Etsy has finally put on their big boy pants and decided that making customers happy trumps rewarding people who needlessly renew 40+ items a day. While I sympathize for sellers who have made a profitable business out of this quirk, I'm thrilled beyond belief that relevancy rules Etsy now.
What this means is simple. Instead of listing the most recent items that have search terms as tags, Etsy has set relevancy--looking at how related a listing is to a search--as the default option for all searches on the website. It's easier than you would believe to capitalize on. Read on to see how easy.
Music to Read By: "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang, as even Etsy can do something great on occasion.
Are you ready for the super secret way to capitalize on relevancy? Brace yourself:
Title + Tags = Relevancy
The number one factor is the first few words of your title. If you name your piece of art something random and hard to search for, it won't show up. However, if you name your piece: Fine Art Painting [random title], you will show up on search results for fine art, art painting, fine painting, painting, and art. The first few words of the title have the most weight on relevancy. Use them well.
The number two factor is tags. The order of the tags no longer matters. They are all weighted equally in the relevancy search. Also, you are now officially allowed to use relevant multi-word tags. You cannot say "blue red yellow" if your piece is not blue, red, and yellow, but you can say your Halloween tote bag is a "halloween tote bag" in the tags.
What that means is this. You have to have your title keywords at the front of your listing. These same keywords need to be your tags.
For an example of this in action, search "Halloween ceramic" at Etsy. Notice how I'm all over the first page? My listings are relevant to that term. Etsy breaks up single-shop items to make it a bit more diverse. They're still refining the process, but at least it's not an unchanging force anymore.
Don't feel like you need to change all your listings at once. Play around with what works for you. Look at the search terms that bring people to your shop. Add those to a few of your listing titles and tags. Wait a few minutes then search for as many variations of those terms as you can. Are you popping up for most of them? If so, you're targeting the market right. If not, fiddle with the tags and titles some more. If you're in a huge category (like bracelets or vintage), try targeting a smaller market. It's hard to be relevant at the big term, but you can be the top of the list for a slightly more specific term by working on your titles and tags. Treat it like a game and you'll get the handle of it in no time.