Etsy Tags That Sell and How to Write Them

Etsy tags are something that people seem to get very confused about, but they don’t have to be something that drives you crazy.

Since they can help you sell your listings choosing them is important, but they don’t have to be difficult.



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What are Etsy tags, and why are they important?

Etsy tags are important because they’re additional keywords that provide support for the title as far as helping Etsy understand your listing. Tags let sellers add keywords to the listing if they don’t fit in the title, and they also give Etsy an indication about which keywords are the most important in certain situations.

Tags are important, but they’re also optional, so what does that mean, and what kind of keywords should you use for your tags? Let’s get into that next.



Do you have to use Etsy tags?

When a listing is filled out in the listing editor, the tags section has an “optional” notation next to it. While tags aren’t required, it’s important to take advantage of the fact that Etsy gives sellers the opportunity to fill the additional information out. Using all of the tag space will give your listing a better chance of being shown in Etsy search results.

When you fill out the tags space, you should use all 13 tags and try to fill out the entire space in each tag. There’s space for 20 characters per tag, and you can fill out the entire space even if the tag doesn’t make sense when you read them individually.

Tags are usually considered to be a lower-level SEO factor than keywords, which are the words in the main part of the listing, but in Etsy’s case, tags are pretty much the same as keywords.

Etsy also uses the description for search, so it’s important to put a variety of keywords in your entire listing.


Etsy tags are optional notification on the listing manager
Tags are optional

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How should you structure your Etsy tags?

When you add the tags to your Etsy listing, you should use phrases that describe your listing, but you can also use individual words on the same tag. Etsy looks at the words in the title and tags both together and individually. Exact word-order matches are important, but if an individual word in a customer’s search is found by itself somewhere in the title or tags, Etsy will find that too.

Etsy used to work on an exact word-order matching search placement algorithm, but that isn’t how it works now.

With the current XWalk algorithm, title and tags give Etsy information about the listing, then the algorithm tries to figure out the “meaning” of the listing. The title is the most important part of this process, but the tags are a source of additional information that can help Etsy understand what the listing is.

Add tags that describe the listing or give more information about it, then fill in any additional space with more relevant words.

What should you do if the phrases that you want to use are too long for the space in the tag? You can break them up, just make sure to do it the right way if you want to get the exact word-order match.



How to split up keywords between tags.

If a keyword phrase that you want to add in an exact word order needs to be split between two Etsy tags, make sure to just divide the phrase up, and don’t add more words in the middle where you divided them.

For example, if you have a phrase like “sapphire engagement ring,” it’s going to be too long to fit on one tag. You can split it between two tags by using tags that are listed in sequence.

The first tag should be “sapphire engagement” and the second tag should start with the word “ring.”

Since you want to keep the word order, you shouldn’t put “engagement ring” in the second tag. That would mean that the phrase that the computer reads will say “sapphire engagement engagement ring,” which isn’t an exact word order match.


splitting tags up
Tags that are set up for the long-tail keyword “unique wedding cupcake decorations.”

You also don’t want to split the two tags up by putting another tag in between them, because that would also mess up the exact word order match.

Keep the two tags in sequence so that the computer reads them in sequence. But what about the extra room on the second tag?

Since every tag has space for 20 characters, you can fill in the extra space on the second tag with more keywords.

For the tag that starts with “ring,” you can add more words to the END of the tag, and it won’t mess up the exact word order for the two tags.

So you could have the two tags say “sapphire engagement” and “ring gold solitaire” to keep the word order match and also use all the tag space.

Etsy says that you don’t need to include misspellings because that’s changed automatically. You should check to make sure that it’s corrected in search, though, to make sure that they do actually correct that misspelling. There are some misspellings that aren’t corrected, and if you find one that shows up in your searches a lot, you can actually use it to be included in lower-competition results.



Some things to keep in mind about tags on Etsy.

There are some things to remember when writing your Etsy tags. The first is that you don’t have to research every tag to the point that you feel desperate and confused about your choices. Other than that, here are some tips for writing your tags:

Tips for Etsy tags.

  • Use all of your tags so that you have more keywords that can match up to searches.
  • Try to make the tags make sense, but they don’t have to make sense 100%.
  • Don’t change your tags completely all the time, check your stats before eliminating keywords from your title or tags to make sure you’re not getting rid of something that’s bringing you traffic.
  • Watch for keywords in your stats that you don’t have in your tags or title. Because Etsy is showing listings for search queries that include words that aren’t in those places, terms might show up that you hadn’t considered before. If something fits, add it to your tags.
  • Try not to repeat yourself with your title and tags too much. Etsy doesn’t give you credit for using a word multiple times, and if you use one word too often it’s just taking up space that you could be using for different terms.
  • If a term is used in the categories or attributes, that counts as a tag, so you don’t need to repeat it. HOWEVER…If something is super relevant and isn’t incldued anywhere else in the title or tags, you might want to put it in the tags even if one of the words is in a category or attribute. Etsy has had glitches in the past where the categories and attributes weren’t being used, so unless you had added a tag for that term, you wouldn’t have been included in that search.
  • Etsy says that you don’t need to include misspellings because that’s changed automatically. You should check to make sure that it’s corrected in search, though, to make sure that they do actually correct that misspelling. There are some misspellings that aren’t corrected, and if you find one that shows up in your searches a lot, you can actually use it to be included in lower-competition results.
  • Same thing with foreign language tags. The translations on Etsy are based on the customer’s language settings, and sometimes things get messed up. It’s not usually necessary to use foreign words, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt, especially if you see a lot of foreign words in your stats.
  • And it’s the same with plurals, Most plurals are treated the same as the singular version on Etsy, but some aren’t. Test it out by searching for both words, and if the number of search results that come up are about the same, then Etsy has it covered. If it’s different, you might want to use both.Opens in a new tab.

Telling Etsy the EXACT details of the listing will help to sell your listings because it helps to get your listing shown in lower-competition searches that are better targeted.

How to choose tags that will help your listing sell.

When you choose tags for your Etsy listings, you should match your best keyword that you used in your title in one of the tags, then fill in the rest with more terms and phrases that describe the listing accurately. By using accurate and relevant terms you’ll give Etsy information about what the listing is and what qualities it has so that it can show up in searches that fit it best.

Tags should be words and phrases that describe the item in a few different ways, including qualities, materials, who it’s for, events it’s for, the style, sizes, gifts, etc.

Anything that identifies more about the listing will be helpful to Etsy to be able to identify and understand it.

If you’re trying to think of what tags to use, do the basic “who, what, when, where, why” and you’ll come up with basic terms.

Then go one level deeper to find more specific keywords to include. For example, if one of your tags is “gift for teen,” you might want to make it “gift for goth teen.” or “gift for music lover teen.” That will get a little more specific and you’ll still be included in searches for “gift for teen” since Etsy doesn’t require an exact word-order match.

It’s this one-level deeper thought process that will allow your listings to be included in long-tail keyword searches and help them to sell.

Telling Etsy the EXACT details of the listing will help to sell your listings because it helps to get your listing shown in lower-competition searches that are better targeted.

It’s a lot smarter to go after long-tail keywords with your tags than it is to try to compete for things like “gift for her.”



How to update tags.

If you don’t want to go into each listing individually, and you’re trying to change a lot of similar tags at once (maybe you misspelled something) then you can use the listing manager bulk editing option.


Click to see the video.
  1. Start in the listing editor and select the listings that you want to edit. To select all of them click the box at the top of the page.
  2. Click “editing options” and choose “edit tags.”
  3. A box will open up and you can select to delete a specific tag based on the ones that they show you, or to add a tag.
  4. If you want to replace one with another, you should first delete the one that you don’t want anymore, then add the new one.

Remember to save your changes any time you do any of these edits!

You can also use the quick editing option, which is also located in the listing manager.


Click to see the video.
  1. Go to the listing manager and select “quick edit” on the right.
  2. Each listing will open up, and you can click “edit tags” on the listing that you want to edit.
  3. Change the tags that you want to change.
  4. Click on “update tags” to save your changes.

Another way to edit tags is to use the regular listing editor:


Click to see the video.
  1. Open the individual listing and scroll down to the tags.
  2. Scroll down to the tags and make your edits.
  3. Remember to click “publish” at the bottom of the page to save your edits!


Bad tags advice!

There’s a lot of advice about Etsy tags that doesn’t make any sense, but people tell you that you have to follow it to be found in search results. This video goes over some of these:

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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