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Etsy attributes for item listings - what are Etsy attributes and how do they affect search relevancy?

What are Etsy Attributes and how do they affect search relevancy?

What are Etsy Attributes?

Etsy has developed 'attributes', an additional listing tool for sellers that will help shoppers find relevant results in search. When listing an item, you can now select extra details such as colours, dimensions, an occasion, and/or a celebration from dropdown menus that are used along with keywords in item tags and titles. Etsy says: "Adding this specific information will make your items more relevant in search results, so buyers can find them more easily."

There are a variety of ways to shop on Etsy. Shoppers can browse the categories, the suggested listings/shops on their home page, utilise the search bar, and/or filter by location, price, or colour in the sidebar. Soon there will also be filters to narrow down searches by way of attributes.

Etsy suggests you "use a combination of item tags and attributes to help show your items in a variety of searches."

How do I add attributes?

When listing an item, simply select as many relevant attributes as possible to maximise your item’s reach in search results.

Etsy attributes - Etsy seo tips - get found in search

Use the 'add attributes' tool in your Listings Manager to edit your listing attributes consecutively without having to open and edit each listing in full. It also keeps track of listings that haven't been edited for attributes yet. See screenshot below:

Etsy attributes tool in shop manager

How will using Etsy's Attributes impact the discovery of my items in search? 

From an Etsy admin discussion post recently: "Think of your attribute as an additional keyword. In the future, the attributes will help you appear in filtered results. But starting March 27, they'll act as keywords in text searches."

If you select an attribute, you don't need that keyword as a listing tag as well. "If you simply use "birthday" as a tag, you can definitely remove it if you have selected the matching attribute. Because exact-phrase matches perform best, I recommend keeping complex phrases like "birthday soap set" should you have them.(Source.) 

In my opinion it's important to add attributes to your listings now to stay ahead of the game in search. Attributes provide extra opportunities for your listings to be found - as every tag helps! Once the attribute filters are ready, even more opportunities will open up - provided that shoppers actually use the filters.

Admin quote from a discussion: "In the future, we will build search filter options based on information provided through attributes. At that time, selecting an attribute option will ensure that your item appears in at least one filtered set of results for that attribute (or filter set)."

If you haven't added attributes when the search filters are live, your listings won't be found when shoppers filter their searches. Your listings will still appear in general text searches as previously.

Will shoppers use the forthcoming attribute filters? The popularity of the filters cannot be known until the feature is launched. When I worked at Etsy a few years ago, many people were using the search term 'uk' when there was a perfectly functional location filter in the sidebar, so I guess the impact of new filters will depend on how obvious they are to shoppers, and how well they work, etc.

Custom variations will also be considered in search. "Each option you offer in your item variations is an individual attribute that will be factored into search in the future. For example, if you offer 5 different necklace lengths, your listing will appear in results for each individual search of those measurements, assuming you have stock for each. However, adding these variations won't create additional listings so the listing will only appear once in results for relevant searches." (Source.)

Some sellers are disappointed by the lack of attribute options relevant to their items. Hopefully this shortfall in options will be remedied in future:
"Over time, we’ll introduce more and more relevant attributes to each item category to help you describe your item and connect it to buyers looking for it." Quote from a recent Etsy admin announcement.

Want more Etsy tips? Grab a cuppa and read my other posts here.

Further reading:
Etsy Help article explaining attributes

Freshen up your Etsy listings post-Halloween! Etsy tips for shops that mean business!

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Just a reminder to freshen up your Etsy shop post-Halloween! Re-title and re-tag your Halloween listings to make them more evergreen... (or ever-orange?) For example the above image used to be a Halloween journal and is now an "Thanksgiving planner. Autumn pumpkin notebook. Grey Moleskine journal for Fall, with orange pumpkins illustration. Notebook, journal or gift."

You could market some items for Thanksgiving Day in the USA (November 24th 2016). More info on Thanksgiving here.

If your products and listings are overwhelmingly screaming Halloween and cannot be convincingly marketed as autumnal, it might be a good idea to either offer them at a discount or deactivate those listings until next year, because everybody - IT'S CHRISTMAS. 

Don't forget to weed out Halloween references in your descriptions and look out for any listings where you selected the occasion as Halloween in the drop down lists when creating the listing!

Hope you had a:

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Illustration by Heidi Burton

How to Make the Most of the Slow Season by Optimising Your Etsy Shop and Rethinking Your Products:

Etsy makeover ideas for your shop during the slow season

The spring and summer months can be quite slow for views and sales on Etsy unless you market towards popular seasonal trends such as weddings or festivals, or you have a niche product, or a devoted following!

Don't put your feet up just yet though, there's still plenty of work to do! Then you can bask in your organisational aura while everyone else is running around juggling tasks in November!

Refresh & rethink your shop

  • Editors' Picks are your friend. Not solely beneficial for Etsy shoppers, these gems are a useful resource for merchandising your own products too. Find Editors' Picks sections on the Home page of your Etsy account. Are your products relevant to any of Etsy's merchandising themes? If yes, then make sure you're tagging your listings to suit.

TOP SECRET ETSY SEO TIPS (SHHH!)

  • Here's a super trick I figured out when working with merchandising at Etsy that takes it a step further. On your Etsy home page, pick a category from the Editors' Picks sections, preferably one that is relevant to your own items. For this example, choose 'Summer fashion accessories' as seen on the screenshot below.

This will take you to sub-categories such as the ones below:

If you then click on the 'Printed headwraps' section, you will see a page of printed headwraps as expected. Just above the first row of products (see screenshot below), you will notice that Etsy admin have filtered the listings that show under their category heading with the specific search term 'printed turban'.

See where it says "All categories > “printed turban" in the screenshot above?  This means that any listings with the title/tags 'printed turban' will show under that category list of Editors' Picks.

  • Tagging and titling your own relevant listings with those specific filtered terms brings those items of yours to the top of that search (if your listings & shop are up to par and you double tag/title listings). Do this for all relevant categories for your best chance of showing in Editors' Picks!Etsy promotes their handpicked collections in their other merchandising e.g. newsletters as well, so the top ranking listings in that search would gain even more exposure.

CHECK YOUR LISTINGS

  • Go through your listings with a fine-tooth comb and weed out irrelevant titles, tags, and don't forget the bits about Easter or Mother's Day in your descriptions. For your shop to appear fresh and current, it needs to be well maintained (like a bricks and mortar shop!)
  • Is a fresh photoshoot needed? Either work on your own photographs or consider hiring a professional. The latter can be fantastic value, especially if you sell the same items again and again. I recommend Diana Stainton Photography. You can post items to her to be photographed, and she has already worked with many a maker, along with professionally photographing Etsy events. 

Depending on the type of products you make, mock-up designs like these can look amazing, without even having to pick up a camera! You can digitally add an image into a frame in an already-styled professional photograph.

Example of product mockup for your print design -  by White Hart Design Co.

Example of product mockup for your print design - by White Hart Design Co.

  • Branding can make or break your shop aesthetic. Have you uploaded a cover image? Check that it's not pixellated, stretched, or blurry, and looks professional. It needs to be consistent with your branding across all social media platforms, business cards, etc. If it doesn't look great, it's better to have none at all. The same goes for your About section.
Etsy cover photo branding
  • Is your shop title (the sentence under your shop username) packed with relevant keywords? This is important for SEO and shows up as a title in search engine listings, so make it flow like a sentence, not just a bunch of keywords.
What to write as your Etsy shop title - Etsy shop SEO
  • Same as above for your Shop Announcement. Important keywords in the first sentence, as this will show in search engine results as a shop description ("meta description").
Etsy SEO shop description in Google search results
  • Edit your Shop Section titles with strong keywords. These titles not only help shoppers navigate within your shop, but also boost SEO for search engines.
  • The first 160 characters of your item description contribute towards your product's meta description i.e. text that shows under your listing in search engine results. Use rich keywords in the first paragraph to describe your product. I think you get the idea - strong, relevant keywords all over your shop!
  • Link to your shop from everywhere: social media platforms, word of mouth, email signature, car bumper sticker, business cards, tote bag (nothing like a walking advertisement!)
  • Get all your admin out of the way. Don't leave all your tax return paperwork until January, this can be a busy time for sales - do what you can now, and get all the boring filing down while you're at it! (Then pat yourself on the back and have a nice cuppa.)

 

Refresh and rethink your Products

  • Could your products be adapted to fit a trending theme? If not - could you design something new that would? I'm not talking about jumping on the sloth/pug/beards bandwagon, more of the general themes such as boho chic or gifting for weddings, etc.
  • If your products do not, and will never be relevant to popular summer themes - could you still market them as such? E.g. if you sell zines about gothic architecture, could you photograph someone reading one while draped over a sun lounger by a swimming pool with a cocktail? Would using summer-themed props work for your photos?
  • Are your wares purely aesthetic? If you sell e.g. art prints - perhaps print the artwork onto functional *giftable* products such as notebooks and mugs as well.
  • Think ahead to later in the year and start creating designs and making stock in advance for the Christmas rush. Christmas items are often promoted to long-lead press as early as June or July! It pays to get in early, though don't turn your whole shop into Santa's grotto just yet - move your Christmas items to the bottom/last page of your shop, away from the sunglasses, mojitos and pineapples. Don't tag the tinsel out of them right this minute, just a few carefully considered festive tags should do the trick for now!

What do you do when sales are slow? Share your suggestions in the comments below.