popular phrase such as “knitted hat”.
The top results are going to be dominated by big companies and websites. You don’t have the time and money to compete with those, so what can you do?
Often a small seller can get their items found by trying what are called “long tail keywords”.
Long Tail Keywords
This term is often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, longer keywords, ie ones that contain more words. It means keywords that are not used as often as certain other keywords.
For example, if you are selling some cute gold earrings in the shape of pug dogs then the single keyword “earrings” does indeed apply to your products. But, of course, there are millions and millions of other products out there that also are “earrings”. You have next to no chance of coming up at the top of a Google search for earrings!
But choose a less searched for keyword, but one that still definitely applies to your product, such as “gold pug earrings” and you increase your chances considerably.
“gold pug earrings” is a long tail keyword. Not because it is actually longer than just “earrings”, but because it is a less used search term for your product.
Rather than trying to compete for the very popular keywords, against all the big companies who have a lot more clout than a little craft seller ever could have… it can be worth concentrating instead on the somewhat less used keywords where you have a much better chance of getting found.
I’d recommend concentrating on keywords that really describe your products very accurately and letting the more generic terms take care of themselves.
There is more on this subject in the last episode, episode 31.
Here are some more handy hints to help you pick strong keywords that work well for the items you are selling and will best reach your potential customers.
You are not Your Target Market
One common mistake for craft sellers to make is to forget that many of their potential customers are not experts in the craft being sold. You may know the technical name for the technique you use, but do people who buy your products?
You are not usually your own target market. After all, you can make the things you sell!
So use Common Words as well as Technical
If you make jewellery, you may refer to the stone in your bracelet as a chrysocolla cabochon, and indeed those are words that should definitely be in your listing for potential customers who also know those terms. But there may also be many people who would love your bracelet but have never heard of those words. They may call it a “blue oval stone” instead.
Try to think of everyday alternatives for some of the technical terms you may use in your niche.
If you find this hard, ask a friend or relative, ideally someone who knows very little about your particular craft. They may come up with some great keywords that an expert like yourself may have missed.
Of course, these everyday terms may not be as long-tail as some of the more specialized ones, that is true. Therefore I am not saying don’t use the technical and specialized terms, just don’t forget the ones that more people may actually be using to search with too.
It is always worth thinking about the various alternative ways to describe something. For some products there can be so many alternatives it is overwhelming, for others there seem to be very few.
A pendant with a picture of a Scottish Terrier puppy on it could be described with many different keywords. Puppy pendant, dog pendant, Scottish terrier pendant, Scottie pendant, Scottie dog pendant…. And then you could have all those again but with necklace instead of pendant! The item is all of those things.. and no doubt more. Eek!
If you have more than one similar item in your shop you could try spreading some of the alternatives amongst the similar items as a way of testing which ones do the best.
In a few minutes, I will tell you about some tools to help you decide which of a bunch of alternative keywords is likely to be the one your potential customers are searching for the most.
Think of Regional Variations
The item you are selling may be called something different in different countries, or even different areas of the same country. If you want to sell to a particular area it will greatly help to include a few keywords that use the terms used there.
For example, here in the UK the popular, brightly coloured small parrots that are often kept as pets are called budgies.
Budgie itself is short for budgerigar. So there are two variations right away. Whilst I suspect that more people search for budgie than budgerigar, a seller of budgie related products may well want to have the longer word somewhere in their listing.
I have just added some new budgie embellishments to my Tin Teddy Die Cuts shop on Etsy. I sell internationally, so have also included the word parakeet in my listing as that is the more common term for these little birds in the United States.
Those squishy fabric things that you have on a sofa or settee? In the USA they are usually called pillows, but in many other countries, they are more often called cushions. If you want to sell internationally knowing this could definitely help you get more sales for your pillows.. or should I say cushions.
There may also be alternative uses for an item that could generate additional keywords.
In my kitchen, I have a plastic box with a central carrying handle that I use to store kitchen cleaning products in, and indeed these boxes are sold as “cleaning supply boxes”. The exact same products are also sold in craft shops as “craft supply boxes”. My box was actually bought many years ago from my local saddlery as a “horse grooming box”!
Don’t miss out on potential sales because you are only concentrating on one use of an item that may well have more, perhaps far more lucrative uses too.
What do people actually search for?
So how can you tell which of two or more possible keywords is going to be the most useful and the one you should prioritise?
There are a number of ways you can learn more about this, as well as other useful information about your target market’s search patterns.
There are many, many tools available. You can pay a company to do your keyword research and you can subscribe to some great online services to help you. But, as a craft seller, you may be looking for a low cost, easy to use option right now.
So here are some completely free tools that you can use. And, as luck would have it, some of these are the best options and the ones used most by even the biggest companies too.
There will be links in the full transcript of this episode which you can find on the Tin Teddy Blog. I will also include some screenshots to illustrate the examples I am about to describe.
Tools to help you find new keywords and see what people are actually searching for
I usually start with the search engines themselves.
One of the first checks I do is to just search for the keywords I am considering using. I want to see results that are things like the one I am selling. If I search for a keyword and get results that surprise me, the keyword may not really be all that useful for my product after all.
Many search engines have a predictive function that tries to pre-empt what you are searching for.
I have just been to Google and typed “handmade knitted” in the search box. It came up with a list of suggested searches. This list will be a bit different for everyone, by the way. Google uses artificial intelligence and tries to offer a searcher the results it thinks they will most want. So it takes into account things like what you have searched for in the past. So you may not get the same results as me.
You may find it worthwhile to log out of Google, or any other search engine, before using it for keyword research.
The list I see has “handmade knitted baby blankets” at the top. This implies that most people who start searching for “handmade knitted” are searching for baby blankets. That is interesting in itself, don’t you think?
Sometimes these suggestions will give you ideas for new keywords – keywords that people are actually searching for.
You can also learn from the number of results for your particular keywords.
If there are no hits for “hamster waistcoat” then it might mean that your new creations are going to be the first out there and you won’t have any competition, yay. Or it could, perhaps more likely, mean that there is no market for hamster waistcoats at all. If there was, there would be a couple of other people selling them already.
Or, of course, perhaps other people are calling them something else?
And if you find that there are very high numbers of results for the keyword you were thinking of focusing on, it may lead you to decide to concentrate on a slightly less crowded one instead.
This is where those long tail keywords really come into their own.
Use market place search engines too
If you sell your crafts on a market place site such as Etsy, Amazon Handmade or eBay, I’d recommend using the site’s internal search engine too. Different search engines work in somewhat different ways so you may obtain useful new info.
Even if you don’t sell on Etsy I would recommend having a look at their search engine results for very important keywords anyway. Etsy is the biggest online market place for craft sellers so a lot of your competition within your niche is bound to be there.
This is one of my favourite keyword sites. It is very handy for helping you decide which of two or more keywords is the more commonly searched for… and more.
Let’s return to our previous example and imagine that we are going to sell some lovely burgundy coloured hats that we have knitted.
Here in the UK, we tend to call such an item a “knitted hat”. I have, however, noticed that many people on Etsy refer to them as “knit hats” instead.
Would the keyword “wool hat” be more searched than “woolly hat”? Do many people search for “real wool”? It would be handy to know, wouldn’t it?
Hmm, and what about that colour? Would more people look for a “burgundy hat” … or would they go for “wine” rather than burgundy? Or how about simply “dark red hat”?
Google Trends lets you compare two or more keywords to see how many people actually searched for them over a given period of time.
You can choose whether to compare searches within one country, or worldwide. You can also choose the time period covered (handy if you are searching for seasonal terms). You can also narrow it down to specific categories such as Shopping, Beauty and Fitness, or Hobbies and Leisure. And you can also see the result for just image searches, news searches or even YouTube searches!
Let’s compare “knit hat” and “knitted hat”. I have it set to worldwide searches over the past 12 months.
It says there is 35 for “knit hat” and 12 for “knitted hat”.
Think of these numbers as a sort of score. They are not the actual number of searches. Google always shows the results on a scale of 1 to 100. So the higher the score, the more the keyword has been searched. And as we are comparing things, this keeps the numbers simple.
So I now know that, internationally, “knit hat” is actually quite a bit more popular.
If I change the setting to the USA I see that the numbers change to 31 for knit hat and just 7 for knitted hat.
But when I set it to the United Kingdom there is now 34 for knit hat and 37 for knitted hat.
I would have assumed that the term knitted hat was far more dominant than knit hat, here in the UK, but now I know that this is not really the case.
Looking at the graph of the results also shows me something else that is very interesting. The trend towards searches for knit and knitted hats significantly goes up during the winter months. Useful info for a seller.
Scrolling down the page brings up breakdowns of the search terms by region – handy to tip you off about regional variations. And then you get to one that is particularly useful for us… related queries.
This is a very rich source of alternative keywords that you can use. You may also get some great ideas for future projects from this!
Looking at the knitted hat related queries, under the “rising” option, I see that the top result is.. “knitted hat with beard”. Oooh, so that is trending right now. Maybe a new line to consider adding to a knitted hat shop.
Let’s try one more comparison.
Would it be better to call it a “burgundy hat” or just a “dark red hat”… let’s test…
For a worldwide search, burgundy hat gives 24 versus just 6 for dark red hat. But “wine hat” has a massive 55… hmm, that is surprising.
At this point, I need to remind you that the results from Google Trends and other such sources should be taken as guides only. If you find a surprising result, like this one, you may want to do further research to better understand the popularity of a particular search term. Which is exactly what I did here….
I then searched for “wine hat” in Google and the results I got were lots and lots of baseball caps with sayings about wine on them. Clearly “wine hat” tends to refer to something other than a wine coloured hats. So it is may be best to avoid this keyword for my woolly red hat as it is probably not going to be attracting people who want a dark red woolly hat at all.
Google trends can tell you a lot more info and there are loads of options to explore. There is a Training Centre on the site if you want to learn how to get more from it.
If you haven’t ever checked it out before, I highly recommend it.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
This was previously called Google Adwords. It is a tool that Google has created for people who use their Google Ads service to place adverts on websites. But we craft sellers can make use of it for keyword research too. And it is free and very useful.
Go to the Google Ads Keyword Planner and choose “Discover new keywords” and you are off.
I am going to stick with my previous example and type in two keywords to look at.. “knitted hat” and “burgundy”.
It immediately suggests some other words I might want to try – beanie and hat. Is my hat a beanie? I can google “beanie” or “beanie hat” to see. If my hat does look like a beanie this could be a useful word to consider for future keywords.
Scrolling down I now see how popular these two keywords are, including how many searches are actually performed for them on Google each month. So this is another way to compare the effectiveness of your keywords.
Below this is a very long list of keyword ideas.
This is a really useful wealth of info for the craft seller who is trying to think of keywords for their products.
Many will be useless of course, having nothing to do with what you are selling. But amongst them may well be a few gems.
For each suggestion you can see the average number of monthly searches, and whether the competition for that keyword is high, medium or low. If all your keywords are high competition ones, you may want to consider adding more medium or lower ones as you will have a better chance of ranking higher in those searches.
The Google Keyword Planner can do a lot more than this, and you may want to search for tutorials or YouTube videos explaining some of the ways it can help you find good keywords.
Use your competition
One way to get some clues as to good keywords for your products is to search for similar products to your own or check out your known competition. What keywords are other people using to sell the same sort of thing? You may spot some that you hadn’t thought of.
Your own stats
I will talk a lot more about using your shop’s various stats to help you increase sales in a later podcast.
If you are using Google Analytics on your shop you will be able to see which search terms were used by the people who discovered you and your products. You can also get similar information from the Stats page on Etsy. Other marketplace sites and selling solutions will also offer info that you can use. There are also apps and online services to help with this too.
You can use this information to gauge which of your keywords are actually working for you. It allows you to test new keywords and improve your listings’ SEO over time.
I will be doing future podcast episodes on Google Analytics and on using Etsy stats.
What do I do with my Keywords?
Once you have come up with a little list of what you believe to be useful keywords for your product, you can use them throughout your product listing.
Make sure that your most potent keywords are in your product title. If you sell on Etsy, put them in tags too.
Of course, they should be in the description of your product. Don’t cluster them all at the start or end of your listing though. This used to be common practice but is now frowned upon by search engines such as Google and they may penalize your listing for it. Instead, spread your keywords throughout the description in a way that reads naturally to your visitors.
Do put the very most specific ones near the start though. When someone searches on Google, a little snippet of the listing will be visible in the search results. You want this snippet to clearly tell the potential customer what the item actually is so they will click on it to find out more.
Include strong keywords in the titles of your images. Some marketplace sites, such as Etsy, rename your photos so this benefit is lost there, but for many other selling locations it can help your SEO.
If you are able to add alt text to your pictures then this is another place for good keywords.
Good Resources for More Info
This has been a rather whistle-stop introduction to discovering great keywords for your craft products. There is a wealth of additional information available if you would like to discover more.
The Etsy Seller Handbook has a detailed section on coming up with good keywords, and even if you don’t actually sell your craft products there you can still read this and gain from the info. I particularly recommend the article called Keywords 101: Everything You Need to Know. There is a link in the show notes.
There are numerous videos on YouTube about keywords and SEO. Just search for “keywords” and you will find videos covering how to use Google Trends and the Keyword Planner, how to find better keywords, how to use them and much more.
Dutch company Yoast makes a popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites. Their own website has a wealth of useful information on SEO and keywords. They explain things in clear, simple English and their regular newsletter is one of the few that I always look at.
CindyLouWho2’s Blog – CindyLouWho2 has what is probably the very best blog on SEO for Etsy sellers. Again, even if you don’t sell on Etsy you will almost certainly find valuable information here.
Cindy writes extremely well researched and easy to understand articles. She regularly tests things and analyses the trend reports and other related Etsy communication.
Moz is a well-known company who provide premium SEO resources for businesses. They also offer purchasable courses on this subject. Their keyword tools may well be too expensive for the average craft seller, but they also have lots of very good totally free SEO information in the resources section of their website – https://moz.com/learn/seo, In particular, there is a very detailed section on keywords.
The next episode of the Craft Seller Success podcast, episode 33, is called Copyright, Trademarks and Patents 101.
I know that many craft sellers get confused over what these three types of intellectual property protection actually cover. Which is which and how could they affect you and your craft shop?
It will be out on the 9th of July 2019.
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to the Craft Seller Success podcast.
Until next time, bye
The Craft Seller Success Podcast from Tin Teddy.
Featuring Deborah Richardson
Original music by Matthew French
Craft Seller Success from Tin Teddy
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