Handmade Sellers: Why Etsy Testing Hurts Everyone

Handmade Sellers: Why Etsy Testing Hurts Everyone

Are you a handmade seller on Etsy? Lost of Etsy sellers are on searching for answers from Etsy about Etsy’s testing on shops. Sadly, Etsy is hurting sellers and buyers with their techniques. Sellers who are beginners and experts have noticed it might be time to find Etsy alternatives.

Etsy Doesn’t Really Care If You’re Offended

Oh, Etsy what are you doing to your sellers? Let’s review what Etsy has done this time. Etsy sellers want buyers to find their products and keywords within Etsy’s algorithm. The keywords on the bottom of the first page of Etsy’s market are very helpful. If you look a the bottom of your favorite listing you’ll usually see keywords that are related to the same terms on the market page. For example if a seller is selling a handmade wood sign, the related keywords could be fixer upper, rustic decor, farmhouse decor, or personalized decor.  Sellers spend hours updating listings with keywords sprinkled everywhere in their listing so buyers can find their item. This all makes sense so far, right?
Etsy Sellers Are Aware of Etsy Testing. Find Out What To Do About It.

Recently Etsy has been “experimenting” with a variety of keywords for products that are not related. Let’s show you a good example and a bad example.

Etsy Keywords Properly Done. Click On The Image To Enlarge.

etsy sellers good example

See how all the tags are related to the keyword searched above? That’s what sellers use to help buyers find their items. But Etsy decided to do an experiment. They put random keywords at the bottom of the market pages for search terms that were not related and pornographic in some cases. And after hundreds of complaints from Etsy sellers on the Etsy Forums, Etsy decided to “end” the experiment. However, they actually did not end it. Look at the tags “related” to hair oil. Notice the time stamp. 

Inappropriate Etsy Keywords. Click On The Image To Enlarge

etsy experiment hurts sellers


This is one example of the “testing” that is embraced within Etsy. Chad Dickerson explained the Etsy culture to Science Meets Business.

“At Etsy it’s a completely different story. When I met up with Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s CEO and chairman, in their Brooklyn offices in New York, he told me that anyone in the team can make a change to the Etsy website whenever they see a need. (Etsy.com had over 40 million unique views per month when we spoke; at the time of writing it has around 60 million.)”

Traffic Inconsistencies

Some experts suggest to avoid the Etsy forums at all costs. I dive right in. There are multiple threads about traffic inconsistencies on Etsy for established sellers. Some new sellers are doing really well. Etsy wants buyers to find what they are looking for so a lot of sellers spend hours finding great tags for their products. Most of them are experts can support themselves with their Etsy shop. In the Etsy forums, hundreds of shops are losing traffic so the tags are not the problem. The seller’s livelihood suffers. Artists should be able to grow while working on their business without worrying about their shops being tested by Etsy.

Etsy Will NEVER Stop Testing With Your Shop

Now if you sell items that aren’t affected, you’ll be fine. I had to remove about 20 tags from my items. Luckily Etsy sellers can use Get Vela to add and delete tags (and almost anything else) in bulk.

Etsy sellers are starting to question Etsy’s intentions. Is Etsy trying to increase traffic to sell the business? This test was considered a success by Etsy before hundreds of sellers complained on the forums. I put my shop on vacation after this last round of testing. Although it has stopped Etsy is now ranking higher in Google for inappropriate terms and I’m not very comfortable with that.

All your Etsy listings can be saved as a CSV file which can be opened in Excel or Google Drive. Etsy SEO is different than Google SEO so you may not want to use the same tags for your products on an alternative platform.  It’s just good practice to have all of your listings especially if you have a large shop.

Etsy’s practices leaves the door wide open for sellers to pursue growing their brand on different platforms. Tough Nickel has a great breakdown on the cost and options to sell your products online .  As a seller, you don’t have to accept a platform’s policies you aren’t comfortable with. You can review some business tips from Dear Handmade before you decide. They have a TON of info. 

Find Your Favorite Seller Platform

To get started on a different platform, find one that works best for your lifestyle and your brand and start growing your following. Do a product launch on your own website or Facebook or Instagram instead of Etsy. Your buyers will respond and they’ll get used to a new platform.

If you decide to build your own website on WordPress, you can view my course Makers DIY Course . Some WordPress courses are only the entire course or nothing. Makers DIY Course can be purchased lesson by lesson or you can purchase the entire course and learn how to build your own website.


I decided to give away all the videos for free on YouTube. They will be up soon! If you sign up for the newsletter below, you’ll know when they are posted! Once all the videos are uploaded, you can purchase a workbook for all the videos. Details coming soon. Why the change? Just decided we need all the options we can get and we need them now.

You can sign up for the newsletter below and get a free guide on How To Set Up A Facebook Shop. That can help you sell online without any set up fees.

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