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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Etsy Sellers tip #3 - Tagging

Tags are the way your buyers find you, they are the words buyers put into the search bar on Etsy to find specific listings, so getting these right is essential.

A quick explanation on how tags work: Each individual word in a tag is searchable. If you have a tag that says "sterling silver" then your listing will be found just with a search for the word "silver". You do not have to search for all the words in a single tag for it to show up.
For example: Listing is tagged "sterling silver" and "wire wrapped"
Then the listing would be found in a search for "silver wire"

Let me take a moment to talk about the "rules" of tagging on Etsy. There is a never ending debate about this in the forms because the Etsy DOs and DONTs state very clearly that using more than one word in a tag is against the rules, but that using words that obviously go together like "sterling silver" or "navy blue" are allowed.

However, the problem comes in when you attend an Etsy Virtual labs shop critique run by an Etsy admin. Because in this situation and on more than one occasion I have heard admin say that you can put more than one color word into the same tag: like "black white red" and that you can also put words with similar meaning in the same tag: like "mouse mice rat"

I have read more than one rant about "tag abuse"* - sellers putting more than one word in a tag - in the forums, and I feel for those who stick diligently to the rules as stated in the Dos and Don'ts and watch other sellers apparently getting away with "tag abuse"*

I decided from a business perspective to tag more than one word in a tag - just so long as the words are related - as it gives me more signposts to my creations, more chances for buyers to find me. I have done this for over 6 months and Etsy has never written to me about it. If they do then I will of course change my tags, but I believe that as long as your tags are RELEVANT and SPECIFIC to the item listed then it is not tag abuse.

Things to consider when tagging:
  • Make sure you are in the right section, this is the first tag you choose. If your product is not handmade then it either belongs in "supplies" or "vintage".
  • If you are not sure what section you should be in then search for similar listings to yours on etsy and take a look at what their first tag is. If you are still not sure then go ask in the forums, you'll get a pretty quick response.
  • Once you have your first tag, Etsy will suggest others. Take a look through them and choose any ones that are RELEVANT to your listing.
  • Think about the style of what you are making, is it classic, romantic, funny, humorous, cute, steampunk, country?
  • Who is your product for? women, men, baby, children, boy, girl, adult, pets, dog, cat? Any of these words can be tags.
  • Tag for colors. If you have lots of colors in one listing then try to narrow it down to the main 2 or 3 colors of the listing or you will use up too many tags.
  • Where will your item be used? Is it designed for the kitchen, living room or bedroom? These tags only apply to some listings.
  • Use synonyms - words that mean the same thing. Like infant for young babies or purse for handbag. Just make sure the synonym is still relevant to your listing. I find using the thesaurus in Microsoft word very helpful for this.
  • Choose words that describe your item, try to think about what words someone might search for to find your work.
  • If you are in an Etsy street team that regularly makes treasuries then remember to include your team tag so they can easily find you.
  • Some sellers tag for their shop names or locations, this is allowed. However I would only do it if I had a spare tag available.
You will probably find after going thorough all this that you have waaaay too many tags, so it is time to think about narrowing them down. Choose tags that are the most likely to be used in a search. If you are not sure then experiment with changing the tags to see what gets you the most views and hearts. If you have more than one of a certain item them why not try listing them both with different sets of tags and seeing what effect that has on their views.

* IMO tag abuse is when a listing is tagged with popular search words that have nothing to do with the product.


  1. Good advice. I used Google Something (wish I knew what I used...) yesterday where you type in your shop url and it suggests additional tags.
    Two words sometimes HAVE to go together like 'handmade card.'

    I tag for color but I think I will now put 2 or 3 color tags together.

    On that theme, I've read that customers get pretty cheesed off when the background color is tagged.
    They search for a red wild goose, and are sent on wild goose chases where white wild geese are shown on red backgrounds.

  2. Good advice. If you have two stores, do you think it is okay to add both store names to your tags? My names are kind of the same and sometimes the items overlap. Thanks for the information.

  3. Sassy I don't think tagging for your 2nd store in your first one is a good idea. I'm not sure if it against the rules, but I would want the tagging space for other more relevent things instead.

  4. Great article. I alwasy wondered what the official rules were for multiple words in a tag.


  6. good post about tagging...it's always helpful to see others' perspectives about tags.

    it's so difficult to get tags just right!

  7. Thanks for the tips! I am still fairly new, and I am always looking to learn more , as there is so much still to learn. All of your articles have really helped, and your list of mentors is tucked safely in my bookmarks! Love your work, thanks again. People like us make it because of people like you, Etsy people rock!

  8. Thank you so much for this wonderful post- I am rethinking all of my tags thanks to you! FANTASTIC blog- one of my favourites :)
    VintagePrincipessa from etsy

  9. thanks for this - room for improvement with my tagging!

  10. Thank you so much for this advice! I've been tagging with just one word at a time and I think this post will help me get a lot more mileage from my tags.



  11. good post about tagging...
    now i can explain to myself how the tagging works
    Thank you very much
    FANTASTIC blog- one of my favourites :)
    wish you LUCK and SUCCESS


  12. Thanks so much for the good advice! Your mice are too cute!

  13. Great article, thanks for the advice!

  14. I'm new here...and I totally appreciate your advice. I understand the importance of search words, however, was not sure of the etsy protocol..so mahalo!

  15. Very useful, especcialy that you can put more then 1 tag, if they are relevant! Thanks!

  16. I am still fairly new to Etsy and I appreciate all of the tips that I can get! Thanks so much!


  17. OK, I know what key words to use, but don't know how to do it.

  18. well, obviously, this post is still helping people like me.......thank you for all the great info on tagging!

  19. Thank you so much for the information! Extremely helpful!

  20. thanks for your work!

  21. Great blog post. I just changed my tags from 3 words to 2 words and it seems to be helping!


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