etsy search

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

5 Tips for Optimising Your Etsy Shop - From a Former Etsy Admin

Small business tips for Etsy sellers - optimise your Etsy shop

Here's my checklist of 5 ways you can ensure you haven't left your shop in the past:

Etsy shop real estate

1.) Check all elements are up to date from your Shop Announcement to your profile, banner, and About page. Ensure everything is filled in, and there is no sign of last Christmas lurking in there! Try for creating frrresh new graphics (they even have an Etsy shop banner template and shop icon!) Did you know that having a completed About page and Shop Policy can help your product rankings in search? Leave no stone unturned in your shop!

SEO (search engine optimisation) is ever important, so the first few words of each text section need to include powerful keywords. The challenge is to load the first sentence with strong, relevant keywords, while still appearing grammatically correct and readable!

Listing keywords and titles

2.) Get into the habit of regularly weeding out irrelevant keywords and titles for optimum relevancy. You don't want a whiff of Christmas in your listings as I doubt people are searching for festive items now (press usually do in July though, so bring back the holly and tinsel then.) You also don't want Mother's Day keywords at Christmas!

A list of mere keywords or words in capitals is NEVER,COOL,OK,THIS,IS,YOUR,PROFESSIONAL,SHOP! See what I mean? Does John Lewis do it? Hell no.

Using the same word or phrase in both your title AND as a keyword will rank that item higher in search for that specific term. I recommend doing this with a couple of keywords/phrases per listing, especially if the terms are highly searchable at the time e.g. in the run-up to Valentine's Day it's good practice to elevate your Valentine items as high in search as possible!

Make your titles descriptive while cohesive, with the most important words first (that people will search for, and that describe your item.) Here's an example of one of my own items with the current title. Notice how the title is jam-packed with relevant keywords, yet still reads as short sentences. It will show up in search results for queries such as 'funny card for wife', 'anniversary card for girlfriend', and most importantly to me: 'funny anniversary card'. That's the specific phrase I have chosen to target for this card.

The photography isn't amazing (do what I say, not what I do - ahem!), but my point is that in one image I've shown what the product is, and the scale of the card. You can also include materials and tools to show how it was made.

Etsy title: "Funny anniversary card. I love you card for boyfriend or girlfriend. Card for husband, wife, him or her. If you were a bogey, I'd pick you!"

Etsy title: "Funny anniversary card. I love you card for boyfriend or girlfriend. Card for husband, wife, him or her. If you were a bogey, I'd pick you!"


3.) Imagine your Etsy shop is a real bricks and mortar shop. It needs to entice people in, and customers want to be able to see and touch your products. With an online shop, photography is so important as the customer needs to see what it will feel like. Take fresh images of products, use props to show scale, and present the products so the customer is able to imagine wearing, holding, or taking in the scent (depending on what it is of course!).

Photography, styling, & products by Diana Stainton

If your photography is lacking, there are online tutorials (check out Etsy Resolution's article - Perfecting Your Product Photography or enlist a professional to take them for you, especially if you sell items that are always the same. I recommend Diana Stainton, a professional photographer and retoucher specialising in small business product photography in and around London. She already has a great reputation as a product stylist & photographer for Etsy sellers, and is a seller of homewares too with her brand Pygmy Cloud.

Link everywhere

4.) One of the first things I notice when researching a client's online presence is that their social media profiles don't link to their Etsy shop, and they are confused as to why their personal website has lots of sales but not their Etsy shop. That Etsy shop link needs to be everywhere! In every social profile, every time a photo of the product is posted, on a 'thank you' or business card sent out in orders. Car bumper sticker? T-shirt? Don't make potential customers do the leg work when they spy your product on e.g. Instagram - have it waiting for them on a plate!

Merchandising themes

5.) Plan ahead with upcoming themes for your products and marketing as far in advance as you can. E.g. in the lead up to Valentine's Day, products should be adapted to fit the theme, if possible. If not - photographs can be *loved up* with Valentine props or marketed as such with posts on social media. Keep an eye on Etsy's Editors' Picks and trend suggestions (e.g. in admin Team posts) to see what themes are being featured and pushed in their marketing plan.

Have you dedicated time to optimising your shop and listings? What has and hasn't worked for you? Let us know in the comments!