Understanding Etsy SEO: Complete Guide to Etsy Search Algorithm

By | August 17, 2019


How does Etsy search
and its algorithm work? How does Etsy decide which products
are being shown and which aren’t when someone searches the platform?
Are newer items being prioritized? What does Etsy use to
rank the search results? If you don’t know the answers and you’re
trying to sell your products on Etsy, it’s time to get away from
opinion pieces about Etsy SEO, forum threads or Facebook groups, topics and conversations based on one
seller’s experience only and it’s time to get back to the facts.
How does Etsy search really work? Too many sellers,
unfortunately, don’t take the time to understand this
and you really can’t be successful on Etsy with your Etsy SEO if you don’t
know how it works to start with. So whether you are brand new to the
Etsy platform and you’re getting started with your Etsy SEO or you’re a
bit more of an experienced seller, but you need a refresher, this is
the video for you. Let’s dive in. Hi there. I’m Deb, the
founder of Tizzit.co, a membership community for
makers and handmade shop owners. Today I want to do this video about Etsy
SEO for you because there’s a lot of information out there about Etsy SEO
– some are great and some are just ill informed and downright dangerous
for your shop’s success. My biggest piece of advice is to always,
always check the facts. What I’m about to share in this
video isn’t an opinion piece. It isn’t based just on experience, it is factual information
from the horse’s mouth, Etsy themselves.
In fact, even though I’m going to sum it
up for you in just about a second, I highly recommend that you take the
time to read the Etsy seller handbook and its section on SEO – and I’ll link to
that below the video for you so you can access it really quickly. But because I love to sum up stuff and
because you’re probably too freaking busy to go and read the whole thing anyway, here is what you need to know about
Etsy search and how it really works. And I also created,
before I forget, an Etsy SEO 101 guide that you can get
for free and I’ll link to that below the video as well.
Let’s get started. There are two main phases
to any Etsy search: query matching (number one)
and ranking (number two). Let’s take a good look at how
each of these phases work. The first one is query matching: someone types a few keywords in the
search field of Etsy looking for a product to buy;
for example, that person might be typing
something like “baby socks”. This is called a search
query – it’s just a fancy, kind of nerdy sounding word for saying
“keyword” – and Etsy will use this information and look in their database
for items that match this search query; hence the name “query matching”. All this means is that Etsy scans all
the products listed on the platform looking for a keyword match for
baby socks in product titles, product tags,
product categories and product attributes. Then comes phase two which
is ranking. So far, so good. Someone typed “baby socks” on the platform
and Etsy found a list of items that might be relevant,
but at this stage there a still thousands and thousands of listings that
Etsy could show to that shopper. So how does Etsy decide which listings
are going to show first in the results on the Etsy platform? In other words,
how does Etsy rank really work? Well, Etsy’s number one goal is to show
shoppers listings – products that they are most likely to buy. And to do that,
they are going to look at a few things: relevancy, listing quality score, recency, customer and market experience score,
shipping price, translations and languages
and shopper’s habits. So let’s look at all of these elements
in detail to understand what it means for you as an Etsy seller.
The first one is relevancy. Put simply the more
closely your title tags, attributes and categories match the
search query – the keyword “baby socks” – the more likely it is that your item
will show up higher in the search results because it is more relevant.
So what does it mean for you as a seller? It means that you should use all of
the tags that Etsy is giving you, so use all of those 13 tags. You should also add relevant attributes
options and pick specific categories for your products.
Number two is your listing quality score. Etsy wants people to buy stuff and so
they want to show potential shoppers product listings that they know sell well. So as soon as you list
a product in your shop, Etsy is going to keep track
of how well it’s performing: how many people who click on your
product listing end up purchasing it. That’s called your listing
conversion rate and the higher it is, the more Etsy will want to show
your product to potential shoppers. On the other hand, if a lot of people click to your
product but no one ever purchases it, Etsy is then going to start slowly but
surely showing that listing a bit less. And so that’s why it’s very important
to keep those conversion rates up. What does this mean for you as a seller? It means that you need to spend some
time making sure that your listings are optimized for sales. Your product photography should be of
a professional standard – that’s really important. Your product descriptions should highlight
benefits and not just features and you should focus on the quality of your
traffic rather than just on the volume. Volume is important, but only if the people that you’re sending
to your shop are likely to purchase from you, are your ideal customers.
Third or number three is recency. Etsy likes new products – we all
know that. When you list a new item, it gets a temporary little boost lasting
from a few hours to a few days during which Etsy will rank this particular
product a little bit higher in search results. They do that because by momentarily
giving more visibility to this product, they can see how potential shoppers
interact with that listing and they can start gathering that data for that listing
quality score that we just mentioned. So what does that mean for you as
a seller? Well, it means that yes, new items do get a small little boost,
but no, this is not a viable Etsy SEO strategy.
In fact, Etsy has said it black on white: “regularly renewing your items or creating
new listings just to get this small boost isn’t an effective
search optimization strategy”. It’s much more important to pick the
right tags and to focus on your listing quality score or conversion rate.
Number four, customer and market experience
score – another score. Etsy wants people to have
the best possible shopping
experience on the platform, first to maintain their brand
standards and brand image, but also to encourage people
to come back and buy some more. And for these reasons, they look at your
reputation as a seller and as a shop. So if you have a lot of great reviews, you’re more likely to rank higher than
if you have a few open cases against your shop or some really, really bad reviews.
So what does it mean for you as a seller? It means that you really need to focus
on providing excellent customer service to encourage those five
star product reviews. So reply to conversations quickly,
ship quickly, represent items accurately so
that when people get their item, there’s no surprise and they don’t think:
“oh, this looks different than what
was on the product picture!”. Make sure that you have complete shop
policies – that’s really important for Etsy and make sure that you craft a great
about section for your shop as well. Number five,
shipping price. People just don’t like paying for shipping
and they’re more likely to buy if the shipping is cheap or even better,
if it’s free. Etsy knows that from studying shoppers’
behavior and because just like you, they want more sales,
they use shipping in their algorithm. So items with lower shipping fees are
more likely to rank higher in search. So what does this mean for
you as a seller? It means
that when and if possible, you should try to lower
your shipping fees. I know this isn’t always
possible depending on what
you’re selling, but again, I’m just giving you the facts in this
video and this is a part of the algorithm. Number six,
translations and languages. This one is really pretty straightforward
and the most useful for those of you who want to sell to more than one
country or in more than one language. So if you set up your shop’s
language as Spanish or French, don’t write your tags in
English and vice versa. Etsy is going to translate that for you.
Now if you can, because you speak several languages, add manual translations instead because
often they’re going to be better, let’s be honest than the automatically
machine generated ones from Etsy and so that will help you get found in search
by helping you rank a bit higher. And then finally number seven…
What? Seven, that’s how you do seven. This
is the last one and it’s a biggie, so pay close attention. All the ranking factors we just covered, help Etsy decide in which order
to display search results. But there is no such thing
as a unified rank anymore. Meaning that if I type in “baby socks”
in Etsy right now and you go ahead and do the same and type in “baby socks” yourself
and we compare the results that we get, we are not going to see the same things
and we’re not going to see items in the same order.
This is called CSR, which stands for “context
specific results”. It was added to the Etsy
search algorithm in September, 2018. What it means is that Etsy uses past
behavior data on the platform to show each individual shopper results that
they are most likely to buy. So what does this mean
for you as a seller? It means that you simply
can’t aim at being number one. There is no such thing anymore. So don’t check your rank by typing
your keywords in Etsy to see where your products show up because every
shopper sees different results. So that’s really not helpful.
Instead, the best thing to do is to go in the
back end of your shop inside of your Etsy shop stats to discover which keywords are
driving traffic to your shop and start using those more.
And that’s it my friend, your factual summary on how
the Etsy search actually works. As promised, I have a free SEO 101 guide that comes
with a checklist as well that I created and that you can download for free using
the link that I’ll put just below this video so make sure to check that out. And if you like this video and you’d like
to get some more videos from me in the future, make sure to subscribe to my channel so
that you get a notification when a new video comes out,
which is every Tuesday, always with the goal to help you start
and grow a profitable and successful handmade shop.
See you next time.

8 thoughts on “Understanding Etsy SEO: Complete Guide to Etsy Search Algorithm

  1. Leafling Bags Post author

    Great and really helpful video, thank you Deb

    Reply
  2. Deborah Engelmajer Post author

    Did anything surprise you? Let me know!

    Reply
  3. green alaska Post author

    Full of useful information in this video, thanks for sharing .

    Reply
  4. Leslie Winthrop Post author

    This was a very informative video, Deborah – thanks so much for the facts! So what I'm getting from this ranking info is that as a new seller, the only thing we really have to work with is Relvancy (the quality of our listing – titles, tags, categories, pictures) and Recency (consistently adding new products) . It will take a while to build up ranking in the other factors, as they are sales driven. Seems like I'm just at the beginning of the journey!

    Reply
  5. Anna Fiľová Post author

    thank you for this video, it helped me a lot, even remember the things that I wanted to do in my shop, what to check, and etc. 😉 very useful 🙂

    Reply

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