Titles are a quick way of introducing your items to prospective buyers. As such, they should be informative and to-the-point. However, titles are also very important for getting FOUND in searches both on Etsy and through search engines such as Google and there is a "right" way to do them.
With Etsy's search default being based on relevancy, titles are given a high weight in where (and if) your items are going to be found when people look for something using the search bar at the top of the page. Luckily, the way that Etsy searches for item titles and the way that Google does is very much the same... so when you've got the best you can do for one, you also improve your searchability for the other! Two birds, one stone... yay!
If you get nothing else out of this thread... I hope that you will absorb this:
The first two to three words are the MOST important and need to describe what the item is as if you were searching for it yourself.
Here is an example to illustrate what I mean...
Let say you make sock monkeys. A fun title might be "Geoffrey the Silly Monkey". When you break it down though, in order to be considered "relevant" in the first several pages of results, a customer would have to actually search for Geoffrey the Silly to find you... plus, you wouldn't be found "relevant" in a "sock monkey" search. There are other factors of course, like tags and descriptions, etc.... but if you really want to get the most out of your titles, some tweaking for this example is needed. Especially when you start your search and find that there are nearly 10 000 hits for "Sock Monkey". Use your titles to FIRST grab the customers and then offer more details.
Try this, think like a customer. If I were looking for a sock monkey myself, I would search for "Sock Monkey". Seems simple enough... so put that in the first couple words of the title. Maybe try something like "Sock Monkey Toy Upcycled Wool". If you really want to see this in action (keeping in mind that Etsy does like to throw in a few random items now and again just to mix-it-up)... search for an item and glance through the parts of the titles you can see on page one and two... then, click on the "last page" of results. Notice a difference in the titles?
If you are in a category that has a TON of results, use your titles also to give MORE opportunity to be found when your customers (as they often do) get frustrated by having hundreds of pages of results and start to narrow down their searches. Lets say you make flower clips with headbands. Instead of a simple (though relevant) title of "Flower Headband" where you are competing with over 100 000 hits... think of what else people might search for. How about:
Pink Flower Headband Daisy
Flower Clip Yellow Infant Headband
This way, if people are looking for something more specific, the search will still consider your item relevant.
How do you know if your titles are on the right track? Have a look at your Shop Stats and the keywords that are getting you the most results. Those are the words that people are actually using to find your items. Notice any trends? Need ideas to capture MORE results? Start typing in the search box and some "suggestions" will pop up based on popular search terms. Do people search for your item but seem to include the color or gender that they are looking for? Try editing your titles and see if your views go up! The great thing about it is... if something doesn't work, you can edit it and try something else!
Another suggestion... make your titles a bit different if you can too... capture more results this way and you can always link back to your shop section in the description to catch those "other" customers. Like, if you make soft baby shoes, call some "Baby Shoes Soft Soled", some "Infant Shoes Soft Soled" and some "Crib Shoes Soft Soled". Then you can repeat all those terms in your tags (which is another topic all together!)
What about punctuation? For the best searchability, avoid it. Also avoid things like "connectors" such as "and", "with", "in" unless you need them. If you want to separate words, try using spaces and a dash or use commas. It's not searchable, but it doesn't take up as much space. Grammar in titles isn't important. Most customers just glance at them anyway... you can (and should) redo your title in proper grammatical form when you start your description anyway. But, more about that another time too!
Want one more quick tip? Look at your shop in Gallery Mode. See the titles and how they are cut off?? Imagine that those are the only words that count. Do your titles look "relevant" to you?
Want to still have "fun" titles? That's okay! Just move the fun part to after the first few words.
I hope this has helps some of you look at your titles in a different light! Now, lets all tackle some of our titles!!