Does Etsy click networking harm ranking and sales?


Let’s go back to the beginning. Click networking is the act of sharing a link direct to one of your listings and asking a bunch of strangers on a forum to all go into and click like. In return, you go to all of theirs and click like. The theory is this has two benefits:

  1. Improved Etsy search ranking
  2. You’ll appear on all their feeds and may get some incidental sales

Only factor #2 is actually real, though fairly limited. How do I know this? Because Etsy have told us that they only rewards actions that result from search. So posting a link to your item and asking your mates or complete strangers to click like does zero for your search ranking. Zero.

But what about factor 2?

Well, if your target market is other crafters, then this may be a good tactic. By all means give it a try and find out.

So you said ‘possibly’ to it actually harming?

I did indeed. It’s been long rumoured that Etsy use conversion rate as another factor in scoring your search ranking. The theory goes that if you get 1 sale for every 100 views (1% conversion) then you’re a pretty average shop. If you get 3 sales for every 100 views (3%) then your stock is very popular and flying off the shelves! But if you add a thousand dumb likes to your 1 sale than your conversion rate is very low which Etsy may interpret to mean nobody else really likes your products therefore don’t rank it too highly.


What do we know?

We know (because Etsy have told us) that actions from search have a positive effect on Listing Quality (LQ).

We know that dumb likes don’t lead to sales – check out this picture from Kim who kindly let me use it here – Kim runs a lovely cross stitch shop (thanks Kim!)

This is a fairly predictable result from networking. Lots of views. Lots of dutiful favourites. No sales. No revenue.

Etsy screenshot image
Views don’t mean prizes


So how do I get seen?

We know that Search Rank (SR) is made up of: Title & Tag Relevancy (TTR), Listing Quality (LQ), Customer & MarketPlace Experience (CME), Recency(R), Shop Location (SL) and Shop Diversity (SD). We know this because Etsy have told us.

Of these, let’s just focus on two: Title and Tag Relevancy and Listing Quality

TTR means that you’re picking a keyword (ideally no more than 20 characters so that you can duplicate it in the tags) which can be one or more real words, that when searched for returns fewer than 14k results (because that’s as many as Etsy will return in 250 pages) but more than say, 1000 (because you want a half decent market. Personally I try to find keywords that return between 3k and 12k, but that’s me and is as arbitrary as any other opinion you’ll read on the subject.

As an example of potential keywords, I could choose:

  • birthday which has 1.5million results and is way too big, I’ll never compete
  • birthday card which has 223k results and still too big for now
  • funny birthday card which has 25k results….better but still a little ambitious for a newer shop
  • geek birthday card which has 1.2k results – a little small but it’s achievable and therefore a good place to start

So out of these I’m looking at funny birthday card and geek birthday card which are luckily both under 20 chars and so will fit in a tag.

With Etsy’s current completely useless and wasted tag system, anything you put in the title has to be duplicated in the tags. So for my new listing, I’ll start the title with ‘geek birthday card’ and enter this as a tag down the bottom of the listing. This is because Etsy have told us they prioritise the start of the title and that keywords that are in both the title and tags are more relevant. The rest of the title and tags is a rinse and repeat operation, but you could also look at keywords such as ‘gift for him’ etc

For listing quality, this is a little harder. I’m not going to advocate gaming the system by getting a friend to search for your keyword, page through endless pages of search results until they find your listing and then click on it, favourite it and even buy it. Because this would be gaming the system, even though it works (I’ve proved it). The difference between this and the dumb likes activity I started this article with is that you’re not linking to the listing, you’re making people find it via keywords therefore reinforcing the keyword to that listing.

But this is also pointless in the long run. I can force any item to the front page, but if I haven’t done my homework on the keywords, it won’t stay there. Listing Quality is really a virtuous cycle. Get it right, and it will take care of itself. For more on picking keywords, check out the ever brilliant Fairy Fountain Gift blog.

If you do get it right, you’ll run into Shop Diversity (SD) factor which means Etsy will only rank you roughly once per page for any given keyword. So choose wisely, and don’t waste good keywords on poor quality products with dim photos and badly worded descriptions. You’ll enter a vicious cycle rather than a virtuous one.


If you liked this article, please leave a like or a follow here on WordPress, or check out my Etsy shop at:

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