Saturday, April 7, 2018

In 2018, matchy-matchy is out for Etsy search

The algorithm

Etsy's search algorithm is transitioning into a completely new animal. The days of meticulously matching up phrases in your tags and titles for guaranteed Etsy relevancy will soon be past.

Etsy is in the process making search more human... The old way of search was not natural, the necessity to laboriously match titles and tags.
search algorithms are usually secret
Etsy's algorithm is in flux

Compliments of Etsy seller Deborah McGregor:
"SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. 
It does not mean “Match Words Up" 
In a nutshell, Etsy has leveled the playing field for sellers.

The algorithm just does not like me...

An algorithm does not "do" anything of its own initiative. It is only a middleman. Its job is to find common factors between a search query and the information on your listing page. It serves up results (called Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs) based on common denominators... The more commonalities, the higher the item places. The algorithm does its job according to what its code tells it to do. No emotions are involved.

The order of search results is what has changed. In fact, the order changes from search to search on Etsy now.

How do I get better placement in search results?

There is only one way for any product to place well in a search query. Create your listing so it has as many common factors with search queries as possible. In order to do it well, you must know your target market of customers. What search queries will they use to find your items? If you do not know who is searching the internet for products like you sell, how can you use the same words as they do?

How do I even know where I place in search results?

Etsy seller CindyLou says that it is now impossible to even do test searches because of contextualization and personalization: every searcher will see something different.

You can ask someone else to search, but there is no guarantee that what they see is what someone else will see, either. Remember that in 2018, search is changing all the time, so search placement can vary by a lot even repeating the same search.

The best way to "see" how you are do
ing is to use your shop stats.

Where is Etsy's search heading?

Etsy search in 2018
Machine learning takes time
Google's driverless cars and Etsy's search have something in common. They are both being driven by machine learning, or so-called artificial intelligence. Both are going somewhere.

But of course the technology is new. There are some unknowns, some unintended consequences.

I believe that things will get better. But the process of machine learning will take time (some say as long as two years). In the mean time, mistakes may be made. Mistakes that could discourage sellers if they fail to see these changes in the long run, as "training" the new algorithm.

Etsy sellers have been accustomed to doing a lot of tweaking. Sellers routinely made changes to listings to make sure of word-matching, which is how Etsy's search worked in the past.

The goal of the new search algorithm is to show the best, most relevant listings to buyers. It is designed to do that without the need to constantly adjust listings. Won't that be a relief?

As mentioned, the days of matchy-matchy titles and tags are fading. This is because the new algorithm is smarter than that. Or it will be, eventually.

In reality, nothing has changed. But on another hand it has...

Vintage selling

Vintage sellers continue to complain about being the proverbial red-headed child. I try not to have any big expectations that things will change for vintage on Etsy. It is what it is and has been since the beginning... Vintage seems to be tolerated, but Etsy is primarily a handmade "creative" site.

I can deal with that. If it is working, fine. If I am not selling, then I try to figure out why and deal with the issue.

Please note

I make a number of observations here. If your shop is selling just fine, there is no need to change anything. 

Make any changes slowly. Check for effectiveness in your case.


Etsy is in flux. Search is rife with change. 2018 may be the year to "wait and see."

How do you feel? Is Etsy moving your shop to the next level?


  1. Thanks for keeping us all in the loop Joanne. :)

  2. Thanks, Joanne, again for posting such useful information. What to do??? What to do???

  3. What to do? What to do? I've read several articles on this subject and A.I. change that's slowly coming. There's nothing to do but wait it out and in the meantime list titles and tags that someone looking for your item would type into search. I guess just try to "think" like the customer "thinks". I read that the long tail keywords aren't so important anymore. I am also glad to not be checking my page position in search anymore. And I have read that renewing items frequently is no longer needed. Thats a savings!
    How about this new service where the sellers pay etsy to send emails to customers who have your items sitting in their cart?????

    1. Is all about money. Now is a website with your reviews, trial free, yeah??? and after that how much you want Etsy?

  4. Actually I could see where renewing items could hurt your placement. ie a vintage dealer who has only one of an item which does not sell right away.

    Over time let's say the dealer has to renew a few times, AI could think the item isn't relevant and lower the items ranking.

  5. so, vintage is the ugly duckling...GRRRRR
    so, 2 years of maybe no sales, grrrrr
    and third it was about time, we don't need tags on ebay

  6. no more tweaking - wonderful.
    Joanne, what do you think about renewing vintage items?

  7. Finally made some time to do some reading up on facts! This has beenn illuminating, as well as helpful. Thanks very much.

  8. I love Etsy but the search is horrendous. I'm surprised. I picture a bunch of young techies over there in Brooklyn. You'd think Etsy would have the best search.


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