Does Punctuation Matter On Etsy For Search Results?

Etsy sellers have this discussion a lot…Does punctuation matter on Etsy as far as search results go?

As a general rule, Etsy sees punctuation as an empty space, and it doesn’t matter to the search placement algorithm. The type of punctuation that you use doesn’t directly affect how your listings are ranked in search results. However, the way that you write your titles can affect how customers interact with them, which can add more information to the ranking factors and indirectly affect how the listing performs in the future.

There are ways to write titles that are better for the customer, and it’s not hard to adopt these methods that can indirectly affect their rank.

Does Punctuation Matter On Etsy For Search Results?

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image of an Etsy title that's written like a sentence.
Etsy title written like a sentence.

What’s the best punctuation to use on Etsy?

The best punctuation to use on Etsy is grammatically correct and allows the customer to read the title without feeling awkward. There’s a subtle psychological effect that happens when someone reads something that’s confusing or structured in an odd way, and it can work against you.

If people read what looks like a long string of words, which is what titles that are basically lists of keywords are, they can be confused about the listing.

There are titles that I’ve read on Etsy that I’ve had to re-read a few times before I could really figure out what the listing was for, and most people aren’t going to do that.

(For an article about choosing keywords for your Etsy SEO, click here.)

By using punctuation that’s standard and grammatically-correct, you present something that people can read without any effort, and it makes people feel more comfortable.

This is a friction point that can slow people down as far as reading more about the listing. Friction is anything that slows down a customer in the buying process, and if they can’t understand the title, that’s definitely something that will slow them down.

The easiest way to prevent this is to write your titles like real sentences as much as you can.

It will keep people on your listing longer and will keep them from saying “what did I just read?” to themselves and skipping to the next listing that’s easier to figure out.

Is it best to use no punctuation on Etsy?

It’s important to use punctuation on Etsy so that the customer can read the title easily, and so that the search engine can read it correctly as well. In addition, using some types of incorrect punctuation can bring back odd results in search, so it’s best to use punctuation that’s correct for both the customer’s sake and the search engine’s sake.

Sometimes people say that using no punctuation at all, or using incorrect punctuation, is better because it allows you to add extra letters and squeeze a couple extra keywords into the title.

This isn’t the right approach because of a few factors.

First, you’re dealing with confusing the customer if you leave all the punctuation out.

Look at it this way if you try to write without punctuation its confusing the customer might wonder whats going on and leave they might not do it consciously these actions are performed quickly there’s so much to watch out for in ecommerce this shouldnt be one of them

If you just read that last paragraph and had to stop and think about it, that was my point.

It’s much better for the person who’s reading the listing to write it in a normal way.

Etsy listing with no punctuation in the title.
Etsy listing with no punctuation in the title.
Etsy listing with punctuation in the title.
Etsy listing with punctuation in the title.

These photos are examples of the subtle difference it makes when you actually punctuate the title correctly.

Adding punctuation makes the customer feel more at ease when they read it since it’s not formatted like a run-on sentence.

In addition to this, the search engine might treat things that are punctuated incorrectly in a strange way in search results.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but I’ve seen some search result pages that don’t handle incorrect punctuation well.

This can mean that your listings aren’t shown in search results as accurately as they might be.

Using correct punctuation is worth more than trying to shove an extra word or two into the title.

Do capitalized words matter on Etsy?

Etsy doesn’t treat capitalization differently than lowercase letters in search results. Capitalizing specific words doesn’t send a signal that the word is more important, and the search engine doesn’t treat it differently.

Capitalizing too much could make the title look strange, though, which would be another deterrent for customers.

I personally don’t think it’s such a big deal, though, because titles in general are written with each word being capitalized.

However, a listing title is a little different than the title of a book or a movie, and they’re usually written like a normal sentence.

So even though it doesn’t matter too much, I would still err on the side of writing the title like a normal sentence, with the first word capitalized and everything else in lowercase unless it’s a proper noun.

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People tend to put too much emphasis on the search engine when writing Etsy titles, but you should always think of the customer first.

By writing sentence-like titles that include good keywords, you’ll be giving the search engine the information that it needs, but will also be helping your customers by presenting things in a way that feels more comfortable to them.

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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