Q: Etsy users are all abuzz about this article: “Etsy is Lowering Your Google Search Rating by Messing with Your Meta Tags” Just wanted your expert opinion as to whether this is accurate.
A: In the article, an Etsy member complains vehemently about Etsy adding text at the front of the crafter’s HTML Title. So, for example, if the crafter’s title was: “Yellow Fuzzy Bumpy Hat” the Etsy title would read: “Handmade Accessories on Etsy – Yellow Fuzzy Bumpy Hat”.
Technically, it’s correct that Etsy’s additions to people’s titles might be messing with ranks. We always keep our HTML titles at 66 characters or fewer because that’s how Google truncates the first line of the search listing. In addition, we have reason to think that the first part of the title is the most important. That is, we think it is weighted more heavily by Google and has a bigger influence on ranks.
HOWEVER, let’s look at the big picture: Etsy.com is a very high-authority site on the web. It has over 600,000 links pointing to it from other sites, which is very impressive and difficult to get. It has a Google PageRank value of 7 out of 10, which is, again, very impressive and difficult to get. In addition, Etsy appears to be keyword-optimizing its page titles in a strategic manner, so it’s adding good keyword-optimized text like “Handmade clothing on Etsy” and “Vintage on Etsy.” It’s not like they’re adding irrelevant text like “cheap mortgages die crafters die” – they’re trying to be found for what their crafters are selling!
Etsy is an internet heavyweight and, if you want your product to benefit from Etsy’s visiblity and traffic, then co-branding seems like a reasonable tradeoff to us. In fact, co-branding a search listing as “Etsy” is likely to increase click-throughs in the search engine because the name lends a level of familliarity and trust. Displaying products on the Etsy.com domain is giving the average crafter a shot at good rankings that they wouldn’t likely get otherwise.
And, one last point: It’s Etsy’s site, and Etsy has every right to brand its site the way it wants to.
Our suggestion to crafters: Check the HTML titles that Etsy is generating for your products, and tighten up your product titles with the foreknowledge that you are losing some characters to work with.