Etsy Shop Checklist for Starting a Shop and SEO.

If you have an Etsy shop or are going to start an Etsy shop, there are things that you should be doing to get everything set up correctly. Some of these things aren’t obvious, but Etsy takes them into consideration for search placement, so they shouldn’t be ignored!

I’ve been selling on Etsy for ten years, and I’ve made over 48,000 sales at this point, so I’ve been around for a lot of changes on the Etsy platform.

I’ve distilled down the most important things that you need to pay attention to in your shop as far as the structure of your shop here, and if you’d like to get the full version of the list that includes some tips about Etsy interaction you can sign up for my email list here:

Table of Contents

etsy shop checklist

Basic Etsy shop structure checklist

  • Banner or no banner (personal preference but know why you want or don’t want one.)
  • Shop title under the shop name should be Google SEO-friendly with keywords included.
  • The announcement should be as short as possible, fit it in the two lines that are visible if possible. People don’t click on “see more” so get your most important info on the first two lines.
  • Section names should be SEO-friendly
  • Hide your sold items!

The banner on your shop home page is optional, and Etsy doesn’t rate your shop negatively if you don’t have one.

My personal preference is to not have a shop banner, because I want my listings to show up as high on the page as possible, and the banner pushes them down.

If you do have a banner it needs to be on-point as far as branding goes, so if you can’t do a pro-looking banner, don’t do one at all.

The shop title doesn’t matter for Etsy but it’s USUALLY the meta title if your shop is found in Google search.

It’s HIGHLY unlikely that will happen, but you need to make sure that the little slogan under the shop name says what you sell and isn’t something like “Made with love.” This shows how Google pulls the title from under your Etsy shop into the organic search results :

Google meta description for Etsy shop

The thing is, though, Google will pull in whatever it wants to from your shop, and it usually won’t find your shop anyway, so just put that there and then don’t worry too much about it!

Etsy gives you two lines for your shop announcement, so make sure to put your most important information in those two lines. There are places for shop policies and social media in other places, so this space should be used for mailing list links and notifications about other things.

Don’t forget to update this regularly if you change it seasonally to add information about holiday sales, etc.

Your section names should be SEO-friendly for Google, but again, it’s very unlikely that your shop will be found in organic Google search based on how Etsy interacts with Google.

Still, each section has its own url, so give them a good, descriptive name for SEO and for the customer’s sake. Make it easy for things to find things they’re looking for in your shop.

Hide your sold items so that people can’t copy your bestsellers! There’s an entire industry based around the idea of stealing designs and ideas from things that sell well, so don’t make it easy for copycats.

Go to your shop dashboard, then in your shop manager click on Settings—>options, scroll down and click “hide sold items.”

This will make the link to the page of sold items at the bottom left of your home page go away for people who aren’t logged in to your account, so you’ll still be able to see it but customers won’t be able to.

The number will still be there, but it won’t be a live link. If you have a reason that you want people to see your sold items, skip this step!

Etsy shop announcement

About section

  • Make your About section not about you, but more about your customers.
  • Add photos to your about page, fill all the spaces they give you. Product photos are fine, and process photos are great, people like those.
  • Add all of your social media here and test the links to make sure they work!

The About section is a copywriting section and you should make it about your business, the customer, and why they should buy from you.

Instead of saying “I’ve loved sewing since I was little,” say “I’ve loved sewing and making things for other people to enjoy since I was little.”

Look at the About pages for other large businesses to see what their About pages say, it’s not about the business owner, it’s about the business.

Adding photos and videos to your About page show customers how you make your products, and it gives you authority in the niche.

Add your social media links here and make sure that they work! If your social media links go to a dead page it doesn’t inspire confidence in customers.

Being able to find you in other places online will make them feel more confident buying from you.

For another article about whether you need to add production partners or shop members, click here.

Shop Policies section

  • Use the Etsy policies template to get a slight boost in search placement. Add a FAQ page to elaborate on specifics about your policies.
  • Set your returns and cancellations as liberally as you can.

Etsy says that if you use their policies template it will give you a boost in search placement, so it’s part of the SEO algorithm.

Etsy wants customers to have a uniform experience across the platform, so you get a reward for using their template. You can personalize it by adding your own FAQ for policy exceptions and clarifications.

Saying that you don’t accept cancellations or returns will scare people away, but you can say that you accept cancellations within a very short time frame after purchasing. Even putting an hour will make people more likely to buy, and they generally won’t cancel.

And if you say that you don’t accept cancellations, then you also shouldn’t accept returns, because that doesn’t make sense. If someone asks you to cancel and you say no, but you accept returns, they’ll just send it back. Cancel the order and save yourself a lot of aggravation.

If your social media links go to a dead page, it doesn’t inspire confidence in customers.

Etsy SEO Check

  • Make sure that you research your main keywords before using them in your titles and tags.
  • Fill the rest of your title and tags with a variety of related keywords.
  • Make sure to fill out all attributes, and use a variety of categories for your listings if possible.
  • Track your keyword stats by checking at least once a week to see what terms people are using to find your listings.

The most important keyword should be at the front of your title for the customer’s sake, then repeated in your tags, according to Etsy’s best practices.

This is more important if you’re selling in a highly competitive category. Use an Etsy SEO tool like Marmalead.

Etsy reads the entire title, so use the full space in order to give the search engine as much information as possible, but the first part of the title is what shows under listing photos. Make sure the customer will see the most important keywords.

For the tags, describe your item using synonyms, related terms, and descriptions of how it can be used. It’s not necessary to repeat keywords in both title and tags other than the most important ones, and you should try to avoid repeating words in your title and tags.

Repeating a word more than once will NOT make Etsy rank you higher for that term.

Remember that categories and attributes are used as keyword information for your listing to be found. Be as specific and accurate as possible.

If an item will fit in more than one category, consider listing some in each in order to see if it makes a difference in how much visibility the different listings get, then make adjustments based on that information.

If you’re getting found for a very limited number of terms, try to add different keywords to your tags to increase the variety of longtail keywords you’re being found for.

You want to be found for multiple-word (longtail) searches since that’s what people tend to search for when they’re closer to buying. The more variety of terms in your titles and tags, the more longtail keywords your listings will be found for.

Photo check

  • Make sure your photos are clear and it’s easy to see exactly what you’re selling in the first listing photo.
  • Use as many photos as you can. Etsy gives you ten photo slots, so use as many as you can. You can also use some to show color samples or put coupon codes or other shop information in if you want to do that.

If people can’t see what the photo is, they won’t click through to the listing even if it comes up first in search.

Crop them so that your item is centered and make sure you can see what the item for sale is without a lot of background clutter.

Make sure that the item itself is the focal point of the photo, and that there aren’t a lot of extras in it. Customers should be able to tell exactly what’s being sold by looking at the first listing photo.

Etsy gives you ten photo slots, so use as many as you can. You can also use some to show color samples or put coupon codes or other shop information in if you want to do that.

The more information you can put in the listing photo slots the better, because it can be difficult to find the descriptions on some devices.

If people get the most important information in the photos that can help them decide whether to purchase or not.

Etsy has started using photo recognition to decide what’s in the listing photos, so it’s more important than ever to make sure that you can tell what the item is.

These are the basics of the structural pieces on Etsy, and a little bit about the SEO. The link to sign up for the full checklist is above, so sign up for my mailing list if you’d like to get that.

And if you’d like to learn more about eCommerce marketing and selling on Etsy specifically, go to my marketing classes on TeachableOpens in a new tab..


Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 49,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

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