Hello Etsy Sellers,
Yesterday morning (7.29.15), I shared with Thrive Members in the Thrive Private Facebook Group some insight into the new category changes that show up in the Etsy search results for broad search terms.
Ashley Budge (Country Stitched) had the following GREAT question:
The Etsy Search Algorithm has NOT Changed – Only the Presentation of the Search Results has Changed
A few weeks ago, if you searched for “sterling silver” on Etsy, you saw something like this:
Etsy was showing rings, necklaces, earrings, and even guitar picks! When a customer put in a search term that was so broad, Etsy didn’t know what to show them – so they showed them a bit of every type of category.
So what does the search results for “sterling silver” look like today? The Etsy so called “SEO Change” that some are talking about looks like this:
Notice the 4 new sub categories at the top of the page. This is new. It allows searching customers the chance to narrow or refine their search term by selecting rings, earrings, necklaces, or bracelets after they typed in the broader search term “sterling silver”.
Etsy is helping to turn “weaker user shopping intent” (sterling silver) into “stronger user shopping intent” (sterling silver necklace) with one click from the customer. Sterling silver necklace is a “longer-tail keyword” or more focused as compared to the “shorter phrased” and broader phrase of sterling silver.
More Long-tail Search Terms = The Higher the Customer’s Intent to Purchase = More Sales
Overall, this is generally great news! Why?
When you look at your shop stats and see such generic one-word search terms that generate traffic for your Etsy shop as just the single word “red”, “dog” or “jewelry” – most of this traffic has lower buyer intent and those views convert to sales less frequently. The customer was merely testing the waters to understand what they were really looking for anyways.
With shorter and broader search phrases like “sterling silver”, the customer generally didn’t find what they roughly had in mind or saw so many different types of products that they gave up and left Etsy in frustration.
Some of those searchers that truly had higher user intent might have eventually searched again for the longer-tailed “red dog bone jewelry” search term (finding only 282 products instead of the 100,000s of very broad search results).
Made up example: Good longer-tail keywords (like “red dog bone jewelry”) increase your chances of being found and making a sale from customers that know what they are looking for. Worse longer-tail keywords (like “red dog bone hipster jewelry”) rarely ever get searched. You simply must know what long-tail keywords are winners vs. losers…I’ll share about how to do that later.
This new feature allows Etsy to turn one word search terms into two word search terms with one category click from the browsing customer. You do NOTHING to receive this benefit! EVERY Etsy seller wins equally.
You like everyone making more sales? Great – me too.
Don’t you want even MORE sales than other similar sellers receive for their similar products?
I know you want more sales. It’s not a secret. . . One way that you make more sales is by: 1) showing up high in the Etsy search results for 2) the best keyword search terms.
IMPORTANT – You make more sales by 1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and 2) Good Keyword Selection
SEO is different from Keyword Selection.
You can consider Keyword selection as a subset of SEO – they work together (you need to know the best keyword search term you are targeting before you can optimize for that listing).
4 Reasons Etsy SEO did NOT dramatically change this week
1: The search results are consistent with search results from previous months. I have observed the 36 variables for optimization (1) between “sterling silver” with a necklace category click and “sterling silver necklace” and see no surprises other than the next point (2).
2: The new category filters at the top of the search results rely on the category selected, after the broad search phrase. When you click on the “necklace” category, you see only products in a “necklace” category. When you search “sterling silver necklace” you can find occasional products in the “craft & supplies” category which has no necklace designation. (Note: the only common-sense tip here is to make sure you have your products in the most appropriate category – there is no new SEO magic). (Also to Note: if a search phrase you are targeting shows a category you are not in, if it makes logical sense, you might want to be in that category to gain more traffic from broad search, category clicks).
3: The products shown for the two related searches are over 80% different. You still have to optimize your listing for a targeted phrase. Optimizing for “sterling silver” with a necklace click uses the same techniques as optimizing for a “sterling silver necklace” search. The products shown in the results are different because they are different searches! The new category click only concerns your product being in an appropriate category. (Note: If you make a necklace, you have a necklace. Sure, you can put it in Weddings, Jewelry, Necklace category or Jewelry Necklaces category. Both of these categories are appearing in the category search results…so don’t sweat the alternative categories too much right now – just make sure you are in an appropriate category). Search results under a broad search with a category click still follow the old SEO algorithm for the search term – not a new search algorithm fo the search category!
4: The Etsy community is NOT screaming in agony or joy. When big Etsy SEO changes occur, the community will be ablaze with almost everyone screaming – including both big time sellers and small time sellers (like we saw in late 2014). They were screaming in agony because a product immediately dropped from page 1 to page 100 or they were screaming in joy because somehow their product jumped from page 100 to page 1. If you hear any screaming right now . . . I believe it’s likely just well-intentioned marketing noise.
I do anticipate this category change to impact the Etsy search algorithm, but not yet!
Think about it…
We know that Etsy changed all of our products to fit into new categories without our input and got rid of some of the old categories we used to use. This was their preparation step. We responded by putting our products where we saw best in the new categories.
Next, we know that Etsy tested these categories on some Etsy sellers earlier this Spring. It’s been reported that this change increased user engagement by 10%. Etsy liked the results and saw they could make very broad search terms a little more focused and now have applied the concept for everyone.
Today, we are seeing this new feature across the whole site. Etsy added something new to the very top of the search results for terms that didn’t often convert to sales compared to long-tail searches. It has been reported that 30% of Etsy searches are of these short very broad search terms.
Every good computer programmer knows that you don’t change two variables at the same time
…You change one at a time so you can effectively measure the impact.
The Etsy search algorithm did not change with the category additions at the same time. The category additions on 30% of the searches is the only thing that did change.
I do believe that once this category change gets some months of hard search data behind it for Etsy to analyze, we can expect a future algorithm change from Etsy that will feature more machine learning. But not yet…believe me, you’ll know when the Etsy algorithm gets changed – we’ll all know about it without any doubts! (Insert real screams across the Etsy community!)
Changes bring opportunity. How can you seize the new opportunity?
- Use your common sense and put your products in the most appropriate category. This will help increase your likelihood of being found in the new category filters within search. Are you in any categories related to a broad search term you might have as part of your targeted keyword phrase?
- Don’t be distracted by any talk of a “new” Etsy SEO techniques. The algorithm did not change for the underlying search terms. This change does not impact how you optimize (still something good to focus on) – using optimal keywords is the opportunity and a quick check of your categories.
- Focus on (1) optimizing your listings following proven Etsy SEO techniques and (2) make sure you are optimizing based upon “winning” keywords – not any “loser” keywords.
That should answer Ashley’s question from above, what else does she have to say?
She also posted the following message within the Thrive private Facebook group this morning:
Today, Thrive Members are able to take a list of 100 keywords, grab 3 pieces of data surrounding those search terms and use the Ultimate Etsy Keyword Tool to separate the “winners” from the “losers”.
The Ultimate Etsy Keyword Tool Ranks those Keywords from best to worst based upon multiple keyword objectives that you can select based upon the needs of your Etsy shop. The tool takes the hard data and mathematically (and automatically calculates) to show you where your largest long-tail keyword opportunities lie.
In August, I’ll be adding a new feature to the tool that will also allow you to find keyword phrases that have the highest user intent that are backed from hard data and specific for your shop.
This is keyword selection at its best…specific for Etsy seller’s needs in today’s environment. The Ultimate Etsy Keyword tool is available only for Thrive Members for $13.41 per month. Soon, you’ll only be able to purchase the keyword tool from my JJMFinance Etsy shop for a higher priced $84. Keyword selection is HUGE!
The longer you are not a Thrive Member, the more you miss…and the price to join will soon be rising.
REMEMBER – You can make more sales by 1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and 2) Keyword Selection
If you were a Thrive Member before May 12th, you have access to the 36 Etsy SEO tips (1), sample title and tag formulas, Etsy SEO cheat sheet, and the 26 Etsy SEO myths (that I still hear quoted as truth all the time!). It’s now only available in my Etsy shop here.
If you join Thrive today, you’ll have the advantage of knowing which keywords are winners and which are losers (2). Don’t get caught trying to optimize for a search term that is low in opportunity (aka fighting an uphill battle). You need math and formulas to do the necessary calculations for finding the best keywords.
Here are some results I shared from the initial Keyword Tool Test. In the coming weeks, I’ll share even more awesome results – they are already starting to trickle in from Thrive Members since the Step 3 of the Ultimate Etsy Keyword Tool was released two weeks ago!
Just made this graph showing the experiment results from using the ultimate Etsy keyword tool on one Thrive Member’s product over 36 days. Thrive is for Etsy sellers that want more views, favorites, sales and search traffic. I’ll include details surrounding this experiment in Step 3. IG followers hear it first!