Etsy is a fantastic platform for artists, crafters and vintage sellers to sell their wares, but it can be difficult to stand out in the vast sea of competition. However, with a few simple tips, you can maximise traffic and sales without resorting to Etsy SEO.
In this article, I’ll show you how to get more traffic and sales from other sources rather than relying solely on Etsy SEO.
Why Etsy SEO is overrated
Etsy is a platform for handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. It’s also a place where many small businesses sell their products. While Etsy is a great place to sell your products, it’s important to remember that Etsy is not the only place to sell online. There are many other platforms out there that offer similar services to Etsy. But Etsy is the easiest to get started on, AND many small businesses have achieved great success selling only on Etsy.
When starting, Etsy SEO is necessary to help Etsy understand what your product is. But here are three reasons why Etsy SEO is overrated:
1. There’s too much competition on Etsy.
With so many businesses selling similar products on Etsy, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, this means you have to work extra hard on your SEO to ensure your listing appears near the top of search results. And even then, it is still no guarantee.
2. Etsy SEO is time-consuming.
Starting a new Etsy business can be challenging to manage your day job while trying to get it off the ground. You may not have the time necessary to work on your Etsy SEO.
3. Etsy SEO is confusing.
It takes a lot of work to learn how to optimise your Etsy listing, and it isn’t easy to get it right the first time.
What if I was to tell you that Etsy SEO is just one tool in your arsenal that you can use to help customers find your shop and products?
If you concentrate on only ONE thing to grow your business, you are not building a resilient business. Focussing on just one traffic source makes you so reliant on it that even the slightest change may impact your business significantly. For example, tweaking the Etsy algorithm can send your sales crashing.
The real reason your Etsy shop isn’t getting traffic
Etsy is a crowded marketplace. There are millions of sellers and thousands of new sellers joining every day. As you can see from the chart below, the number of active stores on Etsy has grown exponentially over the past few years.
This means there are a lot of sellers competing for the same shoppers. And that number is growing every day! It’s not easy to stand out if you’re already in that marketplace. If you’re new to Etsy and want to get some sales, then it’s even harder.
The sellers at the top of Etsy search generally make the most sales. This is because they have managed to get their products seen by more people (possibly from traffic outside Etsy). It does not mean their SEO is better than yours. Nor does it mean that their product is better than yours. They have simply done enough to be included in the search, and Etsy decides where to rank the product.
Instead of concentrating on Etsy SEO, once you have done the basics, you next must get your product seen by as many people as possible. The bottom line is that the more people who see your work and purchase it, the better Etsy perceives your product. As a result, you move up the search ranking.
It does not matter how the customer finds your product, just as long as they like what they see and make a purchase.
How do I get my product in front of potential customers?
Now you need to think outside the Etsy search box. Most of your traffic can come from Etsy, but you must also find other ways to get potential customers to see your product.
When you look at your Stats page on Etsy, below the Visits, Orders, and Revenue graphs, there is a section for ‘How shoppers found you’ (this is also known as your traffic sources in Google Analytics). This is an excellent place to start. It’s important to remember that your traffic source numbers can fluctuate daily, depending on what you do.
The traffic information tells you how many customers Etsy found for you and how many you found for yourself. Your aim should be to ensure you have a spread of different sources bringing traffic to your shop.
What are the different Etsy traffic sources?
For Etsy internal traffic, you have the following options identified on the stats page:
- Etsy app & other Etsy pages – This includes all the visits you get from the Etsy App and other pages on etsy.com. Including editor’s picks, the home page, and favourites.
- Etsy search – This uses your Etsy SEO and includes all your visits from Etsy search.
- Etsy marketing & SEO – This is the traffic you get from Etsy’s Offsite Ads on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
The traffic you bring in yourself is classed as external traffic sources. This is the area you have control over, and your effort should equal the results you get. Etsy categorises the external traffic sources as follows:
- Social Media – This includes all your visits from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media channels. If it is a known social media channel, Etsy can usually identify the source and give you figures for how many visits you got from each channel.
- Advertising – This only includes the visits you get from Etsy Ads. It will exclude Ad visits if they come from the Etsy app. Because Etsy Ads are optional, Etsy classes this as an external traffic source, i.e. traffic you brought in yourself. However, this is still dependent on the Etsy SEO you set up, so Etsy still has a bit of control.
- Direct & other traffic – This is a catch-all for everything not covered by the previous two external sources. It covers any route into your shop from blogs and any other website that sends traffic to your shop. This will also include links you include in any newsletters you might send.
Make a note of your traffic source stats before you start marketing. Then keep a record of how they change as you make targeted marketing campaigns. You know your efforts are paying off if you see the numbers increasing.
Marketing inside Etsy
There are many places on Etsy where customers can find your listings based on their preferences. Some of these are the Home page, Ads, Categories, Market Pages, ‘More like this’, Favourites, Teams, Editor’s Picks, etc. You can use these internal marketing tools to promote your product.
Some of the underused marketing options Etsy provides are:
- Favourites & Follows – Warning: The favouriting games in the Etsy forums are not recommended and can harm your Etsy quality score.
- Include links to your other listings within the description of your listings.
- The Forums
- Coupons, Sales, Promotions – Before offering sales and coupons, ensure you are still making a profit after the discount. You can work out what your profit is from this post.
- Etsy Ads – This option is the only option that will cost you money to improve your chances of being discovered.
Marketing Outside of Etsy
Of course, Etsy isn’t the only place you can market your products. There are many social media sites that you can use as well as traditional offline methods.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Facebook – Create a fan page for your shop and update it regularly.
- Pinterest – Create boards of images relating to your shop and products.
- Twitter – Create a profile for your shop and post updates about new products.
- Instagram – Post pictures of your products.
- Google+ – Create a profile for your shop and post updates about new products.
- Tumblr – Create a profile for your shop and post updates about new products.
- YouTube – Post videos of how you make your products.
- Email Marketing – Send a regular email newsletter to your mailing list.
- Collaborations – Work with bloggers and other makers to create content together.
- Press – Get your products featured in magazines, newspapers or blogs.
- Word of Mouth – Ask customers to recommend you to their friends.
Conclusion: Don’t waste too much time on Etsy SEO to Increase Etsy Shop Traffic
These are just some ideas you can use to upscale your marketing game. So pick some and have fun seeing what imaginative ways you can adopt to promote your business.
Once you start to get more Etsy sales, you can always scale back your efforts and focus on the ones that are working best.
You may not be able to do all of these at once, but when you decide to do any of them, ensure you’re keeping track, so you know what’s working and what isn’t.