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eBay is the largest, most popular site for inter-personal, auctions and sales.
The client pool is staggeringly big, with over 171 million active users by Q2 2017, which makes for a wonderful potential for profit. However, it is a potential most people trying to sell on the site is missing entirely.
First and foremost, eBay is a search engine, and failure to understand and take advantage of this leaves you at a disadvantage against all those other sellers who are actively implementing SEO for eBay techniques and reaping its benefits.
You can focus on improving your merchandise, lowering your prices and offering a hands-on customer service, but the best products in the world will make little difference if people don’t see your publications because your listings are not optimized to rank up on eBay searches. You need to reach your potential clients!
Making sure your listings rank high among eBay searches is the best path to increasing your sells on the platform, and this can be achieved through SEO, a combination of strategies and techniques specifically designed to make your listings communicate better with eBay’s search engine, increasing your product’s exposure.
More exposure, more sales. It is that simple …Until it’s not.
Learning to apply effective SEO can be a challenge – especially if you have no previous knowledge on the subject. Furthermore, eBay specifically implements its own criteria for determining what listings rank higher whenever somebody searches for something on the site. This in turn, renders some good SEO practices that’d work perfectly for other sites – such as Amazon or Google – not as effective on the platform.
And this is an important distinction that bears elaboration. Even though you can receive traffic to your listings from external sources – like other search engines such as Google and Bing – it amounts to a relatively small number, usually less than 1% of your total views generated by the site’s own search engines.
This is why it is vital to play by eBay’s unique rules and apply SEO designed explicitly for their platform.
So, to help you with the process of doing a thorough and efficient SEO for eBay implementation, we’ve compiled a list of a few strategies anybody using the platform can benefit from by implementing them on their product’s listings.
Finding the right Keywords
The first step on your SEO for eBay journey has to be the proper research and selection of keywords.
They are the building blocks on which we’ll base the rest of our SEO strategies since they influence so much how eBay’s search engine selects your listings. It’s important to keep in mind that to target your keyword research specifically for eBay, you need to go about it a little differently than what you’d do for say, Google.
While you’d usually start your keyword research for a website or blog by using a tool such a Google’s keyword planner, finding the proper keywords that work efficiently for the eBay search engine is best done with a more analog approach, one that is more akin to advertisement. After all, at the end of the day we are trying to find the precise words your potential buyers use to find the thing you are selling, and there are a couple of routes you can take to get them.
- Study the product itself:
Your first stop should be the product you are trying to sell.
If you don’t have a clear hold on what it is and how it works, this is the perfect time to get acquainted with that information. Visit the manufacturer site and go through the specifications. Read some product reviews – paying particular attention to how people call it or describe it – maybe have some people name and describe the object or how they would look for it online. You’ll be surprised by the wealth of valuable information you can harness through these simple tasks.
Remember, at this stage simplicity is king.
Trying to pick fancy or overly complicated words to describe your product would be counterproductive, always keep in mind that your goal is not to define the item uniquely and differently. Instead, you aim to find out the specific words most people are using to find things like it, and then related words that are also being generally used for it that might present a little bit less competition.
Once you have a solid grasp on your product and how people see it and think of it, it’s time to move onto the second stage.
- Study similar listings:
Let me start this part with a caveat. Looking into listings of similar products on eBay is done for reference purposes only! It is a way to find out if you missed something glaringly obvious during your research stage. Don’t throw away any of the keywords you found and preselected just to copy the ones you see used a lot on listings already on eBay.
The reason is that first, it is harder to compete for an overused keyword already being employed in most listings and, secondly, those listings might be copying/imitating each other and might be low value keywords.
That being said, looking into similar item’s listings can be of great help on broadening your understanding of how other people are marketing it, it can give you valuable insight and maybe some alternatives to consider when choosing your keywords.
Once you are done with this brief research, you should have a healthy pool of high-quality potential keywords; it is time to refine it.
- The marketing approach:
The secret here is to put on your buyer’s hat as we go through our pool of preselected keywords. It is time to stop looking at our product from the seller point of view and pretend for a second we are the customer.
As a buyer, what words would you use on the search engine if you were interested in the product? This mindset can give you new insight into a better way to have your product reach your clients.
- The numbers approach:
Once you’ve correctly researched and narrowed down your potential keyword list into the best possible batch of options, it is time to bring on some tools and do a bit of numbers research.
There are many high-quality keyword research tools out there, but for the purposes of this guide, I’m using keywordtooldominator.com, which allows you to make 3 keyword searches per day for free and works exclusively as an eBay search engine oriented tool.
The tool’s pretty straightforward, just enter one of your chosen keyword on the left box (1) select the location you are targeting in the box to the right (2) and it will give you a long string of suggested keywords related to the ones you entered (3).
They give each keyword a rank, based on the value of the keyword suggested. It goes from 10 – the least popular keyword suggestions – to 1 – being the most popular ones. This list can give you a pretty solid idea of which of your potential keywords you should prioritize, as well as help you find new ones that might still fit your listing perfectly while giving it more exposure on the search engine.
Do this research for all of your keyword pool and reduce it to the very best ones, which we will use to craft compelling titles and descriptions.
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The Title and Description
Title and descriptions are the sections of a listing that are most under our control, as such, they are the ideal place to apply our intended SEO for eBay techniques.
Titles are incredibly important. They are the first contact your potential buyers will have with the product you are selling. It is also the most visible tool you’ll have (alongside your product’s picture) to make them click on your listings to check it out instead of the other choices.
As important as the title is, the process is surprisingly straightforward. Once you have done the proper keyword research, you have everything you need to put together a compelling title. Just use the keywords that best fit your product’s features and then incorporate the most effective keywords your research came up with.
However! You need to keep in mind that your title is intended to attract a human buyer’s attention as well as to be relevant to search engines. So, it is vital that you don’t just throw a long string of keywords with little meaning or harmony together in an effort to just rank higher. That would be detrimental in the long run. Instead, think of your keywords as Lego pieces. Build your perfect “advertisement copy” quality level title by figuring out the best way to assemble your keywords together. Think of something that will grab your potential buyer’s attention while covering your product’s characteristics.
Some other title recommendations and limitations
- You have a maximum of 80 characters to work on your title, try to use them all without cluttering.
- When it applies, include brand name, designer or artist.
- Include item specific attributes – for example, when selling a blanket include its dimensions.
- Avoid words like “wow” or “incredible”, buyers don’t search such terms and are put off by them.
- Do not use all caps on your titles.
The description doubles down the function of a title. It is the first important piece of information that interacts with your potential buyer once he comes into your listings. Just like the title, your intention here is to convey the features and functions of your product as accurately as possible, while incorporating the powerful keywords your research yielded.
Descriptions should always be written with advertisement quality copy standards. Remember, just as the title, you are not only writing for a search engine to find you, but to have actual human beings interested and going for the product you want to sell.
Some descriptions recommendations:
- Start with the most critical details buyers will need.
- Reiterate and include specific information such a size, colors, etc.
- Be specific about packaging and what the product consists of.
- Edit and format this section to be readable and attractive, with clear paragraph, punctuation and such.
eBay’s form of advertisement comes in the way of promoted listings, a potent tool in your SEO for eBay belt.
Now, before starting this section, I’d like to point out that you need to cover all other bases for this to be effective.
You can’t forgo your Keyword research and fine-tuning your titles and descriptions expecting that the promoted listing’s tool will pick up the slack.
Proper keyword research is needed so you can set up an effective ad campaign that will actually relate to your product and drive some traffic to it.
Powerful titles and descriptions determine the effectiveness of eBay’s ads end up having. They rely on you actually doing the best work you possibly can to retain the buyer’s attention and interest once he finds your listing to convert the sell.
The promoted listings feature works essentially by you giving eBay a percentage of your sell in exchange for them promoting your listings in different ads that come up in search results, similar listings, and the like. The more percentage of your sell you are willing to relinquish, the more exposure your listing will receive, the higher it will figure in searches, and the more ads it will appear on.
Say you are selling a notebook $10 apiece, and decide to run the eBay promoted listings ads at 10 percent. This means that for every notepad you sell, you’ll pay eBay an additional fee of $1.
Just by setting this up, you’ll be immediately improving your eBay listing’s impressions and clicks, which are metrics to measure your listing’s exposure. As long as you calculate the additional fee into your costs, if the increased traffic is converting steadily into an increase in sales, there is little reason not to use this simple and robust tool eBay.
Further ranking considerations exclusive to eBay
We’ve covered the major points and sections of an eBay listings where you can, and should, focus your SEO efforts to maximize the potential exposure of your product’s listing and help you convert sells. However, there are a few other aspects of an eBay listings that affect your product’s visibility – both positively and negatively – and we wanted to cover them briefly before wrapping up.
- Having a 30-Days return policy pushes you up in searches: eBay´s primary concern when ranking listings up or down is to efficiently connect interested buyers with legitimate sellers that will provide what they are looking for. To this end, they take into great consideration things like strong return policies that further proves the legitimacy of your product and services. Incidentally, not having said return policy pushes your listings down on search results.
- Being an active seller: eBay’s search engines parse your activity as a seller within the site, which means that they take into consideration things like your feedback, DSR – or Detailed Seller Rating –, and the number of active listings you have at any given time. Listing and selling frequently help your overall ranking exposure, a thing that becomes an asset if you decide to apply a strategy of continually offering lowered priced, more straightforward items alongside the products you would typically focus on, as a way to keep a constant flow of transactions and good reviews.
- Not converting sells: you need to be careful on instances where your optimization is bringing a lot of people in to look at your listings, but the terms of your service or characteristics of your products – such as price – are turning people off, since eBay ranks down pages that receive a lot of traffic but don’t convert into sells. This can also be an issue when your title doesn’t perfectly reflect what you are selling.
Now we’ve covered the very basics as far as SEO for eBay implementations and strategies go. But keep in mind that eBay is a huge, very competitive arena and depending on your particular product it might be a challenge to obtain the desired results you are after just by covering the basics.
If you are anything more than a casual eBay seller, have a business that transacts continuously on the platform, or are looking to grow your eCommerce exposure through it, it might be a good idea to contact an SEO expert.
They can guide and implement both, basic and advanced SEO for eBay techniques that will put your listings and products not only on par with the competition but actually give you an edge and have your business grow faster.
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