Mastering Etsy's Search Algorithm: A Guide to Ranking Your Listings with Keywords

Etsy has become a go-to platform for artists, crafters, and makers looking to sell their unique products online. However, with millions of active sellers and buyers, standing out amongst the competition can be a challenge. To increase visibility and drive sales, it's important to understand Etsy's search algorithm and how to use keywords effectively. In this guide, we'll delve into the factors that impact Etsy's search rankings and provide tips for brainstorming keywords that will help your listings get noticed. 



How Etsy Search Works

First, Etsy search finds all listings that have keywords in the title, categories, and description that match the search query.

Then they rank these listings based on seven different factors:

  • Relevancy: How much your tags, titles, listing descriptions, categories, and attributes match a shopper's query.
  • Listing quality score: How many people who view your listing end up buying it, this is also known as your listing's 'conversion rate'.
  • Recency: New listings get a small, temporal boost in searches so that Etsy can determine how buyers interact with the listing. 
  • Customer & market experience score: Getting great reviews, having complete shop policies, and adding an About section all give you a boost in ranking.
  • Shipping price: Listings with a free shipping guarantee in the US are prioritized in search results because this has proven to be an important factor for buyers.
  • Translations & languages: Although Etsy automatically translates your keywords for shoppers, if you speak multiple languages you should add your own translations to your listings. They tend to sound more natural and will outperform machine translations.
  • Shopper's habits: Etsy uses context-specific ranking technology to show shopper's items they're most likely to purchase. This means when you search on Etsy, you aren't always seeing what another buyer might be seeing.


Overall, Etsy search is designed to help buyers find the products they're looking for, while also giving sellers a fair chance to be seen and attract customers. By understanding how the search algorithm works and optimizing your listings accordingly, you can increase your chances of being discovered by potential buyers and growing your business on Etsy.

It's worth noting that Etsy search is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay up-to-date with any changes or updates to the algorithm. For example, in 2020, Etsy introduced a new feature called "Attribute Priority", which prioritizes listings that have certain attributes selected by the buyer (such as color or size). By staying informed and adapting your strategy as needed, you can ensure that your listings are always performing well in search results and reaching the right audience.


Picking Keywords

Tags, titles, listing descriptions, categories, and attributes work together to accurately match your listings with shopper's searches. Etsy search gathers all the listings that have keywords that match the shopper's query, then they rank those listings so shoppers see the most relevant items. Strong keywords give your listings an opportunity to be shown in relevant search results. 

Note before starting that picking the right keywords is an ongoing process. You should monitor your listings' performance regularly and adjust your keywords as necessary. Keep up with the latest trends and changes in your market and adjust your keywords accordingly to stay relevant and visible in Etsy searches.


Brainstorm: Put yourself in your ideal customer's shoes. What would they be searching for in order to find your product?

Make a list of all words that come to mind as you go through the following bullet points:

  • Descriptive attributes; color, material, style, technique
  • Who it's best for; newlyweds, teachers, boyfriends
  • Shopping occasions; first anniversary gifts, stocking stuffers
  • Solution-oriented; running socks, pantry organization, apartment-friendly decor
  • Style; minimalist wall art, abstract print, traditional lamp
  • Size; mini tea cup, large gold hoops, shallow basket


Once you have a list of potential keywords, it's important to narrow it down to the most relevant and specific ones. For example, if you sell handmade candles, using keywords like "candles" or "handmade" may be too broad and competitive. Instead, consider using more specific keywords like "soy wax candles," "aromatherapy candles," or "scented candles for relaxation." This does not limit your reach so much as it just puts your product in front of the right people, which will ultimately result in more sales.

It's also important to consider the language and terminology your ideal customer may use. For example, if you sell eco-friendly products, your customers may search for terms like "sustainable," "green," or "environmentally friendly" instead of "eco-friendly." Doing some research on commonly used terms and phrases can help you choose the most effective keywords for your listings.


These are the fields you should sprinkle keywords into as you create your optimal listing:

Categories: Subcategories do not shrink your reach, your listing will appear in all categories that the subcategory is nested within. Be as specific as possible when picking your category.

Attributes: Don't miss opportunities to add relevant attributes. If the scarf you are listing is aqua, you should still add 'blue' as the attribute. This will allow the people who are searching for blue scarves to easily find your listing. 

Titles: Stick to short and clear titles. The title is just one factor that Etsy looks at to rank listings, so there is no need to cram keywords here. Just choose the ones that are most accurate and relevant. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and think of what they will be searching for in order to find your listing. 

Listing Descriptions: Include important information that will help buyers understand your product, but put the most important keywords within the first few sentences. Avoid copying the title verbatim or just listing keywords, use your human voice :). 

Tags: Tags are phrases that describe your unique product. Use all 13 that you are allotted. Try targeting longer, multi-phrase keywords. This will not only allow you to rank higher on those searches, but it will put your product in front of people who are specifically looking for it! Don't worry about adding plurals, multiple languages, or common typos. Etsy looks at root words and accounts for variations automatically.  




Mastering Etsy's search algorithm is crucial for any seller who wants to succeed on the platform. By understanding how Etsy ranks listings and how to brainstorm keywords to optimize your listings, you can increase your visibility and ultimately drive more traffic and sales to your shop. Remember to conduct thorough research, use relevant and specific keywords, and update your listings regularly to stay on top of Etsy's search rankings. With these tips and best practices, you'll be well on your way to mastering Etsy's search algorithm and growing your business on the platform.