Help: Oh my Sales, Freaking Out About Etsy’s New Search

I know this is long, but I’m really freaking out and could use some help. (scroll to the bottom to skip my thrashing and see how you can help if you’re in a hurry)

For years I sold many items a day.

But this past month I noticed things were not right until I realized the searched had changed. Almost over night I stopped selling my very popular ruffle bottoms, outfits and baby sets and was only selling costumes (thank goodness Halloween is upon us or I’d be totally screwed, but Halloween doesn’t last).

It used to be that in the searches as long as you listing had the words people were searching for the order things would appear would be by most recently listed at the top. Now there is some relevancy equation. It has to do with title and tags. Before many of the good things and top sellers would appear at the top of the list because as they sold things they’d relist them so naturally you had them higher. I wish I knew how they broke things down for the ranking. What I do know is that the ways I have things titled and tagged now aren’t working. They need to be way more literal so they are as close of a match to what people may type into that search bar.

And the kicker?I finally took the plunge to quit grad school (that was my original plan until I found the wonderful world of etsy) oh yeah for you friends that didn’t know, I officially did that this week a few days before I noticed the search changes.

My problem is that through years of proof in sales, views, hearts and even features I know and really etsy should know that people want my stuff. But how many times do you think a normal person says “I want a vintage inspired jumper for my baby” or “I want a cute applique outfit with ruffles that wrap all the way around to give to my friend” They don’t because my stuff is kind of original and not super typical. They used to bump into it because I’d sell, then relist and it would go back to the top. I wasn’t even renewing to bump things to the top this last year. I was relisting when things sold so I know it was at least relevant enough for people to get people to pull out their wallets.

I know I need to totally redo my titles and tags (which will make my shop and nonuniform mess) but I am not sure the best way to do that. I would love any tips on words to use and all of that. Do you have any suggestions on how to redo my titles?

But more than that, is there any hope for those of us who people don’t think to purposely search for? I know people want to buy my stuff, I know that people like it, but I don’t think they know it exists so that they can search for it. And now on Etsy it seems much harder to discover things unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.

There used to be kind of a quality control since the people who were making more/new things and selling would renew, it seemed like better quality good would show up in the top and now I really don’t see a change in “relevance”.

I understand that I need to revamp all my titles tags, but it’s not like my they are irrelevant. Plus I think my goodies aren’t what you go to the store to by they are what you see there once you’ve arrived and fall in love with. When you go to buy something for your own baby girl or a baby shower what words would you use to search for something? I can think of words to describe my items but I’m really nervous that people don’t know to search for them in the first place so I need to work things from a step up.

It’s just so frustrating because I worked my butt off to figure out the system. It’s not like it was just given to me. I worked 15 hour days on etsy most of the time. And it had paid off. Now it’s all down the drain because even though I know people want my stuff they can’t find it the way the search is set up. It used to be on etsy that every time you relisted/renewed something it would pop to the top of the search list. Many people would relist so that they would get more eyes on them. I did that early on but I wasn’t even working the system like that this last  year I was renewing because people bought my stuff and I needed to put another on the shelf. So I know that people wanted it.

Even with revamping titles and tags I don’t think people know to search for the words that would be appropriate for my things but when they see them they realize that’s what they were looking for all along they just didn’t know what to call it. Of course I want to make my titles and tags work as well as they can but I’m honestly freaking out. I’m worried that a search that no longer pulls up items that used to sell so frequently had major problems. I’m worried for my livelihood but also for when I feel like buying something cute, but don’t have a specific idea in mind.

I need your help, if you could just answer one question that would be so so helpful!
If any of you have time to answer any or all of my questions or look at my shop to see any ideas I would totally appreciate it.

You can see my shop here. My costumes seem to be doing fine, it’s everything else that I used to sell tons of that seem to be non-existent. Thanks in advance.

  1. If you’ve ever bought my goodies or things similar, when you when shopping what search words did you use, or in your head what did you think you were looking for?
  2. When you buy things for a baby girl what are the first 5 words you think to type into a search box?
  3. Looking at one of my non-costume listings can you think of a more “relevant” way to structure the title or tags (or even order of tags)?
  4. It looks like people are having success with combo word tags like “toddler dress” can you think of any of these that would work for me that people might actually type? I can think of appropriate phrases but I specifically want  help on words people will think of without already having say my retro rufflers or my ruffle bottom onesies sets on their radar.
  5. I know no-one will look up the word retro ruffler or ruffle diaper covers, what are more common terms I can rename these things so that they will correlate with terms people use to search?

edit: it seems like after a bunch of research this is going to be a huge negative hit for my business. I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m really nervous about what things are going to look like after Halloween.

I really appreciate your kind words and suggestions. If you want to help out it seems like the most helpful thing people can do would be to “like” my items with the facebook links, post links of my goodies on facebook, pinterest, stumbleupon, your blogs etc. and just share things. I’ve done a lot of tweaking of my listings and sadly I’m not still seeing my stuff coming up in searches.


    1. I adore your stuff (and am dying to get a cute sunsuit). The words I’ve typed in looking for things like yours are…ruffled bloomers, ruffled diaper covers, vintage baby clothes, vintage bloomers, retro baby clothes, vintage sunsuit, ruffled sunsuit, ruffle butt…I hope this helps!!!

    2. “photography prop” “styled shoot” romper “vintage inspired”

      Vintage inspired Retro Ruffler romper, awesome photography prop!

      tags: (anything describing the fabric ie polka dots, red, black, white), baby girl, vintage baby, retro baby, ruffle bloomers, diaper cover, photography prop

    3. i found your stuff by searching for “ruffled diaper cover.” i haven’t had the extra funds to order stuff yet for baby girl, but i totally intend to!!

    4. thank you guys SO much that helps more than you know! Keep em coming everyone I really really appreciate the help.

    5. I think photography prop and diaper cover are both great. Even though I’m not a photographer, I’ve definitely used that in searching because it tends to bring up some really cute stuff. I think “diaper cover” is what initially brought me to you.

    6. I typed “baby girl onesies” and got some things that are similar. Then I tried “baby girl onesies applique” that did not turn up so well. I then tried “baby girl shower gift” and that turned up too broad of search results.
      I think that if I was looking for a shower gift I would first try “cool gifts for baby girl”

      I hope any of that helps.

    7. One thing I have done is find stores selling similiar items as mine and that are selling well and see what they are labeling…I don’t typically use their exsct words but it gives me a starting point (I had the same problem as you-coming up with keywords and such.)

    8. I thing “ruffle bottoms” or “ruffle butts” (can you use that, isn’t it a brand?) would be good for the ruffle diaper covers and even the retro ruffler. I think “onesie set” or “girl onesie” (or boy) would be good, too. I have searched “appliqued onesie” before… (I think I spelled that wrong).

      Anyways, I’m sorry for your frustration and I hope you can get the system down again! :)

    9. So sorry to hear about your troubles, friend! Some key words/phrases I’ve used to search are: cute onesies, cute girly onesies, girly baby clothes, vintage baby, vintage baby dresses, ruffle bottoms, ruffle diaper covers, & diaper covers. I also will sometimes search for baby clothes made with fabric from specific fabric designers that I like, such as: Amy Butler baby dress or Michael Miller baby outfit. Hope that helps!!

    10. Your shop is amazing and it’s clear why you’re so successful! I’m still starting out so I’m not one to give advice. In face, the relevance search has helped my shop as I’m sure it has those of us that aren’t high volume. I couldn’t afford to renew and I don’t typically re-make the same items over and over again.

      Some of these have been said, but when I see your stuff I think, ruffle butt bloomers or ruffle bum diaper covers.

      I revamped my titles to begin with the words Hooded Bath Towel and Washcloth Set (the first words are weighted differently) and it seems like it’s worked well so far. Then I add the description (Pink Mod Floral, for example). I did like the way it looked better before, but this seems to work for me. I see that you did that with some of your items already.

      Also I’d say to add “gift set” to every single one of your titles. I saw it on a few but your items are perfect for gifts and I think people tend to type that into the search box.

      Your Retro Rufflers are so cute and I think maybe you could call them apron dresses (maybe just title some of them that way and see what happens). I’ve seen those around Etsy and I know yours are more unique but people may be looking for an “apron dress” and find that they like your take on it better.

      Have you looked at your shop stats to see what search terms lead people to your shop?

    11. I had typed “ruffle bottoms” or “ruffle diaper cover”. I also was more specific at one point only searching for Christmas or Harry Potter for toddlers.

      Sorry this is happening. We can always help promote on FB too. I know I love the items I’ve purchased from you and would be happy to help.

    12. you guys are awesome I really do appreciate it, and even if you’re repeating what others say I hope you’ll comment because then I know the word/phrase is one that connects with more people

      for those of you in my boat someone sent me this article that I found helpful

    13. Totally understand where you’re coming from, and I don’t even like using the new search like it is, I always go back up and turn it back to “most recent”. So frustrating.

    14. i’ve used really generic terms such as, “trendy” or “cute” or “girly”…i don’t know if that helps at all. maybe color combinations? i’ve searched for polka dot items.

    15. I found your shop earlier this year because I love all the bird stuff that is so popular right now. I guess I just searched birdie or little birdie. Now I am addicted and love all your stuff! :)

    16. I originally was looking for a birdie onesie but couldn’t find one in all of eBay (remember the birdie outfit you have now was a custom design) I stumbled upon your shop and saw the elephant (I think that was the one) and contacted you to make a birdie outfit for our birdie party. I think at that time looking for that outfit I searched “bird onesie” I Hate it when the things you love and know how to use change! You have amazing talent so keep on keeping on.

      PS….I want to do a rock party this year….I don’t mean like rock and roll…I mean like rock paper scissors. LOL. I just need something to look girlie and cute…any ideas? I may not want it to be 100% literal but I got nothing.

    17. it seems like after a bunch of research this is going to be a huge negative hit for my business. I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m really nervous about what things are going to look like after Halloween.

      I really appreciate your kind words and suggestions. If you want to help out it seems like the most helpful thing people can do would be to “like” my items with the facebook links, post links of my goodies on facebook, pinterest, stumbleupon, your blogs etc. and just share things. I’ve done a lot of tweaking of my listings and sadly I’m not still seeing my stuff coming up in searches.

      I’m still welcoming search term suggestions or stories of how you found my stuff. thanks again, you guys have made all of this a little more bearable!

    18. I put in vintage handmade baby clothes. Because i like unique clothes. But i would definately use rompers. Rompers are in right now, everywhere, so if you call them rompers, they will catch attention. I love them. I hate that Gymboree and everywhere else want to make your baby look old or like a street walker. Your clothes capture childhood,infancy in an innocant way, also babies can be cool and comfterable at the same time. Its perfect. Im sadly a single mom on unemployment my amazing job went out of business, but it has given me the chance to start my own business this coming year for pregnant woman and your clothes would be perfect. There a must have for every closet..xoxo

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