Etsy Print-on-Demand – 4 SEO Things to Do to Put Your Products on Top

11 min read

Have you ever felt invisible on Etsy? Like no one notices your Etsy shop and products? Or, you have been finding it hard to get your print-on-demand products to the right buyers?

If you feel that you don’t have any of these issues, then you’re good!

This guide is for those who want to boost their online presence, project their product listings to a wider audience, and make more sales.

Does this sound like you? Then this guide is for you!

SEO is more or less like the holy grail of selling on Etsy.

While you cannot afford to build all of your marketing strategy around SEO alone, SEO still remains one of the most important puzzle pieces for a profitable Etsy marketing strategy.

Etsy SEO is one critical topic that everybody talks about, but no one seems to be willing to walk you through the exact processes you need to make it work.

Luckily, there’s me! 😊

So, in this long article, I’d be talking to you about what Etsy SEO really is, why it is important, and how you can make it work for your print-on-demand business.

Fasten your seat belts! We’re about to take off! ✈️

Why Basic SEO on Etsy is important

Did you know that Etsy had over 45.7 million active buyers in 2019? How many of them bought from you? This figure is an 18% increase from 2018, and 2020 will most likely outperform it.

Obviously, more buyers are trooping in for a great online shopping experience on the site. And here’s how it works (at the same conversion rate): more visitors equal more views, more views equal more sales, more sales equals more money.

But for you to make the most of these chances to sell, you must be visible to potential buyers. This is why you have to make the Etsy SEO your best friend!

How exactly does Etsy SEO work?

Etsy has revealed the criteria its algorithms uses to determine the results shoppers see when they run a search query.

They are basically categorized into two parts: Query Matching and Ranking.

This is where you take out your note pads.

I’d walk you through them.

1. Query Matching

This is a rather straightforward one. When a buyer runs a product search query, Etsy runs through every available product listing and gathers the ones that best match the buyer’s search query.

If a buyer runs a search query for Engineer mug” or “Nurse Mug”, the algorithm will sweep through every product listing that has related titles, product tags, titles, or attributes.

As a rule of thumb, make sure that your titles and tags keywords match exactly.

2. Ranking

Once the query matching is complete, Etsy would rank all the listings that matched the search based on the buyer’s purchase likelihood. This phase requires more than just having the right tags or keywords.

Here are some of the factors that are put into consideration for the result ranking:

  • Relevance

The first thing that Etsy considers is the relevance of your listing to the buyer’s search. To do this, Etsy considers how aligned your listing’s title, tags, and categories are to what the buyer is demanding.

The more relevance your listing has, the higher you’re likely to rank.

  • Listing Quality Score

To determine your listing quality score, Etsy considers your listing sales conversion rate. That is, how much goods you sell and reviews you get. Technically, the higher your sales conversion rate, the higher your listing score – which in turn leads to a higher ranking.

  • Recency

Most times, Etsy gives new accounts a mild boost in their rankings to get them started. However, this doesn’t last for long as it might only span for a few hours or days. Also, new listings can also get initial boosts. So, it’s best for you to make the most of it.

  • Customer and Market Experience

Etsy always wants to ensure that buyers get the best online shopping experience possible. To achieve this, the search engine considers sellers with great customer service history, product ratings, and reviews.

These sellers are often given favorable positions and high rankings in search results.

  • Shipping Costs

During a study conducted by Etsy, the company discovered that most buyers are less likely to purchase an item with a high shipping cost.

According to Etsy, shoppers on Etsy are 20% more likely to complete their purchase when the shipping free.

Due to this, sellers with low or free shipping costs are most likely to rank higher in the search queries.

  • Context Specific Rankings (CSR)

Etsy uses a data analysis technology called Context Specific Ranking (CSR). This technology is used to study buyer’s shopping and browsing behavior, and provide personalized search results based on their browsing history.

This is solely buyer-based, so you don’t really have to worry about this.

4 Things to Do to Put Your Print-on-demand Business on Top

Now that you know how Etsy SEO works, let’s talk about how you can make the most of it.

When it comes to print-on-demand, most sellers often focus on listing tons of products in small niches. While this is a great strategy, basic SEO is still needed. No strategy can work alone, so get your hand dirty by trying out various marketing strategies.

SEO can be complicated, especially if you don’t have prior knowledge about it. But I’ve got you covered. If you want to drive good traction for your product listing on Etsy, here are 4 essential things that you need to do.


I know you must have heard this like a gazillion times, but guess what? You’re going to hear it one more time! Keywords!

For the record, keywords are just a fancy term for one or two words that perfectly describe your product. As a print-on-demand marketer, your keywords must fall within the everyday vocabulary of the business.

Knowing the words that best describe your items and shop is a critical step in improving your SEO. But to achieve this, you have to think like a buyer. Ask yourself: If I want to get so-and-so product, what words would I use in searching for it?

When buyers shop on Etsy, they are sure that they would find what they looking for. So, they log in to the website, type in a few words to search for a product and several options are returned.

The kind of keywords that you add to your product listing would go a long way in determining the presence of your listing in the search result.

Now, where do you use these keywords?

Your keywords are meant to be strategically placed in your product titles, tags, and categories.

Having a consistent keyword across your listing would drastically boost your chances of ranking high in search queries matching your keyword.

Using strong keywords creates an opportunity for your items to appear in search results.

Conducting Keyword Research

When it comes to choosing keywords, you cannot just settle for some fancy words. Using keyword phrases like “Graphene-based quatrefoil patterned coffee mug print” sounds pretty cool, right?

But come to think of it, would anybody ever search for this phrase? I know I wouldn’t.

I don’t even know what graphene is! 😂

So, it is important for you to identify what kind of words and phrases buyers are most likely to search for and the ones that they wouldn’t.

There are several ways that you can find them:

  • Use SEO Tools

With SEO tools like Merchantwords, Marmalead, and Google Keyword Planner, you can get access to some insane keyword research weaponry.

For just a few dollars, you can gain access to high performing SEO tools for keyword comparison, keyword phrase suggestions, keyword cloud suggestions, as well as in-depth analysis of keywords used by other sellers and competitor.

You can also get keyword strength graphs and keywords usage metrics.

The best part about some of these tools is that you don’t have to know so much technical SEO jargon to be able to make the most of them. They are user-friendly and easy-to-grasp.

  • Use Etsy-based resources

You must have heard about the eRank website. It is an SEO platform specially designed for Etsy. You can check it out.

One other way to get keywords is via the Etsy suggestion bar. Here’s how it works; when you type a keyword in the Etsy search bar, you would find several suggestions below. These can also be used as keywords.

But I must say that those suggestions are often based on very recent search queries. Hence, they might not be the best keywords for your product, but they sure are the most recent.

Do not totally discard them. They might come in handy.

  • Competitor-based research

To be on top, you might have to take a sneak peek at the products and sellers that are already performing well.

One of the best ways to do this is to check the top-selling products and sellers on Etsy and see the common keywords they use.

This way you can hop on the bandwagon of their SEO success.

You can also try to go the other way round. Try to find the list of keywords that have low competitors. This way, there will be only few sellers in your way.

These research tools are best used together. To get the best list of keywords for your products, try using every available resources.

Diversify your keywords

Before you start trying to figure I mean by this, let me help you out.

During keyword research and decision process, most sellers make the mistake of solely focusing their attention on creating phrases with physical descriptions and attributes.

Keywords such as “Large hoodie”, “black coffee mug”, and “floral print facemasks” are not really hard to find.

But there are sales opportunities in targeting buyers who require certain items for a specific occasion, style, or use.

Instead of the regular physical description search, some Etsy users might decide to search for terms like “birthday gifts”, “Mother’s Day”, and things like these.

You can also form keywords by adding “NICHE + Product Type”.

Try keywords like “Engineer Mug”, “Engineer T-shirt”, “Electrical Engineer Mug”, or “Funny Engineer Mug”.

This is a very good keyword strategy as it would attract a more defined audience who can identify with your product. People who buy the POD like to buy the product that shows their identity.

I would also advise that you try to use keywords that resonate with a more narrow niche. For instance, Electrical Engineer mugs would not only attract members of that niche, but it would also reduce the number of competitors creating that kind of product. That’s more targeted traffic and more sales for you!


By now, your keywords and tags should be ready to use. One of the best places to use your keywords is in your product title.

Etsy allows you to have a 140-character long product title. When it comes to keyword distribution, your product title should take the main keywords.

In the search result, the first 40 characters of the product title are the most evident. So, concentrate on the main keywords at the front of your product title to get more results.

Insert the most important keywords in the first few words to add more weight to your product title.

As a print-on-demand product seller, you should consider placing terms like “Funny {NICHE} Mug” or “{NICHE} Mug” at the beginning of your product title.

It is also advised that you insert the key phrases in the product title because many people search using phrases.

When it comes to title arrangements and character diversity, Etsy only allows a maximum of 3 words to be in all caps.

The use of special characters is also restricted. While characters such as percentage symbol (%) and the ampersand symbol (&) are allowed, the dollar sign ($) and caret (^) are disallowed in Etsy product title.

Also, you can add the quotes on the products to the product title. A lot of buyers search for products by their quote. They will look for the products with the kind of quote that they want.

You can also add the “recipient” to the product title too like “Mug for Mom”, “Gift for Men Women”, “Gifts for Engineer”, etc.


There are 13 product tags on Etsy and it is highly recommended that you use them all. Each tag presents you with an opportunity to include 13 different phrases that uniquely describes your product.

Product tags increase your chances of being matched with different types of search query. So, you must strategically spread them around.

Etsy tags are 20 characters long, allowing you to express yourself and describe your product in the best way possible.

Here are some important product tags DOs and DON’Ts that you must implement.


  • Use all the 13 tags! You have more chances to be matched with a buyer’s search query.
  • Use phrases with multiple words. The tags are 20 characters long, so it is better to use several phrases than single words. For instance, “Birthday coffee mug” is exactly 19 characters without counting spaces, and it is a smarter choice than having different tags.
  • Consult your shop stats from time to time to know which tags are getting you less traffic. You can replace them with better tags. 
  • If you’re selling regional based products, try adding tags to fit the regional phrases of your target audience.
  • Use long tail keywords. Instead of settling for generic keywords or key phrases, go for tags that describe the uniqueness of your products. Often times, buyers who have a specific product in mind use specific search words to get what they are looking for.


  • While it is important that you repeat the keywords in your product title on your tags, avoid repeating tags. You have 13 tags, make use of them uniquely. For instance, tags like “Lawyer T-shirts” and “Nurse coffee mugs” would give you more traffic than having “T-shirts” and “coffee mug” as tags on the same product.
  • Avoid repeating the keywords in your categories and attributes. They already work like tags so try to come up with something better. The main idea is to diversify your tags as much as possible.
  • Never include misspellings or adulterated spelling forms in your tags. Etsy would automatically redirect buyers to the correct search result if they made any error in their search query.
  • Etsy does the automatic translation of listings when visited by a buyer who is foreign to the language you used when setting up your Etsy shop. So, you don’t have to write your tags in multiple languages. Alternatively, you can create another listing for the same product, only this time, in another language. You can also recommend translations for your titles and tags to avoid any funny translations.
  • Don’t try to add both the singular and plural forms of a word in different tags. When searchers send in their queries, results are matched based on the root word of the search.


If you want to use all the keywords in the world to describe your product, knock yourself out!

When you are filling in your product description, try to insert at least one main keyword that are related to your product niche.

If you’re using the PODTurbo for your listing, you have one less thing to worry about as the automated process covers product description for your desired niche.

However, avoid using the default description provided by the software.

Chances are that hundreds of other users of the PODTurbo software must have gotten the same product description template. If you stick with this, you might not really rank well in search results. So, you might need to get your hands dirty.

Try to adjust and modify the template to suit your product. Using major keywords, highlight the essential features of your products.

When you’re writing your product description, do not write like a robot.

Just stop and think for a sec, what exactly does a buyer need to see before he gets convinced of the quality of a product? Its benefits? Its features? Its uses and application? Or all of these?

I bet you, you need to skillfully highlight all of these and more before you can boost your sales. A robot cannot connect to the needs of the buyer the way you can.

You should be able tell your buyers what the product can do for them. Your description should also define who should buy this product and why it is the best for them.

A great description does not only get you a better ranking but also persuades people to purchase your product too.

SEO Takes Time and Patience…

You can enjoy the increased visibility and revenue by making the most of these Etsy SEO practices. I’ve tried to make them as practical and as simple as possible.

When it comes to selling print-on-demand products, having great products is not enough if no one gets to see them. So, you need to step up your SEO game and give your competitors a run for their money!

Perform diligent keyword research to know the right words and phrases to use for your product listing. Make the most of your product tags and try to be as diverse as possible.

Your product title is the first thing that potential buyers would see before going through your product descriptions and attributes. Try to nail it by concentrating your main keywords to the first few words of the title.

Your product description also helps to convince buyers that your product is the right one for them. Try to make it count!

If all of these are in sync, you’re in for a treat! Let me know if you have any questions.

—Bank K.

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