How Etsy’s New “Search by Relevancy” Will Affect You

When I was at CCE last week, I sat in on a panel that Danielle from Etsy was heading up and one of the things she mentioned that was of interest to me was the sort by relevancy search, which would be the new default for searches. I was excited about the change, as a shopper, but I am certain that Etsy shop owners were even more excited by the news.

At the time of her presentation, Danielle mentioned that the new search function hadn’t been released yet, so I didn’t say anything, but as of Tuesday, August 9th it is live on And I am really curious to know your opinion as a shop owner and/or a buyer. As you may have guessed, the new search default is seeing positive results so far. Here’s a quote from a recent article released on Etsy’s blog from CEO Chad Dickerson…

As I write this, search sorted by relevancy has been the default for less than 48 hours, but were pleased to share some early data that supports what we learned in testing.

  • 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

Switching to relevancy as the default search sort was a necessary step in our continued effort to improve the search experience on Etsy. The “search results sorted by relevancy” approach gives us more options to continually improve the overall search experience as the marketplace continues to grow.

Those stats are pretty great. And as a buyer, I am enjoying the new search.

BUT, in the past, many Etsy shop owners have relied heavily on constantly re-listing products in order to show up at the top of search results. Now that things have changed, simply re-listing an item to appear higher in the search ranking isn’t going to work.

And that means you will have to change your strategy. Here are my suggestions…

Instead of constantly re-listing items, utilize other avenues. Make good use of what you still have and recharge your marketing strategy while you are at it. Time to roll up your sleeves to do some research…

Think long and hard about what your keywords should be and use them in these four places:

  1. product title
  2. tags (use all 13 tags you have to describe each product in your shop + make sure your keywords are a part of those tags you choose)
  3. the first line of your product description (believe it or not, straight from the horses mouth, the first line in your item description is the most important for your potential customers and for SEO).
  4. your profile page

 Start marketing your work outside of Etsy if you are not already.

  1. Make a list of sites and blogs that you believe your work would appeal to.
  2. Contact one blog each week to start (so you don’t feel overwhelmed) and introduce yourself and ask if the editor might be interested in featuring your work in the future.
  3. Think about alternative ways you can get your shop noticed (facebook, twitter, your own blog, advertising, giveaways, promos, etc) and get to work.

There are plenty of other ways to accommodate this change and continue on that road to success with more sales, but for now, I’ll leave you with those short and actionable tips.

I’d love for you to chime in with your own thoughts though, so let me know in the comments below what you think of the new search by relevancy default. Or if you’d prefer, you can answer this question…

How has the new way to search on Etsy changed your marketing and sales strategy so far?

Looking forward to reading and responding to your thoughts.

34 comments | Click here to reply

I have not noticed any changes so far. I am glad that relisting is not a big factor, now I guess I need to do some more research on SEO. I am hopeful that this is a positive change for us all. It will be appositive change on my Etsy bill.

Gabrielle @bstrung

The big sellers are complaining about the change. I do not think that Etsy has sold over these last days, because they themselves were saying in the forums, vendors complaining that August is always a month that everything is going very slow, so that’s a contradiction.

On my own experience, I’ve been on Etsy two years and I have not worked as expected. In June I started to sell a little more and that same month suddenly everything stopped and of course no visitors or sales.

I’ve changed the titles of articles, tags, description several times in one way or another and nothing, in the end I think it’s best to do nothing, do not waste time changing anything because I have seen items that did not fulfill is giving advice that Etsy and were ahead of mine in searches, my firts items appeared out on page 7 , 32..

I understand that now with this change is more fair to all, why, I do not I used this trick, relist products were not sold, as I learned last week that people were using this trick, so I was disadvantage, but anyway, I also served the new change, not if will serve me or my patience ran out before.

Ana Gonzalez

Oops! That should be “relevancy”. Sorry about the typos. 🙂


I’m happy to read about the search changes and hope that over time it helps all of us. Like many other sellers, I do not want to spend the extra time and money renewing items just to be near the top. However, I haven’t seen a marked difference in my shop since the change. I will look through my listings and see what I can improve upon concerning titles, tags, etc.
As for relevency, I typed in the word valentine and the very first item on the list was a pair of blue earrings. I don’t think relevency will work until sellers tag correctly.


This relevancy thing isn’t working for me it all.. I just don’t have any luck. I have been adding “kawaii” to all my jewelry so I thought I would search my relevancy. I couldn’t find any of my jewelry in local Items for Canada or even Toronto. 🙁 Maybe I’m not doing it right. Can anyone help. 🙁

Candice Ware

I didn’t notice a tremendous change in either views or sales in my shop. Overall I like the change but I had to do a lot of research for myself before I felt comfortable with changing every title in my shop and tweeking all my tags. I thought I would share what I learned about SEO and the new Etsy search so I wrote this: Hope once people have time to adjust to the change, it will be a positive experience. Change is hard however and that is just the plain truth.


Thank you for the great advice. I went and re-vamped my shop just this morning after reading this and I have already seen a big increase in traffic, without having to relist! Thanks again!

Candace Rasmussen

At first I was skeptical that the relevancy change was going to help me. I actually thought it was hurting me as I noticed my item views were getting fewer and far between. However, I have to say within the last two weeks I have had double the amount of sales from last year at this same time. I am getting an average of one to two sales a week. Since I haven’t changed much in my shop, I have to assume that the relevancy is working for me. When I search for an item from my shop now, it shows up within a page or two, sometimes on the first page, whereas before I would just get lost or not show up at all. For once I am happy with an Etsy change.


That’s a good question Kasey. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you, but if I find out, I’ll let you know.



I really do like the fact that search results are by relevancy instead of recently listed, because it eases a lot of pressure I felt to constantly re-list. It costs money to re-list, and that takes away time from creating.

I do like how at the top of the search results, it shows a few recently listed items. This way, you can still see those just added listings. It’s the best of both worlds.

However, I do wonder how the results arrive after relevancy. Are they relevant and then the most recently added??


Cool Patty. Yes, definitely let me know if you see any change.

Hi Shannon. Yes! That is one thing that I didn’t mention in this post that I thought sellers would be excited about: shop stats. The top keywords and top traffic sources in particular can give you tremendous insight on how people are finding you and what they are looking for when they get to your shop.


I haven’t noticed any big changes yet, although I’m still trying to get used to the shop stats being available (which is AWESOME). Maybe I will notice more in the coming weeks? I do know that every time I see a post about it in the forums, I see nothing but a lot of aggravated people complaining about the changes, but I used to see posts all the time of people complaining that they WANTED relevancy, that having to relist all the time just wasn’t fair. So, we’ll see what happens. 🙂

Shannon Marie

hi brittni!
i spent a bit of time today reworking some of my titles, tags, etc…. I am anxious to see if it helps. Thanks for all the advice. 🙂

Patty S

Hey Casey. Hmm, sounds like a curious situation. I would imagine that the kinks are still being figured out, but I am not sure what makes things show up at the beginning of the results or the end? That could have something to do with when the items were listed, if all else is equal, but that is just a guess on my end. I don’t have an answer for that one. And as for the first line in product descriptions… Yes, Danielle (from Etsy) did mention in her presentation that the first line in the product description was important, and its something that many sellers overlook because they just don’t know about it. So, you are ahead of the game if you put that into place. Hope this helps.


I was hoping relevancy would improve searches for my items, but it’s actually much worse. My items are very specific and when I search for them only one item shows up in the first page (with search results of only 5 pages or so). I have over 60 items all in the same theme, so I dont know why the majority of my items would appear at the tail end of the search. My analytics are showing that my main keywords are not helping visitors find me in the search, anymore. My keywords are already in my titles, tags, and item descriptions. However, I didn’t know the first line of the product description was so important – I will definitely be updating those with my keywords. I suppose I need to keep reading up on the topic and try to improve my listings, but I’m a little confused about where to go from here.

Thanks so much for the article, Brittni.


Let me know your results Tsuki. Tweaking those keywords might help you.

Hey Brenda! Thanks for the recommendation to Etsy sellers. I absolutely agree with you. Testing is of vital importance. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for the next, so testing and following up are key.



I love seeing how a few of my knitting patterns that place highly in relevancy results are now selling very consistently. I’m really love not *having* to continually renew in order to *maybe* sell that same pattern. As a buyer, I super love finding what I was actually looking for. You’re totally on the mark, Brittni, with keywords specific to your target market. I’m slowly but steadily doing this with each and every listing.

I also recommend testing the changes you make! Make one or two changes, then recheck how your listing places the next day, and make one or two more changes. If the listing places higher, keep building on those changes. If lower, scrap those changes and try new keywords. Just make sure the keywords are accurate and really really target your ideal customer for that listing.


I’m not sure yet how this will affect me. It certainly didn’t do anything positive, so far, as I’ve had no new sales.

but i will definitely go back and make sure all of my tags ar 100% relevant. 🙁

Tsuki aka LittleGrayFox

Glad to hear that the change has been a positive one for you Anna. I think many Etsy shop owners are feeling like the playing field has been leveled a bit, which is a good thing in my mind. Thanks for stopping by!


I already see a difference – a positive one. My little shop is getting many more views than before, and I no longer feel like I have to get into the “relisting wars.” In fact, I’d let my shop go dormant because I was frustrated that I wouldn’t have a fighting chance, but now I feel like I do. I’m very excited about this, its rejuvinated my interest in etsy!

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