Halloween might be over, but these Etsy SEO horror stories can strike all year ‘round!
While each one is awful in its own special way, what’s truly terrifying about all of them is how easy it is to make these mistakes…
And how quickly they’ll drain the life from your shop (like a love-sick Buffy vamp!) Ugh.
I’m peeling back the curtains on 3 of the worst SEO horror stories, why they happened, and how to AVOID them in the first place.
:: record scratch ::
Notice how I said, “avoid”?
That’s because some of these mistakes actually can’t be undone or fixed — meaning that you DEFINITELY want to know what they are and how to avoid them!
So grab a couple s’mores and cozy up by the campfire, because it’s about to get real spooky up in this place!
Brace yourself for the terrifying tale of…
#1. The popular shop that changes their SEO one night and wakes up to *CRICKETS* for months!What’s the story?
Everything was sunshine and rainbows! The shop was making consistent sales and new traffic was trickling in slowly but surely.
Things weren’t exactly skyrocketing, but by all accounts, this shop had found success.
Then one day a new SEO update came along — but not just any SEO update. This one was supposed to be a big one.
A cool one. In a leather jacket. Riding a motorcycle:
Everyone starts freaking out about the new SEO update, so the shop owner thinks that the best thing to do is get ahead of the game.
They sit down one night after hours of research, and change ALL THE THINGS in their shop (in an attempt to appease the SEO gods).
When they wake up the next morning, their traffic is GONE… Along with their daily sales!
And those clicks and customers don’t come back the next day. Or the next week. Or even the next month.
It’s like they woke up in the Twilight Zone and traded their awesome shop for one that totally sucks.
Even when this seller changes her tags and titles back to the way they were, she can NEVER fully rebound from this SEO overhaul. Shit.
She was running a successful shop for years and can’t understand…Why is this happening?
The thing about SEO is that it’s not instant!
And even when an update does go live, it’s always rolled out in small chunks.
The changes that are being made each time don’t apply to every shop, buyer, or item all at once.
In fact, most changes take MONTHS to fully implement on Etsy’s end.
So when someone gets the “bright idea” to make all these changes early on (and ALL at once), it’s like they’re leaving one party that’s totally popping just to show up months early to the next one.
There’s no such thing as fashionably early
Etsy doesn’t understand what CHANGED, so…
An item that was once crushing it, now looks completely different in terms of its SEO.
So it disappears from all those places that people were searching for it.
And even if the SEO is later reversed, those items are now at the **bottom of the pile that they used to dominate**.So, what can you do to avoid this?
Take a cue from Etsy and slow your damn roll!
Start by changing just a couple items that aren’t doing very well anyway.
If you tweak something that is working well for you, then you WILL lose the traffic and sales that you’re bringing in!
Buuut, if something is getting little or no traffic…
Then you have nothing to lose by experimenting with those pieces!
Once you start to get the hang of the new SEO changes and are ready to start switching things up with your bigger listings, check out our Etsy Coaching programs, where you can learn how to safely swap out your SEO.
#2. The seller who’s addicted to SEO and only satisfied with perfection.What’s the story?
They’ve got spreadsheets. They’ve got worksheets. They’ve got everything mapped out, planned out, and color-coded too.
They spend all of their time tinkering with their tags and titles until they’re 5000% confident that they’re using the absolute best and most effective SEO strategy!!
Which is usually a Frankenstein-style combination of several strategies that they’ve picked up from hours of agonizing research.
But despite all their efforts, this seller doesn’t get a ton of traffic and can’t understand why.
They’re putting in lots of hard work but that work just REFUSES to pay off.
It’s all utterly pointless and, most of the time, counterproductive.Why is this happening?
Because they miss the bigger picture which is that you don’t have to get SEO perfect in order to perform well!
Honestly, my blog SEO is pretty “OK” in technical terms… BUT the thing is, it works really well for me because people are reading the articles.
My SEO is decent, but nowhere near PERFECT. The content is why people come back.
It’s the SAME for your Etsy items.
At the end of the day, Etsy is more concerned with *items that convert* than items that have precise SEO.
Etsy knows that it’s buyers aren’t robots — and SEO won’t always know exactly what they want — that’s why Etsy is always changing it.
And trying to keep up with it is like chasing a moving target that doesn’t even exist. #facepalm
Add that to the whole “bottom of the pile” situation we discussed in the first horror story… And you’ve got a double-down recipe for disaster.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.So, what can you do to avoid this?
That energy and effort can be better focused on improving an item’s APPEAL so that it’s more attractive to your visitors!
This could mean taking better quality photos. This could mean creating more color choices for existing items. This could mean a lot of things depending on the needs of your customers.
But the most important thing is to find out what those needs are and come up with exciting new ways to meet them with your items!
In other words, give the people what they want — and realize that nobody really has perfect SEO. Not even Etsy.
#3. The seller who refuses to add more items until she gets her first few to start selling.What’s the story?
This one is a classic!
These sellers love to take things slow and just want to “test the waters”.
They might upload 10 items and expect to wake up to sales.
BBBUUUTT… when that doesn’t happen, they’re totally discouraged and want to hold off on adding any more listings.
Even though a ton of time and effort went into making sure these listings have good SEO, traffic is practically nonexistent.
Their shop feels like a graveyard full of good ideas and haunted by hard work.
Now this seller probably isn’t sure if Etsy is worth it… And she wants to wait until she start making sales before filling up her shop — so for now, she’s stuck AF!Why is this happening?
An empty Etsy shop is a serious turn-off to buyers and having just 10 items is WAY too few! See? Size DOES matter!
A full shop has at least 24 items, but personally…
I recommend keeping a minimum of 40-50 items because you’ll automatically have a much better chance at being found.
A lot of people forget that an important part of SEO is having enough content for search engines to even FIND YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE!!
Etsy has OVER 25-35 MILLION items available at any given time.
So even with perfect SEO, a small shop has a TINY chance of even being seen by Etsy’s SEO robots.
(If you have 10 items, you actually make up 0.0000005% of Etsy…that number isn’t very reassuring! What do you think the chances of getting found are???)So, what can you do to avoid this?
Make sure that your shop is always chock-full of awesome!
Not only does carrying more items guarantee that you’ll be reaching more customers through searches, but it’s also an excellent way to experiment with SEO!
The more beautiful things that buyers can click on (and purchase), the better!
Even if you don’t have any new listings in the works, try making an item in another color, and then create a second listing to showcase the new color.
You’ll have a FULL shop AND an opportunity to test out the latest SEO strategy
Two big ass birds with one stone:
Remember: older sellers are just as likely to make a mistake as brand new Etsy sellers.
If you want to avoid the untimely demise of your dear Etsy shop, the one thing that is consistently proven to up your odds of surviving the serial killer we call SEO is having a support system that just “gets it”!
You know those people who watch a scary movie and shout, “don’t go in there!” whenever they sense danger? Those people who cheer for the hero every step of the way?
Well, my Etsy coaching program is full of those kinda people (along with the SEO secrets and other success strategies that they love sharing)!
It’s like STEROIDS for your Etsy shop… and if you haven’t checked it out yet, come say “hey” here!