relevancy schmelevancy, or why the new etsy search isn't that bad.

Disclaimer: I am no expert. I've only been on Etsy for a little over a year, and SEO still confuses me. These are just my thoughts. Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comments! :)

So, as you may have heard..Etsy rolled out a new way of searching a few days ago. The default is no longer by "Most Recent" but by "Relevancy." I cannot even fathom the amount of feedback I've seen. It's all over (and I mean all over) my Twitter feed, and it's a pretty hot topic in the Forums. Some people like it, some people don't mind it, and other people straight up hate it. It seems as though Etsy is not budging though, and to be honest: I don't see why they should.

I don't sell on Etsy full-time (I've been unemployed since January and am using Etsy for some extra spending money until I start working again), but I know a lot of people who do. I can see why these changes effect them so much and why they are voicing their opinions. It's important to let Etsy know how you feel, for sure! I know that many sellers spend an innumerable amount of money, effort, and time on their shops, and I think Etsy knows it too. We have to remember that Etsy is a company. The want to make money just like we do. They may not necessarily have had every single shop owner's opinion in mind when they made this plan, but I doubt they are trying to make us hate them and jump ship!

I'm getting very fed up with the immense amounts of complaints, though. As I said, it's great to express your opinion and ask for change, but it's getting extreme. I feel like the people who are complaining the most are sellers who have developed a very strategic and extensive renewing plan. If you buy a dress for $10 and are selling it for $100, it's okay to renew it once a week because you'll still make a nice profit. Keeping your items on the first page of "Most Recent" is not hard and it's quite lucrative. Being on the first page of "Most Recent" means increased views, sales, Treasury/FP appearances, Etsy finds, tweets, FB shares, blog posts, etc.

What is hard (apparently) is editing listings. Personally, I'm going to take my time editing my titles and tags. This is mostly because (as I said) Etsy isn't my full-time job and if my sales drop, I'll be okay. It's also because I want to see how my unedited listings' views/hearts/sales are with all these search changes. Some people are frantically editing and searching and editing and searching to see where their items are turning up in the Relevancy search. I admire them for their efforts, truly! They understand that selling on Etsy isn't easy. You can't expect to list an item and have it sell for ten times the amount you bought it for within five minutes of listing! It might happen, but you shouldn't expect it. Being an online seller is a job. Sometimes at jobs, you have to work hard. Edit your listings and carry on. Or leave Etsy. But stop whining!*

Think about this: When you are shopping on Etsy (or anywhere, really) do you buy the first item you see? If you search for "brown leather boots," do you immediately purchase the first listing? NO! You browse through a few pages, find a few pairs in your size and a style you like, and then go from there. Granted some buyers might not want to scour through pages and pages of listings and might grab an item from the first page, but not all will!

Chad Dickerson, new CEO of Etsy, blogged today:
* The total number of shops with a sale was higher in the past two days than any other days this year.
* The past two days saw more favoriting activity than any other other days this year. More individual sellers had an item favorited and more individual items were favorited than any other days in 2011.
* Two of the four biggest overall sales days on Etsy in 2011 were the past two days.
* Two of the four days with most individual items sold in 2011 were the past two days

It seems like we might not get as many views, but the views we do get will be more accurate. I don't have a problem with that at all! I'd rather know that my views are real customers who might buy my items than bots or random clicks. Also, let's not forget that buyers can very easily switch to "Most Recent" with just one click!

Jenn of Blue Butterfly Vintage perfectly tweeted today, "people. august is a slow month in all online venues. it is easy to blame relevancy, but check your stats. relevancy is likely not the issue." She's so right! Let's give it a few days, tweak some listings, read some more of Etsy's blog posts, tweet questions at each other, help each other out, and all that jazz. Then maybe in a few weeks we can make a real decision on "Relevancy"..

*I do realize the hilarity in me saying, "stop whining!" when all I'm doing in this post is complaining. Laugh with me!


  1. the funny thing is...we have three shops and I didn't even know this had happened. Oh well...

  2. Great post! I have mixed feeling about the new relevancy search. I think it works but I also think it's taking some of the features that were unique about Etsy away. It's really just working like an ebay search now.

    I'm definitely not the type of person who buys something from the first page of search results. And I hope that anyone looking for vintage is the same.

    That said... I'm still looking into the changes and will hopefully figure it out soon!

  3. totally agree! way too early for some folks having such harsh reactions (especially ones that are selling more...why complain???)

    i am pro relevancy so far. some people say it only benefits smaller stores, but my store has almost 500 items and selling vintage online is my full time gig, yet i am digging it.

    my stats and hearts are up, even when i havent listed-relisted for several hours.

    also, thanks for quoting me! i feel famous:)

  4. Thanks for the realization :)

    Great blog

  5. This is a fabulous post - thanks for this!
    I actually shop & look for treasury-finds using relevancy more oft than not, so for me it's not an issue. Also, I've had tons more traffic through my shop since the new search function was initiated, so I can't complain. I think some people like to complain for complaining's sake - gives them a voice, and usually comes from a place of fear (for change).
    I hadn't thought about the fact I may need to change my listings' titles to help with the new relevancy function ... I admit I make my titles short & kind of pretty, which isn't going to help me much now. :)
    Caren (TheVintageApartment aka @buttercupcaren)

  6. agree completely! all this complaining is getting annoying. relevancy makes sense and coincides with how the rest of the internet searches (i.e. google)! my views are up (no sales,yet) and i am happy.

  7. Shout it out, sister! We are all creatures of habit & most of us are not fond of change. Running a shop of any sort takes hard work. If we all ran brick & mortar shops we'd be rearranging, redecorating and changing the place up constantly to keep it appealing & keep the customers coming in. I feel that this change to relevancy search gives us all the opportunity to give our virtual shops a redo! I have tweaked a few listings, just the titles mind you, and seen a difference in where I am in the results immediately! I am willing to ride the relevancy train & see where it goes! Thanks for this fab post!

  8. Personally, my shop stats and hearts are remaining stable. Sales, well, not many before and not many now. I'm holding off on deciding if it works better for my shop or not, but at the end of the day if it doesn't than I need to put in the work to make sure it does.

    There's been a lot of talk about why this happened or why isn't etsy listening to their sellers and going back to recency. I think everyone is forgetting how long sellers have been saying that their "tired of playing the renewal game" in order to be seen. Well, etsy listened and that's why we have recency. It makes sense, really, and if we adapt as sellers I think this can be a good move for those of us who don't want to keep spending .20 over and over in order to be seen.

  9. i am actually quite for the change! definitely agree that more accurate searches are what we all want. i just think there are some glitches that need to be worked out. i get a lot of searches to my shop from "1950s dress" and when i perform that search, its an entire page of older listings from one shop! so, there are some things that need to be worked out, but in the long run this should (hopefully!) increase sales. it just might take some time to see the effects.

    additionally, im just frustrated in general w Etsy because they favor the handmade market over vintage! i would really love to see a similar marketplace for vintage *only* pop up!

    anyway, thanks for writing this post - you're dead on! :) good luck to us all!!!

  10. Just a shame that the shop whose "perfect" tweet you decided to feature in your article is guilty of tag stuffing to the extreme. You can bemoan the successful sellers for having the funds to renew, but that was allowed and was what Etsy suggested shops do in order to remain relevant. You are complimenting a shop who is flagrantly violating the tagging rules that everyone has been made well aware of when they joined. Rules that have been reinforced this week. Multiple word tags must be PHRASES! You cannot just throw a bunch of colors or words into a tag that do not constitute a phrase. I've had fun reporting all of her listings for the last half hour. YIPEE! Relevancy is a bitch!

  11. well, actually, brave person who comments on a blog anonymously, i was unaware of tag rules until a few days ago. if you check my store i have been changing the tags of items over the past few days. sure they havent all been changed, but thanks for reporting me to etsy. maybe i will have a better chance at making the newsletters, now that youve shown them what i have to offer and since so many "successful" stores are apparently leaving etsy. more room for the rest of us, lazy sellers.

    thanks again and yipee!


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