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Keeping it relevant: Etsy switches default search to sort by relevancy

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Maybe they're trying to get this ironed out before the holiday shopping season really gets rolling.
I wish everyone luck in this endeavor.
With renewing, he or she had control though.

If they wanted to spend $900 and make $5000 (just a hypothetical figure I'm throwing out there, I don't know your business!)...

to me that's better than spending nothing and making $1000.


This does make sense, and I understand the frustration from sellers who were getting good sales with their large renewal budget. However, there's also a need to consider the many many shops who don't have large renewal budgets and have no way to be seen, without tons of off-Etsy promotion. It doesn't make much sense to me that whoever spends the most renewing will get the most views and the most sales. It makes more sense that whoever has the item that the buyer wants will get the most sales. Relevancy allows buyers to compare items that they're looking for, and find what they like the best, instead of just finding all the stuff that was the most recently listed. So I think relevancy levels the playing field. It is very unfortunate though that Etsy was based on recency for so long, because now those of you who have built a good business under the recency search might struggle :( But in the grand scheme of things I think relevancy is a very good move.
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Inactive Etsy Member 5:10pm Aug 9, 2011 EDT edited
Okay, I've been researching this since a few hours ago, and here's what i think I've figured out:

1. Look at your Shop Stats. Pick the top 3 phrases that people use to find your shop.

2. Split your listings up 3 ways so that each listing has one of those phrases as the first words of your title. Example: my top 3 search phrases are "tissue pom pom", "paper pom pom", and "tissue pom." Each one of my listings now has 1 of those phrases as the first words in the title.

3. Include ALL 3 of those phrases in EACH listing as a tag. I know this isn't exactly following the rules right now, but mine are at least phrases that make sense instead of a tag something like "pink coral dress coat".

Making those changes has taken me from page 5 to page 1 when I search each phrase. I know my buyers will find me because that's what THEY are using to search for me.

Hope this helps some people - I was freaking out, but I'm glad I figured out how to get myself back on top.

***Edited to add: those phrases (for me) are pretty specific, so that might be why I'm coming out on page 1. For someone who's top search is "sterling silver bracelet", you might have more competition to get on the first page. I also renew about 12 items a day right now, and the items I renewed today are definitely the closest to the top. So, renewing DOES have some effect.
Cindy, better today than Friday, when everyone is gone for the weekend.

cindylouwho2 says

they have been working on the relevancy search for a long time, folks - they won't be rolling it back permanently. The best you can hope for is changes that improve the nature of the relevancy search, or a delay while they figure out the tag stuffing issue.

Interesting that no one has answered why relevancy had to be rolled out as the default search today

Yep, and we've both been here long enough to know that there have been serious problems with it all along. It's never worked as promised.

This time has had some better results when I've searched, but the issues I'm seeing are still alarming.

Good question about the release. Guess it beats Friday afternoon for a change;-)
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Inactive Etsy Member 5:11pm Aug 9, 2011 EDT
BobbiThisnThat says

mountainshadowdesign says

natalieschwartz says Highlighted Post

pinemeadowcrafts says
The sense of community is not as strong as it was in the past and it feels like the big time sellers that bring Etsy the most money are the ones that matter. What about us little guys that struggle to make a profit but are here because we love what we do? Etsy, we are not bringing you the big dollars like the resellers and the sellers of the licensed characters but don't we still matter? We may not be bringing you a lot of money individually but I think us "little people" are what make Etsy so special. Don't you want to continue to be the selling forum for us too? Don't you want to be like the shoe company that people are proud to support?

Makes me sad to hear this. Today we changed to relevancy exactly FOR the small shops, so that sellers with more money wouldn't dominate the marketplace. Relevancy really does show more results from a wider range of shops, and this we believe is the right choice. There is no preference at all given to more profitable shops I assure you.

Natalie, as a larger seller I don't think that what you just said is quite fair. If I am selling well on your site and am able to renew my sold items and come up well in the search results, why should that be a problem? If you are going to be manipulating the search results so that smaller sellers are coming up better than the larger ones, this is totally unfair.

And right now, the search results that I am looking at is totally favoring one shop (23 listings on the first page of search results). Will this be fixed?

What??? I'd like some clarification on this as well!
I certainly don't think I "dominate" the marketplace just because I do have a lot of listings, and a lot of money investigated in this site. I really don't think a smaller seller should be given preference just because they don't have as many listings? I'm hoping that is not what you are saying.

If that was the intention, then you've certainly succeeded, as my views and sales today have never been worse than they are - never!


I didn't hear anything come from admin that said anything about favoring small shops. I absolutely didn't hear anything about manipulating the search results to favor small sellers. Maybe you need to re-read the response. Sounds more like you are using the logic that because there are many many smaller shops and you now have to compete with their items for relevancy you are crying the blues. Boo hoo.
Oooooooh noooooo! I just happened to do a search for 12 new items I just listed and SURPRISE... they are nowhere! I have the search terms correct but for 'handspun yarn' that's 'thick and thin' and 'bulky' there are literally hundreds or thousands of others that fit the same description. We are all using the same terms in the item title and for our tags. The only way to make my yarn stand out was to list new items every day and/or renew items... only now that doesn't help! They don't show up!
YIKES... this is my full time job... I am totally dependent on this income... and now I'm scared.... !
A quick peek at this forum makes me think this is not going to go back to normal...
This fills me with trepidation. I have been able to adjust many of my listings to show up in relevancy search for a few keywords, but for the keywords that are highest in my shop stats, I am nowhere to be found in relevancy. I really hope this doesn't kill shops, but improves things as you're hoping.
At the moment those of use who haunt the forums have a slight advantage: we see what's going on and we make changes following the advice of those generous sellers who have already figured out how to make it work. (Thank you all). But eventually when everyone is using all the little tweaks how will it be decided who is most relevant when there are 500 "pink unicorns" tagged as such? Perhaps that's when it will come down to recency again.
bradgoodell says

Cindy, better today than Friday, when everyone is gone for the weekend.



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