AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun Sept 30 2018 21:22:35

Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Etsy recently published a guide for sellers on optimizing listings for search, and it's helpful to see a seller follow up and analyze the company's advice. After all, search engine optimization (SEO) requires constant research with a healthy dose of skepticism, whether you're optimizing for marketplace search or for Google.

Based in Canada, Cindy Lou sells jewelry as CindyLouWho2 on Etsy, where she also publishes her own SEO guides (CindyLouDoesStats). In a blog post on her own website, Cindy Lou delves into the new guide from Etsy, starting out with a cautionary introduction:

"Last Wednesday, Etsy released a new and supposedly comprehensive guide to its search algorithm, and as is often the case, it created more confusion than clarity. With one bombshell surprise, a confirmation of many older factors, and some flat-out wrong statements, "The Ultimate Guide to Etsy Search" should be read very carefully, and its statements tested wherever possible."

One challenge for sellers seeking SEO advice is the number of variables that come into play. Algorithms take into account many factors, and search engines keep the exact recipe a closely guarded secret. In Cindy Lou's case, she sells jewelry, so her experience can differ from sellers listing in other categories (which she herself points out).

Nevertheless, there are commonalities, and reviewing the guide will at the very least get you thinking about how to test and optimize your own listings - including sellers on other marketplaces.

Cindy Lou discusses Etsy's efforts to get sellers to lower shipping costs, but her testing revealed some surprising results:

"Through testing, I did not find even a small effect from reducing shipping charges or offering free shipping on listings, at least in the short term. Since last fall, I have been tracking the performance of a small number of listings in my jewellery shop that offered free shipping, and at best there was a tiny uptick in search views recently, but not across all of the listings. Last week, I changed numerous other items in several ways to test various possible scenarios: raising shipping, doubling shipping, reducing shipping, and offering free shipping, both with and without raising the item price."

That kind of testing can be fruitful and requires constant monitoring. Read through Etsy's guide, and then read Cindy Lou's assessment, and then run your own tests if you can. There's a lot more to these guides than the impact of offering free shipping, and we'd love to hear your take.



Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Sep 30 21:43:10 2018

Etsy is shooting itself in BOTH feet.
SURPRISE !
I'm not changing a thing .

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Oct 1 07:28:32 2018

AND :
It occurs to me that all these "Metrics and Stats" games are meant to make people who can't make a decent thing with their hands, look educated and busy.
I'm very busy MAKING decent, desirable things with my hands, designing my products, tending to customer relations, insuring each piece is shipped in a timely manner, and replenishing materials. I wear all the hats.
Etsy's cattle prod approach is an insult to my presence on their site. If I abandon their site, ALL THE TRAFFIC instantly shifts to my own website because mine is a unique product. I'm the only one in the entire world to make these.
The only reason I'm on Etsy in the first place is because some people feel more comfortable buying from a "major" venue.
I came to Etsy when it was brand new. I found it through an article in eCommercebytes. I had only 3 sales 3 years in a row, and I didn't give up. I had faith. I told everyone to list their things on Etsy back when it was a Civilized venue.
Now, it's just another corporate bully.
They will murder the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 08:04:28 2018

I concur with the previous comments. And I applaud the efforts to analyze Etsy's "new methodology" SEO.

Sadly, it emphasizes that we, as sellers, are on our own and need to operate in the manner that suits us best--not just sheeply follow the dictates by those who are doing not too much more than taking our fees.

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Mon Oct 1 10:26:16 2018

I always find Cindy’s advice to be helpful!

Another point of her blog post was that Etsy is indicating that this is where search IS, but in reality it’s more likely where search IS HEADING.  

Cindy demonstrates through her testing that Etsy could improve in the area of transparency...

I have switched my Etsy shop over to  90 to 95% free shipping.

My item titles have been at 70 characters or less for a while. After this update I tightened them up a little bit (although Cindy says 70 to 100 characters in her post, possibly because I raised the question with her).

I really try to offer Cool stuff at reasonable prices along with some sales and deals.

All that said, we are finding online sales of vintage, and even Snap-on tools, to be sluggish this year.  I’m seeing lower impressions on my items. I’m not sure if it’s an issue with me and my stuff, or a broader problem.

(Notably Cindy says that her handmade jewelry sales are up, despite trying to pull back on her Etsy shop in order to concentrate on her website.)

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 10:34:03 2018

Etsy has become a HUGE disappointment to sellers who have been there since the beginning, which was not that long ago.  In fact, so many of the complaints that Ebay sellers have are now common on Etsy.

Here's the truth:  when it comes to sales, NOTHING WE DO MATTERS.  Etsy is in complete control of all buying and selling through their algorithms.  There is NOTHING you can do to help yourself.

I have two shops- one vintage, one handmade.  Altogether I have over 1000 sales which is not much over 7 years.   I don't depend on this "income" at all for living expenses, but it is a good way for me to get a little extra income and sell my collections and work.

Here are all the things I do to try and boost my sales on Etsy:

1.  Constantly edit my listings and photos to improve them as per instructions.

2.  Spend money on promoted listings and every Etsy offer like coupons, sales, etc.

3.  Pay two independent contractors to promote my shops on social media.  
4.  Read and study every article about SEO that's out there and try to adjust accordingly.

After doing all of these things, busting my a$$ for hours on end, the result is:  IT DOESN'T MAKE A DAMN BIT OF DIFFERENCE.

If I do NOTHING it is the same as if I spend time and money trying to do better.

Again, this is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, and if Cindy Lou was honest she would admit it:  ETSY CONTROLS YOUR SALES THRU THE ALGORITHMS.  YOU WILL ONLY GET SALES IF THEY TURN ON THE FAUCET.    

There is no rhyme or reason except we have also found out that it appears Etsy is now cracking down on people who express their displeasure on the forums and social media.  There are many posts out there from sellers whose shops have gone down the tubes because they were too vocal in criticizing Etsy.  

You want to see who the successful money makers are?  Check out etsy rank and you can see where it's really at.  If you have over 300,000 sales is that really "handmade?"   Who's kidding who??  

Also- there is no longer any VINTAGE category on Etsy Rank.  
https://etsyrank.com/top-sellers/category/accessories

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

This user has validated their user name. by: SylvaRocks.net
Web Site

Mon Oct 1 11:25:25 2018

I really don't understand folks who rant and rave about selling venues.  They are what they are, they vary over time, they try to promote things their sellers will buy.

We also sell handmade jewelry, and are getting great sales -- over $10,000 month every month.  Jewelry is a cyclical market, doing fairly well most of the year, not so good during Sep, Oct and half of Nov.

Our sales are 30% over last year, which was 30% over the year before that.  Adding more product seems to influence sales -- not so much because we have new items for sales, but we think its because our increased activity is a factor in their algorithms.  We can't say for sure, but after we list 300-400 new items, we get increased visibility and sales across the board.

We live off our Etsy sales, and find it a  pleasant, easy place to sell.  As opposed to eBay, who appears to despise handmade sellers, Etsy has made it easy and very profitable for us to sell.  We're happy.

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 12:09:27 2018

Free shipping didn't do anything for me either. It
s  pointless in terms of search.

People don't understand the function of 'search'

Search isn't intended to help find things.

The primary purpose of 'search' is to thin the herd of tens or hundreds of thousands of items to a handful of exact or close to exact matches.

Assume you're in the category of 'sweaters'. It may have 200K listings.

If you're selling a blue, wool, hand knit, long sleeve, high necked sweater with a butterfly pattern, and you select all those applicable tags and attributes, then it will pop up if someone searches for 'blue wool handknit long sleeve high sleeve sweater with butterfly pattern'.

You've just used 'search' to select your product out of  searches for 'sweater', 'blue sweater', 'long sleeve sweater', etc.

People will never see your product, and never fall in love with it, because they never saw it and didn't know it exists.

Think of 'search' as being designed to EXCLUDE listings, not FIND them.

It'll make titles and tags a lot easier to understand, and they'll work better for you.

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 13:30:31 2018

Except older non algorythmic search engines did sjow you things. Now they just show what the company wants you to buy.

Heres an idea..trash algorythmic search. End of story

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 18:34:05 2018

I fell like their all the same - Amazon, Ebay, Etsy - none of them care or listen to their seller.  The biggest problem for me is that I've had a website for nearly 18 years. It doesn't seem to motivate the buyers to go there regards of what you offer them. The being better pricing because I don't care when someone buys it the always get the same service.  The same buyer will repeatedly return to lets say: ebay. Doesn't matter that they get a better price or you give them a coupon or some other incentive to buy direct they just keep going back to their base - fleecebay. I've even gone so far as to raise my prices even more and they go back to the big venue.  I think until Americans wake up - and I mean really wake up and start support Americans and not corporate America - these big website will continue to thrive. Sad but true

Perminate Link for Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide   Seller Finds Some Surprises in Etsy SEO Guide

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 20:34:50 2018

''Sadly, it emphasizes that we, as sellers, are on our own and need to operate in the manner that suits us best--not just sheeply follow the dictates by those who are doing not too much more than taking our fees.''

Wise words.  Always was necessary though.  And it would seem that most serious sellers probably know it.  Because.....

''... folks who rant and rave about selling venues.  They are what they are,''

...those folks who would trend to what has been dismissed as ''noise'' are folks who ARE expecting the venue they've chosen to patronize WILL be acting in that seller's interest as a matter of mutual interest. Not to mention so to actually earn those fees a creepin'.  To perform as advertised.

Their rage is at the stupidity, the incompetence, the duplicity, the obfuscation, the arrogance and indifference that meets every query and plea for consideration of those things which do best suit.  FOR mutual benefit.  

Nobody serious has time to waste bleating into the wind because it's blowing.  Nobody who would depend on their venue of choice would want it to fail.  It's not logical, to be sure.

But they are.  They rage against the dying of the light.  And theirs.

For what was, before all the 'change' unneeded, unproven, unproductive, unprofitable.  For what it has experimentally, schizophrenically become...become...become...and become again and again.  

And for what might have so easilly been.  



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.