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You know that moment when you realize that it’s time to start your online shop.  You’ve created a product – something really amazing and out of the box.  The photos are gorgeous and listing description poetic.  The item is now listed in your Etsy shop (Don’t have an Etsy shop? You can find out a step by step guide to opening one here).  And you’ve shared the listing all around your social media channels.

Then you wait.  And wait.  And wait.

After about a week, you start to wonder if you did something wrong.  What could have happened?  The question I know that’s flooding your mind… Why am I not getting any sales?

Recently I set out on a mission to make more sales in my Etsy shop.  I worked on improving my photography, product descriptions and product titles.  Even though I made these changes, I still noticed a lot of crickets.  Especially with the listings that I posted when I first opened my shop.  Changing those parts of the listings didn’t seem to have the sales impact that I was hoping for.

My first though was that the listings were just old.  I mean they are.  Many years old.  Maybe the ideas that I had when I originally designed them are no longer cool.  The trend is over and no one likes the design any more.

But, it could also be something else.  I decided to investigate.

Thanks to Etsy’s new stats comparison, I was able to easily track how an item sells over its lifetime.  By looking at the sales, clicks and views of a listing, I realized that something was wrong.  Like seriously wrong.

In some cases, I think it was because the design was past its prime.  At some point, designs reach a peak in popularity and then slowly fizzle out depending on trends and customer desires.

But after looking through these listings, I noticed that they didn’t have the correct keywords in place.  Actually, the listings didn’t really have any keywords in place.  Some of the listings were even added incorrectly.

It turned out that I never did the keyword research in the first place.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.

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See when I started my Etsy shop many, many years ago, keyword research wasn’t particularly necessary.  You were able to design an item, write a listing and put it in the shop without having to worry so much about how you planned to drive traffic to the listing.

In a couple of weeks the item sold.  Most definitely and without much thought.  It’s just how it worked.

The reason why – less competition.  There weren’t nearly as many shops, competitors or products pushing each other out of the way for the same set of eyes.  I eventually knew this would change, but I wasn’t sure when.  Turns out 2018 was the year (although it might have started shifting during 2017).

These days, when creating a listing for a new product, you must complete keyword research if you have any hopes that your listing will sell.  It’s one of the most important steps to bringing your amazing new design to market.  But why?  Here are five reasons why doing keyword research for your online shop is so important to having a successful Etsy shop.

Rising above the competition

The competition for your Etsy shop is fiercer than ever.  And the other shops are probably like me.  They don’t use the correct keywords either.

In order to make more sales, you need to get your products in front of more eyes.  Keyword research helps do this.  If you choose the correct keywords, your product will appear when your customers needs it most.  By getting in front of the right audience, there’s a better chance that they will purchase from you.

Also, let’s just assume that your competition isn’t doing their keyword research.  Taking a few minutes to complete this simple step when you list a product already makes your new listing better than your competitor.  And with so much competition out there, every little bit helps.

Helping your product rank

How your product ranks on Etsy and Google is important to getting your items in front of potential buyers.  If a potential customer enters the keywords for a product and yours doesn’t come up in the first couple of pages, your item will never be found.

You can tell when your product is ranking well by how many views and clicks the listing receives.  If the item receives lots of views and clicks, your product is showing up on the first pages of Etsy or even when potential customers search those terms on Google.  If the listing has only a few clicks and views, it probably isn’t ranking that great.

Remember – it’s not the product.  People will buy anything, so don’t take it too personally.  It’s just how often the product is seen.  If you don’t have the correct keywords, then the chances of the product being discovered reduces by a lot.

Selecting the correct keywords will help your product rank higher in the search engines.  The result – more views, clicks and most importantly SALES.

Assisting buyers in finding your product

When you walk into a store looking for something – say Target – you ask a shop assistant and they direct you to where the item is.  When you put keywords into the online search box, the search engine sends you to the best place to find what you’re looking for.  It acts as the shop assistant.

The search engine is formulated to help potential customers find the best answers (or items) that answer their query.  In order to assist these users, the search engine scans keywords on item listings that match the search.

This process is similar to how an in-person shop assistant uses your description to help you locate the product when shopping.  When you choose the right keywords to describe your product, you’re helping the search engine assist potential customers in finding the best results online.

The keywords you select help make the search engine’s job a lot easier.  The search engine rewards you by having your listing appear more often during searches.

Avoid getting the wrong traffic

One of the biggest pitfalls when you choose the wrong keywords is that you end up with traffic that isn’t actually interested in your product.  Instead, you have people who are searching for something else and certainly don’t plan to purchase your item.

With the original listings in my Etsy shop, my keyword choices resulted in the wrong eyes seeing my products.  No wonder the designs weren’t getting views and not selling.

It turned out my search results attracted customers who weren’t interested in what I was selling in the first place.  Ever since I updated all of my keywords, listings that haven’t sold in a year or two are finally making sales.  The new keywords are attracting the customers that actually want to buy.

Preparing your shop for advertising

Eventually, if you want to grow your Etsy shop, you’ll start using promoted listings.  It’s a wonderful way to attract new customers to your products.

But in order to use Etsy ads correctly, you need to have well chosen keywords in place.  There’s no sense in spending money to advertise your product, only to have it advertised to people who are not looking for that product.

By using the correct keywords, your product can be advertised directly to potential customers who want to buy it.  It’s a win win for everyone.  Etsy promotions matches your product’s keywords directly with the keywords searched by its customers.  When there’s a match, you pay a small fee to have your product shown in front of these potential buyers.

The result – sales and lots of them.  But the only way to be successful at promoted listings is to choose the correct keywords in the first place.

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It’s never been easier, so why not

So now that you understand why you need good keyword research, here’s the best way to get started.  And, I promise, it’s never been easier.

There’s a wonderful tool called Etsy Rank that makes finding the best keywords for your product really simple.  And the best part – it’s FREE.  That’s right, the free version has access to all of the tools you really need to be successful at keyword research.

When creating a new listing, use the Keyword Tool to find the best keyword options for your product.  You can also complete an audit of current products to see which ones need updated keywords and other improvements.

This tool alone is so simple to use and will increase your Etsy shop sales. You’ll be surprised.

Final Thoughts…

Have I convinced you that keyword research is an important part of a successful Etsy shop yet?

Once I realized the importance of keyword research, I got right to work fixing my listings.  It can take about 3 to 6 months for new keywords to start affecting the ranking of your item.  This is why when you publish a new listing and you’re relying on your keywords to drive traffic, it takes awhile to make a sale.

It’s best to get your shop’s keyword selection correct from the beginning.  But, as in my case, that doesn’t always happen.

If you’re in the process of improving the keywords for your listings, try to make the updates long before you plan on selling them.  For example, update your holiday listings months before the actual holiday.  This will give you the best chance that the search engine’s scan and ranking of your keywords will be completed in time.

Keyword research is one of the most important things to do when setting up your online shop and creating new listings.  Using the correct keywords gives you the best chance of building a successful Etsy shop.  Now hop onto Etsy Rank and start researching for your next listing.