There's recently been a lot of stress in the Etsy community over the search being switched from Recency to Relevency. I'm not stressing. Why? Because the same things that help you in the Etsy relevancy search are also the things that help you in Google searches and if you've read this blog enough you know that I think Google is what you should be focusing on.
The first page of any Etsy search is 40 items, that means that you can't be on the first page of every search that would be relevant for your items. It's impossible. What you should be striving for is a well rounded listing that isn't trying to be at the top for only one or two searches, but a listing that ranks well if not at the very top for a wide range of related searches.
There's a concept called the "long tail" that is very important whenever you are talking about search engine rankings. The idea behind the long tail is that many search terms are only search for rarely but if you rank well for enough of these little searches you will get a lot of traffic. So stop worrying that you aren't on the first page for "dress" and start making sure you are titling, tagging, and writing descriptions so you will rank well for "blue cotton seashell print dress" in either Etsy or Google.
Wish all you want but Etsy, Google, and any other search engine is never going to tell you exactly what will put you at the top. The best you can do is write as relevant and accurate listings as you can that use good keywords that describe your items (and for Google build good backlinks). Don't pull your hair out trying to rank best for one narrow term in one search engine as your main way to get traffic, a broad approach to SEO and promotion will give you more consistent results that will protect you from major changes in just one area. I would rather have 50 small traffic streams bringing me 5 visits each than one source sending me 250 visits because if one out of fifty disappears I'm not going to be devastated, I can just roll with the changes.