The right Etsy keywords are essential when you want your listings to appear high in this vintage and handicraft giant’s search results pages. Your Etsy keyword strategy should be decided before any listing is posted.

But Etsy keyword choices, although they have the most weight, aren’t the only factor that influences your ranking. There’s more to the Etsy algorithm than the words and order of words you use in your listing title, description, and tags. Even so, when we know how Etsy keywords work in Etsy search queries, we can shift the balance heavily in our favour.

Top Etsy Keywords Mean Top Algorithm Points

As with the Google algorithm, the Etsy algorithm decides the position of a listing on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is what every Google and Etsy SEO strategy is focused on … top ranking on the first SERP. And just like Google, Etsy keywords aren’t the only important factor.

Although matching the right products to the most relevant search terms potential buyers type into the search bar is crucial, there’s more to consider. Things like how quickly you respond to customer queries, shipping speed, how many people have clicked on your listings, and previous sales can affect ranking. And buyer personalization features have made Etsy SEO even more complicated.

The Etsy algorithm is a mathematical calculation that gives every listing a final score. Listings with the highest scores appear highest in the SERPs. Low scores mean your products are allocated low ranking spots. And this definitely affects sales.

Your choice of Etsy keyword carries the highest number of points by far. But there’s a problem. When you sell on Etsy, you have lots of competition. And that’s where other factors make the difference between top and mediocre ranking.

So while this article is all about how to achieve the best Etsy keywords for top ranking, don’t forget those other factors.

Etsy Selection

We should consider the Etsy algorithm as two different scoring systems. And Etsy keywords are crucial to the first.

The first scoring system is all about selection. Your listing has to be selected to enter the competition for SERP ranking. Without the right Etsy keyword strategy, there’s not much chance you’ll appear at the top of page one. With over 8 million Etsy sellers, getting keywords wrong spells disaster!

Getting selected is far from easy. Only the top 1,000 listings are selected for each buyer search query. One thousand lucky listings take priority over millions of similar listings.

So how do you make your listing one of the lucky ones?

Well, it’s absolutely nothing to do with luck. That Etsy algorithm is pure mathematics, and you can’t cheat those numbers.

And additional selection factors - like the filters buyers choose - mean there’s little chance your listing will be one of the selected 1,000. Etsy has come to the conclusion that there’s no point showing listings from a country that doesn’t ship to the customer, for example.

What makes selection even harder is Etsy secrecy. Algorithm developers don’t want us to know how calculations are made. We can only guess, or learn through trial and error.

And what has become obvious with the current and past versions of the algorithm is that Etsy keywords for titles, tags, categories, variations, and attributes are used in the selection process. But descriptions and materials are not.

There’s more. The order of these keywords is also vital, as well as how often they appear. Repeating the same primary keyword or keyword phrase bumps up your selection score. Your listing gives a very strong indication that this is the product the buyer is looking for.

These selection criteria could change in the future. Etsy seller forums often mention how irritating it is that descriptions don’t count towards selection. Although Etsy definitely tweaks its algorithm to favour the buyer, it makes sense to use more data that creates more relevant results. But for now, there’s no point stuffing your description with Etsy keywords.

Etsy Ranking

Once you’ve been selected, the next part of the algorithm ranks your listing on the SERPs. This is where lots of other factors come in.

So if you can’t meet the demands of these other factors, all the work you put into keyword research is wasted. The same applies to Etsy Ads. Even the highest bidder can be pushed aside when ranking criteria aren’t met.

Ranking means knowing your buyer. Because ranking on Etsy has now become extremely personalized. You can’t expect your top Etsy keywords to push your listing to the top of the SERPs for everyone. Because extra criteria like clicks, review scores, favorites, add-to-carts and purchases are taken into account.

This makes sense for Etsy, because by closely matching search results to individual buyers, they increase conversion rates. And higher conversion rates mean higher earnings for Etsy. And higher earnings for Etsy sellers, too. That’s the great thing about Etsy. A double-targeted audience. First, the broad target of handcrafted and vintage item buyers. Second, personalized targeting that is carried out by the algorithm itself.

But when human behaviors and quirks are used to determine search results page ranking, it’s impossible to rest on your laurels. Just like human behavior changes over time, so will a listing’s position on the SERPs. And the more the algorithm learns about human behavior, the more it can predict what, when, and where a customer will make a next purchase.

Selection Needs The Best Etsy Keywords

Without the right keywords, there’s little hope of top ranking. Because keywords carry the most weight when it comes to the selection process. Without being selected, the algorithm won’t continue with the ranking process.

Using the wrong keywords in your Etsy titles and tags leads to disaster. Especially as we now know the algorithm can figure out shapes, colors, and even specific items in listing photographs. For example, if you sell a pink wooden toothbrush and don’t use these terms in your title, tags, and attributes, and use a close up of the bristles, the algorithm won’t see it as a pink personalized toothbrush at all. And if it’s not relevant to that search query, the listing won’t be selected.

However, use the wrong keywords and add a clear photograph of the pink wooden toothbrush, and there’s a small chance you might be selected. Especially when there isn’t much competition.

In fact, when competition is low, another Etsy keyword problem occurs. To ensure buyers get those 1,000 results, Etsy will allow similar but not exact products to rank. That’s why some search results seem inaccurate.

And if your listing appears in the wrong search results, your ranking will suffer. Because without clicks and favorites because your product isn’t the product the buyer is looking for, your ranking is negatively affected over time. Etsy ranking is never stagnant … unless you know exactly how the algorithm scores every tiny metric.

Finding Top Etsy Keywords

Before you opt for free or paid third party tools, have a look at your listings’ Etsy Stats pages. Select Search Terms and you’ll find data that’s worth its weight in Etsy gold!

For every listing, you can see the search terms that bring visitors to your products. You can check to see which of your current Etsy keywords work, and which don’t.

If keywords aren’t bringing in visitors, it’s time to let them go. But top performing phrases or words must be noted down. They are perfect for use in both your titles and tags. Remember, repetition adds weight to selection criteria.

Third party keyword tools are a great way to find additional Etsy keywords, but these must always be tested. The Etsy community is a little different to Amazon and eBay. So return to those Stats pages at regular intervals! You’ll also need to insert trending phrases like Valentine’s or Christmas at appropriate times … another example of the fluidity of keywords and rankings. To get selected, you must have up to date and relevant keywords.

Your keywords need to be both descriptive and accurate. This offers the Etsy algorithm plenty of data to work with. When you are accurate, your listing also has a greater chance of appearing in a search query that doesn’t match your primary keywords.

Each listing’s 13 tags is also essential for selection and ranking. Tags are the ideal opportunity to expand your audience. While keyword research isn’t a particularly creative process, making phrases and sentences that attract the audience as well as the algorithm is. If you lack creativity (which you probably don’t if you’re selling on Etsy!), check out your most successful competition.

What keywords do they use? Just remember the golden rule:

For each new long or short tail keyword, follow its impact on Etsy stats!

Got Good Keywords? Now What?

Your Etsy keyword strategy is up to date. You know you’ve got a great group of tags and titles. Now what? As we’ve already seen, keywords have the most weight for the selection process. But that’s far from the whole story when it comes to ranking.

Even top keywords can’t propel every listing into the first page of the SERPs. And that’s thanks to all those additional factors I mentioned earlier. Etsy Geeks can remedy that. In fact, we guarantee your listings will appear in the top 15 results of page one for your target buyer audience.

Because, like Etsy algorithm developers, we know how Etsy ranking works. Of course, we’re not going to share every secret. That’s bad business. But we know how to make your Etsy business a great business!

Etsy Geeks ensures your chosen listings get seen by relevant buyers. And keep those listings in the top ten whenever you select a monthly plan. We’re so confident of our knowledge and capabilities, we’ll refund your money if we don’t net you that top ten position! So get your Etsy keyword strategy in motion, and let Etsy Geeks keep up that momentum!