Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Most Valuable Keywords for Etsy Items

Last week, Etsy introduced dynamically-priced search ads that allow sellers to place their items at the top of related search result pages. As part of this new system, Etsy has published a list of about 6,000 keywords that can be used to promote items with these ads, along with the cost per thousand impressions for each keyword.

The cost of each keyword is related partly to its popularity in Etsy searches, however Etsy adds:
Etsy’s search technology sets keywords and prices based on Etsy sellers’ use and historical search data. One of those points is the popularity of the search, but others have to do with how many searches lead to purchases, average pricing of those purchases, etc. So it’s not as simple as which searches are most popular in terms of keyword pricing.
This is valuable information. Etsy is actually giving sellers a little peek behind the curtain and providing some data on the value of various keywords. Even for sellers who are not using search ads, this list can provide some guidance when choosing titles and tags for their items.

So what are the most valuable keywords? Not surprisingly, perhaps, brand names like Versace, Givenchy, Hermes and Louis Vuitton are in the top tier. Football teams like the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts are apparently popular search subjects at Etsy.

There are some surprises, too. "Hanky" and "grandpa" are valuable keywords. So is "file cabinet." Some valuable terms are obviously seasonal, like "pumpkin hat" and "macabre."

At the bottom of the list are keywords like "scrapbooking,""invitation," and "soap." These general words are still important for identifying an item, but not terribly powerful as search keywords because they are so common.

A seller who is choosing tags and titles for her items can use this information to compare the quality of certain keywords. For example, a cake decoration for a baby's birthday cake might be tagged "cake decoration" or "baby birthday." Checking Etsy's search ads keyword list shows that "baby birthday" is in the top tier of keywords and is one of the most valuable keywords. "Cake decoration," however, is one of the least valuable.

The importance of using two-word phrases when appropriate is clear from Etsy's list of keywords. "Necklace" is not a very valuable keyword, but "starfish necklace," "elephant necklace" and "acorn necklace" are among the more valuable. "Dress" is a cheap keyword; "1950s dress" is of a higher quality.

Here is the list of 6,026 current search ad keywords sorted first by cost per thousand, then alphabetically, as of October 4, 2011. The keywords and their costs will change over time


Maia R. said...

That is really interesting! And insightful. As an Etsy seller I didn't get into the new search ads because the keywords seemed invaluable. But now, I'll have to take another look. Thanks for the information!

Astrida Naturals - Shea Butter Bath and Body

Laura said...

I wonder if publishing the list will actually change the usefulness of these search terms. With so many people reading through the terms and applying them, the top of the list might actually start being less effective as the number of items tagged with those words increases. No?

Bookman said...

That's a possibility, Laura, and I suppose a flood of "baby birthday" items might drive down the value of that keyword phrase, but it should then be offset by a lower cost to advertise for that phrase, meaning that you could advertise your baby birthday items more cheaply.

The list is going to be changing frequently naturally as trends come and go and with seasonal items. Etsy is saying it is going to be adding keywords, as well. Also, the price for keywords seems to be capped at $5.00 per thousand. That upper limit might be lifted some day.

Marianne said...

Thank you for this, I was going to try copying and pasting the list myself, but as usual your insight is much better than mine. This is valuable info!


I'm confused. Will sellers have to pay for the use of the keywords?

Bookman said...

Only if you are using the search ads will you be charged to use keywords. Putting them in your descriptions and tags are still "free."