BUT. I have noticed a sudden drop in views and sales on Etsy. Sellers are feeling confused about why this is happened and no answers are coming from Etsy employees. I've decided that it's time to branch out and experiment with other sites.
One of the biggest surprises to me was how my Etsy shop is being connected with people who are searching for the types of products I actually sell when these people use google to search.
Here's an example. The following are keywords that led shoppers to my storefront on Art Fire:
Emu feather earrings
Bath powder shakers
Emerald gemstone soap
Blue coral jewelry
Fleece baby blankets with crochet border
Here are some keywords that led shoppers to my Etsy store:
Cat Toys Felt Balls
Cat Toys Felted Balls
Buy Milk Ring Cat Toy
Day of the Dead Stud Earrings
Contrary to what is being said in the Etsy forums, so far it seems that Etsy is doing a much better job communicating with Google than Art Fire is, at least for my personal account.
There is one way that Art Fire definitely has Etsy beat, however. The employees of Art Fire routinely troll the forums looking for ways that they can be of assistance. They answer questions, give feedback about SEO/SERP and offer very helpful advice. The culture of Art Fire is much more supportive than Etsy. Those who are posting in the forums are very supportive and upbuilding.
At this point, I plan to keep both shops open through the Christmas season so that I can get a good comparison. Both have their advantages.
If you'd like to take a look at the differences in the storefronts, check out my shops!