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Etsy SEO Tips: Choosing Keywords (Part 1)

Etsy SEO: How to Choose Effective Keywords

With over 7.5 million active sellers on Etsy, standing out on the platform and getting your product in front of the right customers can be challenging. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is the process of optimizing your listings and shop to rank higher in Etsy’s search results, making it more likely that potential buyers will find your products. This series will provide tips and tools for improving your Etsy SEO.

SEO begins with finding effective keywords. Here are some tips and tools for generating more and better keywords for your Etsy product listings.

How To Choose Effective Keywords

Search algorithms are mostly based on the text information in your product list, so the most important factor in optimizing your SEO is to include effective keywords, i.e. the words that your customers will use when searching for your product. It’s equally important not to keyword spam with terms that are not related to your product, which will actually hurt your SEO when your product gets lots of views but no clicks.

Describe Your Product and Its Design

The most obvious keywords are those that come from simply describing your design and product, considering the main senses (not all may apply to your product):

  • What does it LOOK like? Describe the design, including any text, colors, and design styles. Describe the specifications of the product, including the size, fit, and finish (glossy, matte, metallic, etc.)
  • What does it FEEL like? This is especially important for textiles, e.g. how soft or thick the fabric is and any textures.
  • What does it SMELL like? If customers expect the product to have a scent, e.g. a candle, be sure to describe the scent or that it is unscented.
  • How does it SOUND? While not relevant to many products, sound (or the absence of sound) can be important to note. For example, does the tumbler have a rubberized opening so that the straw doesn’t make an annoying sound? (If you’ve ever used a reusable metal straw, you know how this is an important feature!)

Also consider the “5 Ws and H” you learned in elementary school:

  • WHO will buy it and for whom.
  • WHAT is the product (e.g. t-shirt, mug, etc.)
  • WHERE will it be used
  • WHEN will it be used (e.g. specific events like bachelorette party)
  • WHY would someone buy it, especially as a gift (e.g. occasions like retirement)
  • HOW will it be used buy the end consumer (e.g. a tumbler for a hockey mom to bring hot coffee to a game)

Where to Find Keywords for Your Etsy Shop

While you presumably know some keywords because you created a design with some baseline knowledge your potential customer and their interest, there may be keywords you hadn’t thought of. Here are some tools for finding more keywords:

Online Forums

Facebook groups, Reddit subreddits, Twitter chats, Instagram comments, and other social media platforms where your customers gather are a goldmine of keywords (and design inspiration!). Observe what slang, jargon, and other language that your customers use, especially the descriptive adjectives. Popular hashtags can also be great keywords or design trends.

Product Reviews

Read reviews on products related to yours to find what customers are saying about competitor products. Did they buy it for a specific event? Was it a gift for someone?

Search Autofill

Screenshot of the Redbubble search bar with "mom shirt" entered and suggested searches "best knitting mom ever", "mom (in t-shirts), "not a lot going on at the moment", and "dog mom" listed below the search bar.

Most search engines will suggest search terms as you type in a few words. Since you’re looking for keywords to use on Etsy, the Etsy search is obviously a great place to start, but try other search engines too, including other marketplaces like Redbubble and Amazon. Redbubble even shows what searches are trending before you type anything.

Be sure to do this research in an incognito window, otherwise your suggested search terms will be influence by your own search and browsing history.

Competitor Product Listings

Etsy (and Redbubble) show the tags that a seller has entered for a product at the bottom of the product page. To see what keywords a competitor or related product are using, scroll down to near the bottom of the product listing under the “Explore more related searches” section. On Redbubble, scroll down to the Tags section.

Screenshot of an "Explore more related searches" section from a Etsy product listing with bubbles of phrases such as "throw blanket","colorful home decor", and  "valentines day gift"
Example of tags on an Etsy product page

Google Trends & Keyword Planner

Google Trends is a great tool for finding niches and design inspiration, and can also be used to find more keywords for your existing products. When you enter a search phrase into the tool, it will show you both “related topics” and “related searches”. You can click on those related terms for even more ideas!

Screenshot of the Google Trends page for the search "mom shirt" with a list of Related Topics (Panties - Clothing, Bluey - Australian animated series, Tee-ball - Sports, Homeschooling - Topic, Leggings - Attire) and Related Queries (soccer mom outfit, boy mom sweatshirt, best dog mom ever shirt, worlds best mom shirt, mom mommy bruh shirt)
Example of related topics and search queries on Google Trends

Google also has a Keyword Planner to help customers find effective keywords for running ads. While you need a Google Ads account to access the keyword planner, you don’t actually have to run ads to use it.

Your Own Etsy Search Statistics

On the Stats section of your Etsy shop, you can see what search terms brought customers to your store and even to specific listings. This is a great way to see which keywords are effective, but also what words may be autofilling in irrelevant searches and hurting your SEO. Use Etsy Statistics to to not only find keywords for new listings, but to update your existing listings to remove keywords that aren’t working.

Up Next: How to Use Keywords in Your Etsy Listing

In the next post, we’ll look at all the different places to use keywords in your Etsy product listings and how to use them effectively, based largely on Etsy’s own Keyword 101 article in the official Seller Handbook.

Vertical graphic with orange background that says "Etsy SEO - How to Choose Effective Keywords" - The POD Files
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How to Create Notebook Paper in Canva

How to create notebook paper in Canva for KDP Low-Content Books

Scroll down for the video tutorial on how to create college ruled paper in Canva.

Create a College Ruled Lined Page

  1. Login to Canva
  2. Click the Custom Size button
  3. Enter your page dimensions in inches or mm, including 0.125” / 3.2 mm bleed on your outside margins. For example, to create a US Letter sized page, enter 8.625″ for width and 11.25″ for height. See the KDP help documents for more information.
  4. Turn on your rulers via the File menu
  5. Click and drag the top ruler to add a guideline at about 1.125″ from the top
  6. Click and drag the top ruler again to add a guideline at about 10.6″ from the top
  7. Go to the Elements tab and click on the plain line element to add it to your page
  8. Change the weight and color of the line as desired.
  9. Resize the line to be as wide as the page
  10. Duplicate the line 34 times for 35 lines total (CMD + D on a Mac or Ctrl + D on a PC)
  11. Move one line to the top guideline and one line to the bottom, leaving all other lines in between.
  12. Select all lines
  13. Select Position > Center
  14. Select Position > Tidy Up
  15. Click Group
  16. Move your lines to the center of the page

Add a Left Margin Rule

  1. Go to the Elements tab and click on the plain line element to add it to your page
  2. Change the weight and color of the line as desired.
  3. Rotate the line 90 degrees to be vertical
  4. Resize the line to be as tall as the page
  5. Move to about 1.25″ from the left side of the page

Video: How to Create Notebook Paper in Canva for KDP Books

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How to Sync Multiple Designs to a Printful Listing on Etsy

Multiple design variations in one printful listing. Example shows white text on black shirts and black text on white shirts.

Whether you want to offer both light and dark shirts in one Etsy listing, or completely different designs altogether, with a couple extra steps, you can list multiple design variations in one single Etsy listing and sync them all with Printful.

Option 1: Printful Variations

The simplest option for offering multiple design variations, e.g. white text on dark shirts and black text on light shirts, is to use the “Variations” feature in Printful. Note that this method only works on products with multiple variations such as shirt colors (so not all-over-print products) and you can only add each variation once, e.g. you can’t have multiple different designs all on black shirts; to do that, skip to the next option.

  1. Create a product with one version of your design on all the product variations you want for that design. For example, add your white text version on all the shirt you want to have white text.
  2. Click the Edit button next to the product
  3. Click the Add Variants button, located at the top right (if this button is greyed out, go to the next section about adding variants via Etsy)
  4. Uncheck all the variants you already have listed
  5. Check the variants you need to add and edit/replace the design as necessary
  6. Finishing publishing the product as usual

Option 2: Etsy Variations

Some products, such as all-over-print products, require you to add the variations on Etsy first and then sync with Printful. This method also works if you want to offer multiple designs on the same product variation (e.g. matching couple shirts printed on the same shirt model) or multiple product types (e.g. a t-shirt and tank top) in the same listing.

Watch my video on Adding Multiple Color Options for AOP Products for an example of this technique.

  1. In Printful, go to Settings > Stores > Orders and make sure Import existing products is checked. (If you have multiple stores synced with Printful, use the dropdown at the top to change stores and check this setting for each).
  2. Create mockups images of your products (you can use Printful’s standalone Mockup Generator)
  3. In your Etsy shop, create a new listing with all the required information such as title, description, photos, etc.
  4. In the Variations section, add all the product options you want to offer. Since you are only allowed two variations (e.g. color and size) you may have to get creative and combine multiple variations in one. For example, if I were offering family shirts with different sizes and colors, I might have one variation with the design options (mom, dad, sister, etc.) and another that combined the size and shirt color, e.g. “Adult XL Blue”, “Youth M Black”.
Keep in mind that too many options may cause “purchase paralysis” and customers won’t buy your product because they are overwhelmed by options. If offering multiple designs, I recommend sticking with one product color. You can always have multiple listings, which will also increase your odds of being found in search.
  1. Publish the listing (you can also save as a draft if you prefer)
  2. Go to your store in Printful and click the Refresh data link, located at the top right.
  3. When the new listing appears on your product list, click the Edit button next to it.
  4. Next to each product, you will need to click Choose Product and select the product and design for that variation.
  5. If you didn’t publish in step 4, go back to Etsy and publish your listing.

Note, you can also skip syncing all the products and instead sync them as you get orders; after you sync an unsynced order, it will sync all future orders. If you take this approach, make sure that “Import unsynced orders” is checked in your Printful settings.

Video Tutorials

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How to Create Text with a Photo or Pattern Background

How to add a photo or pattern to your text in Photoshop

Want to create those trendy leopard print or buffalo plaid letters? It takes just three steps! This text effect can be done in any graphic design program with a clipping mask feature. Below the tutorial is a video where I show how to do it in Photoshop.

Option 1: Using a clipping mask to add a background to text

A clipping mask can be use to show a layer only where there are pixels on the layer below. It’s a quick way to add photos, patterns, or textures to another layer without have to use a selection tool. A clipping mask will automatically update when the main layer is edited. Here’s the short tutorial:

  1. Create a text layer
  2. Add a layer ABOVE the text layer with the photo, pattern, or other art you want to fill the text with
  3. Enable the clipping mask on the top layer that contains your fill content

Here’s more information on using clipping masks in different graphic design programs:

Option 2: Using the Pattern feature in Photoshop to add a seamless pattern to text

Using the Pattern feature is a a great way to fill text with a repeating pattern while leaving both the text and pattern editable. Here’s how to create a pattern and add it to text in Photoshop:

Create a repeating pattern

  1. Open an image in Photoshop
  2. Select > All
  3. Edit > Define pattern

Fill text with a repeating pattern

  1. Create a text layer
  2. Double-click on the text layer to open the Layer Style dialog
  3. Click the Pattern Overlay option
  4. Click the drop-down next to the pattern to select your pattern
    • Use the Scale option to resize your pattern
    • Click and drag on the layer to move the pattern around (must still have Layer Style dialog open)
  5. Click Okay to apply the pattern

Video: Adding a photo or pattern to text in Photoshop

How to add a photo or pattern to your text using Photoshop.
How to create leopard print letters and other seamless patterns in Photoshop. A tutorial by The POD Files
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FIXED: KDP Cover Made In Canva Is Too Big!

Creating a KDP cover template with Canva - updated!

If you’ve seen my video on how to create a KDP cover template in Canva, you probably found that the file was too big when uploaded to KDP. After that video was made, Canva changed how PDF files were saved, ignoring the pixel dimensions used to create the document. Grr…

Not all is lost though! You can still follow my video tutorial below, EXCEPT instead of using pixels when creating your Canva document, use either the inches or millimeters dimensions provided by the KDP Calculator. I will also be adding properly sized (and tested) Canva templates to my shop.

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Adding a Gutter Margin to a PDF with Acrobat

Gutter margins are extra space on the inside edges of book pages. This extra space prevents content from disappearing into the binding / spine of the book.

Many document programs allow you to set a gutter or inside margin while setting up your document size, but you can also add it after the fact using Adobe Acrobat. This is especially useful when merging documents, duplicating pages, and changing the order of pages, when what was an odd page may now be an even page (gutter is on different side).

How to add margins to a PDF in Adobe Acrobat

NOTE
This method shifts your content away from the inside edge. In order to work, your document needs to have sufficient margin on the outside edge. This is why my TPF KDP templates have a .5″ margin on all sides, so that you can add a .125″ gutter margin and still have the .375″ margin required by KDP.
  1. Open final PDF in Adobe Acrobat
  2. Click Organize Pages on the sidebar
  3. Click More > Set Page Boxes on the toolbar
  4. In the Change Page Size section…
    1. Click Custom
    2. Enter the page width and height
    3. In the XOffset box, enter the amount of gutter margin, e.g. .125
  5. In the Page Range section…
    1. Click All
    2. Set Apply to: as Even Pages
  6. Click Ok
  7. Repeat steps 3-6, except make the margin negative (e.g. enter -.125) and apply to the odd pages.
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How to Add Bleed to PDFs with Adobe Acrobat

How to merge PDFs and add bleed with Adobe Acrobat.

DPI, margins, embedding fonts – there’s so many things for a new self-publisher to learn when creating their first manuscript. One concept that seems to cause issue for many is bleed. What is bleed? Do you need it? How do you set it up? All these answers and more ahead! Or, skip to the tutorial.

What is bleed?

Bleed is extra margin space that allows elements like pictures to be printed all the way to the edge of a page and trimmed without extra white space.

Does your document need bleed?

If your document does not have elements that go all the way to the edge, it doesn’t make sense to include it and most consumer document software, e.g. Microsoft Word, does not have a bleed function, so it makes sense that most PDFs in the wild do not have bleed.

But what happens if you want to combine these documents with a file that has bleed, for example, adding lined notebook pages to a planner? All of your pages, including ones without bleeding elements, will need to have bleed added.

How much bleed do you need?

The amount of bleed required will vary by printer. Amazon’s KDP print books require bleed to be .125 inch on the outside edges of a document with bleeding elements. This means that a book that is 6 x 9 inches will need to have pages that are 6.125 x 9.25 inches in size, if printing with bleed.

How do you add bleed?

Some programs, such as Adobe InDesign, allow you to set up bleed in the page or document setup. In other programs, such as Word, you can manually add the bleed to the document size and the margins. So our 6 x 9 KDP book will have 6.125 x 9.25 sized pages with at least a .5 margin on the outside edges (the .375 required by Amazon plus .125 for bleed.

But what if you don’t have the original document?

If you are working with a PDF that you don’t have the original document for, such as a purchased template, you can easily add bleed to the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. This is especially useful if you are combining pages from multiple documents that may be a mix of bleed and no-bleed.

Here’s a video where I show you how to merge pages from multiple documents, and then add bleed / make the pages the same size. Don’t wanna watch a video? Step-by-step instructions below.

How to Add Pages from Another File

Organize Pages on Sidebar of Adobe Acrobat
  1. Open one PDF in Adobe Acrobat
  2. On the sidebar, click Organize Pages
  3. Click on the page where you’d like to add pages
  4. From the toolbar, click Insert > From File
  5. Select the second PDF from the file explorer
  6. Click Ok

How to Add Bleed / Make All Pages the Same Size

Set Page Boxes Dialog Window. Change Page Size Section. Custom selected. Width includes .125 inch for bleed; height includes .25 inch for bleed.
  1. With final PDF open in Adobe Acrobat, click Organize Pages
  2. From the toolbar, click More > Set Page Boxes
  3. In the Change Page Size section…
    1. Click Custom
    2. Enter the total page width with bleed (e.g. 6.125)
    3. Enter the total page height with bleed (e.g. 9.25)
  4. Click Ok

Note, this only works if you are increasing the page size, which why I do not include bleed on my templates, unless it actually has an element that bleeds. Starting with a non-bleeding document is easier to mix and match with other documents, bleed or no bleed.

What will you do now that you are free to mix and match PDFs?

How to merge multiple PDF files of different page sizes and add bleed.