How Does Etsy Determine Listing Quality?

Etsy sellers in most niches must contend with significant competition. After all, now that over 95 million people shop on Etsy, the platform has become a major marketplace. Furthermore, Etsy is a popular way for people to make extra money or run a business from their homes. And with a movement away from mass-produced products, the number and variety of sellers have rapidly proliferated.

Practically speaking, a marketplace like Etsy makes money when its sellers do. This means that they have an incentive to drive sales by showing potential buyers the best possible listings to match their search. Here, great listings are the ones most likely to appeal to any particular buyer so that a sale will result from their search.

While our last article detailed Etsy SEO primarily in terms of keywords and query matching, this article will talk about Etsy Listing Quality. This is a separate factor that helps determine the position of a listing on search results pages, and it considers a lot more than just keywords. In fact, this is one place where Etsy considers your shop performance as a whole.

What is Etsy Listing Quality?

Listing Quality is a way to express the likelihood that somebody will buy the item advertised. Unlike keywords, this metric makes a holistic assessment of both the Listing and your shop. It also considers various consumer behaviors in relation to each individual listing. Therefore, each item has separate analytics data that helps determine its viability and how much resources Etsy will dedicate to helping you sell it.

When it’s time to present search results to a customer, the listings with a higher quality score automatically rank higher than listings with lower scores, even considering the same keywords. In fact, some experts maintain that your listing Quality is more important than your keywords as long as the keywords you choose accurately describe your products.

What factors influence Etsy Listing Quality?

Your overall Listing Quality will depend on several different factors. Some of them depend on how well you have written your product description and other Listing-specific attributes. Others involve your shop policies and performance. Lastly, customer behavior can help make or break your Etsy Listing Quality Score.

Listing-specific factors

True to its name, a listing quality score evaluates how well your listing has been put together. After all, people are looking specifically for your products much more than your Etsy shop. In addition, Etsy must determine the relevancy of a product for each query.

Product description

As you prepare each listing, your text has value beyond any keywords you choose. That’s because a listing description adds details that help people decide if your item is what they want. This works whether you are selling craft supplies, vintage items, or handmade treasures.

From a quality standpoint, you should always write a compelling description, particularly if you’re in a competitive niche. Using the inverted pyramid writing structure and other techniques helps keep people interested in your products longer. Quality Descriptions also help distinguish your product from the competition, boosting your chances of success.


Even basic craft materials need the right photographs to boost your Etsy Listing Quality and the chances of selling. There are several reasons for this, depending on the type of product you are offering. With craft materials, you may need fewer photographs to describe the product. For instance, a product like craft yarn should indicate the exact quantity, size, and type of product. You would also display the packaging, such as a ball or skein label.

Besides the basics, consider showing an example of finished products or work in progress. For instance, it might be helpful to show a sample of knit or crocheted pieces made from the yarn. Other crafts have similar examples — by showing the product in action, you can inspire and inform customers so they make a better purchasing decision.

This principle holds true for other product types, most notably vintage items because people want to see the condition and suitability of an item.

Price, including shipping

Nobody likes to overpay for something, even on Etsy. While it’s certainly true that Etsy Shoppers are willing to pay more for a quality, handmade product, your prices still need to be competitive. Therefore, while you set prices, consider your costs, the desired profit margins, and the market. You can see how much other sellers charge by searching for competing products on Etsy. Certain software like Toolsy can also help by presenting you with an automated listing of products and their selling prices.

Generally speaking, you don’t want to offer the cheapest listing for your item. Not only does this hurt your profit margins, but it also can make customers wonder if your product is of less quality than something priced in the middle of the market. The old adage that “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is” should always be considered.

Another consideration with pricing is the shipping costs. You probably already know that Etsy encourages sellers to offer free shipping by highlighting this feature in those listings. However, free shipping for the customer isn’t really free because you must pay this cost regardless. Many sellers solve this dilemma by including some or all of the shipping costs with the list price. Doing this lets potential customers feel like they’d be getting a better deal from your listing vs. a competitor.

Give people a good deal, and you can gain an edge with Etsy Listing Quality and the competition.

Turnaround time

Let’s be honest. The world of Amazon Prime shipping has raised the bar for e-commerce turnaround time. While Etsy buyers generally won’t expect to get an item that quickly, they don’t want to wait a long time, either. In other words, buyers understand that because you’re not Amazon, it will automatically take you longer to ship your products unless they are digital. Plus, they are buying something unique that isn’t usually available on Amazon (except for some craft materials).

With that said, even on Etsy, people expect a reasonable turnaround. Therefore, you should be familiar with how long it takes you to produce and ship something. Better yet, unless it’s a custom listing or made-to-order, you should generally have popular items in stock. For made-to-order items, give a realistic estimate to your customers about how quickly each item will ship. Effectively managing expectations at the beginning of a transaction will help maximize customer satisfaction down the road.

Customer behavior

Finally, customer behavior regarding a listing will help determine its quality score. In other words, if customers frequently save your item to favorites or place it in their hearts, Etsy considers your listing to be of higher quality. The same thing goes for a multi-item listing where people order it frequently.

Customer behavior also includes product ratings or reviews. Etsy has a reviews section on each shop profile, and each review is associated with both the shop and a listing. Therefore, if an item gets a lot of good reviews, this helps boost Listing Quality. You’ll also get a boost for your items if people consistently give your shop and its products positive reviews.

Shop-wide Etsy Listing Quality Factors

Besides an individual listing, Etsy considers overall shop performance when it assigns a quality score. We’ve already mentioned the role of product reviews on your quality scores. They are a gift that keeps on giving because quality scores consider reviews for all products at some level. However, there’s more to consider when it comes to shop performance.

Your overall Etsy analytics also play a role. This includes factors such as total traffic to your listings, any history of customer disputes, and shop structure. In other words, to get the best Etsy quality scores possible, you should practice good customer service by responding to inquiries and complaints effectively. You should also have a well-organized shop.

Finally, don’t be afraid to spend some money on sponsored listings, discounts, or external advertising. While these costs money, they also help drive traffic and improve your quality score. From there, your shop impressions and sales should rise more naturally. And, of course, consider these overhead expenses when you set prices.

Final thoughts

While the idea of an Etsy quality score seems daunting, it’s a relatively simple concept. That’s because Etsy considers your listing components, customer behavior, and shop performance to determine what customers are most likely to buy. While new shops and listings have a neutral score to give them the best chance for success, as your shop matures, you’ll build a track record that can help you stay high on the search results page. Then, you’ll get more traffic and sales, helping your business to grow.

Overall, Etsy sellers will give listings the best chance of success by writing great listings, offering great products at fair prices, and treating customers well. At the end of the day, this is what customers want – even on Etsy.

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