Will false hearts make Etsy search break up with you?

The question, “if an item gets a lot of views and hearts and doesn’t sell it will lose relevancy in Etsy search?” has been asked many times in many ways.

The answer? It depends.

Background

There’s a lot of noise in the how does Etsy search work space. Maybe you’ve heard of click parties aka clickathons. In case you haven’t, they’re based on the false belief that random views and favorites on your listings will increase your search ranking. Clickathons are a waste of time for so many reasons they deserve their own post.

On the other hand we have the shops that are very worried about getting non-buyer clicks and favorites for fear that it will sink their search ranking.

This topic is entirely about how Etsy’s search handles listings.

Search and Non-Search Traffic

Etsy distinguishes between views that come from search and ones that don’t. They get really granular, but for our purposes they either come from search or they don’t.

Views that don’t come from search are just whatever. We all get random visitors to our sites so it’s expected that the quality of view will differ.

Search results however are prime real estate. We’ve all seen it and Etsy has stated they incorporate performance (sometimes called listing quality) in search ranking. They take the listings that do a great job of being relevant (Etsy SEO), and they give them a shot at great rankings. If the listings perform well, they stay up there. If they don’t, they give other listings a chance. Etsy wants to present shoppers with listings they’re likely to purchase. The best way to predict that is whether others searched for this and ended up purchasing.

When does it matter?

So back to the original question. Does it hurt listings to favorite them and not buy?

It doesn’t matter when the view comes from outside of Etsy’s search.

It does matter when the view comes from within Etsy’s search.

If many people find your listing in search, view it, favorite it, and NOT buy it. Eventually, yeah it will hurt the listing. It establishes a track record of shoppers passing up that listing despite finding it in a relevant search. Etsy wants to display listings with the greatest chance of selling. The key there is that the traffic is coming from search.

Conclusion

I certainly wouldn’t ask a group of people to search “xyz keyword”, find your listings, and favorite them just for fun. The result would be totally not fun.

I wouldn’t worry about casually liking something. I would continue to promote your shop everywhere that gets you in front of shoppers. Business cards, packaging inserts customers can give to friends, and online communities where your customers want to hear from you to name a few.

The best thing that can happen to your shop is to consistently get found in search and close the sale. You make money, Etsy makes money, shopper is happy, win win win.

10 thoughts on “Will false hearts make Etsy search break up with you?”

  1. Hi Marmalead – We already know that where searches result in sales they will be a key feature of the Etsy algorithms that try to determine relevance… so I’d have asked the question slightly differently…. If you take two similar products with an equal number of customers coming through search AND purchasing those products would one of the products start to perform better in search IF it was getting more hearts? [ie if all other things are equal at the start point are ‘hearts’ then a good thing?]

  2. All I know is that, the favorites I have gotten from being part of a team have moved several of my items up in the Etsy search results from being down around in the 400’s to being in the top 20 results. This means that my OOAK handmade items are seen more often, and clicked on more often–and BTW favorited more often–by actual shoppers. As a result they DO have a chance of being bought. Otherwise, my products would never get seen in the search results. Items with more views and hearts appear closer to the front of the line. That has been my experience.

    1. I’m not sure on the details here so I don’t know if they’re using search to find your items or going direct, and if renewing is also at play. I’m not going to talk you out of it but you’re playing a dangerous game. Etsy’s response to these things can be swift and long lasting.

    2. Are the search results you’re looking at from your account on your computer? One of the factors in how Etsy displays search results is that user’s browsing history, so our listings can come up high for us because we’ve visited our own shop – unless someone at Marmalead can tell me if our own shop’s listings don’t count in this process, it’s a hard thing to Google!

      I’m not denying what you’re saying (I’ve heard several people say it) but to me the time spent on those games is better used on social media where the views are likely to be from people who will actually buy something. Also Etsy knows views that come from teams are just part of games and not ‘real’ browsing, so unless your team mates are actually buying your stuff as well, there must be another reason for those views jumping.

  3. Why does Etsy continue to Not Promote the Vintage Seller? The vintage seller brings in lots of money for them because a lot of vintage items tend to be very pricey. But in most “editors picks” pages and the likes I find little to No vintage items. Do you think they will move away from vintage all together?

    1. I don’t think they’ll move away from vintage. Like you said, it does make them money. Sometimes I feel like they take the Google, “good enough” approach then move into other markets. Pattern and Studio would be examples of that. There are many ways to work on existing products, but they’ve chosen to perhaps 80/20 and see a bigger opportunity in a new product vs incremental improvements in the existing ones.

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