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Etsy guide 2: SEO, E-Rank basics

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Writing a listing on Etsy can seem very daunting, but it really isn't. Whilst the photographs are important to show the item in all its splendour, with true colours not digitally distorted; the titles need to describe the item concisely and the description should be informative with personality and character, all these things are pointless if the words used cause your item to not appear in searched. You could have the best item in the world with fabulous photography and excellent value, but if the wording is wrong your item will be invisible. Using SEO's will help make your item appear higher in searches, increasing its 'visibility'..

Once I have a new product ready to be listed on Etsy, the first thing I do is to log onto E-Rank. This website is linked to my Etsy shop and it is where I choose the words to describe my item. As we go through the process of choosing the SEO's, (Search Engine Optimization), we'll discover the importance of how simple variations can change the visibility of an item. I have chosen to use my knitted hare as an example because the listing was just two days old when one sold, showing the wording was perfect. There are other SEO research platforms and I chose E-Rank as it's simple to use.

Using E-Rank

Once your shop is connected to E-Rank, an easy few steps process, you can then analyse your listings in order to better them and check on your shop's performance.

Above The 'Dashboard' screen that shows you how your shop is performing. I use just the free version and so only 100 of my listings are ever visible but if you want all your listings you have to pay and subscribe to a plan. From here the green band shows you your world ranking out of 3.5 million shops.

Listings (marked by a red arrow) This drop down allows you to view your listings in different formats depending on what you are working on (this is what we'll be analysing first)

Keyword Tool (2nd red arrow) is the main feature I use and we'll be using it later to decide on our tag words, SEO's. Click on it and type the words that best describe your item. Write down or add to your Etsy listing the words you want to use, paying attention to plurals as it can make a big difference


Listing Audit

By clicking on 'Listings' you can find the item you want to view and then click on 'Listing Audit' that appears in a grey box. From here there is a wealth of information.

Below shows how my chosen 'Superstar Keyword' features in the title, tags and description and that the listing has an 'A' grade, meaning it is exactly right, i.e. 10 photographs, 13 tag words, title and description


Listing Statistics

As you scroll past the above data, next is the listing statistics for the item. As you can see, the visibility score is very high meaning there isn't much competition and so this item will be very visible.


Analysing Tags

Scroll past the above data and next we come across the main feature I use E-Rank for.

Below shows the 13 tag words, the SEO's, for the hares. Now, as an example of good tag words it is actually a poor example, but I chose the hare because despite low competition rates, (grey is low through green yellow, orange and red means a high competition rate), it has been a very successful listing in a unique genre.

Generally I aim for an average competition rate of 12,000- 34,000 as best as I can (green to yellow). As a good balance to start with try 50% green to light yellow, 25% for high competition dark yellow to orange and 25% for low competition greens and greys. I always avoid red, very high competition rates. With this listing I have tried to balance out the many grey tags (low competition) with a couple of dark orange and a rare red. As a general rule I wouldn't use very low competition tag words, but here they are the perfect description of the hare! In this case the item is unusual so there isn't really any competition and therefore as this listing is selling so well, nothing needs to change. If this item was performing poorly I would get rid of the grey tags and replace them with green and I would probably replace the red. Let's look at the red tag 'Easter Gift For Her'. To view alternative ideas you simply click on the word you want to change for more options.

Below are two screens showing the options that come up under 'Easter Gifts For Her' and there are many more choices. I scrolled through them all and there isn't anything suitable to substitute with. Note that Easter has a very high competition rate meaning you are competing with many other 'Easter' listings.

With all of these high competition rates, this is where creative thinking needs to kick in as personally I avoid high competition tags and research alternatives.


Keyword Tool

As I didn't find a replacement for the high competition 'Easter Gift For Her' I have looked up one of the grey, low competition tags 'Moon Gazing Hare'. Below are two screens showing the competition rate for alternatives to 'Moon Gazing Hare' and the difference between here and above is quite obvious.

'Moon Gazing Hare' is not as popular as Easter and so although a lot less people will search for it, the competition is also a lot less, resulting in listings being more visible but not searched for as much

Some other options I could have considered are 'Moon Rabbit' or maybe even 'Year Of The Rabbit' but as I said the listing is doing well so there is no need to change anything right now.

Choosing SEO's for your tag words can sometimes get complicated. For example, using these three tags:

  • Moon

  • Hare

  • Moon Hare

would be a waste of two tags, as 'Moon' and 'Hare' is repeated in 'Moon Hare'. Therefore just 'Moon Hare' would be used freeing up the other two tags.

Always check plurals

Here is a good example on how slightly different words can make all the difference, and plurals

can also make a big difference.

Once you have 13 sets of words, or 'tags', each with up to 20 characters you have your tag words for your Etsy listing. Two or three of the most important tags will be used for your listing title and as many as possible need to be in your description. You can form a title by overlapping tag words, for example these three tags: Moon Hare, Hare Gift, Gift For Pagans can become Moon Hare Gift For Pagans and it would be worth checking the new combined tag 'Moon Hare Gift' with E-Rank's Keyword Tool (discussed at the top of this blog) in case 'Moon Hare Gifts' gives you a better competition rate. A good title will have about seven words with the first three being the most important. A good description should be no more than 1000 words where possible.

On occasion it may be necessary to change the title of a listing if it is also a specific seasonal thing. If my hares were poor performers I may change their title to include some Easter aspect in about February to try and catch some of the Easter trade.


Tag Report

Checking back to the top image where 'Listings' is arrowed, next to it is 'shop'. Click on this for a dropdown screen that's titled 'Tag Report'

The tag report lists all of the tags you have used over the whole of your shop. It is a good screen to quickly check how all your tags are going. Simply click on one you want to change for a list of alternatives. Just this one screen of many shows my tags are all working well. The red tag is fine in this case for two reasons

  1. It is only 44,000 but I have seen it as high as 3,000,000

  2. The words are crucial to a few of my listings and I need to use it

Below shows you a list of high competition words I found when using the keyword tool for 'Christmas', where millions of listings are competing against each other.

That's the start of understanding SEO's. Personally I go for the lower competition, unusual quirky things, but you may choose the high competition/high volume route. The high competition/volume of popular ranges would need some investment via advertising as selling in a swamped market is going to be hard to be seen. Once you get the basics of SEO, writing a listing becomes a breeze! We'll talk about that in the next guide.

Other blogs in the Etsy Guide series (I'll be doing one a fortnight, ish):

Etsy Guide 1: Christmas Chaos


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