7 Key Takeaways from the 2017 Etsy Search Updates

Etsy has just released an article which details plans for the 2017 Etsy search updates. Last year they acquired Blackbird Technologies – a machine learning company. The purchase caused a bit of a stir in the Etsy community and spawned countless questions and even more conjecture. But now we finally have some details about Etsy’s plans. Here are 7 key takeaways from the announcement:

1. Etsy and its sellers are a team

Right off the bat, Etsy makes a point of reminding sellers that when they are successful, Etsy is successful. Etsy knows that search updates and algorithm updates can cause stress for sellers and they want to help minimize that by reminding sellers that Etsy’s success depends on seller success. Etsy says:

"When you're successful, we're successful."

2. Watch for search bar updates

Etsy breaks their 2017 search focus areas into two groups: helping buyers find the right items and building better tools for sellers.  The first way they plan to help shoppers is by “getting them started with the right search terms.”  This is almost certainly a reference to their search bar suggestions which they’ve been providing shoppers for quite a while. As shoppers type in the search bar, Etsy provides suggestions from a pool of other recent search terms. In order to help shoppers get started, they will undoubtedly be providing more personalized search term suggestions right within the search bar to help each shopper begin with the best possible search term for them. Etsy says:

"getting them started with the right search terms"

3. Changes to the search results page

The next thing Etsy plans to do for buyers is to help them “navigate their results in meaningful ways.” This could partially be referring to new filter options for shoppers which Etsy covers later in the article. But this likely includes other changes as well. There are vast possibilities but this could include things like quick product views on the search results page to pull key listing information further forward. This could also include features like “suggested listings” based on the search term and personalized browsing history. Etsy says:

"navigate their results in meaningful ways"

4. More specific ways to describe listings

As part of their list of updates for sellers, Etsy announced that they will be providing new ways for sellers to “convey specific information” about listings. This will likely be tied to some of the upcoming search filter updates. This will allow sellers to fill in information which helps to differentiate their listings from others. Etsy says:

"convey specific information about your items"

5. New search filters

Etsy announces new search filters in 2017. Currently, shoppers can filter by category, location, handmade/vintage, price, color, and ordering options. New ways to filter results could include things like seller rating, downloadable/handmade/vintage, size, and item quantity. Some sellers are even hoping for the ability to filter by items with coupon codes or those which are on sale. Etsy says:

"new ways for buyers to filter and explore their search results"

6. Don’t freak out

Again, Etsy is sensitive to the apprehension that surrounds any updates to the flow that helps customers find products. They remind sellers that they’ll keep them up to date as changes are made and will be sure to provide actions that sellers can take to make sure their shops are in the best possible standing. Etsy says:

"We'll continue to update you when we make any permanent changes to search"

7. Did I mention Etsy and sellers are a team?

Just as they opened the article, Etsy closes it with a reminder how important their relationship with sellers is. The last thing they want to do is completely turn the system upside down that is working for so many sellers. Changes will be slow and careful and deliberate. Keep an eye out for updates, make the necessary changes to your shops and everything will be fine. Etsy says:

 So what does this mean for the future of Etsy Search and Etsy SEO?

As Etsy begins to take advantage of the specialties of Blackbird Technologies, they’re looking to deliver a more personalized and intuitive search experience for shoppers. So what does this mean for SEO strategies? The core components that affect rank aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Etsy will still draw from listings’ tiles, tags, and recency. The majority of the changes are around HOW shoppers will get to those results pages and how they will navigate them. There will be other factors that Etsy introduces which will affect rank but the core algorithm is unlikely to drastically change. What does this mean for you as a seller? Sit tight and keep doing what you know works until Etsy announces changes. There is no need to jump the gun and start guessing how to update your listings for changes that may or may not happen.

What does this mean for Marmalead?

Marmalead’s algorithms measure engagement with search terms. Etsy is changing how they help shoppers find the right search term. So measuring which keywords they arrive at and which keywords enjoy the best engagement is still just as important as it used to be. In fact, with the crippling of Google’s Keyword Planner and Etsy’s planned changes to the search bar suggestions, Marmalead is becoming even more valuable to sellers as the best Etsy SEO solution available.

For the latest interpretations of Etsy SEO and search updates, subscribe to the Marmalead Blog.

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2 thoughts on “7 Key Takeaways from the 2017 Etsy Search Updates”

  1. Etsy says they will announce how to change are listings when they announce a change but I have not seen any announcements that tell you how to adjust your listings to their changes. I have repeatedly ask in the forums how to adjust for the changes during 2016 but only get the same suggestions I am already doing. Where do I find this info please?

    1. Hi, Debbie! The best place to find the info is straight from Etsy like you said. Other than that, it takes time for people to adjust listings and test to see what works best outside of Etsy’s recommendations. As Etsy is always changing things, there’s not usually one single source of information that will stay unchanged so it’s best to keep listening and reading about things others have had success with. If you’re not hearing anything new from the thought leaders in the Etsy community other than the tips you’re already familiar with, there may not be any new changes you need to make. 🙂 We definitely try our best to stay on top of things so keep an eye out here on the blog, in Etsy Jam, and in our Facebook group for any discussions. Hope this helps!

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