Monday, April 4, 2011

SEO for your Etsy Shop

That’s right- Search Engine Optimization. Don’t let your eyes gloss over! If you can upload a photo to Etsy without making a piece of jewelry resemble a squid, then you have the capacity to make Google results work for you. Or you can ask Cindy of cindylouwho2. She has researched Etsy and SEO, and I will be a customer of hers when her SEO shop opens, because Google changes the rules more often than the ref at your daughter’s soccer game.
The last big change was in late February, when Google demoted “content farms”- which have content that was copied from other sources. In articles across the web, Etsy was consistently named as a winner in this new shift! My views from Google, and consequently my sales, have benefitted from this! If yours have not, read this! I asked Cindy for practical changes we all can make to use Etsy’s higher ranking for own own shops.
Lee: Why did Etsy come out as one of the 5 top winners from Google's recent decision to penalize the content farms?
Cindy: Legitimate shopping sites did well overall with the changes, & Etsy was one of the top in that group.
If you are putting your Etsy content anywhere else online, make sure you change the titles & descriptions at least a bit to avoid this duplicate content problem.
Lee: Does the new motivation to make and click links in treasuries boost Etsy's SEO overall? Does it boost the SEO of often featured shops who get clickthroughs from the treasuries?
Cindy: Yes, in general, having pages well-linked internally is good for SEO, so if one of your listings is in a lot of treasuries, that definitely helps! Any internal link back to your shop – in a treasury, in the forum, comments in the Storque, on public team threads – is helping the page linked & helping Etsy overall. It takes a lot of these little internal links to make a real difference. However, it is usually easier than getting the higher-value external links, so internal links are an SEO tactic that should not be ignored.
Lee: One of my teams has a blog with static pages that are the copy and pasted bios of team members. Are these duplications of content hurting the blog's ranking and/ or authority? Should we all be looking to reduce duplicate content on our promotional sites across the web?
Those sorts of cut & paste pages might hurt in at least two different ways.
1) There is the possibility that Google will consider the copies to be the authoritative page, & give the copies a higher ranking than the originals.
2) If you have links on many pages that are of low value in Google’s eyes, it can actually hurt the original page.
It doesn’t usually hurt you, especially if there is unique content on the page with the copies, & the pieces copied are a small part of the original pages. Be careful to link back to the original pages on the copied page! Teams often include links directly to the shops, rather than the links to the page where the bio came from (usually the profile page). Including the link to the original tells Google that the content had another source. Additionally, you can link to the shop, for extra SEO benefits.
Here is a level-headed discussion of duplicate content, although most readers will find it more relevant for blogs & free-standing websites than for Etsy:
Lee: Is there a different formula to come up in Google images search?
Cindy: Yes, the search algorithm for each part of Google is different. There’s not a lot we can do on Etsy to make our pics rank on Google Images, other than what we already do to help the rank of the listing page itself.
Lee: Is it good or bad to put  links (to our own shop) in our shop listings? How about outbound links to another shop?
Cindy: Linking to a shop section or your shop home page is good for those pages, in terms of SEO.
Linking to another shop helps out that other shop. It is not entirely clear to me that linking within Etsy is good for the page with the links on it, but the scant evidence I have seen points to “Yes!
Additionally, Kathy of OhYum advises us to use the renew/sold option rather than creating a new listing each time when we can.

Kathy:The more often a specific page (ie: URL) is looked at,  the higher Google wants to display the page.
Here’s one more tip from me: Google rewards new content. I make incremental changes in my shop announcement and listing copy weekly. Two years ago I didn’t know the difference between a keyword and a corkscrew, and here I am giving sage advice and selling like I actually understand anything on the internet!