Updated April 2023
I’ve been selling on Etsy for the last 12 years, and it took me a while to figure out the Etsy system.
I’ve found that it’s pretty common for that to happen to sellers, and that people focus too much on organic search traffic as the only way to get people to their shops.
The thing that people forget is that Etsy is its own little ecosystem that includes different ways to get traffic to your shop. So how do you get more views on Etsy?
To get more views on Etsy, you need to understand the things that you can do that will increase both direct traffic and organic search traffic. Using good SEO is important, but there also needs to be traffic that comes from other places on Etsy, such as people’s favorites, the Etsy home page, and the Etsy notifications system, plus from social media off of Etsy.
Table of Contents
- Where do views on Etsy come from?
- What’s the difference between views and visits on Etsy?
- Are views or visits used to calculate the Etsy conversion rate?
- Etsy keywords influence your visits and views.
- Getting more views on Etsy with good photos.
- Using Etsy Explore for more traffic.
- Using listing videos to increase views.
- How the seller quality rating influences your Etsy views.
- Customer style and budget can influence views.
- How shop quality ratings influence views on Etsy.
- How favorites and clicks to listings can affect views on Etsy.
- What traffic comes from off of Etsy?
- Using Etsy ads for more shop views
Where do views on Etsy come from?
Views on Etsy can come from many sources, including outside links or from sections on Etsy itself. Some outside sources include:
- Social media
- Outside search engines
- Etsy ads on other websites (offsite ads)
- Email lists
- Links on websites
Sections on Etsy that can result in views include:
- The shop’s home page
- Etsy’s home page
- Editor’s picks pages
- The favorites section in customers’ profiles
- The Etsy forums
- The Etsy cart
- Suggested products and “you might also like” sections in Etsy listings
- The customer’s notifications feed
- The Etsy blog
- The Etsy Explore feature on the app
Etsy changes the site layout on a regular basis to add more sources for traffic that are separate from organic search results.
It’s important to understand that there are many ways to get visits and views on Etsy, and that most of them don’t involve the search process at all.
Taking advantage of the Etsy system can increase visits and views and make it possible to increase sales as a result.
What’s the difference between views and visits on Etsy?
A visit is counted when one person goes to a single shop on Etsy. A view is counted every time that visitor looks at a listing in that shop. It’s possible to have one visit with multiple views if a customer looks at more than one listing during the visit to the shop.
It’s also possible to have zero visits and still make a sale if the customer has saved a listing in a shopping cart and checks out during a different session on Etsy.
The cart isn’t a part of the shop’s system, it’s part of the Etsy system, so that would register as zero visits even if the sale was completed.
You should be thinking of visits and views together, though, because a goal is to get people to look at more than just one listing when they come to your shop.
Are views or visits used to calculate the Etsy conversion rate?
Visits is the data point that’s used to calculate the conversion rate on Etsy, not views. The conversion rate for a listing or a shop is the number of times that it sold divided by the number of times it was visited, multiplied by 100.
An average eCommerce conversion rate is generally said to be 1-3%, which means that for every 100 visits to a shop or a listing, between one and three sales should take place.
On Etsy the whole-shop conversion rate is noted in the shop stats, but the individual listings don’t have conversion rates reported.
You need to calculate this on a listing-by-listing basis by checking the individual listing stats from the listings manager.
The conversion rate for individual listings is one part of the search placement algorithm, but I’ve never seen anything that confirms that a shop’s overall conversion rate is taken into account.
Other factors seem to hold more weight in organic search traffic.
When looking at your organic Etsy traffic, there are things that we can control, things that we can’t control, and some things in between.
These all determine how our listings are found by customers. Etsy organic search is a good example of a system that’s influenced by all three of these factors, so let’s look at that first.
Etsy keywords influence your visits and views.
The main thing that we can control in Etsy search is the choice of keywords that we put in the title, tags, descriptions, categories, and attributes for a listing. These five areas act as the primary way that Etsy’s search engine determines what the listing is and who would be interested in buying it, and we have total control over the information that we add.
In a recent quarterly earnings presentation, Josh Silverman, the CEO of Etsy, mentioned that the primary way that Etsy decides what to include in the listings for any given search query is by using the information that sellers provide.
This means that sellers need to provide as much relevant information in the title, descriptions, categories, attributes, and tags of each listing so that the best results can be found for any search results page.
It’s been my experience that when sellers say that they’re not getting enough views to their listings, it’s often because the keywords that they’ve chosen to use are either very limited, repetitious, or not accurate.
Changing keywords to more relevant and varied terms will usually result in an increase in views without doing anything else.
- Use a good variety of keywords so that the Etsy search engine has a lot of terms that accurately describe your listing.
- Use your “best” keywords in the exact word order in the title to tell Etsy that the phrase is important.
- Don’t be too repetitive, Etsy doesn’t give you more credit for using words more than once.
Getting more views on Etsy with good photos.
The photos for a listing are important because good pictures of an item will be more likely to make a customer want to click through to see more. If a photo is dark or blurry, or if there are props or other things that make it unclear what’s being sold, people will be less likely to click on a photo that they see in a search result.
The most common type of photo for ecommerce listings tends to have a white or neutral background in order to not compete with the item being featured.
For this type of photo it’s important to use a good source of light that looks like natural sunlight, as opposed to fluorescent lighting, which can be very yellow.
A photo editing program is usually a good thing to use to brighten photos that aren’t optimal to begin with.
Another type of photo that’s commonly used on Etsy is the lifestyle photo, which shows the item in use.
These types of photos also need good lighting, but more than that, they need to be taken so that the item that’s being sold is the main focus of the photo.
There are a lot of lifestyle photos that don’t communicate what the item is or what’s being sold because there’s too much happening in the picture.
Make sure that your lifestyle photos make it clear what the item being sold is and keep the details clear and accurate.
- Take your listing photos in good light, preferably natural, indirect light.
- Make sure that the listing is the star of the photo.
- Lifestyle photos should focus on the item that’s being sold, not on the model or other props.
- Try to take your own photos of your products if you can, originality is better than using the same stock photos as every other seller.
Using Etsy Explore for more traffic.
Etsy Explore is a feature on the Etsy Seller app that lets sellers add short videos that showcase their products and creative process. It’s Etsy’s attempt at keeping people on the platform to browse, and it can help you to get more visits to your shop.
Explore isn’t available to every seller, it depends on what device you use and what country you’re in.
Customers who see the Explore feature see the videos in your shop and on the Etsy homepage, so posting in Explore can give you more visibility.
I’ve sued the Explore feature and have received traffic and sales from it, according to the stats page.
For a more in-depth article about Etsy Explore, click here.
Using listing videos to increase views.
Etsy listing videos are short 8-15 second videos that give the buyer a look at the listing being sold. They’re in the second space of the listing photos by default, and they don’t have sound. Etsy has said that in tests of listings with and without videos, the listings with videos had a higher conversion rate.
Etsy has said that for search placement, they prioritize listings that include a short video over listings that don’t.
This means that adding a listing video can increase your chances of showing up higher in search.
Whether this benefit will be permanent, or whether it “outranks” other placement factors, is something that Etsy doesn’t disclose.
But having a video in your listings is a good way to increase search placement even slightly, which can end up getting you more views from Etsy search.
- Add a video to every listing on Etsy that you can!
- Videos don’t have sound and don’t need to be highly produced or edited.
- Videos can increase conversion rates and help improve your placement in search.
- Use text in your videos to tell people to favorite the listing, which can increase views if they come back to it later.
- Show your products from as many angles as you can, especially for vintage items.
- Use the video as a chance to sell the item by showing off its features.
- Use the video to show scale and answer questions for people who don’t read the descriptions!
How the seller quality rating influences your Etsy views.
The seller quality rating is one of the things that Etsy uses to determine search placement for our listings. Seller quality is a score that looks at things like how quickly we answer messages from customers, whether we ship orders in a timely manner, how many cases are open against the shop, and whether we receive good reviews.
Etsy doesn’t give us the details on how seller quality is calculated, but if you do the things that you’re supposed to do, and get good reviews as a result, this rating should be fine for most sellers.
People who have a lot of bad feedback and who ship things out late or not at all will obviously have a lower seller rating, which can negatively impact their placement in search.
This will, in turn, affect how many views you get in your Etsy shop.
- Seller quality is one part of the Etsy search placement algorithm.
- As long as you’re doing your job, this isn’t something that you need to worry about too much.
- A lower seller rating can lower your position in search results.
Customer style and budget can influence views.
Etsy recently started using customer behavior as a large factor in search placement, and we have no control over a customer’s taste, style, or budget. When Etsy decides what to show to people, they use the customer’s behavior to decide which listings would be best-suited to that customer and what they’re most likely to buy.
Unfortunately for us as Etsy sellers, search personalization is real and it’s here.
What I see in search is going to be based on my previous activity on and off Etsy, and Etsy is going to try to sell me things that they think I want to see.
Those things might be different from the things that they think you want to see, so Etsy will show you different things.
This means that our visits and views might be more unpredictable than they have been in the past.
Although we don’t have control over certain things about the customer, we can kind of control other things.
I go over this in-depth in my EShop Success marketing program in the consumer psychology section, but it basically boils down to learning how to interact with customers through your listings and your shop on Etsy.
In addition, part of it is learning how to navigate the Etsy ecosystem itself.
- Personalized search takes the customer’s personal behavior on the site into account.
- We have no control over this!
- Spend your time worrying about something that you have some control over, don’t worry about this!
How shop quality ratings influence views on Etsy.
Etsy shop quality is a rating that is assigned to each shop and includes things like sales, reviews, customer service, cases that are filed against the shop, and order processing time. Shop quality is an important piece of the search placement algorithm because these factors tell Etsy whether customers found the products and buying experience worthwhile. Etsy wants to send customers to shops that provide a good customer experience.
The shop quality rating formula is something that Etsy doesn’t disclose, but a big part of it is clearly the kind of things that the Etsy Star Seller program measures.
Those would be things like how well we process orders, answer customer questions, and how many 5-star reviews we receive.
There are also things that we can control that fall into the shop quality rating category, including shipping speed and handling customer complaints.
While there’s no guarantee that every transaction will end up perfectly, the way that we handle the basics of running a business will influence our shop quality ratings, so we do have some control over it.
- The shop quality rating is part of the Etsy search algorithm and can affect your placement in search results.
- Etsy has mentioned making the shop quality rating more transparent for sellers, but hasn’t done that yet other than putting the Star Seller program in place.
- We have control over how our shops are managed, so we can control this for the most part.
How favorites and clicks to listings can affect views on Etsy.
Etsy has said that one of the pieces of the search placement algorithm is the number of clicks on a listing and the number of favorites a listing receives after being found in search. Both of these send a signal to Etsy that the customer is interested in the listing, so it gives them information about the customer and the listing in relation to other things the customer has looked at.
Although we don’t have 100% control over this activity, there are things that we can do to invite people to favorite our listings.
Some sellers add a graphic to their listings telling people to favorite it for later, and Etsy has tested settings that told customers to favorite things to receive personalized suggestions.
A lot of customers have no idea about how to favorite things, so telling them how to do so can increase the number of favorites your listings receive.
Getting people to click on a listing goes along with having good photos, but you can also add graphics to your listing photos that explain details of a listing that might make them more likely to click.
By adding details to the photos it gives customers information that they might not see before clicking through to the listing description, and that might be the information that brings the visit and views.
There are more things that we need to think about for organic search placement, but I want to move on to other forms of traffic that can increase your views on Etsy.
Some of these are related to the organic search factors and some of them are completely independent of organic search.
- Listing clicks and favorites are used to help Etsy figure out what listings are good to show to which customer.
- Clicks and favorites help listing quality if they’re clicked after being found in search.
- Customers who favorite your shop and listing will receive notifications about them later.
What traffic comes from off of Etsy?
Some sources of traffic from outside of Etsy include social media, google search, offsite ads run by Etsy, direct traffic from links in email newsletters, and links from blogs or other online articles. These types of traffic don’t use the Etsy search system at all because they don’t involve a customer searching for the listing. They also may involve more effort on the seller’s part because they can require a link to be placed on a social media platform to draw interest to the listing and persuade customers to click through.
To monitor views from off of Etsy, it’s important to have Google Analytics installed in your Etsy shop.
Etsy’s stats don’t report all of the sources of traffic in a good breakdown, so using Google Analytics is the best way to see where the most traffic is coming from.
When you’re able to check to see where your off-Etsy traffic is coming from, you will start seeing where your efforts are paying off and where they’re not driving as much traffic as you think they are.
It’s important to do a reality check and see if the platforms that you’re using are actually bringing visits and views to your shop.
Checking the stats will also give you direction about where your customers tend to hang out online.
Putting more effort into those platforms should drive more visits to your shop and increase your views without having to pay for ads.
- Install Google analytics in your Etsy shop, and make sure to use the search query settings to collect data (in a previous video, it’s linked in the video listed above)
- Pay attention to where your ACTUAL traffic is coming from, and put more effort into those places.
- Use the data to make decisions about how to spend your time promoting your shop.
Using Etsy ads for more shop views
Using Etsy ads is another way to get additional visits and views to your Etsy shop, because the Etsy ads algorithm is a separate system from the organic search algorithm. It’s possible to be seen in both ads and in the organic search results on the same page, so that could increase your visibility in search results.
The problem with using ads is that there is a financial cost to them, obviously. If you choose to run ads you need to watch your costs very carefully to make sure that you don’t spend too much and end up eating into your profits.
The Etsy ads system is unpredictable and can be very expensive or not spend your budget at all. It varies from case to case, so be prepared to pay attention if you do run Etsy ads.
Another ads system that’s available to Etsy sellers is the offsite ads system. Offsite ads are mandatory for sellers who have made $10,000 or over in the previous 12 months, and optional for sellers who have made under that amount.
For every sale made through offsite ads you’ll pay a flat 12-15% of the price the customer pays for the item plus postage, and you don’t pay unless the visit from the ad resulted in a sale.
The offsite ads system can be good or bad depending on your profit margins and whether you have the Etsy free shipping guarantee turned on.
The cost of offsite ads plus the “free” shipping that you have to pay for can drop your profits way too much.
If you are required to have offsite ads turned on in your shop, watch the sales from them very carefully to see if you need to increase your prices to make up for the additional selling fee you’ll be paying when you make a sale.
- Etsy Ads can help with your shop visibility by giving you a chance to be seen in higher positions on search results pages.
- Be careful of the cost of ads, and make sure that you’re not spending too much based on your profit margins.
- Offsite ads will give you sales for a flat percentage fee.
Here’s a quick idea list for increasing your views on Etsy and making sure that you get more as time passes!
- Get your SEO in place and use accurate keywords to help Etsy show your products to the right people.
- Remember that not all Etsy views come from search results. Email lists and social media can bring plenty of traffic that doesn’t involve search at all.
- Understand your customer and how they use your products.
- Try to see if you can identify different groups of customers who can use your products as well as your main audience.
- Make sure that your photos are appealing and that your shop home page looks good. Fill out all of your profile information to make people want to click through and stay on your products longer.
- Ask for reviews in the packaging materials that you send out with every order.
- Use social media, youtube and even a blog to drive people directly to your shop.
- Offer free shipping to make people more likely to click through to your listing. Do this on an individual item level if you can, don’t use the $35 free shipping guarantee because that can eat into your profits!
- If you want to offer customizable listings, do that. People shop on Etsy for personalization, so if you can offer that definitely do.
- Have clear shop policies about returns and cancellations so that people don’t have to search for answers. This will make people more comfortable shopping with you, and they’ll be more likely to look around your shop longer if they know what your policies are.
- Put graphics on your listing photos that answer common customer questions so that people can get more information from the photos.
- Spend time using Etsy’s social system (favoriting and following) in a natural way to build your shop’s follower numbers and spread your listings around.
For a free workshop on how the Etsy system works, sign up for the Navigating Etsy’s Stormy Seas workshop on my Teachable site: Navigating Etsy’s Stormy Seas
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