As explained here:
"When your search includes two or more words, we prioritize results that have those exact words next to each other. For example, if I search for “pink unicorn,” results that contain “pink unicorn” in the title or tags will appear higher than those who title an item “Pink Flowers and Unicorn.”
However, since at least last Thursday, when the search is over 20 characters, relevancy is not giving tag phrases any weight. It is still working as described in searches 20 characters & under, & is still matching phrases of any length in titles.
Example - "blue sea glass earrings" is 23 characters. When you do that search:
you see quite a few items on the first page that do not have phrases such as "blue sea glass" or "sea glass earrings" in the tags. Previously, this & similar searches returned listings that matched tag phrases ahead of those that did not. The best way to optimize for this search used to be to have both "blue sea glass" & "sea glass earrings" in the tags. Now those listings are often ranked behind listings with no tag phrases at all.
However, searches for "sea glass earrings" & "blue sea glass" are still working exactly as Etsy recommends. I have asked some people to check this out & they are seeing the same thing, & I checked this in all of my accounts, so I do not think I am in a test group, unless it is a very large test!
If this is not a bug, then we need to update the Help files to include accurate info on how to optimize for relevancy. Right now this article:
leads to this blog post:
which leads to this blog post:
the last of which is currently inaccurate, as far as I can tell.