Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Week in Pictures

Awwwwwesome beads from potterygirl1 - these little blobs are so sweet and creamy coloured..!

Vintage buttons bought from ingrandmasattic to use on textile cuffs and brooches

Gorrrrgeous Moroccan beads from Yvonnesjewels - they were sold as clay but they're stone.

Incredibly pretty ceramic pendant from boonepottery - I'm going to have to keep that pink heart one for myself!

Forget-me-nots by the garden shed

Jasmine by the garden fence

Happenstance layerings of antique paper and lace

earrings on the go

Finished pieces of jewelry waiting to be photographed and listed (soon!)

And a cake I made for Mum's birthday- first proper attempt at icing! Don't judge me. And this is as fancy as my food presentation is ever going to get. I caught a few minutes of Masterchef on the telly earlier tonight (I'm alright now, thanks) and it made me angry to see people dicking around with sauce in squeezy bottles and little wafers of shit. Just put the damn food on the plate and give it to me already! I hate pretentious food presentation. Almost as much as I hate it when people sift icing sugar over desserts. Am I still talking?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vacation time

I'm having a sudden break from the shop for 2 weeks- shipping is delayed till October 5th. I do have to go to the Post Office tomorrow but that's it for 2 weeks, so if you are very lucky and go buy something right now... you might get through in time! Otherwise...I need a break from my own brain, and the only way that's possible is if I can stop it worrying about housekeeping on Etsy. And the only way to do that is to switch it off. Etsy, not my brain. OH if I could do that...

Some loot from a parcel I received from boneflowers - look at the graphics!!! They're killer!!!!

Fagin's Daughter is on complete vacation- the only reason Sparrow Salvage isn't on complete vacation is because Etsy removes you from search when you do so, and as so many people search for me by name on a daily basis, putting the shop on vacation would mean I wouldn't show up for them and they'd think me gone for good! Not the greatest set-up Etsy, but since you haven't bothered to change it all this time I'm forced to work around you.

Inside, we have teeny vintage pearls, little flower beads, and this eeny weeny box with even eenier weenier little beads in! I think they're watch parts...

In the next two weeks I hope to do what I was supposed to do the last time I took 2 weeks off- clean up this darned blasted freakin' mother loving studio! There's so much stuff in here I may- no, will- never use. I've counted 5 boxes of vintage/antique paper and book scrap that I'll never use, as well as a suitcase of leather, another newly discovered suitcase of textiles for kits, a huge tub of pretty linens I once had bunting dreams for, etc etc and etcetera.

I made cake! Black forest, from scratch (no box mix!) - I don't make enough cakes.

So hopefully in 2 weeks I'll have a ton of kits both of the textile and paper variety, vintage fabric and antique supplies up the yin-yang, as well as lots of new jewelry, a spanking clean studio and some sort of huge announcement about the future of my world. Yes kids, this is one of those 'changing my life' vacations that I have a fetish for. And this time I mean it. With cake.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mail tiemz

I love getting things in the mail, and this week I received TWO presents from my fellow creatives!

This incredible stash of crystal beads from corvidDelights - those huge rose quartz chunks (the biggest one is about the size of a marshmallow) are beads!! They're drilled through! The spears were in her de-stash shop a while back and I always meant to buy them- they're even more amazing in real life.

I love the little pink druzy (between the amethysts) - that's going in my special collection on my bedside table, can't let that one go.

Then I got a lovely little package from Numinositybeads...

Headpins she's made herself! They're all pale pink and spotty and lovely, I can't wait to find something that's good enough to put them in! Sometimes I get supplies that are so awesome I get scared to use them, in case I ruin them with something terrible. Does anyone else get this? It's only these last few months that I've been able to crack into the 'precious' stash (after Fanci goaded me) and use things that are just way too divine to be bought down to earth in my crafty rubbish. :P (That's how I feel.)

Then, while traipsing about on eBay I ran into these curious critters:

The description for them read 'These anodised buttons along with hundreds of thousands of other various types of buttons ( no exaggeration ) were found buried under sheets of corrugated iron which in turn were buried under soil under the floor boards of a garden shed on an abandoned semi rural property.'

How cool is that!?! Under soil, under iron, under flooring! What a mysterious occurrence. Naturally stuff flike this gets me all in a frenzy of wonder, and I had to have them. I've never seen anodised buttons before, these are from the 1960s and will make great details on doily brooches and cuffs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A few days ago I did some tinkering as I am want to do- I bought some etching cream designed for people to fancy up their wine glasses and applied to it the usual dose of inappropriate use of tools (one thing about being pioneery is that you have to use tools for things they're not designed for.) In this case it wasn't too much of a stretch- this cream is for etching glass and that's exactly what I did with it.

It wasn't exactly the power house of frosty permanence I was looking for. You're supposed to brush it on and leave it for about 5 minutes, then wash it off. I brushed it on then left it- for 5 hours. Because I completely forgot about it! I went off and made a cake, because that's what I usually do while I'm waiting for some toxic stuff to finish doing something fun in the laundry.

The pink ones show obvious frosting, and I'm pleased with that- on the right you can see their original condition.

The green bicones here you can see have barely frosted at all. The frosted ones are on the left- I think...

Here's some Czech leaves- all it's really done here is strip the colour off (frosted ones are on top), but that's okay because they're now original at least, and they have a snowy feel to them.

So that was mildly successful- I shall do more of that later. And for funs, here some random shots of my desk:

Technically these were a couple of days ago, my desk is now awash in thoroughly uninspiring (to me) elements as I bag up the final mountain of destash.

I feel lately that my blog posts are somewhat sober and uninteresting. It's funny when I look through my blog, I think 'if someone wanted to get an idea of who I was, they'd end up with a pretty skewed picture just going from this!' It's not that the blogs not me, it is- but well, it's a bit of a Disney version. In real life I'm buckets of fun! Here I'm probably a bit too professional for my own good.

While I make attempts to remedy this, here's a few things about me you don't see exhibited here:

1. I swear like a dock worker. Not every second word; let's just say I cruise permanently on Billy Connolly mode. I try to get creative with my cursing when I'm in losing my patience with something, though that usually ends up with me just muttering a string of obscenities. Being within earshot of me is not for the faint hearted.

2. I like bloke's movies. People assume because I'm a girl and I'm wearing pretty floral print things and generally being nice that I'm going to want to see some heartwarming tale about some woman moving to a small town after a divorce and falling for the local half-her-age who drives a beat up truck. No thanks! I'd much rather something with explosions, aliens, car chases or all of the above.

3. I'm a domestic diva. Keeping house is probably my number one biggest hobby/passion, to the point where I'm trying to find a way of making an income out of it. I like being at home- baking, housework, decorating... it's all my bag, baby. I don't see any reason what so ever why people can't have a lovely clean and nice looking home no matter how poor they are. I live on the poverty line and I've managed it well.

4. I feel like I'm the only person involved in 'nostalgic retail' who doesn't want to go live in the past. 'Born in the wrong era' is not applicable to me. To me the past is a dull, unhygienic, labour intensive, repressed misery devoid of TV and internet (and electricity if you go back far enough). What I like best about being alive now is that I can pretend it's the 1940s or 1840s or whatever, and then once I've done that for a few hours I can have internet and TV. I love the design of things made in the past, and though I do think there are some things that were nicer then (people had better manners/fashion/attitudes about life), I doubt even a certain bow-tied chap in a police box could get me to go back there for more than a day trip.

5. In my previous internet life, I used to write fictional stories about certain well-known pirates and wizards. They were fun and did wonders to exercise my writing skills since writing with known and popular characters gives you an instant world to dive into and an instant audience to get feed-back from. I wrote mostly pirate stories- so many in fact that I can be informally credited with inventing a commonly used term in that fandom. And no, you can't see them!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gruel and honey

There are some kits available in the shop!

Only 5 up right now and one is gone already, so quick sticks my dears. There will be more available next weekend, possibly the second or even last lot as my 'unwanted' textile supply is very sparse now.

On the supply front though, I had a massive clean out this week and now officially have more supplies I don't need than stuff I do! So jewelry-making takes a back seat this next week and probably the next one while I spend some time making up little 'bead soups' for fagin's daugher.

There's also a massive amount of Victorian supply left. I feel like half my studio is 'stuff I gotta sell'. I'd like to get it out there as quick as possible so the place feels a bit more clear.

It's lucky that photographing little antique things is one of my favourite tasks ever.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

the sum for the whole

Working steadily at my desk, developing mostly elements of things but not getting much done in the way of finished pieces. Determined to get more finished product out of my desk than custom orders, I've rented two seasons of Cranford and a small collection of dumb Hollywood comedy in an effort to stare at a screen, because there's nothing like watching TV to make me want to sew at the same time.

I am in half a mind to do a challenge of sorts, some time soon. I have some cuff bases that I feel I ought to finish, but I'm wondering if I should offer them to a select few of you instead, to see what sort of world you can build on a scruffy lace base. Still ruminating over that one.

In the meantime here's some pictures of pretty fabrics littering the studio, soon to be cuffs and brooches and possibly even kits, if I can persuade myself to let some of it go. It's easy enough kitting up the dark and murky tones, but when it comes to the dusty pastels I'm still a little clingy! I know there are quite a few of you waiting for kits and I'm trying to get some done, hopefully there will be 6 to 8 of them available this Sunday coming.

And here are some headpins I made using Fanci's technique. Just the same as her I used stone beads, UTEE and never-gunna-wear-it make up minerals.

Due to my make up being more powdered than hers I've ended up with a sort of copper gold covering rather than a glitterfest, which if I do it right only partially covers the bead, leaving the colours of the stone still visible.

I love that the one right up the back there (which has two beads; amethyst and a smaller angelite one) looks like a seashell! I'm yet to perfect the technique but I think these are pretty good for starters.

I've also just creaked open the purse and lashed out on...

A disc cutter and dapping set! So I can make amazing bead caps (like these) and other ring things out of the myriad of antique tin things I have laying about the place here. Those caps linked to above are awesome, but no one's offering anything with quite the right level of rustic ruination that I require, so I figured I'd make my own and offer some to you chaps as well. Excitement! There's nothing quite like investing in new tools. Also as I realised some time ago, I enjoy making supplies more than making jewelry. Methinks Sparrow Salvage is about to expand.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

inspiration - artisan jewelry

Since we've been doing a lot of talking about technicals and since the only pretty stuff I've shown you lately is my own work, I think we're long overdue to see some exquisite trinkets from our fellow genius Etsians. So here are a few of my latest favourites.

Time whisperer by lejonklou all the way over there in Sweden! I've noticed many Swedish shops have a a very ethereal style and this one's no different- gorgeous snow-pale hues and elegant serenity. Those beautiful little faceted pink beads are lucite! They look like perfect rhodonite. I love the shabby edge on the focal -which she made herself; I'm very jealous of anyone who can make their own glazed pottery beads. I think that and enamel are my two biggest envies.

The Noosphere by fancifuldevices- you know she had to show up so let's get her out of the way early, otherwise she'll fuss around up the back being noisy. Seriously though these are blowing my mind even more than her stuff usually does for me- again the big chunkies in the middle are lucite (I'm warming to this vintage plastic thing) and the contrast of super rustic stone discs and delicate lace is just superb. Are we surprised? No.

Desert Shaman earrings by papvier - I adore the rough tourmaline together with the soft downy feathers! The contrast of slick pure white teeth, rustic orange on the feathers and that chocolate coloured wire... delicious.

I don't know what this used to be called- it's called reserved now! I'm usually a bit scared of super-chunky things, being that I'm the sort of person who wears very delicate jewelry. This necklace from MorningDove...I'm in love! The giant slabs of chrysophrase are perfect focals for the natural rustic and antique tribal beads between them. There's something powerful about this piece- not just the bold style; there's a real power in the stones. (This is also a great example of complimentary backgrounds!)

Dewdrops by Stregata - again I'm all over the contrasting textures (I sense a theme). Rustic rich metal drops and creamy smooth shell beads, and then the little glow of the moonstone. Luvverly.

Rustic by Vintajia (an Aussie!) - the deep colours in the raku and glass are perfectly showcasing the fire in the copper. I love the way she's wrapped the hanging beads too, not your usual head pin situation. Inspiring! (inspiring is a great word to use when what you really mean is 'I'm totally gunna steal that idea'.)

Poison Ivy by beadsnbones who always does such gorrrrrgeous work. The greens here are intoxicating to me right now- all that gorgeous patina and ceramic hand-formed shapes. The little pink seed beads are to die for!! Great contrast to the sea green too.

Birch bark rose ring by Umbellata, with the most exquisite rustic metal bezel like lava stone, contrasting with the slick glassy resin. This is a serious ring, sitting up high on the hand. And a bloody good price too! I'd buy it but again- I don't wear chunky things and this is some serious chunk.

Last but certainly not least - Mauve feathers by CorvidDelights, a seller who is not only one of my bestest friends who I like, tell everything to and junk, but who's also evolving right before my eyes into some kind of bead-wielding enchantress. Her work was always fantastic, but now there's a divinity coming out of it. The grungy wire and black chain with the delicate pink is drop-dead awesome.


So you can see pretty strong themes here of rich earth tones especially green and amber gold, as well as the contrast of smooth and creamy with rough and rustic. This wasn't just a post to showcase some of my recent favourites, it was an exercise in what my mind is attracted to lately. I have tons of stuff in my faves that I could've shown you- but these were the things that jumped out at me. Looking at all this stuff my keywords that come to me are 'feminine but wild', 'pretty but rustic', 'pure but ancient'. Contrasts? In some ways. More unexpected examples of a type. femininity can be wild, pretty can be rustic, purity can be ancient.

There is often a significant lesson in these sorts of actions- the things you are drawn to always harbour clues to what you are currently seeking in your own world, creative or not. Sometimes (if you believe in that sort of thing) you can apply colour therapy to it. I know perfectly well why I'm attracted to pretty pink and dusty green right now, and I know what the smooth cream and rustic textures mean too. But I don't have to tell you every thing. :P

All images belong to the Etsy sellers represented

Monday, September 5, 2011

Your Guide to Etsy Relevancy - Part One: SEO and getting found in search

Psst! This blog post was updated on 22/09/16 - some portions have been edited for clarity, accuracy and to keep up with Etsy's changes. ;)

UGH. I hear you. Relevancy, SEO, tags, search words, blah blah blah. Yes it's confusing and yes there's a lot of info out there and yes a lot of it might as well be written in ancient Greek. I know there are plenty of you out there that don't understand SEO so hopefully this will help!

Before we get in, just one thing - there is more to being seen than Etsy relevancy!! I wrote a post about how you can improve other windows of visibility here - try to keep that in mind as well. No don't go reading that now, read it later. Read this now!

How relevancy works

Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is just using keywords to help people find your listing. When shoppers look for something on Etsy search, the Etsy searchbots return the listings which have those words in their titles and tags. So if someone searches for 'sterling silver leaf pendant' the searchbot is going to return everything that has those words in the title and tags. The more those words appear, the more relevant the searchbot thinks it is. If the title or tags matches the exact search phrase then it's even more relevant.

Imagine you went to the supermarket and you couldn't shop - you had someone running around for you instead. If you said to them 'cookies' they'll run off and come back with a trolley full of cookies of every kind and you'd have to paw through them to find the ones you wanted. So you'd be more likely to say (for example) 'choc chip cookies'. If you have more specific requirements you might say 'giant choc chip cookies' or 'gluten free choc chip cookies' or even 'choc chip cookie ice cream' (damn that example made me hungry...)

But you see what I mean, yes? You gotta be specific.  And that's all there is to it - pretty basic huh? Yes well, unfortunately it gets more complicated! Not in terms of SEO, that's straightforward and what we'll be talking about. The complicated bit is your SEO (tags and titles) are not the only thing that defines your rank in search. 

Some of them are within your control, others are left to the Gods of favour. If you want to know about them, you can read my post on the recent Etsy changes here - just scroll down to the section under the cute kitty wearing glasses.

In addition to that post there is a more recent element of search, and that is based on the browser's history. Yes, every search is different, based on what the person searching has looked at in the past. For example, if I look at a lot of vintage celluloid jewelry, the next time I look for 'vintage yellow necklace' I'm more likely to see ones with 'celluloid' in the titles and tags as well. Even though I didn't use that term, my browsing history shows it used repeatedly so the searchbot knows I like it and am more inclined toward it. I might also see listings I've previously hearted or looked at, either celluloid or just vintage yellow necklaces in general.

So you see, you can't just search for your listings and assume because you're seeing them on row 6, spot 3 that everyone else is too. You might think this renders everything useless, showing just how little control we have over our listing placement. In fact it's actually quite helpful, provided you're using your keywords properly.

This discovery method relies on the exact thing we're dealing with today - tags n titles! In my search for 'vintage yellow necklace' Etsy is returning listings that are in part related to my browsing history, but the way it finds how they're related is by looking at the tags and titles and getting those keywords. By having your tags and titles both accurate and targeted toward the kind of person you sell to, you'll benefit from that.

So let's get stuck in!

1. It's all in the title - well most of it

I don't believe there's any one most important factor in Etsy SEO, but a good title will definitely carry you far. When you list earrings for example, you can't just say 'earrings'. You can say 'pink earrings' but that's a bit generic- there are thousands of results for 'pink earrings' on Etsy's search. But if you say 'pink lampwork earrings' or 'pink enamel earrings' or even 'pink hoop earrings', you'll be doing better.

Making a title for the right buyer is somewhere we meet our old friend 'Know Your Market'. Get inside the mind of the buyer - what kind of person wants your item, and what keywords would they use to find it? If it's a pair of earrings with crosses hanging from them, are they earrings that will appeal to a religious  lady, or are they more gothic in style? Are they upside down crosses? They'll appeal more to occult people. Get the picture? Buyers will narrow down their search according to their desires, so you've got to understand who your customer is and what kind of thing they want from you.(And that's an entirely different post!)

So let's illustrate this tutorial with an example - these earrings as seen above. I'm going to show you how I arrived at the words I used in the title. First I had to give myself a bit of an idea what I want to call them. Clicking on 'add listing' and scrolling down to use the description field as a notepaper space, I started typing in words I could think of that described them until something clicked together. You want two or three words that can sit together as a search term and descriptive name. So I started with earrings, hoops, hoop earrings, beaded hoop earrings - oh wait! Beaded hoop earrings...that sounds like a good title!

The next thing I do is go to Etsy's search and type in my title idea. As I type, suggestions come up in a drop-down menu. These are search terms a lot of people have searched for in the recent past, so clearly these are the terms people are using to find what they want. The higher in the suggestion list, the more popular it is. If you're unsure what to call your item you can use the search bar to generate ideas.

When I start typing 'beaded' I get a whole load of suggestions, but the only one relevant to my listing is 'beaded earrings'. That's okay, but it's not specific enough. So I start typing 'beaded hoop earrings' comes up as a suggestion! Ladies and gentlecats, we have a title. I click back to my listing page and add those words to my listing title.

But just having three words isn't enough, I'm going to need more. I need more because it's more chances to be found with other search terms, and it also helps the viewer understand what it is exactly I'm selling. They do have the picture to look at but if the human brain can see an image and read words that describe it, they are more likely to take in that information.

So I do that process again, this time coming up with words that describe the individual elements like Swarovski crystals, as this is a popular search word in jewelry. I also added 'romantic assemblage jewelry' because it helps the human mind observing to understand what pigeon hole my jewelry belongs in. This is one of my sales tactics; it's about connecting with your audience using words they understand; the more they relate, the more they will automatically like your stuff. They will read that and think 'oh hey I love romantic/assemblage jewelry, so I like these!'. And on the SEO side of things, those words will give me a chance on keyword phrases like 'romantic jewelry', 'romantic earrings', 'assemblage earrings' and 'assemblage jewelry'. Remember this isn't just for search, this is in all the places Etsy uses like tags and titles to show related content.

Now, Etsy has put it out there that the first 3 words are the most important. Untrue. What they should have said was 'the closer to the start your keywords are, the more search weight they carry'. The most important words in this listing's title are 'beaded', 'hoop' and 'earrings', so I put those as one search term immediately after my arty title.*

Pro tip - If you sell similar things, don't give them all the same title. For example, if you make three necklaces that can all be described as 'moonstone and amethyst choker', don't use that search term as the first phrase in every title! Someone might search that phrase, but someone else might search 'crystal choker' or 'moonstone amethyst necklace' or 'gemstone short necklace'.

This is where your keyword brainstorming comes in handy not just for one title but for getting in different searches with similar product. Since you can only have one listing in every page of results, this is especially important to ensure you get on every page of a relevant search.

2. Tags mean everything - okay half the thing

Now we have our title, you might think it's time to work on the description. Surprise! I scroll right on past all that and start on my tags! Why? Because brainstorming is still fresh in my mind, and I might have a whole list of useful words sitting in my description notes. So I keep going with the task my brain is settled to, and then do description after that. It also means most of the tedious SEO work is over and I can loosen up for my description. More on that in a minute, first tags.

Getting tags right is actually really simple, and now you've brainstormed your words and done your title, most of the work is done! All you have to do is repeat those words in tags. You need to have your tag phrases match the keywords in your title. If your keyword in the title is 'lace earrings' you need to have 'lace earrings' as ONE tag for your listing to even start being relevant. Tags are just as important as your title. A wedding dress should be tagged 'wedding dress', a red balloon should be tagged 'red balloon' etc.

So- here's a close up of my tags on the earrings:

They look like pretty good tags huh? Well they're not! Not really. See, way back when I listed these earrings I only knew a little bit about relevancy on Etsy, now I know a whole lot more. Fact is while these tags are ok, they're not A grade; I'd actually give them a B- and that's simply because I didn't echo the exact phrases from my title. (I could've shown you a listing where my tags were 'perfect' but - full transparency! - since I stopped selling jewelry before I knew everything about relevancy, I couldn't actually find one! Shows we are all always learning.)

So to correct those tags, I'd do the following - copy my title. Easy!

My title was 'Milkweed - beaded hoop earrings with Swarovski crystals - romantic assemblage jewelry'. So my tags should included terms from taken exactly from that title; if I were listing these earrings today, my tags would start out with 'beaded hoop earrings' 'Swarovski earrings', 'romantic jewelry', 'romantic earrings', 'assemblage jewelry' and 'beaded hoops'. These are search terms I can think of (and that are showing up in the popular drop down) that use the words in my title.

I treat my tags as a little list of potential search terms I would like the listing to show up for. I used 'romantic earrings' as well as 'romantic jewelry'  because I had spare tag space and they are both search terms. I didn't use 'Swarovski crystals' as a tag because that would be something someone uses to find just the crystals in supplies - it doesn't help me and I'm better off with 'Swarovski earrings' - even though it's not the exact way the words appear in my title, it will still get me into searches for that phrase.

Now I start thinking of terms that are more broad, and that might also relate to the listing. here's where we start seeing the tags my original listing used, things like 'feminine earrings', 'rustic wedding', 'vintage bride' and 'white hoop earrings'. This was just leftover brainstorm terms. They're not likely to get me into any high rank in searches, but they might give my listing relevance in related search, such as connecting to browser history or the slider that appears under people's favourites. Really once you have the same phrases in your title in your tags, whatever space you have left is where you leftover brainstorm goes just for those extra chances to be seen.

What you'll notice hasn't changed in my tag improvement is that every one of them is a double word tag. Single word tags are no good! Two words in a single tag carry more weight - having two tags 'wedding' and 'dress' will not make you anywhere near as relevant as the single tag 'wedding dress'. This is why I tend to repeat words in my tags - you might think having the word 'earrings' in my tags multiple times is an exercise in redundancy but I want every tag to be a search term, and I want every tag to be a double (or triple) word tag. It just makes sense to me to do it this way and I have noticed my search rank has risen from this practice.

Now we've done the critical elements of relevancy (at least the ones you can control) it's time for you to actually fill out your description.

The words in your description only matter if you care about Google - Etsy relevancy doesn't look at them. Most advice will tell you that you should care about Google since it's what people find us with if they don't know what Etsy is. Pleasing Google is again about those keyword phrases; your description should have the words you have used in your title and tags. Simple. So for my listing of 'beaded hoop earrings' I should have those words in the first couple of lines in my description.

To see if you're getting it right, under where you write your description in listings manager, you see a 'Preview listing as a Google search result' text block. The words you see coming up here are the words Google will use and show in it's results, so make sure the keywords you used in your title and tags show up here as well. Don't just cut and paste the title! That looks spammy - write them in as part of the natural flow of the description.

Having said that (and this is just my personal opinion), I don't find much value in working hard to please Google. I would much rather concentrate on my human customer who after all is the one buying my stuff! (Hopefully.) I write my Etsy descriptions to appeal to my customer, and my customer wants a story. Anyone who likes to buy unusual, creative product that is a little more art than anything else wants a story; they want to hear the details. Writing listings for unusual/creative products is a different method than one any 'ordinary' Etsian might use. But again, that's a subject for another post. Suffice to say I write to tell a story, not to appeal to Mr.Google.

I also feel in general, the more effort you put into your social media, the less you have to worry about SEO. I know more than enough successful handmade shops who don't bother with SEO and they do just fine on their social media traffic alone.

So that's the essentials of Etsy SEO! tags and titles, with descriptions if you feel it.

But wait! Like the expected free set of steak knives, that's not all. Here are a few other things you should consider...

3. Categories matter

The category drop-downs (the 'what is it?' drop downs you fill out when you're listing) are not a factor in relevancy, but they are still very important in being found. Almost no guides to this stuff mentions them, but they are an important part of search. When you shop, you don't just enter 'earrings' and then sit there wading through 13,303941 listings to find something you like. (If you do, you gottalotta patience.) People are going to be specific about their search such as 'sterling silver earrings' or 'amethyst bead earrings' etc, like the cookies (oh don't mention them again!) Then after that they're highly likely to narrow down their search on the left side- from Handmade to Jewelry to Earrings... and then they're going to pick something from that (rather unhelpful) list of styles.

So when you fill out your categories, don't just think 'eh who cares' on the third category. I know they leave much to be desired, but work with them the best you can. If you're not sure where to put them, go to search and look for a similar item, then see where people are putting them. I have the earrings above listed in 'fiber' because although I think fiber jewelry is stuff made from spun wool or felt, looking in the category itself it seems to be where 90% of the lace earrings live (second to 'dangle', which is a really vague and unhelpful term in my opinion). And technically crochet lace is fiber. If you have a few similar listings try choosing different sub-categories and seeing what works best.

4. Linking back

Link backs are just links that send people either to your shop storefront or to other departments in your store. If you have a link in your description that goes back into your shop, people are more likely to stay in your shop, they'll just automatically click it after they've read the description. This isn't anything much to do with relevancy, but once you are found you'd like them to stay awhile, yes? I found I've upped the traffic to my store front by having these 'link-backs' in my descriptions so clearly it helps people navigate my shop.

Not all of my listings have them (more forgetfulness than anything) but when I do them I switch it around, some times it's a link to my shop front, other times it's a link to a particular section. Sometimes on custom orders I'll link to my sold page to help people realise I can re-make some things. To make a link-back, all you have to do is type your full URL (including http://) in the description box and Etsy's listingbots will take it live for you.

Also remember that if you're number 5 most relevant listing for 'angel costume' and you can't figure out why the person ahead of you is more relevant- relax! It matters not. You're on page one, that's good. In fact if you're on page 2 that's fine too. There are many factors in where you rank in search, and still more in why someone would pick your listing over another. Price range, materials, picture, etc- these all factor in being clicked on.Sometimes I will browse pages and pages before I find what I want. (Etsy have calculated the average shopper goes about 15 pages in before they give up and try something else.)

I know it seems like a brain drain now, but once you do a few listings it'll become easier. Do your listings a few at a time and don't panic about it. Generally speaking if your stats say Search is in spot #3 or higher on your Etsy traffic sources, you're good.

So in conclusion:

1. write a bunch of keywords, then search them on etsy and find the one that fits best
2. write your title with the best key phrase and add a couple more for 'backup' searches
3. replicate your key phrases in the tags
4. use categories
5. use linkbacks

And make sure you have an About page and completed policies (yours or Etsy, just have them!)


*There's a lot of talk about which says having arty titles like mine are no good. Granted this may be true for hooking in Google, but in terms of search results on Etsy I find no problems. Also, the suggestion not to have arty titles is for 'regular' shops, but my shop (and I assume yours as well) is a creative space where the product is a little on the arty side. My arty titles are a part of my shop's character (AKA brand) - people like them and when I experimented with removing them, my sales dropped. I would much rather keep customers engaged than bother with SEO perfection! Also just like considering Google in descriptions, I find the more you lean on social media, the less something like an arty title is going to affect your success.