Etsy search ranking, how to find out, and why it’s worthless

I’m sorry for the clickbait title. Actually, I’m not, because you clicked. Ranking isn’t worthless per se, but people think it’s the be-all and end-all. Nuh-uh.

Back in the early days, well, ten or more years ago, there was a common saying in Google SEO that ‘PageRank is vanity, traffic is sanity’. Which meant that people who neglected their business just to get a high algorithm score on PageRank were stupid. They were writing page copy for machines, not people, building moody backlink farms, and making all kinds of other mistakes, so even if they did rank high in search results, they were getting few clicks and even fewer conversions to sales.

This is the danger facing a new breed of Search Engine Optimisers on Etsy. Getting front page ranking is awesome (or even first 3 pages), but don’t neglect the photo, description, price (and everything else in your pipeline that converts prospects into repeat customers) and make sure you’re ranking for stuff that’s relevant to your product and that people are actually going to type into that search box. I did another post on how to pick relevant focus/triple lock keywords, so I’ll move right along and show you how to objectively identify what ranking (position in search results) your products get for any given keyword. I’m explaining this as I would explain how to use any tool in your repertoire.

Why objective? Why not just use the search bar on Etsy? Well, Etsy, like all other search engines, uses your cookies, account, existing favourites, location and a ton of other factors to influence search results. So any results you get just by searching in the main search bar will be skewed somewhat. Instead, we need a method that doesn’t have any skews, and this is an attribute that Etsy imbues on it’s APIs (fancy term meaning connections to other websites).

So, in order to strip away all of this skewing, we need to go in via an API, which means using a website such as Marmalead or, my new favourite,

(Note – I did blog about how to get your own developer account and use MS Excel to get your own free SEO data, but this is only for people who like to tinker and who know what they’re doing. Etsyrank does all this and more.)

Let’s get started. Create your free account on Etsyrank, link your shop if you want (and explore the other awesome features), but the main tool we want here is called the ‘Rank Checker’ available from the left hand side menu.

It’s then as simple as entering your keyword in the left box and hitting search. You’ll get an unskewed list of the first 500 matches. If you’re not near the top, then instead you might want to use the right hand box and enter your shop name to filter down to only results relating to your shop.

This will now bring back a summary of where your products rank within the top 500 – useful huh? Don’t forget, just ranking on the first three pages isn’t enough. It has to be for an appropriate keyword, your photo has to make them click and the rest of the product (and your shop) has to make them want to buy it.

So how about a new slogan: Ranking is vanity, SALES ARE SANITY!!

That’s it for this post, short and sweet. If you found this useful, please hit the like button, or follow the blog, or if you’re feeling super generous, buy a greetings card from my shop –

If I’ve made any mistakes, let me know in the comments!

Etsyrank checker example


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