Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

How Great Customer Service Can Improve Your Search Ranking

Great reviews and an About section may improve your shop’s search ranking while intellectual property issues and cases can hurt it.

By Etsy Staff Sep 19, 2018

We want shoppers to have a great experience when they make a purchase on Etsy. One way we do this: our search algorithm looks at a shop’s customer service history and whether it’s in good standing according to Etsy’s policies when determining search placement. We look at a variety of factors and calculate a score, which we call your customer and market experience score. Getting great reviews and adding an About section can improve your shop’s score and your search ranking, while past intellectual property issues can hurt it.

Here’s a full rundown of factors that go into the score and what you can do to boost your score and your search ranking. Keep in mind, your customer and market experience score is just one factor that goes into search ranking. Read How Etsy Search Works for more information about the other factors that go into search.

What you can do to increase your score

Get great reviews on Etsy

Great reviews are a sign that past customers were happy with the item they ordered and your customer service. Shoppers see your average star rating, which is the average of all the reviews you’ve received in the last 12 months, on your shop home and on your listings in search results.

A high average rating will inspire buyers to feel confident and improve your shop’s credibility. It may also have a positive impact on your search placement. Encourage positive reviews by:

  • responding quickly to convos and reaching out to the buyer if there’s an issue with their order.
  • representing your items accurately in both your photos and your description so your customers aren’t disappointed when they receive their packages.
  • exceeding your customers expectations with nice touches like a hand-written thank you note.
  • shipping orders on time and making sure the processing times you give are accurate.

If you do receive a negative review, don’t panic! Reviews are just one part of your customer and market experience score, which is just one factor in search ranking. The occasional bad review will have a tiny effect on your ranking. Take a deep breath and a little time to clear your head. Reach out to the customer to see if there’s anything you can do to address the issue in their review. If you’re able to resolve the issue, they may edit their review.

You can respond publicly to reviews of three or fewer stars. This is an opportunity to showcase your professionalism to future potential customers. Address the specific concern and any changes you made as a result. Focus on your product and service, not the reviewer and keep your response short and to the point. The reviewer won’t be able to edit their review after you’ve left a response.

For more tips, check out our 5 Ways to Get Great Reviews article from the Seller Handbook.

Complete your About section

Give shoppers the inside scoop by adding an About section. The shop story space is your chance to describe what makes your shop unique. Including a video or a few photos of your workspace or process can help people feel confident that they’re buying from a business they can trust. Adding shop members also lets them know they’re buying from real people.

Having an About section in your shop has a positive impact on your customer and market experience score. If you’ve got writer’s block, consider including:

  • your shop’s origin story—how you got started and why.
  • details about your unique materials or processes.
  • insight into the inspiration behind your products.

For tips on writing an engaging About section read How to Craft a Killer About Section in the Seller Handbook.

Add or edit your About section

Add shop policies

Having complete shop policies is another way to build trust with buyers and increase your visibility in Etsy search. Having complete shop policies has a positive effect on your search placement and using Etsy’s shop policies template can give you an additional boost.

Etsy’s shop policies template makes it easy to give potential customers the info they need to feel confident purchasing from you. Just choose the options that work for you (and add any additional context by writing your own FAQs). If you opened your shop after March 2016, your shop automatically uses the policies template. If you opened your shop before that date, you can switch to templated shop policies at any time.

Add or update your shop policies

Things that can hurt your score

Recent cases opened by buyers

Cases opened against your shop in the past four months can hurt your shop’s visibility in relevant searches. Being honest and transparent with your customers and providing a great experience can help you avoid having cases opened against your shop. In addition to filling out your About section and shop policies, keep the following in mind:

  • Represent processing times to your customers accurately. Be sure to mark orders as shipped so they know when to expect their items. Keep proof of shipping, such as a tracking number or a shipping service receipt, for all your orders in the event that someone opens a non-delivery case against your shop.
  • Make sure your photos accurately represent what you are selling. And if there is a detail or flaw that’s not visible in your images, be sure to make note of that in your descriptions (i.e. “small scratch on the right side” or “color is actually a slightly brighter green”).
  • If a case is filed against your shop, communicate with the customer and Etsy staff to swiftly resolve the situation. Read Just In Case: Resolving Disputes Through Communication for more tips on what to do if a shopper opens a case against your shop.

Intellectual property infringement issues

If we receive a notice of intellectual property infringement and need to remove listings from your shop as outlined in our Intellectual Property Policy, your search ranking may be negatively impacted. There are a few steps you can consider, including:

  • Create your own original content and don’t assume that you can use any images or text you find on the internet. Chances are that content belongs to someone else. Creating your own original content showcases your creativity and sets you apart from other sellers.
  • Make appropriate use of titles, tags, images, and descriptions. You may have listings removed if an intellectual property owner contacts Etsy. Adding “inspired by” or “____-like” to the phrases may not prevent you from receiving a notice of infringement.
  • If you believe the infringement notice involved a mistake, you may consider contacting the complaining party or, for copyright notices, filing a counter notice. Read more about withdrawals of notices and copyright counter notices.

For more information, read Intellectual Property Infringement: Essential Facts in the Seller Handbook.

Forums warnings

Etsy search also considers whether a shop is following Etsy’s policies, including Etsy’s Community Policy, when determining search ranking.

In some cases when a member has violated our Community Policy, we issue them a formal warning via email. These warnings are rare, but we track them and they’re currently a factor in a shop’s customer and market experience score. Because the warnings are rare, we plan to phase out this practice in the coming months and stop considering Forums warnings as a factor in search ranking.

To be clear, Forums activity that falls within our policies does not influence search results. Even posts that are removed for violating Etsy’s Community Policy aren’t factored into these rankings unless the member is issued a warning via email. A warning is only factored into your score for one year from the day it was issued.

Etsy search takes all of the above factors into account when calculating your customer and market experience score, but they’re not all weighted equally. A few bad reviews or an IP infringement issue won’t permanently impact your search ranking. Your score is just one piece of the search ranking puzzle. Read How Etsy Search Works for more insight into the other factors that go into search ranking.

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Continue reading > Checklist: Optimizing Your Shop for Etsy Search

Go back > The Ultimate Guide to Etsy Search

Note: Etsy search is always changing and every shop is different. These are some of the current best practices we recommend and we’ll regularly update this content to keep you informed*.

*As of September 2018

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