So when Etsy announced the new 2018 changes it felt like everybody and their mother started rushing towards Facebook groups to discuss how this very dramatic change can be the Apocalypse itself.
A lot of gossip, lots of rumours and anxiety was going on. It felt like checking out for news about Brexit, really.
Now, having an Etsy shop myself and experiencing this first hand I don’t feel that anything dramatic actually happened to my income, after all, this is what it all boils down to. So, no I didn’t notice a decrease in the number of views or sale and can still make a full-time income from my shop. Furthermore, my shop keeps growing and I noticed more activity in terms of favourites.
With every new change, Etsy is trying to get better and better every time. A lot of people might find that this platform is not right for them anymore as some of the changes like taking a percentage from the shipping fee created a lot of anger and resentment in the community.
So what do these changes really mean for us, the sellers?
Do we need to make some adjustments to be up to date?
Yes, but take your time…
It is by far more important to have a killer SEO that gives your shop a solid foundation rather than worry about tweaking you shop for the new changes.
Download below my guide on how to SEO your shop from top to bottom, if you are up to date with that, no new change will drastically affect your shop.
For my shop, I made one and only one change which I’m still testing it out to see if it’s worthy. ( more about it below )
Please don’t just go in and turn your shop upside down or start to panic that you’ve got a bazillion of listings that need to be modified. Find at the end of the post a checklist that you can go through and make sure you’re all up to date.
So one of the biggest change that happened in 2018 is the:
Content specific ranking (CSR)
What does it mean?
Well CSR helps the shoppers find relevant listings that Etsy believes they are going to like based on their previous purchases or their habits across the platform. So no two people will be able to see the same everytime they type in a search.
Because of the artificial intelligence that Etsy acquired it is possible now to tailor what the buyers see.
That also means that the “clumping” is back. Having multiple items from the same shop showing on the same page it is again possible. For you, it means that it’s best to use a variety of keywords and you don’t have to repeat the same ones in all your listings. Best to diversity to increase your chances to get found more frequently in searches.
Recency is still there but probably is not going to be as important as it used to. Before, if your SEO was on point, renewing your listing would give them that bump and push it in front of more eyes.
In my experience, after the changes, I don’t see a big impact anymore and I definitely don’t rely on this as a marketing strategy.
Titles, Tags, Categories, Attributes
This is something that still stands strong and should be a priority in your SEO strategy. Etsy says:
When a customer enters a search query on Etsy, we look at the titles, tags, categories and attributes you’ve added to find matching keywords. Using all 13 tags, adding variety to your tags, adding all the relevant attribute options, and categorising your items as specifically as you may all help increase the chance that your listings will match with a query.
This is something that’s been the same for quite some time. About 1-2 times a year I like to go through all the listing and check it with Marmalead and make sure everything is looking good or swap some keywords for more seasonal ones.
Etsy gives you 140 characters for your titles but now, they don’t want you necessarily you to use all the characters. Titles should describe the item 100%, be effective and easy to read. Repeating a keyword in your title won’t increase your item’s visibility anymore. Instead of saying “A5 planner inserts, Budget Planner insert just say “A5 Budget planner inserts”.
Going on holiday will hurt your ranking and will take some time until your views are back the same way as before you set it on vacation mode.
A better solution would be to increase your processing time and add a short note that the items will be dispatched promptly on a specific date so the customers know when to expect them.
This is still very much a thing and to get in front of more eyeballs you need to think like a buyer. The first 40 characters of your listing’s title are the most important. Creating a mixture of focus keyword that describes your item with a more general keyword is the sweet spot.
For example, focus keywords would be:
- Ice cream baby rattle
- Gemini star sign necklace
- Solid oak personalised bookend
And a general keyword:
- Gifts for her
- Baby shower gift
- Shelf decoration
- A4 prints
Use an SEO tool like Marmalead or Etsy Rank to check exactly which words to use and don’t pull them out of a hat.
Customer experience score
Now, your customer reviews will impact your search. Etsy is becoming picky about what shops are recommending to the buyers to make sure they’re getting a good experience with their online shopping. So getting great reviews can improve your score rating while the recent open cases and different infringements can hurt it.
This is another thing that created a lot of discussions. Etsy started to charge 5% fee from the shipping cost encouraging you to ship your items free. Now we know that shipping isn’t free for anybody but it started to prioritise in the search results the shops that do that. Amazon brought the trend with fast and free and now people have different expectations from what they used to.
Etsy does mention that you could include the shipping price into the total of the item but that’s not always an option for many shops. If you sell something big and fragile it’s unrealistic to include the price of the shipping on top on the item itself as you’ll repel the customers before they even click through to see more.
There’s no one size fits all.
In my shop, I started doing free shipping and I haven’t seen any massive change in the number of sales I get but I know some shops have noticed a difference. You can always give it a go for a couple of months and see if it’s right for your shop and if not you can always go back. That’s the best way to test this out.
And now, for the most important pieces of the puzzle, to get found on Etsy that is:
List more items
There are over 50 million items on Etsy. The chances to get found when you have 16 items in your shop? Minuscule.
Just adding more listings is one of the most effective strategies to grow your shop. Now, don’t expect an instant boost everytime you add an item. For the Etsy bots to find your item can take any time between 4-6 weeks but once it’s picked up and start getting some sales you will see a boost in your views and favourites which can result in more sales. To carry on that cycle make adding items to your shop regularly a priority.
The minimum number of items any shop should have is no less than 50 before expecting some significant activity.
I remember when I decided to get serious about Etsy I committed that by the end of next month to have 50 items in my shop and my revenue went from 0 to $499 straightaway.
By adding more items in your shop your exposure will increase, you’ll get more clicks and Etsy will start to see some activity and will send traffic your way. But you need to put in the time and effort before you see the results.
So moving forward:
- Titles and tags still need to match
- Your best/focus keywords at the beginning of the titles
- Attributes that describe your item 110%
- Polish your about me page
- Don’t fiddle with your announcement section but add SEO in
- If you’re going for holidays increase the dispatch time rather than setting your shop on holiday mode
- Make sure your customers are happy, more positive reviews more chachings
- Check if it’s worth decreasing your shipping prices and including it in the price of the item
- List more items to increase your exposure
Do you have any further tips that helped you keep up with the new 2018 changes? Share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.