Saturday, December 24, 2016

Etsy Search: The algorithm in 2016

proven factors raising and loweringWe hear many opinions about "the algorithm." It is how Etsy bumps our listings up and down within search results. Many things affect our ranking. 

Known Algorithm Factors

Some factors have been spelled out by Etsy. Here is what admin has said:

🠝Recently listed or relisted. This is a 20-cents way to boost a listing for the short term.
🠝Better listing quality with better shopper engagement . This is related to the item itself, photo quality and price. It goes up when:
  1. Buyer searches for an item and chooses to view (="click") your item over other images they are presented with.
  2. "...A buyer clicks, favorites, or purchases an item after they’ve seen it in search results."
🠝 Lower conversion rate (our views-to-sales ratio). Try to get it as low as possible, below approximately 50 views per sale [just a guess], although this can be tough.

Customer experience
     🠝 Complete your About section
     🠝 Fill out your shop policies. Use Etsy’s policy template (additional “slight bump” more)
     🠝 Ship on time
     🠋 Recent case
     🠋 Negative feedback

🠋 Intellectual property infringement

Debated Algorithm Factors

Some factors are secret. And you can be sure that this list changes all of the time, as does how much each aspect is weighted. The length of time that these factors bump us up or down is basically unknown as well. Here are some thoughts:

🠝 A particular search resulted in a sale. Your results will go up for those search terms. Recent example: I sold a green enamel ladle. Right away I sell a green enamel teapot to a different buyer.

🠋 Items that have been for sale for a long timea year perhaps, fall to the bottom of search (I call this the “stale item effect”). Renewing will bump them up for a bit, but they again fall to the  bottom of search.
🠋 Sold items not marked shipped (I'm less sure about this in the short term, but if your sold items are not marked as shipped in a timely manner it) can negatively affect your shop's placement in search results.

There are also rampant rumors, many with sound reasoning. Here are a few thought-provoking ones:

🠝 Sale from town/state. It keeps happening to me and others. Recent sales hot spots for me have been State College, PA and Winchester, NH. It could be chance, of course.
🠋 Recent Sale. Rumor has it that your items go to the back of the pack after a sale. This is the direct opposite of our similar items being better positioned after a sale.
🠝 Shop updates. My items that have been featured have a higher sales rate. I tested this recently and failed to prove my theory. My item's low position in Etsy search was unchanged the next day after a shop update feature.

What does it all mean?

Etsy has pioneered a unique discovery process. Shoppers love to browse an interesting, well-curated venue. Items that are on-trend and well-photographed fare the best.

How likely are shoppers to happen upon our great item, fall in love, and buy it? My opinion is that we have a lot less random shoppers browsing our vintage Etsy shops than we once did. That is, unless we are paying for ads. Etsy has changed its business model to include paid ads rather than self-promotion. And that's their prerogative.

My job is to use the venue to sell my items. So far it is working well. Of course, things change all the time and we must keep up with it.

What will 2017 bring? 😯 Stay tuned!

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