Saturday, December 3, 2016

Etsy Search: what is keyword stuffing?

Etsy titles turkey monkeyI've been stuffed after a big dinner. However, I keep hearing about keyword stuffing my Etsy titles and even descriptions. What is that all about?
Keyword stuffing is using many unnatural word combinations in our titles (and text). For years now, Google has been penalizing content with keyword stuffing. Yet many sellers still encourage using every space in our title that Etsy gives us. Why? Because Etsy search has been unintentionally rewarding such practices. The more exact search phrases you used, the more chances to be first in search results. 
Primitive spindle bobbins
How Do I Title This Listing?
Here is an example: I sell antique wooden things, including bobbins from Maine. How should I describe them in my description? 
"Primitive Bobbins - Antique Wooden Spindles - Weaving Spools"
Or "Antique Bobbins / Primitive Wood Bobbins / Rustic Wooden Bobbins from Maine / Antique Weaving Tool / Prim Quills with Wool / Old Bobbins / Etc Etc Etc."
Etsy admin has recently stated that the "search algorithm [will] no longer favor stuffed titles [in order] "to be more aligned with Google's best practices." Google search sees right through such practices, and already penalizes your search results in Google. However, Etsy will be cracking down on doing this as well.
This subject was directly addressed in Etsy's last SEO Admin Question and Answer seminar in October, 2016. Let's get the information right from the source.

Q: Listing titles: keyword stuffing or user friendly?

Some people recommend using every one of our 140 characters in the title and repeating phrases exactly the same as the tags, with the main word repeated multiple times eg:
Beaded Bracelet / Green Bracelet / Boho Bracelet / Handmade Bracelet (and so on.)
On the other hand, optimizing titles for Google Search is a little different:
Brooklyn NY traffic on BQE
We all want to direct traffic to our listings
No one wants to read a list of words. Write your <title> tag text in natural language, making it as compelling to the human reader as possible. 
  • Use no more than 70 characters, including spaces
  • Keep it unique between pages
  • Avoid "keyword stuffing"
Is it possible to achieve a happy medium?
Admin: while we recognize that incentives do exist for sellers to stuff our titles for internal search purposes, they do not follow Google’s best practices. We are working to improve our internal search algorithm to no longer favor stuffed titles, to be more aligned with Google’s best practices. While there isn’t an immediate fix, this is on our radars and we will be communicating when we make the change. Thanks!
Update on February 6, 2018:
Still wondering if keyword spamming is really a bad practice? 
 "in October 2016, they wanted to improve Etsy search so that title stuffing was no longer beneficial [link]. As of Feb. 2018, we still aren't there yet, but I am seeing some signs of it heading in that direction."
Update on June 16, 2018

More details about why title stuffing is no longer working.


  1. Joanne, I'm so glad I signed up for your emails. And guess what: after printing off and reading all your other blog posts, I was wondering to myself if I was "stuffing" my titles. Well, now I know! Many thanks for a most enlightening blog :)

  2. Outstanding post and explained just right so people can understand! Thank you once again, Joanne.

  3. Joanne, Thank you for the 411 on, "Title Stuffing". I'll try the shorter version on the next listings. I did click on your shop and entered.

  4. I am also guilty of using max title line words and thanks for creating this blog on Etsy selling. Your Etsy shops are awesome and I am now a follower and your shop is a favorite. I shall promote your listings in thanks.
    Smiles, Cyndi

  5. Don't know why I didn't click follow already. I love your informative and excellent blogs. I always learn something from you.

  6. Thanks, Joanne. Going to do my revamp now.


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