How to Use the “Buckets Strategy” to Rank Higher on Etsy – Interview with Richie Peplin of Marmalead

Etsians by now know Richie – the co-founder of Marmalead who along with Gordon built the tool that a lot of Etsians now use. Marmalead is one of the finest Etsy SEO apps out there which brings a numeric dimension to selling on Etsy.

I first stumbled on the “Buckets Strategy” (and Marmalead) through Richie’s guest-post on CreativeHiveCo and have been fascinated with the technique.

Richie has written and spoken a lot about the technique but I wanted to hear more about it. And so I emailed him asking if he’d share some of the most important tips for Etsy sellers to rank higher, get more traffic and sell more. He was kind enough to oblige.

Here’s the interview where Richie shares his buckets strategy for Etsy SEO and some actionable tips on optimizing your listings smartly.

1. Tell us a bit about what new things you’re working on @ Marmalead.

Richie: We just wrapped up a new project we’ve dubbed the Shop Fitness Calculator. It’s a fun and useful project we thought would be timed perfectly for the New Year. It’s a great companion to the core Marmalead feature set. It’s all about identifying areas of improvement in your shop when it comes to SEO, getting found, and even closing sales.

Shop critiques are very popular and helpful. We’ve approached it from a slightly different angle by asking for some information from within a seller’s shop stats. This way we can objectively measure what is happening in a shop, not what should be happening from an outsider’s view.

It’s a great tool, we’ve recently launched it and it’s been a big success. Like anything, it’s what you do with the information that counts.

Check your shop’s fitness here.

2. Let’s jump right into buckets. Tell us a bit of a history on “keyword buckets” that you have talked about.

To come up with buckets, I borrowed ideas from traditional web traffic strategy and the financial idea of multiple streams of revenue. Every product you sell is essentially it’s own revenue stream.

Many popular blogs for example don’t get their traffic from just one popular post. It’s consistent traffic to 100 pages written over time. It happens to me all the time. I find one great blog post and next thing I know I’m a regular reader of their content.

In most games it’s not a single big move that brings a win, it’s the sum of many good moves that adds up to a big score.

The framework is proven so I built onto it. I’m a big fan of using what works and there are a ton of older ideas that just need a change of context to be super relevant.

In my head, I had visualized a mind map where the shop is in the middle and all the nodes around it were various chunks of traffic sources. Branching out from each of those nodes were child nodes representing even smaller chunks.

Shop Traffic Sources

At this point I’ve lost all but 3 readers because it’s too high level to be actionable…

I had to repackage the idea in a simple to explain system or no one would use it. Buckets seemed like a simple idea. I tried it out a few times and it resonated so I kept it. I took that concept and made it more user friendly.

The Buckets Strategy makes it simple

3. Can sellers optimize their listings on Etsy once – get it to rank – and then kind of let it go for a long while?

A long while, no. In most cases the market is moving too fast to get complacent. Trends, seasonality, and shops entering/leaving the market all affect the success of your listings.

This isn’t to say you need to reinvent the wheel each week. Once you lay a strong foundation, it’s all about swapping out select keywords for peak performance and maintaining rank for each keyword. You’ll have a core set of keywords you target. Just like the blogs I mentioned, you’ll want to put listings out there in various areas just as traffic grabbers. A little here, a little there. Those will change more frequently.

4. How often do you think sellers should check their listings for ranking and optimization and what’s an easy, uncomplicated way to manage all the listings for this?

It’s best (and easiest) to get into a routine.

I recommend putting an SEO day on your calendar each week. Sometimes it will be super quick, others there will be real work to do. The idea though is to catch problems before they happen, before your traffic dries up. This will be more work for some markets than for others.

I use Trello all the time to organize projects and it fits perfectly with the Buckets concept. It’s easy to make, move, copy, and archive cards. I like visuals so having images on the cards is a big plus for me. I use a chrome extension to show the text on the labels used for rank. It’s an infinitely customizable tool but just the basics will get you going.

  1. Make a column for each Bucket
  2. Create a card for each listing you put in the bucket
  3. Optimize that listing for the Bucket Keyword
  4. Check and maintain your ranking

5. If there’s only three solid pieces of SEO advice you’d hand out to a friend (who is an Etsy seller), what would they be?

  1. Compete in markets where you can be found – Far too frequently we see shops trying to compete only in huge markets with broad keywords. This makes you just a blip on the radar several pages deep.
  2. Learn the basics of how Etsy search ranks listings. You don’t need to understand every piece of the algorithm or be a data scientist. Think 80/20 rule.
  3. Use the Buckets Strategy to organize your listings are keywords. Having a system is the key to success when you’re a small business and wear many hats. Trust your systems.

I want to provide some more context on the Buckets Strategy so here’s the link to a blog post we have explaining how to apply it.

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Thank you, Richie!

Resources you should check out:

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