Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

5 Ways to Optimise Your Etsy Shop’s Keywords for Christmas

Refresh your titles, tags and item descriptions to increase your shop's chances of getting found by shoppers.

By Katy Svehaug 17 Mar, 2017
Christmas house
Photo by Holiday Spirits Decor

With millions of buyers around the world shopping online during the Christmas season, it’s the perfect time to tap into the market by optimising your Etsy listings. “There really is no substitute for the kind of visibility a good search ranking can bring,” says Kate Sitzman, owner of yarn and fiber shop woolgatherings based in Duvall, Washington. With over 15,000 sales, Kate relies on one overarching question when polishing her listings to improve her chances of getting found by shoppers: What words would a buyer use to find her products?

Refining your titles, tags and item descriptions is one of the most effective ways to increase your shop's exposure. Here are five techniques you can use to help your shop get found by shoppers of all kinds this Christmas season.

1. Lead with your strongest keywords

Search engines rely heavily on written content to determine how relevant listings are to a shopper’s query. Whether potential buyers are searching within the Etsy marketplace or typing a query into a search engine like Google, you can increase your chances of getting found by incorporating strong keywords throughout your titles, tags and item descriptions. Your keywords should answer a buyer’s basic questions about your items, including what it is, what it’s made of and who it’s made for.

When it comes to using keywords and phrases in your shop, the order of your keywords matters. Place your strongest keywords at the beginning of your titles and in the first line of your item descriptions. Google pays more attention to the first several words in your title when ranking search results, and the shoppers searching for products on Google can only see roughly the first line of your item description in the list of search results. Etsy’s search tool also prioritises the first several words in your titles when ranking search results, so put your strongest keywords up front.

Not sure what your strongest keywords are? Use your Shop Stats to see which terms are driving traffic to your shop. Read How to Get Found in Search for more ideas.

2. Max out your tags and titles

Your tags and titles help shoppers find your items within Etsy search, so it’s important to use plenty of descriptive keywords in your listing titles and in all 13 of your tags. “A good trick is to ask your friends what they would type in the search bar if they were looking for a similar product,” suggests Pauline Hagan, who runs Benu Made, a jewellery shop based in Prague, Czech Republic. She also recommends utilising compound tags (in other words, groups of words like “black dress” or “garden hat”) to squeeze the most keywords into your listings.

Many experienced sellers regularly review, experiment with and update their listing tags, using Shop Stats to measure success. Check out Give Your Titles, Descriptions and Tags a Makeover to learn more about what to include.

3. Add relevant categories and attributes

To help shoppers find your item when shopping on Etsy, it’s important to select the accurate category — and sub-categories — for each of your listings. (Keep in mind that categories typically refer to what an item is, as opposed to what it’s for or what it’s made of.)

Based on which category you choose, you’ll be able to add more attributes to your items, such as the size. You’ll also be able to specify the item’s colour and whether it’s related to a specific holiday (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s). For instance, if you have a Christmas tree necklace, the Christmas attribute would be relevant. However, if you have a gold statement necklace that would make a great Christmas gift, the Christmas attribute would not be relevant. Etsy uses this information to help shoppers find relevant items when they search. Note: In order for your listing to reach your target shopper, it's best to avoid changing the holiday you've selected.

Consider including some seasonal tags to match what your ideal customers might search for this time of year. If you sell small Christmas gifts, you could try keywords like stocking stuffer or stocking filler. Could any of your items be used as seasonal decorations? If so, consider tags like Christmas decor, Hanukkah decorations, Christmas ornaments, Christmas baubles, Christmas wreath or similar terms.

4. Approach your listing from the shopper’s perspective

“Generally, shoppers are looking for gifts by type, price and recipient — or some combination of all three,” says Mary Andrews, senior manager of merchandising at Etsy. “To capture their attention in your listings, emphasise why your item would make a great gift based on their needs and highlight examples of potential recipients in your product descriptions.” Additionally, consider the appropriate gift recipient when creating your tags (such as gifts for her, gifts for dads, gifts for kids). You can also update your tags, titles and descriptions to reflect seasonal trends and search terms, when relevant. For more inspiration, read Mary’s 2016 Christmas Merchandising Guide. To learn more about how to market your items as gifts, check out How to Make Your Items More Giftable for Christmas.

In the listing for its festive children's T-shirt, Once Upon a Story includes the terms "reindeer," "holiday" and "kids" in the title to appeal to seasonal shoppers.

5. Think globally

Etsy automatically translates your listings into your customers’ preferred languages, but there are a few things you can do to optimise the experience for your global shoppers. First, double-check that your default shop language matches the language you are most fluent in — the translation tool will take care of the rest. Keep in mind that the names of certain items vary by location, and sometimes do not translate literally. For example, a “sweater” in the United States is called a “jumper” in the United Kingdom and a “pullover” in Germany. In many cases, Etsy’s search engine is still able to help shoppers find your items by referencing your item’s categories and subcategories. (Learn more about automatic translation on Etsy.) Since sizes aren’t translated, it's best to supply measurements in both metric and imperial units, if possible.

Remember, finding the right keywords for your items takes time and experimentation. Don’t forget to periodically check your Shop Stats to identify which keywords draw the most views to your shop, especially when experimenting with seasonal tags and titles. If some of your keywords are not attracting views, swap in new ones to see if they perform better, or try additional variations of keywords that are working.

How are you optimising your listings for Christmas? Share your ideas in the comments.


Katy Svehaug from CactusCurio

Katy Svehaug is a Brooklyn-based writer and maker. Follow her on the web at


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