Aug 29, 2011

Searching by relevancy, default search on etsy

Etsy's Relevancy Default Search Explained

By Cindy of the Etsy Alberta Street Team

As of August 9, the default search on Etsy is sorted by "most relevant". It is not currently a sticky search, so even if you change it to “most recent”, it will revert back to relevancy, & all new visitors will see relevancy as the default.
The official announcement is here:

Relevancy is largely based on:
1) titles
2) tags
3) most recently listed

There are also undisclosed factors.

Relevancy is NOT currently based on:
-The new attributes (style, occasion etc.)
-Tag order
-Number of listings in a shop
-Number of hearts or views the item or the shop has
-Any personalized search elements

Key things to remember to be found under a relevancy search:

1) the search terms should be in your titles AND tags. This is major change from the most recent search, where you did not need to repeat title words in your tags
2) some preference will be given to matching search strings. If someone searches "blue baby blanket", listings with "blue baby blanket" in that order in both the title & the tags will get some extra weight in the results
3) some preference will be given to the beginning of the title, so your most important keywords should go there

Other points:
- recency obviously no longer has the weight it used to, but some people will switch the search to most recent, & others will browse categories, which are sorted by most recent. In addition, the most recently listed items are shown across the top of the most relevant search. In practice, the larger the search in relevancy, the more recent the top ranked items will be. Therefore, renewing has some impact. Renewing gives you a very brief bump in most cases, then you drop back.
- in general, Etsy’s new title-writing recommendations match Google more closely than in the past, so you don't need to choose where to be relevant
- the search results are not supposed to show more than one listing from a shop on the first page of results unless it is a very small search, but after that you do see repetition.
- many of the tricks that worked for relevancy a few months ago - fewer tags, one-word tags only - do NOT work now.

How to Optimize for Relevancy:

REMEMBER, even if you have some searches that bring you a lot of views, we all get a significant amount of traffic from less common searches too; most websites get most traffic & sales from the more random searches. If you have a lot of items that are similar, you should change up the listings to match other searches, not just the most common one.
When choosing words to optimize around, I am doing one type of item in my shop at a time. So, I choose “memory wire bracelet” or “labradorite necklaces”, & do the keyword research by looking at my Etsy Shop Stats, my Google Analytics (under Site Search), the Google Keyword tool:
& the Etsy suggested searches. Then I optimize each item slightly differently, depending on the existing title & tags, if it gets Google hits or not (if so, I will not change the title at all), & the attractiveness of the photo. I try to optimize the best photos for the largest searches, although sometimes you don’t have much control over that.

Take your time, & keep checking your stats to see what is working. Search engine optimization is an ongoing job, not a one-shot deal. And the Etsy search will likely keep evolving, so some of this advice might change in a few months.