Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Relevancy Ideas and SEO Tips

I've been trying really, really hard to understand Etsy lately. This is apparently the busy time of year and my sales have all but dried up in November and December! I went on the Etsy forums the other day to ask around... maybe this is just a bad year? I was greated by happy partygoers who have been having their best selling year ever. Makes a girl feel loved, I'm telling ya.

One seller did attempt to comiserate... she stated that she was a little slow today, and that maybe sales were just drying up for Christmas. I checked her shop... she had sold 41 items so far that day. Forty-one!! In ONE DAY!! That's literally more than I've sold in three years. Sigh... way to rub it in, people. I'm not really feeling your pain here.

So... I figured my two options were... pout about it and close up shop --- OR --- figure out what's making these other shops tick and try to implement some of their ideas.

I went through the forums to try and soak up some of their relevancy ideas and SEO tips. Apparently you need a business major to do well in Etsy! But I bravely strode on, vowing to try out some of their suggestions.

First, I did a little research to find out what people are searching for. It's no use titling/tagging my items if no one can find them.

  • Craftopolis -  Besides having a fast and easy way to re-title all of my listings at once, they also have a Google Analytics importer that was really helpful! (Sidenote: you need to have already installed Google Analytics in your shop for this to work). This tool told me which of my current tags actually worked to pull people into my shop. Turns out... only some of my color tags were really bringing people in. That means if someone was searching for "Blue", they might stumble across my shop accidentally... probably not the best way to find a customer.
  • Etsy stats - If you look on your stats page, this will show you what people are searching, too. It's a good way to tell what's actually bringing people to your shop. For mine, the most relevant search seemed to be "Ear Warmers". Since ear warmers are about 1/25th of what I actually sell... again, probably not the best way to find a customer.
  • Etsy search - Now that I knew what wasn't working, I decided to try to figure out what would work. You know how when you start a search in Etsy it gives you a drop-down of suggestions? I started a search for "Knit Hats" and then wrote down all their suggestions.
  • Google Keyword tool -  This was by far the most helpful of the tools I tried. You enter in what your item is, what site you're selling on, and what category your items are in... then it gives you all the relevant Google searches for your type of item! It was really interesting to see the phrasing that some people used to find knit hats. It gave me a lot of ideas on phrases to use and other names people might call hats.

Okay... once I did all my research and had written down all the different suggestions I'd found, I went to work on my shop. One tip I'd read in the forums was to make sure not all your items start with the same phrasing. I have probably 8-10 different types of items, so I figured I should come up with 8-10 different headlines. I did another Google keyword search for each type of item and found the most relevant way to describe each type of item I sell.

Another tip I'd read in the forums to make sure of is that you're putting the type of material you use both in the title and tags. Apparently the "Materials" section doesn't factor into people's searches at all. Words like "wool" and "wool bamboo" seemed to come up a lot in the searches I researched, so I made sure to add those in where relevant.

Next, I attacked my tags. One tip I read in the forums was to make sure that at least a couple of your tags state EXACTLY IN THE SAME ORDER AND PHRASING whatever your title was. This was a completely foreign idea to me (seems a little redundant, no?), but I thought I'd give it a shot. Apparently this helps with Etsy searches. So, for example, if my hat title was: "Knit Winter Hat - Slouchy Beanie - Acrylic - Women - Men - Black", my first two tags should be, "Knit Winter Hat" and "Slouchy Beanie". Next I added a bunch of the Google keyword ideas, including things like "Knit hats for women" (one of the phrases that people searched for a lot), and that was pretty much it. Think phrasing for your tags, not individual words... at least that's what the forum tells me.

Last, but not least, another tip I read in the forums just this morning was to make sure you convo people as soon as they order to thank them and again when you mail their order to tell them you that you mailed it. Personally, this would drive me abso-freaking-lutely bonkers if a seller did that to me, but according to the expert sellers, people really like this. I have to remember that 75% of the people in this world are extroverts and actually like human interaction. I find it rather annoying, but hey... what can you do? So if I ever actually manage to get some sales now, I'll be sure and annoy the heck out of my customers with convos! Lol. Hopefully they'll find it endearing and welcoming, not irritating, like I do.

Although that kind of begs the question... what exactly do you say to customers? That sort of thing doesn't come naturally to me. Hmm... back to the forums, methinks.

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