March 29, 2011
I love Etsy. I probably got 40% of my Christmas presents there last year.
However, I bemoan the usability issues on Etsy’s site. I’ve given up on actually trying to search for anything on Etsy. What a quaint idea. The site is a beautiful mess of miscategorization. In fact, my favorite way to discover new Etsy products is to just browse other people’s favorites and pray that I’ll find something cool.
My husband thinks Etsy does it this way on purpose – people get lost in a tantalizing, labyrinthine web of products that they don’t even necessarily need to find their way out of.
It’s an interesting idea, but when the navigation structure actually prevents me from finding products I would like to buy, I’d beg to disagree. Want an example? Well, the other day I needed to buy some new bed sheets. Rather than the predictable trip to Macy’s for something, I decided to check Etsy out first.
Well, after a few searches on Etsy, it become apparent that they didn’t have much of a selection – especially in king size. I did a few more searches, even on “Ikat Bedding” in particular (since that was the type of pattern I was looking for). To no avail. In fact, Etsy’s results for this search were even better than most. I gave up trying to find a Christmas Stocking on Etsy last December - 3,000+ products to scroll with no further opportunity to winnow.
So, off I went to Google instead to see what I could find. I typed in “Ikat Bedding”, and lo-and-behold, Etsy popped up #3 in the SERPs. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. “This is the exact same page I just left on Etsy because it didn’t have what I was looking for. Arrrrgggh.”
My irritation did not end there. Not only was Etsy’s dang “pillows-are-also-bedding-and-we-don’t-have-any-sheets-either” page showing, but it was a Search Results Page Showing in Google.
Google Webmaster Guidelines specifically ask sites not to junk up Google search results with their own search results:
Dealing with Etsy’s crazy structure on their own website is one thing. Etsy, I still adore you anyway, even with all your usability problems. But now these same search results (with the poor user experience) are sneaking into Google? Not cool.
Who knows, maybe someone will read this blog post and take action. I’d even forgive Etsy SERPs in Google SERPs if the results just had better usability! After all, the average KPI improvement after a usability redesign is 83% (source: Jakob Nielsen). Imagine what those numbers could do for Etsy’s bottom line. I know I’d probably end up spending 2x as much on there…
Are you an Etsier? Read our related post on Ethical Etsy SEO.
Written by Sarah Mackenzie.