How to Get Found on Etsy

by Linda Blackburn.
(Washington DC, USA)

Like many Etsy jewelry sellers, I had about given up. “Too many jewelry designers”. “Impossible to get found”. “I can’t compete with those low prices”. It had gotten to the point where I had things listed, but I assumed I would sell nothing … and I let it slide.

Then, in June of 2011 — with 75 sales since 2008 — I decided to give it one more shot. I worked very hard I kid you not. But today, 1 year later, I am pushing 300 sales, and I am averaging about $1000 a month in Etsy sales. And I am projecting to double that within a year.

Copal and Sponge Coral Bracelet

I know you’ve heard it all … but it never hurts to hear it again. Here are the 5 most important things you can do to be found on Etsy…

1. Photos

Photos are the front door to your shop. Think about what you want your shop to look like. Visit the best jewelry sellers’ shops and look at their images. Not just sellers on Etsy — but sellers on the net.

Look at Sundance. Department stores. They’re all facing the same dilemma … that is; selling jewelry to people who cannot touch it. You want to show the 3 dimensions of the jewelry … use the shadows and props, to get as close to letting people touch the work as possible.

And, yes, keep a light background. One trick I found very helpful was to create a treasury (keep the settings private so only you can see it). Put all best jewelry sellers items into the treasury and then add one of yours. How does it stand up? Could you get to the front page with that photo? If not … keep workin’! Here’s a good resource: How to Make a Treasury

2. Unifying Factor

Okay … now you got people into your shop through your front doors. What is the unifying factor of your shop? Your photos should all have some unity … what is it? Is it the lighting? The backdrop? An item that the jewelry is displayed on? But the unity of your shop is more than your photos. Work on your profile and your identity.

Copal Earrings

People want to hear your story. Then, thread this story throughout your shop. Your announcement. Your policies. Your item descriptions. Again … you are introducing yourself to people who cannot shake your hand — this is hard work!

3. SEO

Ahhh — the big, bad “Search Engine Optimization”. Okay — this may be a hard one to swallow people, but sorry. If you want to be online you MUST pay attention here.

You cannot ever, ever be found without it. And, guess what? It’s not that big of a deal. First of all — find your keywords. Look at your own Shop Stats on Etsy.

Note from Rena: You’ll find some other suggestions for coming up with keywords, in the comments below this post here on Jewelry Making Journal.

What are people using to find you? Then, once you’ve focused on a few keywords, maybe 8 or 10, these words need to be woven into all of your text and comprise about 10% of your words. If one of your keywords is “handcrafted jewelry”, don’t say “I’ve been making jewelry since I was a little girl” in your profile. Say “Handcrafted jewelry has been my passion since I was a child.”

Every single possibility for text on your site needs to be filled with your keywords — naturally. Write it first … from your heart … and then tweak it with your keywords. And — the most important place is your Shop Title. Make it perfect. This is Google’s first impression of you!

4. Relevancy

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Necklace

Another biggie here. Last year Etsy changed their search platform from Recency to Relevancy. This is the best thing for all of us. Sellers can no longer get to the top of the search by simply re-listing their items. It is also the best thing for Google search, so it is a longer vision for all of us. A lot of the SEO tips are important here, but critical is your title and your description. It used to be that beautiful and creative titles were optimal on Etsy. Like “Lotus Blossom Earrings” or “Lilly of the Lake bracelet”.

A title like this will no longer get you found. You must think about what someone will be searching for. What do you type into the search box when you are looking for something? If you’re looking for earrings to match an outfit you might search “pink earrings”, “long pink earrings”. That’s what your title should begin with — two or three word phrases. And then, those are the words that should appear at the beginning of your description.

Use these words in your tags as well. Right now Etsy is not ranking you according to your tags but Google is.

5. Inject Yourself into Everything You Do

Sleeping Beautu Turquoise Earrings

Okay … now you’re found! Now you have to sell your work to the folks who have found your front door, walked in , read your profile, feel they know you. How can you give them the feeling that you’re there in your booth talking to them personally? Inject yourself and your stories into all of your listings and your text, and give people other opportunities to know you. People DO want to know. If you’re a writer — start a blog, and don’t check your SEO tools at the door. Start a Facebook fan page! The more online presence you have the more legitimate you are.

Be patient … some of these changes take a couple months to show up. And while you are slow, don’t dismay! Use your precious time to make these improvements. It will pay off and be the building blocks you need for a successful Etsy shop.

Linda Blackbourn
Linda Blackbourn Jewelry at Etsy

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  • Congratulations on your Etsy success, Linda!

    And thanks so much for sharing these helpful Etsy tips. I especially appreciate your insights on having a unifying factor, and on relevancy vs. recency.

    Also, for jewelry artists who are looking for more info on search engine optimization (SEO) for your jewelry, you may want to check out my interview with SEO expert Yuwanda Black – How to Get Your Jewelry Business Seen in the Search Engines.

  • Barbara says:

    Of all the bumpf and jargon I’ve waded through in the past year trying to understand how to market myself online and to explain myself and my opinion to people “helping” me, this FINALLY makes the most sense. Clearly written and to the point. Not to mention, my personal discomfort with using and utter inability to come up with creative titles is finally justified and validated by someone else: they don’t work (can’t work) when someone is trying to find you and what you’re selling. Thank you, Linda, so very, very much.

  • zoraida says:

    Great advice, Linda! Thank you. I sell on Artfire and Zibbet but the rules are basically the same in any online marketplace. I work very hard on my photos, facebook, twitter, Pinterest , tags and there is always so much more to learn. Congratulations on your sales!

  • Thank you so much for the explanations and simplifying the “online selling” chaos that a lot of us experience. I have been selling my jewelry online and at shows for about 6 months & have recently begun the process of opening up a supplies shop online too. Your ideas, suggestions and information has helped to clear the “clutter” from my brain and I feel as if I will actually get the supplies shop up and running this week!! Thanks again & remember to always enjoy being Uniquely You!!

  • Thanks for your comments. I too was overwhelmed with all that one has to keep in mind for online sales. I am happy to share what I’ve learned and thrilled to hear that it was helpful to someone else! ♥Linda

  • I love your shop, you have some very beautiful jewelry pieces and your photographs are great. I can see where you changed your shop photos and how sales started picking up. So nice of you to share your shop and how you did it and that it can really work, thanks!

  • Thank you for your kind words, Victoria! Working on my photos is an ongoing challenge. They are better but I always see room for improvement! ♥Linda

  • Lee Ritter says:

    Thank you so much for making these things easy to understand. My etsy shop is just not profitable and I am never exactly sure what to do about it, these hints will be very helpful. Appreciate you sharing.

  • carole says:

    Linda, thanks for the tips and reminders. I will be working on my photos again today as well as building up my inventory. I like the idea of a private treasury to see how my pictures stand up to others. Thanks too for reminding us that hard work will eventually pay off!

  • I am very happy if this helps anyone at all! Carole — I know that making the treasuries really helped me to visualize how my photos stood up to others’. It was very eye opening! And yes … patience, and continually improving your shop WILL pay off. (But you can’t just sit and wait … 🙂

  • Joy says:

    I’ll be taking action today to improve my site. Thank you SO much!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you so much Linda for sharing your experiences with us. I am at that point of giving up with etsy. I have been a little lazy. I know if I really put my all in it and focus on all your points things will turn aroud. Thank you again and congratulations on your etsy sucsess.

  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! And congratulations on your success!

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks Linda, I am keeping the hope alive!

  • Jim Davis says:

    “I know you’ve heard it all … but it never hurts to hear it again.”

    Thanks for saying it again. It takes work, and perseverance, but I am beginng to see my efforts pay off. Thanks again for the ideas.

  • Nancy Bailey says:

    This is a great article with some very valuable information. I just shared this with my fellow Etsy sellers. Thank you for submitting this! :))

  • Luz S. Urena says:

    What a wonderful article..just what I needed! Thank you, thank you so much for sharing with us. I’ve been working very hard this month on my photos on Etsy and am hopeful that I might see some sales soon. Congratulations on your success!!!! All the Best to you!!!

  • I am on and off with my Etsy shop. The last 2-3 months had been very slow sales wise, so I am exploring other ways to do sales physically (craft shows, trunk shows etc.) I am honestly a bit disappointed with my sales on Etsy right now. But maybe I just need to work harder on tweaking my shop such as updating my photos, really work on my SEO and make more treasuries. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  • Diane says:

    Thank you for the information and congratulations on your success. I have to pay closer attention to using those keywords throughout everything I write. Always a work in progress. 😉

  • Carol Burton says:

    I read every article I can to help my shop on Etsy. I do have a blog, (address shown above) and an Etsy shop. I get discouraged once in a while. When I do, I go to the Forums and ask a question. The information helps me, and people start going to my shop to see what I do. I don’t feel so alone, then. I hear success stories like yours, and strive to do more. Thank you for your information. What a great success story!

  • V. says:

    Hi, I wanted to share that the link in this article to “Google Tools” leads to Google AdWords, which is their advertisement service. You can buy ads there. It doesn’t tell you what search keywords people are using to get to your site.

    Perhaps it used to link to that?
    If there is indeed a Google service that tells you what search keywords people are using to get to your site, I’d love to have the link. It would be very helpful.

  • V., thank you for letting me know that link no longer goes to a Google keyword tool, so I removed that link and added a little box with a link to a post here on Jewelry Making Journal where the discussion includes other suggestions for coming up with keywords. Thanks again! 🙂

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