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Etsy Relevancy Search - How to Rank, Updated July 2013

This is the long-promised updated thread from here:

Gaining views from Etsy’s relevancy search is not as difficult as you might think; for the most part, you just need to understand how it works!

How To Be Relevant for the Etsy Search – Simple Version

If you want to be relevant for the search “abalone earrings”, then you need to have the exact phrase “abalone earrings” in your title AND on a tag. Both places.

Having the title “Abalone Shell Earrings” will not be as relevant for the search “abalone earrings” because of the extra word in between the search terms.

Having “abalone” & “earrings” on separate tags is not as good as having them together on one tag, for the search “abalone earrings”.

***How To Be Relevant for the Etsy Search – Detailed Version:

The relevancy search also includes some factors other than those mentioned above, which generally have less weight in most searches. They are:

1) Recency of listing/renewal (this is most evident in the largest searches)
2) Title composition – sometimes moving the phrases around in a title can have a dramatic impact on your relevancy ranking; other times it has no impact. Sometimes you move up, & sometimes you plummet dramatically, so be careful when testing!
It is not true that you should be putting important keywords near the front of the title for Etsy relevancy – that is a myth. Sometimes moving a phrase to the front actually DROPS your ranking for the phrase. It is important to note that when a buyer is browsing or searching in Gallery view, however, that the first few words of the title are all they can see, so it can be a big part of getting the buyer to click. Putting the important words at the beginning of the title is also important for Google, so you should do it anyway.
3) “Shopper search behaviour in aggregate” - what people do with the listings when searching & browsing Etsy features.

“Shopper search behaviour in aggregate” (a direct quote from Etsy admin) is mainly clicks & hearts from the search & other areas of Etsy. Please note the impact of these views fades over time; i.e., a click from the search this week is worth more than clicks you got two months ago. (I did a test on that)

At this time, we know (because admin has said so, & because I have also tested this where possible) that relevancy is NOT based on:
• Descriptions
• Materials
• Attributes (style, occasion etc.)
• Tag order
• Number of listings in a shop
• Number of hearts or views the item or the shop has in general
• Searcher location or any other personalized search elements
• Repeating a word in the title or in the tags more than once
• Listing categories
• Punctuation – this does not affect Etsy relevancy at all
• Single word tags (they do NOT make you more relevant for a single word search)

***PLEASE NOTE: Don’t change all of your listings at once! Try a few & see how they work. Make sure you understand the relevancy search before you change everything, or you may end up doing a lot of extra work.

***How to Choose Your Keywords, Titles & Tags:

While you cannot ever predict all of the search terms people might use for your items, you can predict a lot of them. “Keywords” = words people search. Using the phrases people might search in your title & repeating them in your tags is the way to get more views from the relevancy search.

Start by typing a few general descriptive terms into the Etsy search bar to see what suggestions come up. Those suggestions are generated by real searches people have done, but are also beneficial because a buyer will sometimes choose one of them instead of typing a whole query:

The suggestions are limited to 10 at a time, so in many cases you need to type some of the more specific examples in to see if even more suggestions come up.

The easiest way to get keyword suggestions from Google is to follow the same process you just completed on Etsy - type words into the Google search & see what it suggests. Those searches will not be as shopping-specific as on Etsy, however, but they can give you a few suggested searches that are useful.

I discuss more advanced keyword research for other ideas using Google’s Keyword Planner here:

***Writing Your Listing – Titles & Tags

Okay, you are ready to write a good title & matching tags to get you lots of relevancy hits. How exactly do you approach this?

**Writing the Title: Ask yourself, do I have many similar items like this one? If no, choose the most popular keywords in the title. If yes, you will want to make all of the titles different & not focus only on the most popular search terms – using the less popular ones will get you more views overall.

It is important to make sure you use the exact phrases you researched if you want to be relevant for those phrases. Titling your listing “Abalone Blue Earrings” makes you less relevant for the searches “Abalone Earrings” AND “Blue Abalone”, since the words are not in the same order. “Blue Abalone Earrings” is a much better title on Etsy, even though someone might search “Abalone Blue Earrings” occasionally.

If your item didn’t really have any suggested searches & there are very few of this item on Etsy (e.g. “Fossil Ear Cuff”) then it is less important to have words in exact order, as you have little competition for this phrase.

I could choose to title the listing “Blue Shell Earrings, Sea Shell Earrings, Abalone Earrings, Natural Sea Shell, Abalone Jewelry, Paua Shell Jewellery” or something even longer, but in general for Google purposes, you should not use a word/phrase more than twice in a title (some experts say not more than once, in fact). Really long titles are also not good for Google – they state
• “Avoid keyword stuffing. It's sometimes helpful to have a few descriptive terms in the title, but there’s no reason to have the same words or phrases appear multiple times. A title like "Foobar, foo bar, foobars, foo bars" doesn't help the user, and this kind of keyword stuffing can make your results look spammy to Google and to users."
From: support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35624

**Writing the Tags: this part is crucial to being relevant for multiple searches. After filling out the most applicable category choices for your item, start with the terms you used in the title. Remember, the search terms themselves must be in the exact same order as the title to be relevant for that search, if it is a competitive search. Having “Abalone” “Earrings” “Blue” on separate tags no longer works as well as phrases do. BUT your tag order does not matter at this time, so you could add your shop name as a tag first & it will not affect your relevancy.

If your search phrase is too long for a tag, do not worry! Just make sure all of the words in the phrase are in the tags somewhere. No one else can have tags over 20 characters either, so you are at no disadvantage.

Then add other suggested or applicable phrases that people might search, according to your research & your keyword stats (in Shop Stats).

And you are done! For now, anyway. You do need to keep an eye on your stats occasionally & change titles & tags that are not bringing you any views. But wait at least a week (ideally a few weeks) before changing them, after you have followed the above steps.

Good luck!

222 Responses

I always love reading your relevancy/keyword/tagging/makethiswork posts. Thanks.
Thank you!! Thank you for taking the time!!! Great info!!
<-- disguised in my other shop

You are welcome, Augusta! I hope you find it useful
Actually I have been on a listing binge and have noticed a difference already. My artsy fartsy titles that I started with in the beginning (last December) just don't work, I didn't know why until I started coming to the forums. Still hard not to give things cute names..... But I'd rather call them "sold".
Mad mad props! I just printed this.
Wow! Thanks so much Cindy! I have been hoping you would do this :)
I like threads like this that are relevant and useful.
Thanks Cindy! I have been working on mine this month and noticed the changes in my shop stats. Plus I appreciate your post because it didn't make my eyes glaze over!
Thanks so much for all your wonderfully helpful posts, Cindy!

Yikes--I have many similar items and have been using consistent titles for them all! I now realize that I have quite a bit of work ahead of me discovering those less popular search terms and mixing it up.

Thanks again, Cindy!
Thank You for sharing this valuable information.
It's very much appreciated! ;o)

Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurple 12:45 am Jul 30, 2013 EDT
Thanks Cindy! I have been working on mine this month and noticed the changes in my shop stats. Plus I appreciate your post because it didn't make my eyes glaze over!
LOL - thanks! Mission accomplished :)
This is a great post! I confess i have a hard time bringing it down to my actual shop. I carry many similar items and struggle with " what else do you call it"
Need to do alot of work, thanks!!

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