Let’s talk about Marketplace SEO. Improving SEO for Etsy, Zibbet or Amazon Handmade means that your products and handmade creations have a better chance of being shown first whenever a visitor searches for items like yours.
But what if I update all my marketplace SEO, and the algorithm changes?
You know what sucks? When you spend hours learning about SEO and making changes to your shop. Then over the next few weeks, more visitors trickle into your shop and you start seeing more sales come through.
All of a sudden, Etsy or Google’s search algorithm is updated and your listings plummet.
It’s easy to give up and move onto other marketing strategies. But hold on – what if there was an SEO strategy that was evergreen? No matter how many algorithm changes are released, your listings will still be relevant and stay close to the top? After all, SEO algorithms will always be changing across all platforms.
People first SEO
In 2018, as long as you optimize your online shop for people first, you’ll always stay ahead. As search engine robots become smarter, they’ll begin to sort products in search results that mimic our natural behaviors.
When you’re creating or editing a product listing, it’s better to:
- Be honest. Write a title that describes what your product is, give as much detail as you can in the description and be genuinely helpful in your content.
- Don’t play tricks. Don’t try to “hack the system”. Don’t add in content that isn’t relevant to your product just because it might show up on more searches.
- Write for a potential customer, not a robot. Make your words natural and easy to read.
In this lesson, I’ll go over the eight simple SEO actions you can take to increase your Zibbet, Amazon Handmade or Etsy SEO. All of these tips follow a people first SEO approach.
Don’t forget to download the SEO Product Listing Audit worksheet. You’ll be able to go through your current online stores on Etsy & Zibbet and fill in any gaps you’re missing out on.
1. Pick a keyword
Choosing a good keyword for your product is always the hardest part of SEO. This is the phrase that your potential customer uses to search for your product.
Your keyword needs to be in plain english yet descriptive of your product: broad enough to reach a lot of people, but descriptive enough to confirm your product is what they are looking for.
For example, “grey scarf” might reach a lot of people, but it’ll be harder for you to stand out. “Grey chunky knit scarf” reaches a smaller audience that is more likely to buy.
Getting this part right is difficult. So, take your time and dive into the art of keyword research to find the best handmade SEO keyword for your product.
2. Craft a great title with your keyword
Next, craft a product title with your keyword as close to the beginning as possible. Make it easy to read and don’t try to string together a bunch of keywords together or repeat words over and over again.
Instead of a title like:
Speckled ceramic planter in white – succulent planter, plant pot, handmade planter, pottery planter.
Create a simple yet descriptive title like:
Speckled ceramic planter pot for succulents in white
This is a keyword that search engines reward because it’s easy to read and descriptive. It tells a viewer what the item is (ceramic planter), the style (speckled), what it’s used for (succulents) and a defining attribute (white).
Search engines on Marketplaces would be able to pick up the smaller keywords you have inside the keyword, like:
- White planter
- Speckled planter
- Ceramic planter
- Pot planter
- Succulent planter
JuliannaCreationsCo uses a simple descriptive title. It includes a defining and unique feature (eiffel Tower), an attribute (gold) and what the product is (necklace).
3. Choose your product tags
Remember, if you can’t fit all your keywords in your title, the next best place to place them is in your product tags. This is a good section to repeat your main keyword and add some extra keywords.
Your tags is a good place to experiment with using broad keywords and specific keywords.
For example, if your title is “Vegan oat milk soap and aromatherapy candle gift set for her”, your specific keyword tags might be:
- Vegan oat milk soap
- Aromatherapy candle
- Gift set for her
- Beauty gift bundle
And then mix it up with some popular keywords, like:
- Handmade soap
- Vegan soap
- Sensitive skin
- Cruelty free
- Soy candle
4. Write a readable description with your keywords near the beginning
Marketplaces like Etsy do not factor in your product description when organizing search results. Despite this, it’s still a good idea to craft a strong product description. Once people land on your product from search, it’s your product description that makes or breaks the sale.
A good product description includes:
- Your keyword near the beginning of your product description
- A clear description of your item with detailed specs and measurements
- A compelling reason why your customer should buy your product
- A description that reads as natural as possible – don’t use it as a space to stuff more keywords together
- Links to other similar products on your marketplace (more on this below!)
The more detailed your description is, the more trust you build with your reader. Don’t discount a strong keyword focused product description either – the first 160 characters of your description will still be searchable on Google.
AllAboutTheButtons has a descriptive keyword at the beginning of her title and product description. The description is both useful for serious buyers and gives shoppers a reason to buy or continue browsing.
5. Link to other pages within your shop
Adding extra links inside your product description will help your readers continue browsing your shop even if they aren’t interested in buying your item. If you’re selling a “gold heart pendant necklace”, you might want to include a link to:
- A category within your shop that has other styles of necklaces the person might be interested in
- A similar item that has slight differences. Perhaps you have a sterling silver version, or it’s available as a bracelet, too.
It’s best to only have one to three internal links on any given product page. Any more than that, search engines may flag the action as “spammy” and your ranking will suffer because of that.
6. Experiment with multiple listings
At the end of the day, a lot of what you read about Marketplace SEO on sites like Etsy, is speculative. They’re based on experiments past sellers have done and assumptions made from reverse engineering well ranked product listings.
Along the same lines, use your product listings as a way to experiment with different keywords, titles, tags and product descriptions. If you have similar products with unique features, you can create multiple listings to try a new SEO technique. For example, you might have one style of baby headbands but it comes in a range of fabric prints – all of a sudden, you can turn one listing into six listings.
Be careful here. You don’t want to duplicate your listing six times and use the same product description with the keywords switched out. If you pursue this strategy, put in the extra time to create unique and distinguishable descriptions, titles and keywords.
Plus, the more you mix it up, the more you’ll be able to reach a wider range of audiences.
7. Encourage Views, Favorites, Shares and Reviews
Search engines are powered by data. The more data you can feed a search engine, the more accurate results will become.
Keywords, titles and tags are a single set of data. It’s a way for sellers to tell search engines what their product is all about. It’s also what customers use to tell search engines what they are looking for.
But when there’s thousands of the same products using the same keywords, what other ways can these search engines determine what products will sell?
It will start looking at data, like:
- How many views a product gets
- How many views turn into sales
- How many people Like, Favorite or Save an item
- How many people share the product on social media
- How many reviews the shop or product has (and how positive they are)
- How long ago the product was listed, updated or renewed
It may seem like many of these factors don’t lie in your hands, but there are some small ways that you can encourage your viewers to engage with your product.
Upload captivating product photos. Use clear photos and present your product in a way that stands out from similar items. For example, if most of your search competitors are using a white background for their images, mix it up and shoot your product with a bright background or use bright props to make your product look unique.
Be as descriptive as possible in your description so that you leave no doubt what your product will look, feel, sound, smell or taste like. Use up as many product attributes as you can, experiment with friendly shipping prices, review your pricing strategy and adjust longer than necessary “ready to ship times”.
Favorites and social shares
Encourage viewers to save your item to their collections or share the product on social media if they’re not ready to buy. You can include a call to action in your product description, or just alert them to the feature.
After sales, encourage your customers to leave positive reviews for your shop. You can do this by adding a message in the shipment or let them know after they get their receipt.
Consistency is key. Renew any product listings that haven’t been sold or renewed recently and make updates to your product listings as your product evolves.
8. Monitor your successful products
Unfortunately, SEO isn’t a once off marketing campaign. Algorithms will continue to change and be experimented with, products with better SEO will come along and once-trendy items become outdated.
Etsy announced in late 2017 they are working towards a Content Specific Ranking (CSR) search engine. They stressed the importance of filling out all your product attributes (color, material, style, sizes and so on), as well as hinting towards prioritizing products that offer free shipping in search results.
The best thing you could do for your SEO strategy is to keep an eye out on your successful listings and begin to apply what’s working to your other listings. Don’t limit this technique to your own listings – research and analyze what your successful competitors are doing and come up with your own SEO formula.
I recommend using a detailed analytics tool like Google Analytics to track your growth. You’ll be able to see what listings get the most traffic and where this traffic comes from.
Here are some things to keep an eye on when monitoring your stats:
- Bursts of traffic. Check for peaks in your traffic like the red circles in the image. Map any current activities you are doing for marketing and SEO and find what is causing the bump. You can check which listings are benefiting from the boost. Keep an eye on them to see if the traffic keeps staying high or if it comes back down. If it remains high, you can put it down to SEO. If it goes back down a few days later, your product may have been featured somewhere.
- Decline in traffic. When your traffic is declining (yellow circles) see if any listings have suddenly stopped getting as much traffic. You might want to work on SEO to improve it. It could also be a natural decline after your product has been featured.
- Stagnant traffic. This is a great time to work on improving your SEO.
- Look for overall growth. Look at your stats over a long period of time. Do you see a gradual increase in traffic or not?
Do you have any other tips to improve your SEO for marketplace platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade? I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below.