Saturday, August 27, 2011

Etsy Relevancy and Google SEO

I've spent the last several days learning about SEO for google and the concepts are the same but google focuses much more on our titles and descriptions than it does on our tags. This presents a problem for me. In order to be the most relevant on Etsy I have to use the word "women" near the front of every title because they lump genders and ages together and that's not very google-friendly and titles like that don't do well when you look at them in the keyword tool. It's particularly bad for plus size items since using women is redundant in that case. Plus size is only used to describe women's clothes so very few people use it in a search. The way that I'm going to get around this is that I've opened a second shop on Zibbet that will only carry plus size sweaters. I don't have many if any expectations for sales there because it's so tiny and has relatively little traffic but there I can optimize the shop however I want to for google. Plus size sweater coats and variations on that phrase are the keywords that get me the most hits (along with wool blankets). The shop will be pretty empty for a while because I only have 5 plus size items right now but I'm working on another and plan to do all of them in plus sizes in the future unless I only have enough of a particular yarn for a smaller size.

I'm still finding my way around Zibbet but so far I really like the layout and the way that I can customize the colors of my shop. One of the best things is that I get to change my shop name to the one that I want instead of the one that I have on Etsy. I'm still getting set up and working on my titles and descriptions there but it shouldn't take very long. Another thing that I've discovered is that google seems to crawl Zibbet much more frequently than it does Etsy which makes testing my changes much easier. I don't know how spiders decide which parts of a large site to crawl and when but maybe it has something to do with the size.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Easy Etsy Relevancy

Looking for a fast and easy way to be relevant on Etsy?

This might not get you to page 1 of search, but it will help some, and is a great start. (and not everyone can be on pg 1 anyway)

Take a look at your shop in gallery mode. You notice that only a little bit of the title shows that way.

Now read those little bits of titles. Do they say what your product is???

If not, you need to make sure that your titles say what the item is in gallery mode.

Easy peasy.

This is a good start to SEO too. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Changes: Calm Down Take A Deep Breath- You're Still in Control

I see so many people freaking out about having to do this or that, all the little things necessary to run a micro business.

While I understand being apprehensive a bit, (especially when all of your income comes from the business), there is no need to be in terror over it. Unless of course you have been running a profitable business for several years and haven't paid taxes, in which case, your screwed.

Has your venue changed (like etsy's recent switch to relevancy as a default)? Then you need to change with it.

Have your sales dropped? maybe you need to find better promotion, or switch up what you are doing.

You need to have a little bit of fluidity in business, because things change- and the internet changes the fastest.

I've seen brick and mortar stores move to stay in business because a neighbor who brought them business moved for some reason.

You might have to add more streams of income, or new product lines, or work an extra hour a day.

But you are still in control of your business, even if it feels out of control.

So take a deep breath, calm down, and analyze what it is you need to do to stay, or become, successful.

Being a business owner is not easy, nothing worth having is.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SEO for Major Search Engines

So both Stephanie and I found that it's not terribly hard to figure out how to be relevant on Etsy if you're willing to do the work of researching your categories and items to see how things work there. I check mine every day to make sure that they're still in the number one spot in case someone has figured out something that I might have missed. From looking at the titles that I see my guess is that most people haven't even started to change their listings yet and we might see different results when that happens.

Now I've moved on to getting my shop in shape so that I get found by search engines like google. This part is a lot harder because you have to consider your entire shop in context with your items and come up with keywords that make sense for the part of the shop that you put them in. You also don't get the instant gratification of being able to test each change in isolation as you make it. Not repeating content is really difficult for me because I have to give the measurements of both the item and the mannequin. Like it or not I have to give up my nice neat orderly boilerplate and mix them all up in different orders.

So why am I not confused and terrified? It's because I finally found the perfect resource for solid and accurate information. Misinformation about SEO runs rampant in the Etsy forums and much of it contradicts the rest. (See my SEO Rant for more angst on the subject.) Every now and then SEOWebDesign who is the one person that really seems know what she'd doing there pops into a thread to correct the worst of it and she also starts great threads that are jam packed with SEO information. I'm always impressed not only by her accuracy but by her demeanor. You can always tell a pro by the way that they handle confrontational know-it-alls. They never get angry or upset or feel the need to start playing dueling credentials because they're confident in what they do and it shows.

She offers a guidebook for sale on Etsy for less than $10 that takes you through it from beginning to end. Whereas most resources that I find do a great job of telling you what to do they rarely get into the technical details of how to do it. It's not so technical as to be over the heads of most people but it has all of the information that a geek like me needs to feel like I'm on solid ground. For example, I was using the keyword tool all wrong and one of her tips resulted in changing all of my major keywords to more realistic and useful ones. I've started my SEO all over again because now I understand so many things that I hadn't before. If you're trying to figure this all out and you only want to do it once I can't recommend strongly enough that you buy this guide and get moving so that you're done in plenty of time for the holidays. Just click on the image below to get your own copy. It will be the best SEO investment that you ever made.

Great SEO Guide

The other reason that you should buy it is because I'm not giving up any of the details here. It's not because I'm selfish but now everything good that I know came from her guide so you have to go pay for it to find out for yourself :).

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Joy, Joy: Testing Relevancy When You Have 200+ Listings-Relevancy is working

So, Etsy recently decided to make it so that relevancy search is default, and as Karen said before, the forums are all up in arms over it.

As someone who can't throw 20¢ at renewing often, I decided to try to get into Google search from the get go, so I don't really have all that much to do in my shop for relevancy.

But I do currently have 161 listings in Stephanie Makes All, 52 listings in One Stitch, and 20 listings in the soon to be closed (at least for now) Stephanie Re-Makes All to test and tweak a little.

Joy, Joy, I feel for the sellers with even more listings who just threw money at renewing, I really do.

The good news is that in One Stitch, I must have done something right, because I only have 3 fingerless glove patterns there right now, and those 3 patterns are spread out between the first 3 pages of the fingerless glove pattern search. And I have started selling several of the one that is on the first page!

I still haven't sold anything in Stephanie Makes All since the change, but I'm coming up pretty high in some searches, so I believe it's only a matter of time :)

Happy Selling!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm So Relevant!

All of this SEO work really paid off because now I'm in the #1 spot of every one of my targeted searches. My views have quadrupled and I sold something that had been sitting there for ages. I even make the first row or page of the more general searches. I'm so happy about this. I've tuned up my descriptions for google and all I have left is to figure out if my category and subcategories are considered to be the first 3 and most important tags to google or the first 3 of the 13 that I get to fill in. I asked a question on Market My Shop and I'll post it here when he has time to answer me.

I also want to show off my latest sweater of course.

Mostly Mohair Sweater Coat

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interesting promotion ideas: Giveaways

 Looking for an interesting way to promote your shop?

Team up with another crafter, who does something complimentary to what you do, and do a giveaway! Someone buys from you, they get something from the other shop, and vise versa.

This soap maker and I have teamed up to have a giveaway!

Details here:
free soap giveaway

When that is over, when someone buys from their shop, they'll get something from mine :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A great new blog for SEO and Etsy Relevancy

As anyone paying attention on Etsy knows, the default search is now relevancy. The big sellers who relied solely on renewing to get exposure are having a somewhat hilarious cow in the forums because they don't want to have to learn about SEO and implement it for their shops. This is really paying off in a big way for little sellers like me who are willing to do the SEO work to be seen. I can hardly believe it - I went from not being able to find myself to being on the first page of all of my targeted searches and even on the first page in one of the very general ones with just one day's work!

Anyway, it's always been hard to get detailed and specific SEO information on Etsy because you aren't generally allowed to talk to anyone technical. The only time I ever got decent technical information was in one man's thread and luckily for all of us he has started a blog that focuses on SEO in general but also has very specific information on Etsy relevancy. He writes in a very accessible style that you don't need to be technical to understand and he even answers questions. Anyway, go read his blog from beginning to end if you're feeling lost or just want to know a bit more. It's called Market My Shop and it's just great.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SEO Site-wide keyword phrase

(Warning! I'm just starting to learn about SEO so you really shouldn't follow my advice about anything based on my bumbling around here . At any given moment half of the things that I say could be completely and absolutely incorrect.)

In my last post I was having a hard time coming up with keyword phrases that create a theme for my shop because my ideas weren't targeted enough and if I used them I would never be found in searches. Then I made myself stop and re-think who my target audience is. Realistically they are women that buy luxury designer fashions. The hardest part was to stop being self-deprecating and be willing to use very upscale words. It's hard to think like an affluent person when you've never been one. Once I did that things improved greatly. I went back to the google keyword tool and tried again with some different words and these were the phrases that I came up with that had only a medium level of competition with a reasonable amount of monthly searches. These are the ones that I chose:

high end couture
high end fashion
designer couture
designer fashion
Plus size couture
plus size fashion
Natural Fiber
Natural Fibers
crochet afghans
wool blankets
high quality

Based on these phrases I changed my shop title and shop announcement. My original shop title was"Handmade Fashions and Accessories" and now it's "Handmade High Quality Designer Fashions and Couture". My shop announcement was "Luxurious natural fiber regular and plus size sweaters, crocheted afghans and blankets and unique and detailed crocheted tams and baby hats". Now it's "Handmade high end regular and plus size designer fashions and couture , crocheted afghans, wool blankets, quilts and accessories all made from natural fibers and luxury yarns. I could also have changed my section names but they were fine as they were. These little changes have already improved my search engine results. I feel so full of myself using words like "couture" but I guess that if I don't see my shop that way no one else will.

Today I'm going to get very organized and create a another spreadsheet to start organizing my keywords for each item. I've gotten a bit distracted by all of the tag upheaval going on at Etsy and spending a lot of time tweaking titles to keep myself relevant. So far I really like the change and I'm getting a lot more views. Hopefully I won't find out that what works for Etsy doesn't work for the major search engines but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perceived Value

Perceived value is a real thing, here's an interesting story about perceived value.

In the area where I live, the vast majority of people are hunters, gun shops are big business, and 2 out of 3 Walmart stores have rifles.

But half of the hunters will not buy a NEW rifle at Walmart for $200-$300.

They will go to the small gun shops and buy a used rifle (same rifle, same manufacturer) for $300-$400 or a new one for $500 and up!

There are several gun shop owners I am friendly with. And I learned that sometimes they need a rifle fast. the customer wants a specific rifle that can be found at Walmart, but will not buy "that cheap crap"

So what does the gun shop owner do?

He goes to Walmart, buys the rifle, and sells it to the customer at the price they are expecting.

And the customer is happy!!!

Weird thing is, these same people go to Walmart for a lot of stuff they can get locally-each product is different. 

Keep that in mind when setting your prices :) If you price too low, the customer may see your product a low quality. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Selecting the Right Keywords

(Disclaimer: I'm trying to learn this stuff so everything that you read here might be wrong for a while. If I were you I would sit on my hands and not change anything until I see my views improve. I'm focusing on major search engines and when I think I'm done I'll go back and try to fit it into Etsy's policies. Seeing as they change their mind constantly I'm going to leave them for last.)

The science of hunting for keywords is pretty easy. All you need to do is go to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and start entering words and short descriptive phrases to see what the competition is and how many searches are performed on it each month. The idea is to select the ones that seem the best to you and then you can star and download them to an Excel spreadsheet.

The art of it is not that easy for me. The idea is to aim for a targeted audience that might buy your item and conventional wisdom says that people use longer and more specific phrases once they are ready to purchase something. If the competition for the keyword is high and it's frequently searched on then you'll probably be buried in huge numbers of results and if the competition and monthly searches are low you might not get a huge number of views but the ones that you get are truly interested in your items and not just window shopping or lost on the internet.

Some keywords are good to describe individual items and some are more relevant to my shop as a whole and those are the ones that I'm starting with first. I'm also going to forget about the hats and blankets for this first pass. These keywords will end up being used in my shop title, shop announcement and section names and should create a theme for my shop. I've spent hours over the last 2 days playing with keywords like fashion, couture, plus size, sweaters, clothing, etc. but they are such common terms that they all have high competition and lots of searches. I started out with a theory that I should find things with a competition less than .5 but so far I haven't even come up with one. You can easily see which keywords are getting people into your shop on Etsy simply by looking at your shop stats and the keywords used for my items are more targeted (for example "Mohair Sweater" or "Plus Size Cardigan"). I'm not sure where to go from here in terms of coming up with more targeted keywords for my shop as a whole but I'm not giving up. I'm going to google around for a few more ideas and then settle on a few key phrases that I feel describe my shop well and make it easier for the people interested in high-end sweaters to find me.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An SEO Rant

(Warning - I'm really annoyed from all of the confusion and conflicting information over in the Etsy forums today so this will inevitably include some whining before I get to the end and decide to do something about it.)

I don't normally complain about Etsy much since it's the only home that I have at the moment but it's just crazy over there since they announced the changes to the relevancy search. The admins are contradicting the search engineers, everyone is wailing about not understanding the difference between tag stuffing and using good keyword phrases and people are running amok spreading hysteria and misinformation all over the forums. It's like one of those meetings from hell where no one knows what they're talking about so they just wave their arms around and freak out a lot. The worst part is that I've been wasting time there and doing it too.

I'm mostly annoyed at myself. I've worked in the software field as a programmer, business analyst and project manager and I would never have tolerated this behavior from myself or treated on of my customer's businesses in the way that I'm treating mine. I know how to research these kinds of things and organize myself with a solid plan so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to stop wasting my time watching people freaking out on the Etsy forums and posting very authoritative sounding guesses about things, figure it out in terms of how major search engines work instead of aiming for Etsy's constantly moving target and then at the very end do my best to make sure that I'm relevant while still not tag stuffing. And I'm not changing another freaking tag until I figure it out!

(The whining part is that I was really hoping that the SEO fairy was going to visit my shop and listings one by one and make it all shiny and perfect and put me on page one of every search engine that there is and give me a pony too.)

I'm reading a series of Bing articles now that seem pretty helpful and go into a bit more detail. In the spirit of starting at the beginning and taking it one step at a time I'm just going to focus on the advice in the first one for now and start working on it tomorrow.
Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Friday, August 5, 2011

SEO this morning

*Wanders around babbling about white mohair sweater plus size. plus size sweater mohair white, sweater plus size white mohair...

I'm still confused so here's a picture of my dogs instead.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stephanie's Guide to Setting Up an Etsy Shop

We're going to back up here and take a look at what you should do when opening an Etsy shop.

So maybe you've been thinking about opening an Etsy shop, there is a lot to do when you decide to do this.

Having set up 4 shops, I wish I had a list like this for the first 2

Here's the list broken down into steps.

#1 The most important: Find out what laws you have to abide by for your area. go to your local courthouse or SCORE office, they will have all of the info you will need. Each municipality is different, and each type of work is different.

#2 Have product. I'm assuming you already have this.

#3 Take awesome pictures of said product, search the Etsy forums, there's tons of awesome picture advice there.

#4 Use one of these pics as your avatar (optional) and write yourself a profile, shop policies, announcement. again, there's tons of advice about that in the fora as well.

#5 Look up shipping. if you are in the US, go to, and find the pricing for 1 oz, 2 oz, etc (use whatever weights you will be using) to the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia to start, you can add more later. But Australia's prices generally are the same as the rest of the world. Not always though. 

#6 Make shipping profiles with the shipping information you just gleaned For more on shipping, there is a really good thread started in business topics about the subject, (written by GoTo) here's the shipping thread

#7 Read up on SEO, basically, you want the beginning of your announcement, your "shop title" (which is the words under your shop name when you are looking at it as a buyer) your titles, tags, and beginnings of your descriptions to be descriptive of what you sell, again. This is SEO at it's most basic. Karen has been writing up some good stuff on this blog recently about SEO too.

#8 Start listing! make sure your tags are accurate, your descriptions are descriptive, etc.

The reason I say listing last is because you want everything else in place first- I made the mistake of not having it in place.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SEO - Learning about Keywords

(Warning! I'm just starting to learn about SEO so you really shouldn't follow my advice about anything based on my bumbling around here . At any given moment half of the things that I say could be completely and absolutely incorrect.)

Today I'm starting to learn about which keywords and phrases are best to use to have my items come up in google. Mostly I'm reading all sorts of articles to get myself oriented. I don't have much to say yet other than "I dunno" but here are the things that I'm looking at today. The first one is the google adwords Keyword tool and I found three posts on the Handmadeology blog that seem helpful so far:

Etsy SEO Made Easy Part 1

Etsy SEO Made Easy Part 2

Etsy SEO Made Easy Part 3

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SEO - Inbound Links to Your Shop

(Warning! I'm just starting to learn about SEO so you really shouldn't follow my advice about anything based on my bumbling around here . At any given moment half of the things that I say could be completely and absolutely incorrect.)

One of the things that I found out yesterday is that links to your shop help to increase your visibility to search engines. No one has to actually click on your link - it just has to be there. That sure makes it a lot easier! The first thing that I did was to copy and paste the same links to both my shop and blog at the bottom of each of my Etsy items and in my profile. Something to remember is that we each have 2 working URL formats. The first for my shop is and that is what is seen in the URL line of my browser. The second one that will work for me is and I use that on my business cards but unless I'm missing something Etsy won't turn that one into a live link.

I was also told that when posting our links to our shop from outside of Etsy that it's better to label the link with searchable keywords instead of just showing the URL. So, Handmade Sweaters from MirabilisColors would be better than

I'm also going to go back in and edit every one of my blog entries to have the link to the shop at the end of each one. It might be kind of annoying but hopefully not too much.

Stephanie adds:

Actually, Karen, all links to anything on etsy are made live, it's just off site links that are dead.

Karen adds

LOL - I wonder if you saw that before or after my edit. I should stick a warning on every post that I might be wrong about everything and will be correcting myself along the way. For some reason I can't get it to show a live link for this blog. Can you and if so what format do you use?

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Getting Started With Search Engine Optimization

Well, it's August 1st and the kickoff date for my monthly promotion task. This month I'm going to focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that my items have a chance of being found in a google search instead of being buried far beyond where any normal person has the patience to go.

There are all sorts of links and tools out there to learn from but I'm going to start slowly and build on what I figure out along the way. You can use your shop announcement, section names, item titles, item descriptions and tags to put in keywords that will help the search engines find your stuff. Some of it is obvious but from what I understand the order of the words that you use can have a big effect on things. I'm going to be digging deeply into this for the next few weeks until I feel confident that mine is the best that it can be.

My tasks for this morning are to read this article about SEO Mistakes and to go look at some of the successful sweater shops and see how they're using the available areas for their keywords.

Have you focused on this yet and what have your experiences been?

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at