How to do TITLES and TAGS for Etsy Search (+ 5 common mistakes to avoid!)

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If you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to piece together the different bits and pieces of Etsy SEO advice the internet is throwing at you to figure out what to do with your titles and tags, this is the video for you.

  • First I’ll show you 5 very common mistakes many Etsy sellers make and why they might be seriously getting in the way of your products getting found in Etsy search.
  • We’ll make a little plan for what to do instead when picking your Etsy titles and tags so you have the best chances of getting more views to your shop.
Let’s dive in, but before we do, grab this FREE Etsy SEO guide.

You can watch the video or read the written version below.

First, I want to make clear that none of what I am going to explain is stuff I “made up” or “tricks” to get you to “hack” the algorithm. There is no such thing. These are all facts learned directly from Etsy, and I’ll make sure to quote them and to link to further resources below that I strongly encourage you to take a look at as you learn more about Etsy SEO.

There is a LOT of misguided information getting passed around online around Etsy SEO and the Etsy algorithm is also always changing – so, for this reason, I think you should always fact-check what you learn rather than blindly follow a tactic that worked for ONE person in isolation and that might not be right for you – or at all.

Speaking of, let’s dive straight into mistake number #1:

MISTAKE #1 – “Your titles must match your tags”

The first mistake is so wide-spread, and so many people will still recommend you do this EVEN though Etsy has multiple times said that this was NOT a good strategy.

It’s the idea that “Your titles MUST match your tags”. This is NOT true AND if you are trying to repeat all your keywords in your titles and in your tags you are

  1. Going to go crazy and
  2. Going to kill your chances at getting found on Etsy

… yet so many sellers do this.

Now, the reason this mistake is being made is because of this statement made by Etsy that has been taken out of context and mis-interpreted by wayyyy too many people:

Okay, at this stage you’re probably a bit confused:
“Deb you just said DONT MATCH THEM but then Etsy just said it should appear in both titles and tags. So which one is it?”

Grab this free ETSY SEO GUIDE!

a complete guide to Understanding how etsy search (and ranking) actually works so you can make the most of it and get more views on your products.

Fair enough, it does sound confusing but the simple answer is… you should match ONLY the MOST relevant keyword or phrase in your title and tags, but absolutely NOT all of them.

There are 2 main reasons why repeating your tags in your title is a bad idea:

  1. It’s a missed opportunity to save space for a broader variety of keywords and phrases and to increase your chances at getting found. If you don’t repeat all your tags in your title, then you have more space in your title for more keywords you couldn’t “fit in” before.

  2. You will end up doing what’s called “keyword stuffing” your titles, meaning they will look like they were written to “trick the algorithm” and written for a computer rather than for human beings.

Or in Etsy’s words:

So remember, you do not need to match ALL your tags to your title, you will STILL be found in search for tags, attributes, and categories that are NOT repeated in your title. Speaking of tags and attributes… let’s take a look at mistake #2.

MISTAKE 2# – Repeating attributes and categories in your title and tags unnecessarily

Another easy mistake to make is forgetting that the attributes and categories that you selected when you created your listing ACT as tags.

So when we think about tags and titles, we often only think about the 13 tags you can manually pick, but we forget about attributes and categories.

That’s a huge missed opportunity.

Meaning that if you have an item listed under the category “stud earrings”, you don’t need to repeat “stud earrings” as one of your 13 tags. It’s already in there.

And not only that… but all the parent categories of the sub-category “stud earrings” will ALSO act as tags for this listing.

So in this case, “jewelry” and “earrings” will also act as tags for your listing, you do not need to repeat them in your 13 tags.

Same goes for attributes. Once you select your category in your listing, Etsy offers you a bunch of other options, which will look different based on the category you picked, that they will then use to help shoppers filter the results. These are things like size, material, color, etc.

All these extra attributes ALSO act as tags, so you do not need to repeat them in your 13 tags. So if you have “bronze” or “silver” as an attribute, you do not need to repeat “silver” in your 13 tags.

Or in Etsy’s words:

MISTAKE #3 – Repeating the same keyword in your title unnecessarily

Now onto mistake #3 => this one is also pretty wide-spread and is a huge missed opportunity to use MORE keywords and add variety to your keywords to be found by more people.

Imagine a title for a necklace that reads:

“sterling silver minimalist necklace, silver pine tree necklace, minimalist necklace, dainty silver pendant, minimalist tree necklace”

At first… sounds ok. But there is a lot of repetition in there. Let’s highlight all the keywords that are repeated:

“sterling silver minimalist necklace, silver pine tree necklace, minimalist necklace, dainty silver pendant, minimalist tree necklace”.

And chances are… the tags are also repeating those keywords… this is space you could use to have MORE variety and try more keywords like “nature lover” “wanderlust” “mountain inspired” etc.

You will still show up for “minimalist tree necklace” even if your title doesn’t have those exact words in this exact order.

For example, you would still show up for it if your title was:

“Sterling silver minimalist necklace, pine tree pendant” – because the words are there:

“Sterling silver minimalist necklace, pine tree pendant”.

So instead of repeating the same keyword multiple times in your title (and in your tags!), add different keywords to broaden your reach.

MISTAKE #4 – Repeating keyword in tags unnecessarily

Similarly, you do not need to repeat the same keyword over and over again in your tags.

For example, you don’t need to write:

“Boho wall art” “floral wall art” “botanical wall art”.

The keyword “wall art” does not need to be there 3 times.

You could instead, again, broaden the possibilities of getting found by using different keywords such as:

“Boho wall art” “botanical print” “floral home decor”

MISTAKE #5 – Misspelling and plurals

Now mistake #5! I don’t see it all that often anymore but I thought it was still worth mentioning here: Etsy is smart and will account for misspelling and plurals.

You don’t need to add misspelling, US vs UK variations for words like say “jewellery” or plurals as keywords in your tags and titles.

For example, Etsy will show a listing with the word “diary” to someone who typed in “diaries”, so don’t lose space trying to cover those!

Other examples they give are:

  • Favor and flavor
  • Hat and Hats.

Don’t waste precious space and use those “saved” characters to add more keywords instead.

Ok so now that we’ve covered the most coming mistakes, let’s move on to what you should do and how to think about your tags and titles instead.

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Many different factors come into play in the Etsy search algorithm for Etsy to decide which items will show first when someone types a few keywords in the search bar.

If you need a refresher on exactly how the Etsy search algorithm works, I have a blog post about it here that I highly recommend, but for now, when it comes to picking your TITLE AND TAGS, the most important criteria you need to keep in mind is what’s called “RELEVANCY”.

When a shopper types in keywords into the Etsy search bar, Etsy compares them to 4 things: your

  • Titles
  • Tags
  • Categories
  • Attributes

And then it asks itself: how relevant is this listing to this shopper’s search?

The more closely your title, tags, attributes, and categories match what this shopper typed into the search bar, the more likely it is that your item will show up higher in the search results because it is more “relevant”.

Now, practically… what does this mean?

It means that your listing can match a shopper’s search EXACTLY or “BROADLY”.

Let’s look at an example:

Imagine your listing title is:

“Black oversized jumper, organic cotton sweater, personalised hoodie sweatshirt”

and someone types in “black oversized jumper” in search => You have an EXACT match, because this exact phrase appears in your listing, with the words in this exact order.

This tells Etsy your listing is pretty relevant.

If someone types in “black oversized hoodie” you will still show up in search, because “black” “oversized” and “hoodie” are all keywords appearing in your listing, except this time it isn’t an EXACT match, but a “BROAD” match.

This means that if another shop has “black oversized hoodie” as an exact match in their listing… that listing is, in the algorithm eyes, more “RELEVANT” than yours. This doesn’t mean this listing will necessarily show up BEFORE yours, because as I said there is more than “relevancy” that comes into play in search ranking, but this is one of the different points of data Etsy looks at.

So… why is this important?

Because as we’ve seen looking at the top 5 mistakes, you can’t possibly hope to be an EXACT match for all your keywords and phrases… because to do that you’d have to repeat them unnecessarily in your titles, tags, attributes and categories and as we saw this is a missed opportunity to diversify your keywords and to get more reach for your listings – which is exactly what you’re trying to do!

So instead:

  • Pick 1 or 2 phrases that best describe your item and are the most relevant – the ones you most want to be found under. Pick phrases that are not too broad and not too specific.
  • Try to aim for “exact match” for those key phrases and to do so, you’ll want to repeat those 1 or 2 key phrases in your title and your tags. These are your 1 to 2 FOCUS KEYWORDS: keyword phrases exactly matched in your title and tags.
  • After that use all the room/characters you’ve got left in your title and tags to add different search terms/different keywords so you have more variety and better chances of being found by MORE people.

That’s it for today! Next time I’m going to tell you more about long tail keywords, so if you’d like to learn more about it, click here to learn more.

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