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Steph Cole-Lewis founder of the Handmade Bosses has a cosy warm cup of tea in her hand. As she gazes at 'A beginners guide to the Etsy algorithm'

🧡 A beginners guide to the Etsy algorithm (how you can rank higher and get more sales) 🧡

etsy 101 basics May 07, 2024

🎧 Listen to this blog post as a Podcast instead 'How do I resurrect a dead shop?'

Are you tired of the guessing games when it comes to Etsy's search algorithm? Want to know what really moves the needle for your shop's visibility?

In this episode, I dive deep into the mechanics of Etsy's search engine and share how you can optimise your listings for better exposure by understanding the 7 ranking factors. Wondering how to make your products irresistible to Etsy's search algorithm?

I'll break down the key factors that determine how your items rank in search results, and how you can leverage these to your advantage. Do you feel like you're in the dark about how Etsy's search algorithm prioritises listings? Tune in as I shed light on the inner workings of the platform and provide you with actionable tips to help your shop stand out.



🧡 A beginners guide to the Etsy algorithm (how you can rank higher and get more sales) 🧡

Today is a long one, but so worth it. We are going to be talking about the beginners' guide to the Etsy algorithm. No doubt you’ve seen the click bait YouTube videos about how to be #1 on page 1 or get ranked fast... 

I'm just going to straight up talk to you about how the algorithm works in the hope you can take this away and plug it into your business and, into your mindset.  



A lot of the info I’m going to be sharing today is directly from the horse's mouth ... or Etsy. So, there’s no cool new ‘SEO hacks’ or ‘get rich quick’ schemes. 

Unlike having your own website or selling from a platform such as Facebook or Instagram, Etsy already has a huge, loyal fan base of customers who are wanting to buy from you. And this is one of the best things about Etsy. 

Etsy is spending millions, billions even to bring the right, warm customers to their platform. And those people are looking for something unique. They are looking for handmade goods. 

It's like plonking your business in the middle of the world's busiest craft fair. You are there, you have your product, your pricing's right, your photos are right. Everything is good. Hopefully, fingers crossed and if it's not, I can certainly help you with that.   

And saying, hey, I'm open for business and getting a flood of people waiting to be served. Imagine a massive craft fair that will refund you if things don't go right, you can always be in contact with the shop, browse their products, see their offers and reviews. 

Because of this Etsy are a trusted household name. They have that know, like and trust factor. 



If can be difficult for me, when people say, right, I have an Etsy shop, it's going well, and I want to open my own website. A lot of the time, I think, that's a really good idea.  

But only if you already have a large e-mail list and social media following. Because if you don't, driving your own traffic is going to be difficult and expensive.  

Whether that's monetarily expensive such as Facebook ads, sponsorships, influencers. Or whether it's time expensive AKA you having to blog 2-3 times a week, writing emails out, etc.  

This is where Etsy really wins, because they already have that loyal fan base.  

There are 7.3 million Etsy shops, which might make you go eeekkk...that's a lot. That number has fallen since 2021 and that figure includes shops that are not active. 

I would hazard a guess to say probably a good 70% of them are people who opened a shop and thought “Yeah, I'm going to add some things to it. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that.” And I never actually get there. 

There are also 95 million buyers...a huge difference. Even if you spread the buyers evenly between the 7.3 million Etsy shops every single month, you would still get a fair number of sales.  

And as we know, they're not split because of the Etsy algorithm. 

Don’t forget Etsy wants you to make sales because it gets its fees. And Etsy wants the customer to get exactly what they want and have a pleasant experience, so they keep coming back to the platform. Because when you make sales, Etsy makes money.  

Which is why they have the purchase protection programme, why they really put reviews front and centre and why they are always talking about the star seller. 

The greater experience as a person has when buying, the chances are they will come back and spend more money with you and other small business owners as well. Which is why are Etsy showing you know similar items when people are looking at your items - I scratch your back, you scratch mine 

The clock 

If you are playing around with your listings and you're changing SEO, titles, tags and description doesn’t give your listing time to rank within Etsy's algorithm. 

In case you didn't know, it takes between 60 and 90 days for your listing to be indexed and for your changes to come into fruition. If you keep changing your titles and tags, you’re never going to see the results of those changes because the clock keeps getting reset. 

Etsy wants to see how people interact with your listing and depending upon what you’re selling it can take a different amount of time to settle. Someone selling a gold heart necklace that gets thousands of views every day may settle within the algorithm quicker than someone selling a recycled kimono lamp shade that might get two or three views every month. 

When someone searches in the Etsy search bar, two things happen simultaneously. 



Query matching 

#1, is query matching. Etsy will look at the titles, tags, descriptions, categories, attributes and create a nice little list in the backend of Etsy. This list must match the keywords your customer has types in the search box.  

If someone is typing in silver elephant bracelet, Etsy is going to its database looking at all the info Etsy sellers, like you, have put in the titles, tags, descriptions, categories, attributes, alt text, etc. They’ll use this to create a list to match what your customer has searched. 



Can you imagine if the search stopped there? There was no sorting, there was no ranking. People would get very bored very quickly. There would be a lot of listings that's not relevant to their search because often list their items wrong.  

So, if a shop selling a silver elephant bracelet also describes it as a silver elephant necklace or a silver elephant ring, in the hopes that they will get ranked and seen they’re not giving customers what they want. 

It really shows why it's important to make sure things your keywords, titles, tags and attributes are relevant to what you sell.  


#2 is ranking, this is where we are sorting those search results.  

Once Etsy have gathered all the listings that match from that search silver elephant bracelet. They use the seven ranking factors to sort the listing, basically trying to rank them by what has sold the best before, what is the customer most likely to buy, what shop has got good reviews?  



The 7 ranking factors 

There are 7 main factors to Etsy's algorithm...Etsy tells you the ins and outs of some, but not all. So, if someone says to you, I am an Etsy SEO expertI have the inside scoop run away because they don't only a very few select people on the planet know. 



All the ranking and sorting factors are just as important as one another.  

Imagine 7 floats ... the rubber rings you get in pools. They’re all holding up a car within a within a pool. If one starts to deflate, the whole car might sink...this is how the Etsy algorithm works.  



As well is that there is no such thing as page one anymore, because page one is different for everybody depending on where you live, your search history, and so much more. 

Back in 2015, page one was a thing, if you ranked on page one, you ranked on page one for most people. However, that is not the case anymore. If you ever hear someone, say I'm going to help you rank higher, they're not necessarily talking about being on page one because page one is different for everybody.  

  1. Relevancy 
  2. Listing quality score 
  3. Recency 
  4. Customer and market experience score 
  5. Postage price 
  6. Translations and language 
  7. Shopper habits 



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