The New Etsy Search Updates are like Personalized Eye Testing Equipment

Etsy Search Updates – January 2016

Prepare for another batch of Etsy search updates! It seems like just yesterday we heard from the Etsy search team that they were placing a higher priority on listings located in the same country or region as the shopper. After doing this, they discovered that overall it helped more people make more purchases. This was the first step in delivering more personalized search results to shoppers. The next step would be to personalize each shoppers’ experience even further. And that’s exactly what they’ve just done.

Now before you throw your hands up with Etsy sellers everywhere and start getting nervous about your products’ abilities to rank in a shopper’s search results, take a step back and remember something: Google and Bing have already been personalizing their search results for YEARS. The tools, methods and strategies that people use to successfully rank on Google are still very much relevant to Google SEO – in spite of personalized search results. The same will be true for these Etsy search updates.

There will STILL be a lot of commonality on Etsy. Everyone will see MANY of the same generic listings but there will be some listings which appear because of where someone is, what they have searched for in the past, and which listings they’ve engaged with. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the factors Etsy will be using and how you can use the latest Etsy search updates to your advantage.

Shopper’s Location

Someone in the US searching for “football earrings” will get results about American Football. Someone in the UK will get results for what American’s call soccer (and the rest of the world calls football – you weirdos 😉 ). If your listings aren’t deemed relevant to a particular country, then you have less of a chance of showing up for those countries. If you feel like you should still be relevant, then you should work on your international SEO. While you may not be able to move your shop around the world, keyword suggestions can help you find alternate descriptions for things like soccer and football.

Personal History

What has the shopper searched for in the past? What listings have they clicked from their search results? What listings have they added to a list or favorited? Unlike country personalization, there’s no easy way to try to make your listings more relevant. Instead, this places more weight on the first impression that your listings make – and the brand loyalty you build with your customers. Whenever a shopper clicks on your listing in their search results, you want to make sure you’re delivering a fantastic experience so they’ll either come back later, add your listing to a list, or favorite it. You can do this through excellent product photography and through great thorough descriptions of your listings. If your branding is consistent across multiple listings, as shoppers search, they will recognize your products and return to your other listings despite them potentially being lower in the results list. This behavior will strengthen your position for that shopper and for other shoppers like them.

What’s the next logical step for Etsy?

Social Connections

What do shoppers share with others? What do they tweet about or email or text to their friends? Mapping out these networks provides another way to boost a shop’s listings within search results for shoppers and friends of that shopper. How do other sites do this? They use what developers call “query string parameters” which is a fancy way of saying “information in the URL.” When you click an article posted on Facebook, chances are the link will contain special information which will allow the site to track where you found the article. Adding these types of tracking codes to listing URLs would allow Etsy to see if you shared a link with a friend. Is this definitely Etsy’s next move? Not necessarily. But it’s a logical next step in personalizing search experiences even further so don’t be surprised to see it in the next few rounds of Etsy search updates. Anticipate this and make your listings share-worthy!

How will this affect the keyword research you do in Marmalead? Well, the short answer is, it won’t. Remember how Etsy said there will still be a lot of commonality in search results? Only a handful of listings will get bumped up based on a shopper’s personal information. You will still want to use Marmalead to measure the overall shopper engagement with different keywords to understand the best tag/title combinations to target. You will still want to use Marmalead to understand the size of the market you will be competing with for each keyword. You will still want to use Marmalead to understand the price spread of each keyword and learn where you should be pricing your products to be competitive.

Summary of Etsy Search Updates

These new changes to Etsy’s search algorithm put more weight on the quality of the listings you’re putting in front of shoppers. This is something Etsy has stressed in the past – just like when they said they’d give priority ranking to shops who had filled out their policies. (Speaking of which, you DID fill out all your policies, right? Right??) At the end of the day, Etsy’s goal is to sell more products to more shoppers. They’re constantly testing to see what works best. Any changes they make are aimed at getting more shoppers in the door and getting more of those shoppers to spend more dollars. They’re trying to put more quality listings in front of shoppers. So let the changes work FOR you and make sure your listings are the best quality they can be! You’ll find yourself doing better than ever!

Still feeling nervous about the Etsy search updates?

  • Take several deep breaths (or have a couple of glasses of wine)
  • Keep making sure you’re targeting the right keywords
  • Make sure you’re using those keywords in your tags and title
  • Keep an eye on your pricing vs your competition
  • Fill out all your shop policies
  • Improve your product photos
  • Write fantastic shop descriptions that answer shoppers’ questions before they even ask
  • Deliver an unforgettable customer experience to keep them coming back time and time again

10 thoughts on “Etsy Search Updates – January 2016”

  1. Sometimes I think we sellers freak out over everything. Actually Etsy is doing what many sellers already do when searching – ie click on search local (country level). As a seller I do it all the time, so often I don’t want to wait several weeks for items overseas so I just choose US, at least for the first go around.
    I guess Etsy used the data from that, if it is really personalized, they’ll localize it for those who use that option frequently.

  2. I’m kind of looking forward to the change. I’m hoping it will be for the better. The next few weeks should give us a glimpse! Thanks for summarizing and reassuring us. Sometimes change can be good!

  3. I thought ETSY was established to sell worldwide and unite creators from all the coutries and continents:(
    Lets return back to the times of separate markets – “old Europe” and remote America.
    Maybe something know other similar to ETSY platform? As I’m not realy very happy to put much more efforts and time, and nerves in order to be in one front line with ones who create and sell without any “headache” and disturbance.
    very very sad

  4. What this article is about?
    I need to update all my policies and it will put my store on the top? Or stop selling internationally?
    I am reading Summary again and again.. nothing specific.
    Looks like it is a good idea to drink some vine Friday evening.. but it doesn’t help to improve the sales.

    1. I stopped selling internationally (except Canada) after all the Euro requirements. I hadn’t received any sales from there in several years, I used to receive many but since they only have to pay VAT on non-EU items, my sales there dried up.
      I order from China and India occasionally but not one sale to there. I don’t think the local preference will change much in actual sales.

  5. That’s funny. I have never had an about page or policies for my shop, so after hearing about this new algorithm change, I thought I would give it a try to see if it would improve my stats. I put all kinds of keywords in my shop announcement and my about page. As soon as I did, my shop stats went way down, like halfway through the day I have about 10 views, where before I would have between 50-80. It seems that whenever I try to work on my SEO it just backfires and it takes forever to get it back to what it was. It is soooo frustrating!

  6. I’m in Australia but trying to sell into the US, where most of the Etsy buyers are. This confirmed one really nagging concern I’ve had from the beginning – that many US buyers will prefer to buy locally and simply use that selection upfront as a search qualifier. I now see Etsy “placing a higher priority on listings located in the same country or region as the shopper”.

    We all know it’s hard enough just to rank but it seems even if have organised local US printing for my art prints to help with the perceived international issues, I may struggle even more just to get into the US buyer search results in the first place because I am in Australia regardless of what I do?

    * Sigh *

    Brian

Leave a Reply