Anatomy of a Bestselling Etsy Listing

There are plenty of factors that affect who sees your listings, and how likely they are to purchase them. It’s important to use every tool at your disposal to make your products and listings stand out from the (very large) crowd on Etsy.

Just like with your website, the name of the game on Etsy is SEO - search engine optimization. This is a fancy way of saying “how people will discover your products.” While Etsy has complex algorithms and curated lists to show people new things on their home feeds, most customers find products to buy by searching for something.

Your goal, then, is to use the right combination of keywords and phrases in your listing title and tags so that when someone searches for something related, your listing will show up. There are tons of rules and tips for Etsy SEO that we don’t have time to cover today, but here’s one important tip: you have to choose relevant keywords, not just popular ones. If you just stuff your listing with tons of unrelated popular keywords, it can actually have the opposite effect on your SEO.

Etsy’s search algorithm counts how many times your listing is clicked on when someone searches for something. If someone searches “beatles tee shirt” they’re likely to click on my listing below. That will boost my listing’s position in the search results. If however I had tagged it with “elvis tee shirt” as well for some reason, and people searching for that consistently saw my listing but didn’t click on it because it’s not what they’re looking for, then Etsy will assume my listing is bad and shove it down further in the search results.

Below is a screenshot of my bestselling Etsy listing, along with information on what makes it stand out and how you can apply that to your own shop.

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1. High quality visuals.

My main photo is a high-resolution, engaging, well-styled shot of the product. Actually, some may say this is a bit busy to be a main photo, so this may be more the exception than the rule. Just make sure your first photo shows off your product well, is bright, well-lit, clear and attractive. When in doubt, simpler is better. And if you don’t have the budget or skills to take styled professional photos, a simple white background and good lighting with your iPhone can work wonders.

2. Lots of photos.

I also have included several other photos of various aspects of the product in the listing. Etsy allows you to upload up to 10 photos per listing, and you should add as many as you possibly can, showcasing the product from various angles and applications. Think about what you like to see when shopping online. It can be a risk to buy something without being able to touch it and try it on. Therefore, customers want to see the item from every possible angle to make sure it’s what they want.

3. Good ratings and reviews.

My shop has an average 5-star rating, and several reviews, lending an element of trust to potential customers. Not included in this screenshot is the several 5-star reviews of this particular product right below the photo. Etsy automatically lists reviews of that specific product first, if you have any, which is nice, because when customers scroll down, they immediately see a bunch of (hopefully) positive reviews of that actual item they’re looking at.

4. Descriptive title.

I have a descriptive title for my product, which includes several common keywords and phrases someone might search for to find this product. There’s some debate about whether or not including a bunch of keywords at the end of your title is effective or not, but I tend to favor it. I say, anything that increases my chance of being discovered is worth trying, right? Plus, since Etsy’s tagging system doesn’t let you tag phrases over 30 characters long, the title is a good place to include those long tail keywords and phrases that people might be searching.

5. Free shipping.

Etsy recently made a change to their algorithms to favor listings that offer free shipping. It sounds silly, but many studies have shown that given the choice between a $25 product with $5 shipping, and a $30 product with free shipping, consumers largely choose the $30 product, even though they’re paying the same amount. They will even go so far as to choose a product that is a couple dollars more than the $25 + $5 shipping product, just to avoid having to calculate or think about shipping costs.

Of course, Etsy doesn’t intend for its sellers to just eat the shipping costs. If you’re going to partake in this offer, then you will need to raise your product base prices to absorb the usual cost of shipping. I was skeptical at first because I didn’t truly believe people cared that much about free shipping, but I’ve seen a definite uptick in sales since it started.

6. Long description.

I have a long and in-depth description for my product, which goes on to elaborate on fit, sizing suggestions, material, and care instructions. The goal here is to answer as many questions as possible before your potential customer even thinks to ask them. For one thing, it’s just thorough and builds trust, and for another thing, it can save you from answering the same question in your inbox 10x a day. Not to mention, many people will just move on if they have doubts or questions, instead of bother to ask. So, make sure you have thorough, well written and easily-readable descriptions to help customers feel good about clicking Add to Cart.

7. Lots of keyword tags.

This isn’t pictured in the screenshot above, but if you scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the listing, you’d see all the tags I added. Etsy allows for 14 tags in each listing, and you should try to use them all. This is where you use more keywords that people might search to find your product. Tags are make or break! If you’re unsure what to tag your product as, I would suggest searching Etsy for similar listings to see what they have used as tags. In general, as mentioned above, just think about the things someone might search for who would be interested in finding your product.

Phew! That’s a hefty bit of info! All of this and much, much more can be found in my FREE Etsy Quick Start Guide, which you can get below.

EtsyLizzie Benson