Tagging appears to be one of the most misunderstood parts of setting up an Etsy shop. Here are ten handy tips to help you get your Etsy tags working how Etsy likes them to.
1 – Etsy tags should be what someone might search for
The Etsy search engine is very literal. It compares what someone has searched for with what you have in your tags and titles. If someone searched for “red garnet ring” then it will consider an item that has “red garnet ring” as a tag, and “red garnet ring” in the title very likely to be just what the searcher was looking for. So this item will come at the top of the search results. Next will come any items that have “red garnet ring” as a tag, but not exactly like that in the title. Next will be things with all the words from the phrase, but split over different tags.
Therefore your aim is to have tags that match EXACTLY what you think a customer may search for. Obviously there are sometimes things that are too long for the Etsy 20 character tag limit so have to be split over two or more tags.
2 – Tags should never be single words
People very rarely search for single words. It would just bring up far too many results. Therefore single word tags are very weak. Etsy tags should be 2 or 3 word phrases that accurately describe the item. So avoid “bangle” when you can go for “green bead bangle”. See Tips 8 and 10 to see more reasons why longer tags are much better.
3 – Generic tags are kinda useless
If you search for something very generic you will get huge numbers of results. This means it is very hard indeed for your item to be noticed in all that many! And if your potential customers searched for those terms they would find the same thing, and probably add more words to the search to narrow it down.
So going for more detailed, specific tag phrases will mean you get found by the very people who are looking for what you are selling – and therefore the most likely to buy.
So instead of “for girls” you could go for something more specific like “silver girls necklace” or even “bangle for girls”.
Try searching for some of your Etsy tags.. if you get vast numbers of results then you know they are going to not really pull their weight for you and can change them for something more on target.
4 – Plurals can often be ignored
The Etsy search engine treats many singular/plural words as being the same, meaning you do not need to use both. So you can use “blue star earring” and it will also be found if someone searches “blue star earrings” or “blue stars earrings”.
Sometimes this is very handy as you can fit a phrase into a tag by using the singular versions of the words when the plurals would not fit.
5 – English or American
Like with Tip 4, Etsy treats many English/American spelling variations as being the same word. So you can call your items jewelry or jewellery, it doesn’t matter which. Again you can use the shorter versions to get more into your tags.
If you are not sure if a variation will count like this, you can easily test. Search for one spelling variation, then the other. If the number of results are the same then you know that Etsy considers them to be the exact same word.
6 – Caps don’t count
The Etsy search engine ignores all capital letters so you don’t need to worry about them.
I usually only capitalize words if they would be capitalized in normal writing, because it looks tidy. So if you are selling vintage items then feel free to capitalize brand names if you want. Your customers will still find them if they search without capitals.
7 – Order doesn’t count either
Despite the persistent myth, the order of your Etsy tags does not matter at all. The first few tags are always the names of the sections your items are in, you can not change these.
8 – You don’t need to repeat yourself
If you have included a word or phrase in a longer tag then you do not need to use it again on its own to be found. So if you have “blue furry monster” then you will still be found if someone searches for “furry monster”, or “blue furry”. Knowing this can save a lot of tags for other things!
9 – Make those titles match
To come as high up as possible in the search results you need to have the same strong key-phrases in both your tags and your titles. Pick the phrases you feel are the most likely to be searched for by your potential customers and ensure those are the ones you use in both places.
It is important to ensure your title reads naturally and does not look “stuffed” with words, so try to avoid repeating words within it. Remember that your customers (and Google) will prefer your title to sound like normal English.
It can be worth keeping an eye on your Etsy stats to see which keyphrases your visitors are actually using the most. Then you can change tags and titles to better utilize this. If you do not yet have enough views to find this out, try using different tag/title combos on similar items so you can see which do best.
10 – Keep Etsy tags on target
Remember that the most powerful Etsy tags are ones that accurately describe what you are selling. So if you are selling a painting of a wild horse then a tag of “horse” is not only a weak one word tag (see tip no 2) but also not accurate. You are not selling a horse! You are selling a “horse painting” so that is a much better tag. There is room to add another word in there, so make it “wild horse painting” and you have a great tag. It is exactly what the item is therefore something that a potential customer may very well search for.
For a “plain English” explanation of how Etsy SEO works, check out episode 30 of the Craft Seller Success Podcast – Etsy Seo – Tags and More – Getting Found on Etsy. You can listen to the podcast or read the full transcript.
For More Etsy Selling Tips
I have other articles to help you sell your crafts on Etsy (and in other ways).
Some other popular posts include:
5 Steps to Start an Etsy Shop – listen to the podcast or read the full transcript
Saving Money on Business Costs – Reduce Your Craft Business Expenses
12 Things to do whilst you wait for that first Etsy sale…
7 Pro Tips When Selling Crafts Online
About Etsy Rank – a Useful Site for Etsy Sellers
A Receipt with Your Parcel – Yes or No?
Business Cards and Why You Need Them as a Craft Seller
9 Ways to Add Value to Your Craft Products
New sellers may want to check out Sell Crafts Online – 9 Things You Must Do To Succeed
You may want to check out the Craft Seller Success Podcast – you can listen to the podcast or read the full transcript instead. A new episode every fortnight, each especially to help you sell your crafts.
I have written a little poem about Etsy SEO that might also help you – An Ode to Etsy SEO
Would you like a detailed critique and review of your Etsy shop, including the tags? I offer this service, covering all areas of your Etsy shop. My aim is to offer you lots of useful help, quality suggestions and inspirational ideas to help your grow your Etsy shop and business. For more information, please see my listing on Etsy – Tin Teddy Shop Critque and Review