If you've been around Etsy's Forums lately, you have probably noticed the outrage over the change in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I thought it might be helpful to have a little summary of what has been going on so far.
Many sellers on Etsy have worked hard to insure that their shop (or listing) is ranked high in Google searches for particular keywords. Etsy reformatted their SEO by inserting their own (very broad) meta keywords in front of the seller's. In some cases, the keyword was completely inappropriate such as "handmade" being listed under vintage items and supplies. All of the changes in the SEO have resulted in many shops getting low views and less buyers.
Etsy administrator Saralouhicks responded to the outcry with this message, promising that "We understand the urgency around this issue and will provide updates on our plans and progress in the next week or two." Sara also links back to the Storque article that originally outlined "Optimizing for Search Engines." Sara informed the Forum that Etsy has changed the meta data for craft supplies and vintage items so that the keywords do not include "handmade." However, there is still much work left to be done.
I really appreciated the post by Timothy Adam of TimothyAdamDesigns, the technological guru and Etsy seller extraordinaire. Timothy writes, "You have to adapt with the changes that are happening. That is what owning your own business is all about. Your business's success is in your hands.. You make it happen not the selling venue you have your shop on." In short, stay positive. Contact Etsy administration and politely voice your opinion. Then work on promoting your shop and craft independent of Etsy by using blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks, Timothy for the inspirational advice.
Edit: So as to be absolutely clear, the reason that the extra meta data is a problem is that Google only looks at a specific number of keywords. Those are taken up by Etsy's filler keywords, not the more specific, unique ones created by the seller.