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Whether you have been selling on Etsy for a few months or several years. Lots of us inevitably go through a slump in sales. If this is you right now and you’re scratching your head wondering how to climb out the downturn, one of the first places to look is your Etsy tags.

Etsy tags - what are they with desk image
pastel desk items on white desk with Methods for choosing etsy shop tags

In this post, we will break down what is a tag on Etsy, where to find them, and how to know if your tag is working.

Included in the post is your chance to download a free Etsy shop tag printable.

*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. It will not cost you a penny more) Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

If you have yet to start an Etsy shop these posts will be helpful too

How to create a Bestseller on Etsy

Are you just starting to sell art on Etsy?

Starting to collect emails from your Etsy customers

How to add your items to your Etsy shop

To begin, let’s talk about the basics of tags on Etsy.

Is an Etsy tag the same as a keyword or the long tail keyword

Etsy shop tags are often bundled together with keywords.

This is so not true, let me explain the key differences between a keyword and a tag. 

A keyword is often referred to as a long-tail keyword. Both the same thing, but a keyword is isolated to that one listing.

So, for example, a keyword for your hats could be hat. Ok, not a great example, but a better example would be a woolen hat. Better still would be grey woolen winter hat.

Now we are sure exactly what the item is and what we can expect if we searched for this term in Etsy. 

What is an Etsy shop tag 

First and foremost, an Etsy shop tag is primarily there to help get your items seen in search.

If someone searches only for the word Hat – well, several thousand items will appear. But if they search for Grey Hat, even less should appear in search.

Finally, if they searched for grey knitted Hat, fewer still. But if they are not sure precisely what color they want, they may just look for Woolen knitted Hat. 

This is where your tags come in. You may not have Grey woolen hat in your title, but you do have woolen and knitted – giving you an excellent chance to show up in search. 

Think of your tags as funnels, you are sending the buyer into your funnel, to your items – so the more specific you are in your tags, the better chances you have of showing up in search. 

So let’s not overcomplicate things

Now an Etsy tag will have some characteristics I can explain below. 

  • Maybe a repeat of the items keyword
  • Is often more than one word 
  • Will or should be repeated in the title
  • Is generally what someone would search for – but not necessarily so specific as our keyword example above
  • Has a maxim of 20 characters.

Get into the habit of thinking as any buyer would. You may not sell Grey woolen hats, but you do sell black ones, and if you can get your beautiful black Hat, with a great picture to show up in search and the buyer clicks through – you have achieved 9/10. 

All you have to do is show that your shop sells the best hats and that the black one is perfect, (even if they set out to buy a grey one)

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How many tags do we have in each listing on Etsy

Each listing can have up to 13 tags on Etsy. You are not allowed to repeat tags, but you don’t have to use all of them. 

Of course, you do want to use all of them if you want to maximize your chances of being found. 

Why are tags important on Etsy 

Each tag gives you 13 chances to be found on Etsy. Without them – only your title will help you be found in Etsy search.

Tags tell Etsy more about what your item is and help the Etsy algorithm see more specifics about your item. An excellent specific tag can mean the difference between page 1 and page 27. 

But I’m on page 10!

Well, then you need help improving your tags because either Etsy doesn’t know what your item is or you don’t. 

When not to include a tag on Etsy

You do not need to include a tag if it is your category on Etsy.

When you list an item for sale, you much choose which category it is placed in. 

Not sure what I mean?

Here is a screenshot of my category. 

Therefore I would not include any of these words in my tags, as they are already inside my categories. Note; it is not just that single category, but all the categories above. 

Digital prints

Prints

art

Wall hangings

Etc, etc. 

As categories are updated a few times a year – check your items on are in the correct category now. 

A current list of Etsy categories can be found below.

https://www.etsy.com/help/categories/seller

Recent updates to Etsy categories is also a useful read

https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/updates-to-listing-categories-and/362857340643

Should my tags match my titles in Etsy?

If a search term is in your title or tags, then you will show up in search. However, if it is an exact match for the search term in your title, then it is deemed to be a stronger match. 

For example – search for Red brooch

If the words Red and Brooch appear in either my title or somewhere in my tags, then it will show up in search. But any listings with the exact words of Red Brooch in the title will show up ahead of listings that have a combination of these. 

Ok, so if I start my title with Red Brooch – then it is even stronger than a listing which has Red Brooch further along towards the end of my title.

So – ensure your keywords are an exact match towards the beginning of your title and use the same in your tags.

Your title should be written with the reader in mind. So it should not look like your tags. But let’s say after a lot of research you want your keyword to be Watercolor Painting Abstract

This you would put at the front of your title, and be repeated in your tags. Obviously, this is longer than 20 characters, so you will need to break it up into smaller tags. 

Not – watercolor, painting, abstract

Yes – Watercolor painting, painting abstract, 

Should I then use combinations? – i.e abstract watercolor? 

You could if you wanted to cover all angles, but it would hold less weight than a tag that said watercolor abstract, as this would be in the order of your title, although not an exact match. 

Etsy planner pack image

With regards to your title on Etsy – should you use a comma, a dash – or a stroke / or nothing? 

Now I’ve read lots of people say it doesn’t matter as the idea is that a person can read it. Etsy wants you to write a title that a human would read, not a computer. 

Easy enough, right?

Well, actually, I was guilty and still am of ramming in my tags to my titles.

For example, I would use the following as my title

Watercolour, painting, abstract, printable abstract, abstract painting. 

Anyway – you get the idea. 

Then Etsy said, ‘Don’t do this’ – write for a human. So better to write 

Watercolor abstract painting print, Printable wall art 

Some people later suggested the use of lines to break up the text. 

Watercolour abstract / printing print / printable wall art

Yes, this does look better, I think. Although it still looks like a load of tags and keywords to me. 

I recently read on the Marmalead blog not to use anything – ??? 

No commas, no dash, no lines. The theory is that you would then use up less of those precious characters with spaces and dashes. 

Who is right?

I’d say go with what feels best for you. 

I try to use a nice even sentence and then a few keywords at the end. Making sure that the beginning of my Etsy title has my main keyword, of course. 

Which – leaves me with a lot of work to do. Because – I haven’t been doing this and clearly I’m not being found in Etsy search.

Tag failures unite. 🙁

Does it matter what order my tags are in on Etsy? 

No – not at all, order or tags has no relevance to search. The order your keyword appears in your title is, however, a strong match. 

Where to find tag and keyword ideas for free 

Coming up with tag ideas for Etsy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are free ways to find new tags online. 

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Google search – begin by searching for your specific term on google. 

Let’s use the Grey woolen hat example

Firstly click on the Google images – you can immediately see that some are using the words Alpine, Beanie, Wool knit, Winter, traditional, and at the top, even more, words spring up. 

Slouchy, charcoal grey, hand knit, chunky knit Hat, 

Now, I’m not suggesting that you use all these in your titles and tags, but you could use them to fill in your tags with more keywords. 

You will also see under the drop-down type menu in Google search (if one appears for your search term) suggesting using the terms Grey wool hat. 

At the bottom, you will also search related searches. 

  • 100% wool hat
  • Wool hat mens
  • Wool had womens
  • Mens wool hats with brim
  • Woolen beanie hats

You can click on any of these and also see another list of potential keywords. Remember, Google knows it’s stuff, and these appear here because Google knows that is what people search for.

Regular terms, with ordinary language. 

Keywords everywhere

I use a Chrome browser and have installed an extension called Keywords Everywhere. It is not free. But it is a very cheap option to try. 

It tells me how many times a term is searched for on google. For example 

  • Winter hat 40,000
  • Wool hat mens 4.400
  • Wool beanie 3.600
  • Woolen beanie hats 480
  • Fluffy bucket hat 1.900

Again I’m not suggesting you use these as your tags in your listing – because we are working with Google here and not Etsy, and sometimes the two don’t match. 

The reason I’m telling you this – is that if you type into Etsy Fluffy Bucket hat, there are only 75 listings. This means that if you can use this search term to accurately describe your item, then do so. 

Pinterest search terms

You can use Pinterest to search for keywords and tags as well. Simply search for a broad keyword for your product and see what suggestions Pinterest has.

They will show you more suggestions, the more you drill down through the titles at top.

This is a great way to see if your product is already on Pinterest and how popular it is with regards to search terms.

Note:- Pinterest place their search boxes (those colorful boxes at the top) in order of priority. So anything at the front of the boxes might be a good fit for your product too.

More help can be found with using Pinterest for your Etsy shop

Etsy search

Nothing wrong with using the famous Etsy search bar to look for ideas to target in your tags. But note, these are up the minute, right now, most recent search terms and not perhaps what people will be searching for year-round. 

Just bear that in mind when using these tags.

You can now go onto Etsy and change your region at the bottom of the front page. I set mine to the USA and in $. As most of my customers are in the USA. 

If you search for a keyword or tag idea in the search bar, it will show other suggested keywords in orange underneath. 

Note: these are more specific and will help the buyer narrow down their search. 

For example :

If you search for the term Noon Phase. You will be suggested underneath – Moon phase Earrings, Moon Phase Bracelet, Moon Phase wall hanging. 

Now clearly this indicates that without being more specific, Etsy will show you over 24,000 items, or anything to do with Moon Phase. All of the search results have Moon Phase close to the front of their title. 

So you need to be very specific in your title. Using the words Moon Phase gold earrings is far better than Moon earrings, Gold earrings, Moon phase jewelry, or Earrings with moon. 

Go ahead and type in your items in a broad term and see if you can drill down the bottom of these suggestions and note down a few of those specific words in order. 

Now go to your listings in your shop manager and click on listings, change to View Listings as List, and go through your titles and see if you have these exact words in your title in order? 

Do you? 

No – I didn’t either. 

I will be doing a quick edit of my items after this and changing up some of those titles and tags. 

Where else can I find tag and keyword suggestions? 

There are paid options – one is Erank. 

They do have a free version. Erank is useful for really getting ideas or confirming that your tag is a good one. Of course, if you are going to invest in a tag tool, it is only as good as the information you provide it. 

It does not just magically pop up a tonne of perfect tags and keywords for you. But if you are willing to invest under 10$ a month in your shop, it can certainly help. 

Another option is Marmalead. Also paid, and three times the price of Erank at the moment. 

They do have a free version, too, with some options to get you started. 

I did use Marmalead primarily as it told you how many favorites an item had.

Why does this help? – well, if someone searches for an item and then goes on to favorite it, it shows that the tag is useful, specifically that a buyer has confirmed that this keyword is right for the search. 

For example – you might tag your products with glossy pink shoes, but if you are not getting any favorites, then the buyer has another idea of what it wants with glossy pink shoes. Yours might be for children, for example.

Buyers only really favor those items they want to consider later, usually in the near future. 

Where do I put my tags in my Etsy listings

Your tags are added in the lower section of your listing details. You can add all of your 13 tags with a comma in between, and press return, and your tags will populate automatically. 

When you are typing your tags – keep a close eye on your title and keep those words in order, so you stand more chance of getting an exact match with your titles. 

If you are going to start the title of your item with Organic Handmade soap – then make sure your tags look like this, organic handmade, handmade soap, organic soap.

This way you are doing your utmost to ensure these words get you found on Etsy

How can you edit multiple tags on Etsy

Very easily. Go into your Etsy listings page, and on the right-hand side, filter all the listings you want to change. Then select either individual listings or all of them, and using the edit menu choose Change tags. 

You now have the option to either add or remove tags in bulk. 

Easy right.

Examples of good Etsy tags 

 Specific tags are always good. The more specific you are, the more likely a buyer is in ‘buying mode.’ 

Someone who searches for Leather diary may not be in the same buying mode as someone who searches Leather Diary 2020 A5. Therefore it makes sense to be specific in your tags and titles. This way, you will have a better conversion rate than a shop that needs 200 views to make 1 sale. 

By example I mean:

Black small leather shoulder bag – is better than a shoulder bag

Lavender handmade soap gift – is better than soap handmade

Anyway, you get the idea. 

Should I use the same tag in all of my listings

Years ago, Etsy only allowed you to show up once per page in search. They clearly didn’t want the same shop to hog all of page 1 in search. But now that’s changed. Your shop can appear several times on page 1. Page 2 and Page 3. 

This is much better for those shop owners at the top of their niche and selling lots and lots, but does make it much more difficult for your little newbie shop to get a look in. 

The reason Etsy has done this – is because those who sell more, are earning Etsy more fees. So put your best sellers at eye level.

Even more reason to be really specific in your tags. 

It comes down to numbers in many shops – get as many listings as you can out there. Aim for 100, at least.

With 100 listings and 4 target keywords in your tags – so each of those brilliant tags appears 20 times in your shop – you stand a chance of getting some sunlight shine on your shop.

Don’t overdo it though – have a good ratio of new and different tags across your shop. After all, you want to appeal to a broad audience who may search for many different terms. 

How often should I update my Etsy tags

Etsy has never been a set it and forget it kind of business model. It does take some handholding to make any money. – depending on the items, you are selling will depend on how closely you need to live next to your shop and how much maintenance it requires. 

As a rule of thumb, I would say you should revisit the tags on your lowest selling items every 3-4 months.

If you are now selling many of these items, it also stands to reason you do not see many views, and to that end, probably your titles and tags are at fault or are not working. 

You do not need to update your titles and tags at the same time, but ideally, you want to concentrate on one or two listings and really make the most of them. 

After updating your tags and titles, look at the quality of the listing as a whole – 

  • Have you got great pictures, and used all of them
  • Is the description perfect 
  • Is the price right, can you lower the price and still make a profit
  • Are the tags still relevant (I’m talking about you Fidget spinners)
  • Is it worth still selling this item
  • Can I make a small change to it and make it more relevant 

Should I repeat my tags twice in the same listing – what’s good practice?

As I sell art prints on Etsy – I tend to want to fire at all tags. For example, I am guilty of using the same tag but with no system. 

  • Cat Art
  • Cat print 

But instead, I should use 

  • Cat art print
  • Animal wall decor

You can see here, I have wasted a tag by repeating the same tag in another way. I should use more variety of tags and try to capture more leads from everyone who is searching. 

Use everyday words in your listing tags!

Often when coming up with tag ideas – we forget that people use common words to search for items.

We might want to search for a silk necktie for man, but can I make this more basic? What about a shiny man scarf.

You get the idea.

The Etsy algorithm is smart enough to know that when I use a singular meaning, I also mean plural in English. 

Diary/diaries 

Final conclusions on how to choose Etsy shop tags

With a lot of information in this post, I’m sure you have some idea of what you can add as your tags. But a word of caution, I’m not convinced that every tag will work for every shop.

You must use lots of variety in your tags, keep them simple, but relevant to your product.

Don’t get disheartened if your tags don’t seem to improve your views initially. Many of my tags came in waves of popularity, and as my market (wall art) has become completely saturated on Etsy, I too am finding it hard to throw in new tags and see my items bubble to the top. It just doesn’t happen anymore. 

You can improve your chances with seasonal tags. But again, you must be working in your shop regularly – and there is no substitute for being present and active on Etsy. 

GET STARTED SELLING DIGITAL ON ETSY – FREE EBOOK

THINKING OF SELLING DIGITAL PRINTS?


Here is what we have covered in this post on how to choose your Etsy shop tags. 

  • What is a keyword and a tag on Etsy
  • How many tags do we have in each listing on Etsy
  • Why are tags important on Etsy 
  • When not to include a tag on Etsy
  • Tags and categories
  • Should my tags match my titles in Etsy
  • How should I separate my Etsy title to make it more readable
  • Does it matter what order my tags are in on Etsy? 
  • Where to find tag and keyword ideas for free 
  • Where do I put my tags in my Etsy listings
  • How can you edit multiple tags on Etsy
  • Examples of good Etsy tags 
  • Should I use the same tag in all of my listings
  • How often should I update my Etsy tags
  • Should I repeat my tags twice in the same listing 
  • Use everyday words in your listing
  • Final conclusions on how to choose Etsy shop tags

If you enjoyed this post on How to find the Best Etsy shop tags – please repin me to your best boards.

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4 Comments

  1. Hello! I’ve been selling on Etsy for a few years, but just read you blog, ” Etsy Shop Tags” , and it really helped me. Some of those things you just forget and it was a great refresher, so thanks!
    Quick question if you have time . . .i. can you explain what you meant by(mainly the part in all caps) “Go ahead and type in your items in a broad term and see if you can DRILL DOWN THE BOTTOM OF THESE SUGGESTIONS and note down a few of those specific words in order.
    Now go to your listings in your shop and change to View Listings as List and go through your titles and see if you have these exact words in your title in order?
    Do you mean get some ideas from the drop down menu .. and then the order part. what order are you refering to? Thanks for any help with this. I do appreciate it! Jan

    1. Hello Jan
      Thank you for your comments.
      Ok – so if you have Etsy set as USA region – type in your broad keyword in the search box. eg Bedroom Print. You will see a few suggestion boxes not in the search box, but below the search box. It has images of Set of 3 bedroom prints, Bedroom printable wall art, etc. So note down a few of these. Now go to your shop manager and click on listings. Change the view to list view in your shop and you can now see easily what you have as your titles. I would suggest placing some of these suggestions at the beginning of your titles – when someone uses these ‘suggestion boxes’ of items hopefully it will help with you get found. I hope that helps a bit more. Thanks, Trina

  2. Hello,
    Due to Covid we cannot have the usual Art Fairs and Trails so I’m hoping to start an Etsy shop to sell my small paintings.
    I find your writings very valuable but after an hour of jumping from one window to another and getting side-tracked several times on the way my brain is fizzing!
    You seem to mention a number of possible downloads but I can’t get them to download – I could do with printable info that I can refer to when necessary. [I’m 80 and quite computer literate, but still find print reassuring!].
    Anyway, thanks and best wishes,
    Kezia

    1. Hello Kezia
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and I’m happy to help you.
      You can go to this page and click on the one you want to download. Simply add your email address and it will be sent to you. You can sign up for as many as you wish – don’t worry, you will only receive a few emails introducing me over the next few days. You won’t receive lots of emails saying the same thing.
      let me know if you need more help
      Trina

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