eBay was at the forefront of the rise of ecommerce. The venerable site was the first to perfect the individual seller model, offering anyone the opportunity to launch their own direct ecommerce side hustle or full-fledged business.
Over 25 years since its launch, eBay has continued to be a global leader in the consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer space. While many of the mid-90s dot coms didn’t survive, eBay has only flourished.
The online marketplace now represents a significant sales channel for so many individuals and companies. From collectibles to electronics to everyday goods, there’s not much you can’t find through eBay stores.
For sellers, added traffic has meant added competition — and added competition means that product listings must be optimized to stand out.
That’s why simply listing on eBay isn’t enough. Effective eBay sellers are building product listings that leverage good search engine optimizations (SEO) to stand out and attract potential buyers.
In 2020, more than $100 billion in sales happened on the platform. To get a notable piece of that, sellers must understand how eBay works and how to stand out in a cluttered market.
How eBay’s Search Engine Works
Much like Google, eBay’s search engine is ever-evolving. While how they’ve gone about serving up search results has changed, the end goal of providing relevant eBay search results has not.
Best Match search ranking.
Instead of a volume of search results, eBay’s search is designed to provide the “best” product or page based on search parameters. Here, it’s quality over quantity.
Searchers should see results that they want to see or reflect what they’re searching for, without having to dig through a long list of results.
The search process should be simple, fast and quickly provide quality search results to customers.
Shoppers should find products that match their search intent for a better buying experience.
Search results reflect quality, established sellers that customers can have confidence will fulfill orders.
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Keys to Making an Effective eBay Listing
There are two goals when making a listing: make it engaging for the buyer and make it easy to find. Following these tips will meet both needs.
Select the appropriate keywords.
eBay’s search engine (called Cassini) is built with the platform in mind. It places a greater priority on products that have a higher conversion rate. This means it’s vital to get keywords right.
Cassini has its own internal keyword research tool to get you started and every field in the listing should include keywords — primary or secondary.
Use eBay’s Search Bar
There’s no better way to test searches than by actually using the tool. See what products you’re competing against when using specific searches.
Utilize eBay SEO Tools
Review Top Results from Search Engines
Beyond just the eBay site-specific search, test keywords on Google as well. This can help shape your understanding of search intent.
Optimize your titles.
Product titles should be specific and simple. Don’t fill them with fluff. State exactly what a product is in the listing title and any clarifying information to specify exactly what a product is.
Keywords should be front and center in all titles. Do your research on search volume and use keywords that people are looking for. Failing to do so results in poor search ranking.
Include long-tail keywords that add context to a title.
eBay limits titles to 80 characters, so you may need to be creative at times. Common abbreviations are often picked up by eBay’s search.
Listing descriptions, like titles, are opportunities to draw eyeballs to your product page. Descriptions are an extension of titles, add further information for buyers and support SEO rankings and are key for listing optimization. Include words and phrases that are also related to keywords to give your listing more search power.
Pull in Relevant Keywords
Keywords in titles should organically appear in the description as well.
Point Out Benefits
Put on your sales hat and show not only what a product does, but how it will benefit the purchaser.
Avoid hyperbole and falsehoods. A poor experience with a product will lead to poor reviews and decreased sales.
Keep it Short and To the Point
Much like titles, the quality of words is much more important than the quantity.
Choose the correct category.
eBay has an extensive list of categories and subcategories, with the taxonomy expanding regularly. Make sure your product is listed under the correct category that reflects what the product does.
Select all item specifics that apply.
It’s not enough to list a T-shirt. Include the size, style, color and other identifying characteristics to make it clear what the product is.
Include unique identifiers.
eBay includes fields to help with identifying specifically what a product is, including brand names, Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPN), Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) or Universal Product Codes (UPCs).
Don’t forget image search.
Don’t just optimize words for search terms, do the same for product images as well. Step one is to follow eBay’s guidelines for high-quality images, which include only the product, without watermarks or additional text.
The power of free shipping.
Free shipping and clear return policies are often tiebreakers when making a purchase. eBay includes filters for free shipping, which can open up products to the maximum number of eyeballs. Dropshipping providers can also help with this process.
eBay SEO Pitfalls to Avoid
Just as there are ways to maximize SEO on eBay, there are easy ways to harm it. Avoid the following to keep your rankings at their best.
Don’t overstuff your title description with keywords.
Including eBay keywords is good. Keyword stuffing where they don’t belong just to artificially manipulate search ranking is bad. Spamming keywords reduces the quality of your listing, makes for bad user experiences and search queries for your product will be worse.
Write for human beings, not the eBay search algorithm.
Avoid clickbait-style titles.
Including outlandish eBay titles that feel straight out of an infomercial does more harm than good. Avoid unnecessary adjectives that provide unsupported claims about the product.
Never duplicate listings.
For each product, have a single listing. All multiple listings do is split your traffic and have listings compete against each other for potential customers.
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The Final Word
Maximizing the value of your eBay SEO strategy is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. More established sellers will have an advantage, but you can get the most out of your listings by understanding what works on the site -— and what doesn’t. Paying proper attention to your eBay search engine optimization can help scale your business quickly.