Earlier this year, I made a decision to boost my online business and reduce the number of direct sales events and craft shows that I do. There are a couple of reasons for this decision. One is that I have a bad hip (a lot of -itis, as in bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis). Spending several hours on my feet, combined with the physical exertion in setting up my displays, can leave me achy and stiff for several days. And then the stress of having to be PERKY and NICE and CHARMING for hours on end to lots of strangers  really exhausts me.

So I am trading those pains for an over-grown gnarly thorny barberry thicket of words! Words - as in tags, keywords, focus keywords, long-tail keywords and titles.  Etsy allows me 13 tags, each limited to 20 characters. It's better to use multi-word phrases than single words. And these multi-word phrases need to be echoed in the listing title. Then, since I  have many listings of similar items (like knits hats of various styles, knit finger-flap mittens in different colors and yarns), I have to be careful about using the same tags in each listing. Use synonyms, says Etsy.

To help me bush-whack my way through this mess, I signed up with @Marmalead, an application that is supposed to help with Etsy search. Marmalead assigns letter grades to your listings based on different components of Etsy search algorithms. Then they provide suggestions on how to improve them. When I started this project, most of my listings were graded C and below - a humbling experience for a former honor roll student with years of experience in software development support.  It's frustrating to work on a C listing and then find your changes have dropped it to a D-. But I am slogging through it. My worst grade now is a C, and most of my listings are in the B range. I am almost back on the honor roll.

Finger-flap mittens ready for finishing

Just how many ways can I say hand-knit finger flap mittens? Here are some terms Etsy has used to reach me.

Etsy search terms used to find my mittens

Here are more suggestions from @Marmalead.

fingerless gloves suggestions from Marmalead

Finger-flap  mitten suggestions from Marmalead

Oy! SO many words, so many combinations. Back to the editing tools. Would a thesaurus help?