Etsy Search Changes in 2018
If getting your listing to appear in the first page of Etsy search results was difficult before, it just got a lot harder in 2018. Many ETSY sellers are seeing sales drop in 2018 and wondering what is going on. As always, ETSY search is changing again. Today, we are going to focus on the most significant change – Context Specific Search Ranking (CSR).
What exactly is Context Specific Search Ranking?
With CSR (Context Specific Search Ranking), buyers will see personalized search results that are the most relevant to them. ETSY is now using AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology to figure out a buyer’s search intention and return the personalized results to them.
Here are two examples of the new CSR result:
- If a buyer searches for “shoe”, the buyer probably doesn’t want to see a painting of a shoe or supplies to make shoes. Etsy’s AI technology figured the buyer’s search intent is just a pair of shoes to wear and will show the shoes listings only. This improves the buyer’s shopping experiences.
- You have a popular item for sale on ETSY. When your buyer searches for it, it shows up on the first page. When you search for it with the same keyword, it may show up on the 20th page. Why? It is very unlikely that you will purchase your own item; your item is not relevant to your shopping intent!
What does this change mean to sellers?
You are now shooting a moving target!
AI (Artificial Intelligence) system is a self-learning dynamic system. Just like a human’s brain, it absorbs new information every day, learns from it, and adjusts its behavior accordingly. That means even you can manage to get your listing to the first couple of pages. In a short period of time, it may get knocked out of the first ten pages. Each day, a lot of new information feeds into the AI system. It constantly adjusts how it ranks a particular search according to the new information it learned. You are now shooting a moving target! Keeping reading, we will explain what you can do to manage that moving target.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
With CSR changes, you are no longer seeing what your buyers see in live search results. This means you lose a valuable tool in measuring your Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work results! However, there are still a couple of alternative ways you can better assess your search results.
- Use a different computer, ideally at a different location that you have never used, to sign into your Etsy seller account. I personally rent a VPS (Virtual Private Server) for $20 to $30 a month. I use it to store my files, host my blog and do Etsy search research. This allows me to get a view of the live search results of my buyers.
- Use Etsy SEO tools like EtsyRank.com to do research on your search performance.
What should sellers do in 2018?
- Keep applying basic Etsy SEO techniques.
The most basic Etsy SEO techniques are still valid. Etsy search engine is smart, but don’t just rely on it to decide the search result ranking of your listings.
Make sure keywords appear in both title and tags. Use up all 13 tags. Instead of covering redundant keywords, use different keywords. Etsy search is now smart enough to know “shoe” and “shoes” is for the same search intent. You don’t need to waste your valuable tags or title spaces to cover these kinds of unnecessary keywords anymore.
- Sales is the key
Sales rank is now an important factor in ranking search results. To keep your listing on the first page, you need to have constant sales to keep it floating. Once sales drop, the listing starts to sink.
For a new product listing, you need to use some ‘launch’ techniques. Offering a deep discount or generating sales from your social media network will boost your listing’s initial sales rank. In combination with a good SEO on the listing, it could put the listing in the first couple of pages within a short period of time. Once it gets there, organic sales will come in and keep the listing floating on the top of other lower sales volume listings.
If an old listing cannot be found no matter what you do, consider terminating it and creating a new one to give it a fresh start.
- Social Media, Social Media, Social Media
Many successful Etsy sellers spend significant amounts of time on social media. A big portion of their sales and traffic are actually coming from their Blog, Facebook, instragram, Pintrest or Youtube channel. Do not solely rely on Etsy search for all your sales. Bring in sales from your personal network, community, and social media channels, but focus on the one or two social media channels that are most suitable to your products and yourself. Your time and energy are limited.
- Improve your products and services. Eventually, it’s your product that will make the sale. It’s your services that add the value to your product and keep your buyers coming back. Without a good product and services, your sales will not last, even if your listing gets a good amount of traffic.
The days of stuffing a couple of keywords in the title and having your listing appear in the first couple pages of Etsy are gone. Remember the old days when you could renew your listings and they would appear in the first page automatically? They are long gone! We cannot easily trick the system anymore and we shouldn’t. Instead, focus on your product, your services, and have a solid marketing strategy.