Etsy SEO 101: How Etsy's algorithm works
Ok, so today I want to share some info directly from Etsy on just how they rank things – generally, what you can see here is that they are moving in a more commercial direction and to be fair, the true crafters are getting a little bit shafted!
But if you are selling print on demand via Etsy like myself then you should take note!
How Etsy search works: Query matching, ranking, content specific ranking.
Query matching: A buyer enters a query and Etsy looks at the inventory of listings that match that query.
Ranking: Behind the scenes, Etsy ranks the matching listings based on a variety of factors (more detail below).
Etsy also ranks listings using something called Context Specific Ranking (CSR) technology. CSR is supposed to show shoppers relevant listings Etsy believe they’re more likely to purchase based on what Etsy learned from shoppers’ habits across Etsy.
So like Amazon, Etsy will use shopper data and some AI to try and match buyers based on past buying history.
When a customer enters a search query on Etsy, Etsy looks the titles, tags, categories, and attributes you’ve added to find matching keywords. Using all 13 tags, adding variety to your tags, adding all the relevant attribute options, and categorizing your items as specifically as you may all help increase the chance that your listings will match with a query.
Diversifying your inventory and trying lots of different tags on your listings gives you the opportunity to match with more searches.
This means basically always max out your tags and, if you’re feeling spicy, duplicate your listings a few times to then test different titles and KW tags on each one. Etsy makes it a piece of cake to split test so might as well have a crack at it!
Some of the factors that go into Etsy search ranking:
When your tags, titles, categories, and attributes match a shopper’s query, your listings have the potential to appear in their search results.
If those keywords are an exact match for the query, your listing may be ranked higher in results because it’s seen as more relevant to the search.
Listing quality score
Etsy search looks at clues from shoppers to determine whether a listing is appealing and meets their expectations once they click.
Etsy looks at how a listing converts—how many people view it and then make a purchase—to determine whether buyers are interested in it, which boosts that listing’s quality score and placement in search results.
So as with amazon, the more you sell and convert, the higher your rank goes – a snowball effect.
Getting shafted if you go on holiday
You can put your store on vacation mode but when you come back you might not see the same traffic to your shop from search as before since Etsy will kind of need to start gathering data again.
Better listing copy and images = better conversions so don’t drop the ball there.
When a new listing is created, it gets a small, temporary boost in search results so that Etsy search can learn more about how buyers interact with it to determine the listing’s quality score.
This temporary boost can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how often people are searching for a particular item.
People used to renew as a strategy every week to give a boost, but regularly renewing your items or creating new listings just to get this small boost isn’t an effective search optimization strategy.
Customer and market experience score
In addition to helping people find items they want to purchase, Etsy want buyers to have a great experience when they shop on Etsy. To do this, Etsy give each shop a customer and market experience score and factor it into search placement.
Getting great reviews, having complete shop policies, and adding an About section positively impact your search ranking, while recent cases opened against your shop and intellectual property infringement issues can hurt your search ranking.
In a March 2018 survey buyers said they are 50% less likely to buy an item if they thought the price of shipping was even a little bit more expensive than they’re used to.
Etsy search factors shipping price into search ranking to make it easier for shoppers to find listings with competitive shipping prices. Listings with lower shipping prices rank higher in search.
And obviously, offering free shipping could improve your search ranking even more and shoppers will also see a free shipping badge on the listing in search results.
Translations and language
When you set up your shop on Etsy, you choose a shop language. The titles and tags you add to your listings should be in the language you choose during setup. Etsy will translate your keywords and show shoppers results that match their query and language settings.
If you speak multiple languages, you can add your own translations to your listings. Translations you add yourself tend to be higher quality and sound more natural so they often outperform machine translations.
As mentioned above, Etsy also customize search results to shoppers so what you see isn’t always what another buyer might be seeing.
Searching for your own listings and comparing the results over time or across devices isn’t an effective way to determine where your listings are appearing in search, since the results you see are just a small slice of a much bigger picture.
To make sure each one of your listings is locked down tight, read my Etsy listing guide here