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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Etsy Search Engine and Relevancy... Getting Your Etsy Listings Higher in the Search Rankings

But first... I mentioned on Facebook that Hadar’s latest book included six of my pieces. A couple people asked me to show them which pieces so this seemed like the easiest place. 

If you’re interested in the new book (filled with awesome projects), here’s the link to purchasing it.

Making Etsy's Search Engine Work For You

Then I mentioned on Facebook about a little experimenting that I was doing while listing some items last night and I thought I’d come here and give some more in-depth details.

So around 6pm, I listed a couple pair of earrings on Etsy. I came back an hour or two later (giving them time to get into Etsy’s search engine... which actually seems to be more like 15 minutes for new items) and decided to see where they “ranked”. After all, who wants to be on the 20th page of any given search, eh?

The key is to pick words to search on that are generic enough so as not to really isolate/target my own listing. Like if I searched on “Laura Bracken pearl earrings", I have little doubt that my listings would show up on the first page.

As a matter of fact, my listings are the ONLY thing showing up if I search with those keywords. 

So too specific is out of the question. But so is too general. If I just search for “earrings”, the odds that my listings would be on the first page are slim to none (notice almost 2 million listings show up for that search). 

So the keywords have to be specific enough that I should be able to find my item in a search but not so broad that it will be a needle in a haystack.

Here’s the first pair of earrings. 

I try to put myself in the mind of the customer who may be interested in purchasing these earrings. Would they search for “large round disk earrings”? I don’t think so. I feel these earrings might appeal to a person who’d search for “petroglyph earrings”. So that’s what I search on.

And my item is on the first page of “petroglyph earrings”.

Discounting the promotional listings (the paid ads), I’m on the 10th row. Not ideal, but better than being on the second page.

Searching for “petroglyph enamel earrings” puts me on the first row but I feel that search is too specific and unrealistic.

My second pair of earrings is this. 

Since ‘blue earrings” is rather generic, for this one I search on “"blue enamel earrings".

By the way, I also click (over on the left menu) on the word “handmade” since I assume my customers are searching for handmade items. I just hope enough of them know to click that option. 

For the record, clicking on “handmade” makes the difference between my blue enamel earrings being on page 2 (not clicking on handmade) or being on page 1 (clicking on handmade).

So I'm on page one out of 5856 listings for blue enamel earrings.  I'm happy with that.

You’re not going to get every listing on the first page of searches, but getting as many there as you can will definitely help.

I’ve got a pair of pyrite earrings that I can’t seem to get any closer than page 3. 

I tried “pyrite earrings” (a pool of 4751).

If I go as far as “pyrite wire wrap earrings”, I am on the first page (of 973 listings) but I’d love to be found without being that specific.

And I wonder what puts me on page three and others on page one or two.

I look at the first page, thinking maybe I need to have “pyrite earrings” be the first words in my listing title, but no… very few of the first page listings have those words first.

Is it the number of views an item has had? I check mine… 75 views, 8 favorites. I check the listing next to mine. 8 views, 3 favorites. And on the other side of my listing? 156 views, 17 favorites. And next to that? 496 views, 13 favorites. Hm… not much of a pattern evolving.

Maybe it’s to do with how many items a person has in their store? 756, 674, 223… and me? 69.

Is it a combination of tags/titles along with views along with how many items are in your store? I can control my tags and titles. I’m working on number of items in my shop, but I’ll never have 700 so there is a limit there. And views? That’s out of my control, right?

By the way, I’m not saying ANY of these things have to do with how to rank in the Etsy search engine… I’m just shooting in the dark trying to figure out what does. J As a matter of fact, I just read an article that specifically said Etsy’s search algorithm is not based on number of views or how many items you have in your shop. Ha ha ha! But I’m stubborn… and still look for patterns anywhere and everywhere.

I decide to do one more test.  Even though my item was renewed three days ago, I go ahead and renew it again.  Within 15 minutes, it appears on the first page of the search "pyrite earrings".  Too bad that's a change that costs.  And I wonder how long it will remain on the first page.

I have seen my items leap from page 4 or 5 of a search to the first page by just changing a few words here and there.

For me, one of the most important keys is to imagine what my customers would type in if they were looking for THAT item.

I’ve also heard it said that quality of views is more important than quantity of views. As in, getting the RIGHT customers to look at your work is more important than getting a mass amount of the general population to look.

Okay, I’m going to take one more item and show you exactly what I do.

My threshold for searches is page 3. If I’m beyond page 3, I want to fix/change things.  I lie.  I really want to be on the first page of the searches, but I will definitely not allow anything beyond page 3, how's that.

So I take a necklace and start looking it up.

One thing that makes me not happy is to search on “silver snake necklace” and see in the pages proceeding my items all kinds of non handmade non silver snake necklaces… manufactured chains, necklaces having nothing to do with snakes, etc.

I’m wading through pages of listings and way too many of them are not handmade. I’m trying not to get angry as that does me no good and I don’t have all day to “flag” them even if I believed it would result in any kind of action (which I don’t).

All I can do is try to change the things I have control over.

The problem here is that, aside from the manufactured listings showing up, any silver necklace on a snake chain is also showing up.

By page 15, my customer realizes the same thing. They’re looking for a silver snake necklace but they’re seeing all kinds of things not relevant to what they’re really searching for. So they change their search to “silver snake pendant”, because in fact that is what they want.

Interestingly enough, it only changed the “items found” from 5666 to 4268. But now, at least, we’re seeing necklaces with snake pendants.

For a few pages, anyway. Then we start getting into the irrelevant stuff again. And this is EXACTLY why I need to move my listing to the first couple of pages.   The further in you go, the less relevant the items.

I could change my search to “fine silver snake pendant” but I don’t think most customers will be that specific. Although doing that would put me on the first page (but out of only 165 listings).

So off to do some editing.

First, I change the title from:

Snake Pendant of Fine Silver on Sterling Silver Chain Unisex Necklace by Laura Bracken
Silver Snake Pendant Necklace Handcrafted of Fine Silver by Laura Bracken

Next I change the first line of my listing from:

I created this 25x15mm snake pendant out of pure silver using the techniques of forming, texturing, firing, sanding, and burnishing.  

I created this fine silver snake pendant (25x15mm) using the techniques of forming, texturing, firing, sanding, and burnishing.

I also add “silver snake pendant” as a tag.

I’ve already got all five photo slots used, so that’s about all I can do for now.

Previous to these word changes outlined above, I wasn’t even on the first 15 pages of the search “silver snake pendant” (in a pool of just under 6000).

After one full hour I check one last time.

Whoa! I’m on page one, third row. Whoohoo!

And that was before I remembered to click on “handmade”. With “handmade” selected, I move up a couple spots.

Just to be sure I know what I’m doing, I’m going to take one more listing.

I test this one out by searching on “square garnet ring”. 

No good as an example, I’m already on the first page, second row.  Yay!

Let’s try this one.

Okay, searching on “lampwork copper necklace”, I’m not even on the first ten pages (1300 items).

Searching on “blue lampwork necklace”, I’m again not on the first ten pages (6000 items).

I look at my item again, trying to determine if those are appropriate search words.  Are these the kinds of words my customer would use if they wanted to find a necklace like this.  Yes, I decide they are so off I go to change things in the listing verbiage.

Checking two hours later, I’m still not in the first ten pages searching on “blue lampwork necklace”.   6000 items is a tough pool to crack.

However searching on “lampwork copper necklace” ( a pool of 1300 items), I’m on the first line of the first page.  That’s pretty good considering previously I wasn’t even on the first ten pages.


My advice is to look at each of your listings and think about how your customer would describe your item in 2-4 words. Those are the words/phrases you want to make sure are in your titles, descriptions, and tags. 

I told one of my friends, "Imagine your jewelry is all piled up on one table and you need to get a complete stranger to hand you a particular piece. Think about the words you'd use to describe the piece so this non-jewelry person could find it fast."

Then you have to use those keywords in your listing (title, description, tags).

And although they say it doesn't matter if the keywords are actually touching, my little bit of experimenting shows that it does make a difference. 

You can have the words "silver" "snake" and "pendant" eight times in your listing, but if someone is searching "silver snake pendant" and you don't have that exact phrase in that exact order, it won't rank as high.  I've tested this.

Until proven otherwise, I'd say whatever keyword string you think is appropriate for your customers to use would be one you'd want to repeat (as is!) a few times within the listing.

Making jewelry isn’t as simple as making jewelry. Well, it is if that’s all you want. But if you want to sell, there’s definitely lots of work that has nothing to do with making.

I’ve mentioned this before, but here again is my work formula. I spend a third of my time making, a third of my time marketing, and a third of my time managing.

Thanks for visiting my blog!


  1. Thank you Laura, very helpful!congratualations on being published in Hadar's book, I LOVE the highway and the trailer. Very cool and well done.

  2. Excellent detective work, as always. I'm off to do a few tests and wondering if google adwords is a help or hindrance....hopefully I will be able to assess it's search analysis with changes to my keywords!

  3. Your lampwork copper necklace is gorgeous! I like how the wire wraps around the beads. Very helpful suggestions on getting Etsy items moved up in search, thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks Laura for the info on your blog. I found it very informative and I realize i need to re-check all my listings' tags and descriptions! Thanks again and I love all your work!

  5. Laura,
    Thank you for this great information, I'm trying my best to work on this.
    your items in the book are beautiful.

  6. Great post and I love all the work you did validating and experimenting. I always have a hard time finding my items in the search, so now at least I have some guidelines and help. Thanks so much!

  7. Thanks Laura! A lot of great information!

  8. Laura, thanks for that great info! I also read on forums that it is very important how many real hearts an item has. real means - a person found you in search by tagged search phase and hearted your item. this 1 heart counts much more than heart's clicking games or so. that's why sometimes items with less hearts stay very high in search.

  9. Thanks for posting this Laura. Lots of great info stated in a perfectly understandable way. I particularly love how you tested and corrected. I'll have to give this a try and see how it works out. Thanks again!