Etsy SEO Tips: Choosing Keywords (Part 1)

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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