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The Rise and Fall of Rankings

An EtsyRank study into how listings on Etsy rise and fall in rankings over time. 

Have you ever wondered why sales come in bursts and out of the blue?

EtsyRank just completed a study on how listings on Etsy rise and fall in rankings over time. We hope that by showing you how the ranking of listings change over time, it will help you understand how Etsy search works a little better, reduce frustration and get you focused on ways to get ranked better on Etsy. 

For this exercise, we focused a popular two-word search term in the jewelry category, though what we observed below applied to other search terms too.

Nearly all listings observed fell into one of these scenarios:

1. Dream Scenario: listings with a history of very strong sales and reviews appeared to remain on page 1, and in the top 10 results, indefinitely. Occasionally other listings would pop into the top 10, but listings with few or no sales did not remain in the top 10 for long. The listing graphed below had done a good job of SEO (graded B by EtsyRank) but had not been optimized for the search term we tested.

2. The Slow Decline: listings that have built up a history of good sales and reviews don't remain on page one. With each sale, the listing would be pushed back to page 1, but they would slowly start to decline down the rankings until the next sale. This listing had done a very good job of SEO (graded A by EtsyRank) and had the search terms at the very beginning of the title and in the tags.

3. The Fast Decline: listings with little or no sales history, particularly from newer shops, tend to show a fast decline. Here we observed drops from page 1 to page 10 in a day. We also saw conclusive evidence that show that when you renew a listing it will go back to the top of the search results. This listing had done a good job of SEO (graded B by EtsyRank) but had not been optimized for the search term we tested.

4. Stuck in a Rut: some listings just get stuck on the lower pages. They don’t disappear below page 10, but they are cellar-dwellers, and don't appear to generate any sales. These listings may benefit from an occasional renewal. The listing observed had done a fair job of SEO (graded C by EtsyRank). It had the search term in the tags, but did not have the search term near the beginning of the listing title.

5. De-clumping in action: it was fascinating to see Etsy’s de-clumping algorithm in action. We observed a seller with multiple listings for a search term and notice how the listings would battle each other for ranking. Typically the listing with the stronger sales history would dominate, but occasionally another listing would jump a few pages and push the stronger listing down the rankings. 

6. Renewing to trigger sales: many have speculated about the benefits of renewing listings. While the evidence shows that renewing a listing gets your listing back on page one, timing and decline rate appear to be important factors. In scenario #3 above, we showed how a seller was renewing a listing multiple times per day in an attempt to stimulate sales. Below is another example of a listing that was getting semi-regular renewals. In a week, we observed three renewals and one sale. While we cannot say the sale resulted from the renewal, it does seem likely that being on page 1 increases the chances of a sale dramatically.

What we learned from this:

1. Renewing will get your listing to page 1, but that does not guarantee a sale or that your listing will remain there for long.

2. Sales will also get your listing to page 1.

3. The more sales, the slower the decline.

4. Listings with very strong sales history tend to remain on page 1 or 2.

5. Renewing can stimulate sales, but not always, so tread carefully and consider the optimal time to renew.

6. Following the Etsy SEO guidelines did not have a direct impact on rank at any particular time, however we did notice that listings that were optimized for the term we tested did appear to have a slower decline rate than listings that were not optimized at all.

Key Takeaways and go-dos:

1. Do your SEO. It may seem pointless at times, but it does help.

2. Check where you rank for your most important keywords regularly.

3. Consider the occasional renewal to get your listings back on page 1.

Questions? Comments? 

Click here to discuss this on the EtsyRank team forum.

[EDIT] We decided to make the Monitor feature we used for this report available to all EtsyRank members. Now you can track the rise and fall of your own listings using the search ters that are most important to you. Try out the Monitor tool

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