(This is posted in another thread elsewhere in these forums. I'm reposting it here because it's work reading. We still need to do some more research, but it's a solid hypothesis.)
*Statement of Facts*
#1 – We didn't change anything on our end mid-March that would affect SEO.#2 – Google made a massive infrastructure change, codenamed Caffeine.
We've looked at our own code base, and are highly confident in #1.
While we can't look at Google's code, we understand the following changed with Caffeine: Temporal URL's, URL's that change, that are new, that don't last long, aren't treated the same way. As it turns out, they're bumped down, as Caffeine favors consistent URL's a bit more.
(URL = Uniform Resource Locator, aka the web address. Some people, notably the creator of the Web, calls them URI's. Bonus points for finding out what the I stands for and why he insists on this.)
Etsy's item listing URL's change too often. When an item sells out, and you relist it, it has a new URL. When an item was sold, the URL changed, too. If anything, it was remarkable that listings ranked even as well as they did before. And the longer a listing was at the same URL, the better.
This is also why we're currently seeing "evergreen" URL's, ones that don't change, get ranked higher in Google than item listing URL's. In other words, if we had a category landing for Fantastic Foxes, this page would rank higher higher than your listing page for Fantastic Fox Earmuffs.
What are we doing about this? Keeping item URL's the same is our top priority. This requires major infrastructure change, upwards of four months of work.
As it turns out, we began this work about three months ago, as part of a more general refactoring of our own listings infrastructure.
We'll share more on this shortly.
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Feel free to discuss this here: