Reprinted here with permission from Cindy of CindyLouDoesStats. (Thank you, Cindy!)
Gaining views from Etsy’s relevancy search is not as difficult as you might think; for the most part, you just need to understand how it works!
****How To Be Relevant for the Etsy Search – Simple Version:
If you want to be relevant for the search “abalone earrings”, then you need to have the phrase “abalone earrings” in your title AND on a tag. Both places.
Having the title “Abalone Shell Earrings” will not be as relevant for the search “abalone earrings” because of the extra word in between the search terms.
Having “abalone” & “earrings” on separate tags is not as good as having them together on one tag, for the search “abalone earrings”.
***How To Be Relevant for the Etsy Search – Detailed Version:
The relevancy search also includes some other factors:
1) Recent listings/renewals (most evident in the largest searches)
2) Length of title – shorter can work better for any given search. This isn’t as noticeable in all searches, however, & varies depending on the competition.
3) Important keywords near the front of the title – this is not anywhere near as important as many people in the Etsy forum think it is, but it has some impact. It is also important for Google, so you should do it anyway.
4) “Shopper search behaviour in aggregate” – what people do with the listings when searching.
“Shopper search behaviour in aggregate” (a direct quote from Etsy admin) is generally believed to be clicks from the search, as well as possibly hearts from the search, along with Tweets & Facebook likes. The key is that Etsy has said these behaviours are from the search, not just views from anywhere.
At this time, we know (because admin has said so, & because I have also tested this where possible) that relevancy is NOT based on:
• The new attributes (style, occasion etc.)
• Tag order
• Number of listings in a shop
• Number of hearts or views the item or the shop has in general
• Any personalized search elements
***PLEASE NOTE: Don’t change all of your listings at once! Try a few & see how they work. Make sure you understand the search before you change everything, or you may end up doing a lot of extra work.
***How to Choose Your Keywords, Titles & Tags:
While you cannot ever predict all of the search terms people might use for your items, you can predict a lot of them. “Keywords” = words people search. Using the phrases people might search in your title & repeating them in your tags is the way to get more views from the relevancy search.
Start by typing a few general descriptive terms into the Etsy search bar to see what suggestions come up. Those suggestions are generated by real searches people have done, but are also beneficial because a buyer will sometimes choose one of them instead of typing a whole query.
The suggestions are limited to 10 at a time, so in many cases you need to type some of the more specific examples in to see if even more suggestions come up.
The easiest way to get keyword suggestions from Google is to follow the same process you just completed on Etsy – type words into the Google search & see what it suggests. Those searches will not be as shopping-specific as on Etsy, however, but they can give you a few suggested searches that are useful.
For advanced Google search ideas, use this link: adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
This is how you can find out if the words you title your items with are actually what the average person is looking for when they search, & if there are other words people also use for the same item, so it is a really important step that isn’t included in the Etsy search suggestions.
***Writing Your Listing – Titles & Tags
Okay, you are ready to write a good title & matching tags to get you lots of relevancy hits. How exactly do you approach this?
**Writing the Title: Ask yourself, do I have many similar items like this one? If no, choose the most popular keywords in the title. If yes, you will want to make all of the titles different & not focus only on the most popular search terms – using the less popular ones will get you more views overall.
It is important to make sure you use the exact phrases you researched if you want to be relevant for those phrases. Titling your listing “Abalone Blue Earrings” makes you less relevant for the searches “Abalone Earrings” AND “Blue Abalone”, since the words are not in the same order. “Blue Abalone Earrings” is a much better title on Etsy, even though someone might search “Abalone Blue Earrings” occasionally.
If your item didn’t really have any suggested searches & there are very few of this item on Etsy (e.g. “Fossil Ear Cuff”) then it is less important to have words in exact order, as you have little competition for this phrase.
**Writing the Tags: this part is crucial to being relevant for multiple searches. After filling out the most applicable category choices for your item, start with the terms you used in the title. Remember, the search terms themselves must be in the exact same order as the title to be relevant for that search, if it is a competitive search. Having “Abalone” “Earrings” “Blue” on separate tags no longer works as well as phrases do. BUT your tag order does not matter at this time, so you could add your shop name as a tag first & it will not affect your relevancy.
Then add other suggested or applicable phrases that people might search.
And you are done! For now, anyway. You do need to keep an eye on your stats at least once a week & change titles & tags that are not bringing you any views. But wait at least a week before changing them, after you have followed the above steps.
Posted at 7:51 pm Nov 2, 2011 EDT –
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed two changes to the relevancy rankings which may or may not be permanent:
1) putting words near the beginning is worth nothing now in the relevancy algorithm, as far as I can see. If it has any ranking value, it is very minimal. However, remember that it is important for Google ranking, & that the beginning of your title is what people see when they are using Gallery view, so that doesn’t mean you should forget the rule entirely
2) the length of the title no longer has as much relevancy weight as before; in fact, making your long titles shorter seems to have almost no impact on ranking now. I have had a few anomalous results that do make me think it still matters a bit, or perhaps that title keyword density matters, but not anywhere near as much as before, when I could cut 2 words from my titles & rise in the search. I am still experimenting to figure out exactly what is going on. Now that the holiday rush is over, I will have more time to follow this closely.
Of course, everything could change again tomorrow 🙂
Posted at 10:56 pm Jan 18, 2012 EST