Etsy SEO

How Etsy Search Works: Tips to Optimize Etsy Listings

Understanding how Etsy search works is crucial for any seller looking to optimize their listings and boost their visibility on the platform. Etsy’s search engine is designed to help buyers find exactly what they’re looking for, but it can be challenging to understand and cumbersome for new sellers.

In this article, we’ll explore the finer details of how Etsy search works, explain how sellers can optimize their listings, and examine the two different ways Etsy’s algorithm ranks listings. We’ll also touch on how Etsy buyers use the search bar as a powerful discovery tool.

How Etsy Search Works: Cluttered desk with various books and papers scattered about.

How Etsy Search Works

Etsy’s search algorithm is pretty complex but not impossible to understand. In fact, Etsy clearly lists the various ways sellers can optimize their listings for search.

Essentially, the algorithm prioritizes listings based on the following factors to ensure that buyers find the most relevant products. This includes:

Tag & Title Match

Items in Etsy’s search results must match the buyer’s search terms. Exact phrase matches are stronger than matches on individual words, and words at the beginning of titles are considered more important than words at the end.

For example, a search for “floral throw blanket” would prioritize items with “floral throw blanket” in the title over those with the words “floral” and “blanket” scattered throughout the title or tags.

This is why it’s important you focus on keyword research to use the best tags for Etsy’s search algorithm.

Item Attribute & Category Relevancy

Similar to keywords, the attributes and categories selected for an item are factored into the search algorithm. Using accurate and specific attributes maximizes your item’s exposure in search results.

Listing Quality Score

This measures how well a listing converts views into purchases. Clicks, favorites, and purchases all contribute to a listing’s quality score, influencing its placement in search results.

How Etsy Search Works: Buyer opening her purse purchased from Etsy.
Customer Service

Positive reviews, complete shop policies, and an informative “About” section enhance your shop’s reputation and improve your search ranking. Negative factors, such as unresolved cases or intellectual property infringements, can lower this score.

Listing Recency

New or recently renewed listings get a temporary boost in search results to gather initial data on buyer interaction. Regularly updating listings can help maintain visibility, but it’s no substitute for optimizing your listings properly in all other areas.

Shipping Price

Listings with free shipping to the US or a US free shipping guarantee get priority in US search placements. Lower shipping costs can also improve search ranking.

Optimizing Your Listings for How Etsy Search Works

How Etsy Search Works: Seller working on his Etsy listings in his woodshop.

To make the most of Etsy’s search algorithm, sellers should focus on these specific areas when optimizing their listings:

  • Use Relevant Keywords: Research and incorporate keywords that accurately describe your products. Use these keywords in your titles, tags, and descriptions.
  • High-Quality Photos: Invest in good photography to make your listings visually appealing. High-quality images can significantly increase click-through rates.
  • Detailed Descriptions: Provide comprehensive and clear descriptions of your products. Include size, materials, and any other pertinent details.
  • Positive Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. Respond to any negative feedback professionally and promptly.
  • Competitive Pricing and Shipping: Offer free shipping if possible and keep your pricing competitive. Highlight any promotions or discounts.
  • Regular Updates: Frequently update your listings to keep them fresh. This can include renewing listings, adding new photos, or revising descriptions.

Relevancy Search vs. Relationship Search

Etsy’s search algorithm works in two different and distinctive ways: relevancy search and relationship search.

Relevancy Search: This type of search focuses on finding listings that are the closest match to a buyer’s search terms. It takes into account the exact keywords used in the listing’s titles, tags, descriptions, categories, and attributes. For example, if a buyer searches for “silver starfish necklace,” listings that include these exact terms will be prioritized.

Relationship Search: This method considers each individual shopper’s search and engagement history. Etsy uses this data to predict and display products that a particular shopper is more likely to be interested in. For instance, if a buyer frequently searches for and purchases beach-themed jewelry, Etsy will tailor their search results to show more items that fit this theme.

Etsy seller analyzing her Etsy shop grades while using Marmalead on her laptop.

Why Etsy Shoppers Start with Broad Search Terms

By looking at the top Etsy searches, we understand that Etsy shoppers often start with broad searches—simply because they may not know exactly what they want and are open to exploring different options. This could be because they’re shopping for someone else and using the search bar to learn what’s available on the marketplace. Or it could be because they simply don’t know where to start when it comes to finding something that interests them.

When shoppers start with broad search terms, they use Etsy as a discovery tool to browse a range of products and ideas that might inspire their final choice. This exploratory phase is crucial for sellers to capture interest with appealing, well-optimized listings.

How Shoppers Use Etsy Search to Find Products

Etsy seller checking her search analytics on he laptop in her studio.

The average Etsy shopper might begin their search with a broad keyword like “necklace.” The results will show a wide range of styles, materials, and prices. As they browse, they’ll naturally filter down their options by clicking on listings with specific attributes like material, price, style, etc.

Etsy’s algorithm tracks what catches a shopper’s eye and makes suggestions for products and related searches to further guide them by showing similar items. If, for example, the shopper shows interest in silver jewelry or sea-themed designs, Etsy might start suggesting more specific items like “silver starfish necklace.”

The search narrows from “necklace” to “silver starfish necklace” as the shopper identifies their interests through the listings they engage with. Ultimately, their final decision will be based on a combination of product attributes, craftsmanship, price, and seller reliability.

This journey from a broad to a specific search shows Etsy’s role as both a marketplace and a discovery tool, guiding consumers to find precisely what they’re looking for, even if they don’t know what that is yet.

Why Long Tail Keywords Are Important on Etsy

How Etsy Search Works: Keyword data for 'moss wall art' from Marmalead.

Long tail keywords play a major role on Etsy because they bridge the gap between broader searches and a shopper’s specific interests.

When an Etsy customer starts with a broad term like “necklace,” they’re at the beginning of their discovery journey, not yet sure of the exact product they want. As they interact with various listings, their search terms naturally become more refined based on their specific preferences and the products Etsy serves up.

This typically leads the shopper to go back to the Etsy search bar with a more specific search term in mind. And these specific searches are often long tail keywords—like “silver starfish necklace”—which are highly targeted and less competitive, making them valuable for sellers aiming to capture the attention of ready-to-buy customers.

Customers hone in on long tail keywords during their discovery phase, leading to higher conversion rates because they address a specific need or desire. For Etsy sellers, using long tail keywords in their listings means they can better connect with shoppers who have a clear intent to purchase, reducing the noise of more generic searches and increasing visibility among their target audience.

Additional Factors that Shape How Etsy Search Works

To better understand how Etsy search works, consider these additional factors that shape how listings are ranked and discovered. Beyond the core elements of tag relevancy and listing quality, several nuanced aspects can significantly influence your shop’s visibility and success.

Seasonality and Trends

Etsy’s search algorithm is also influenced by seasonal trends and holidays. During peak seasons, such as Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, certain keywords may see a surge in search volume. Sellers can leverage this by adjusting their listings to include relevant seasonal keywords.

  • Update your listings with holiday-specific keywords.
  • Create seasonal products that cater to trending themes and occasions.
  • Use Etsy’s tools to identify upcoming trends and plan your inventory accordingly.
How Etsy Search Works: Keyword data for 'mushroom lamp' from Marmalead.

Etsy Ads and Promoted Listings

Using Etsy Ads can help increase the visibility of your listings. Promoted listings appear higher in search results, potentially driving more traffic to your shop

  • Set a daily budget for Etsy Ads and monitor their performance.
  • Use A/B testing to determine which keywords and listings perform best.
  • Analyze the ROI of your ad campaigns and adjust your strategy as needed.

Understanding Buyer Behavior

Gaining insights into buyer behavior can help you tailor your listings to better the needs of your target audience. Consider what buyers look for in products similar to yours and highlight those features.

  • Use Etsy’s Shop Stats to see which keywords and listings attract the most traffic.
  • Respond to customer reviews and questions to build trust and improve your shop’s reputation.
  • Incorporate customer feedback into your product descriptions and photos.

Etsy SEO Tools and Analytics

Leveraging Etsy SEO tools like Marmalead can provide valuable insights into how to optimize your listings for better search performance.

  • Use Marmalead to research high-performing keywords.
  • Track your listing’s performance and make data-driven adjustments.
  • Analyze your competitors’ keywords and strategies for inspiration.
Snapshot of Etsy SEO tool, Marmalead.

Customer Engagement and Retention

Engaging with your customers can lead to positive reviews, repeat business, and higher search rankings.

  • Send personalized messages to thank customers for their purchases.
  • Offer discounts or promotions to encourage repeat business.
  • Use social media to interact with your customers and promote your products.

Advanced SEO Techniques

Implementing advanced SEO techniques can give you an edge in Etsy search results.

  • Optimize your listings for mobile search, as many shoppers use mobile devices.
  • Use long tail keywords to capture specific search intents.
  • Leverage social proof by highlighting positive reviews and customer testimonials.

Over to you

Understanding how Etsy’s search algorithm works and optimizing your listings accordingly can significantly enhance your visibility and sales on the platform. By focusing on relevant keywords, high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, positive reviews, and competitive pricing, you can improve your chances of appearing in both relevancy and relationship searches.

Additionally, leveraging seasonal trends, Etsy Ads, and advanced SEO techniques can further boost your shop’s performance. Remember, Etsy’s search bar is a powerful discovery tool for buyers, and by optimizing your listings, you can make it easier for them to find your products.

Happy selling!

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