Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Relevancy Decoded

Currently Etsy has switched to a relevancy based rank for searching items. As a seller you want to be coming to the closest to the top as possible...this forum posting really summarizes who you can do this for your shop...

WinchesterLambourne says
RELEVANCY tips and tricks: a compilation

There are so many questions about relevancy, so it is worth having all the answers and information compiled in one place. I have also added some observations of mine which I believe may be possible, after running some tests for the past few days.

1. The title is the most crucial and significant part of your listing.

2. The first few words of your title are the most significant part of this.

3. The top keyword needs to be first.

In other words, what you first type in the title makes the world of a difference in how relevant you are. The top keyword needs to be at the front of your listing title. If you're selling a nice pair of earrings with an amethyst gem, putting "Purple wonder" as the first words will ensure you won't be found in the first pages. Hardly anyone thinks of that word combination. If I (the buyer) am searching for amethyst earrings, I will search 'amethyst earrings' or 'amethyst earrings wire wrapped'. If I'm particularly choosy about what I put in my ears, I may search "amethyst earrings sterling silver". So your first keywords would be "amethyst earrings wire wrapped sterling silver". What kind of silver? I may like 'oxidized silver' and search for that. So, if they're oxidized, then 'amethyst earrings wire wrapped oxidized sterling silver'.

In the above example, the top keyword is 'amethyst earrings'. In my case, the top keyword is 'custom banner'. This is the most intuitive phrase or word(s) that the buyers use when searching.

4. Don't limit yourself to one type of intuitive top keyword or phrase.
Think about buyers who are different and search differently. For example, in my case the top keyword can be "custom banner". However, for what I do not all buyers use this particular one. Another top phrase is "shop banner" or "etsy banner". Having these variations in listings ensure that at least one will be seen for each type of search for the same or similar items.

5. Sometimes way you think is not how the buyer thinks.
This is something I struggled with for a while, when I started changing my listings. My first reaction was to either to stuff the title full of accurate keywords in a catch-all manner, disregarding order, or to use logical sounding sentences that were too long. Both can be mistakes. The first can be a mistake because order matters in relevancy - you don't only need to use accurate keywords, and as many of them as you can, but you need to place them in a certain order. I first had "custom personalized etsy banner and avatar package set'. They are good, relevant tags but the order is wrong. I was thinking from the seller's point of view there. Then I thought 'what will the buyer search?' They won't look for 'custom personalized etsy banner', because if they're like me when I search, they want to type in just the essential. I can be lazy when searching - I type in the absolute crucial because that's what gives the best results and well...because it's easy. I don't have a lot of patience. So I thought...'what would I type in if I were the buyer?' The crucial quick phrases 'banner avatar', 'basic set etsy' (not necessarily long grammatically correct sentences), and simple direct keywords 'etsy banner', 'banner and avatar', 'custom banner'. So to paraphrase in one tip&trick:

6. The gramatically incorrect word arrangements that we search with are just as important as the more logical sounding phrases we use in titles. When I started including these, I saw better results.

7. Tag order does not matter. This was stated by admin in a livestream meeting about relevancy back at the beginning of the month....however:

8. What IS crucial is for the master keyword of the title to match your first tag. It doesn't have to be your first tag, but putting it first ensures you won't forget this particular one because it is a very important tag. Example: If my listing is for a 'custom banner' and it begins with the master keyword 'custom banner' in the title, it makes considerable difference to have 'custom banner' in the keywords. Not just 'custom' and 'banner' but the exact phrase. It causes a significant push in relevancy.

9. Relevant, accurate tag phrases are now allowed. This is a recent move that came after relevancy. Examples from admin: 'knit hat', 'sterling silver'.

10. Recency matters. Listing an item pushes it up towards the beginning of the relevant search, however briefly. Which brings me to this hypothesis:

11. I could be completely wrong, but I believe that one factor which affects how high you rank is search clicks or your search rank. I've heard etsy admin mention it occasionally. There seems to be a limited 'grace period' immediately after relisting or renewing an item, when the item flickers around on page 1 or two, going back to the beginning of search, even if it is not the first item there. It's like it's trying to find it's place. Most often, I have found that the items I relisted were temporarily on page 1. Here it can go two ways. While it's at the forefront for those fleeting minutes or hours:

a) either it gets a lot of clicks while being fresh and in people's faces, because the photo is eyecatching and many decide to click it. Or:
b) it gets few or no clicks because there is no traffic, or traffic does not select your item to view and click on

If the item is towards the second third or more pages, route (a) seems to push the items gradually to the top and the first page, with the more clicks it gets. If it gets a lot of clicks, the item seems to be on the front page(s) a lot longer. It gets a more temporary and less fleeting exposure there (days possibly instead of minutes). If it's on page one, it moves up a little or lodges itself more strongly on page 1.

If the item is on the first page but gets little interest, it gradually sinks into 2, 3, 4 and so forth, with those items that get clicks staying on longer. Hence the constant shuffle between items that sink, items that come up, items that stay.

This tactic makes sense to me because it's similar to what other search engines use when they select relevant results, on the basis that people will want to see what people before clamored to see. I'm not sure if I'm right but this is one of my hypotheses.

12. This is why it remains important to renew occasionally (or better yet, relist) while constantly improving your photos.


Laurel said...

OMG thank you for this info! clear, concise and very helpful!

Amy@Natural Vintage said...

Excellent information, thank you SO much!!

Elizabeth said...
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