Optimize eBay listings for search engines. We give you tips for search engine optimization of your eBay listings.
Optimize eBay listings for search engines. We give you tips for search engine optimization of your eBay listings.
It is similar to the categories with the keywords. The balance between high traffic, broad keywords and relevance of the offer for the respective search intention is difficult to find. In fact, the only thing that helps here is to try and see what leads to a better eBay ranking.
Keywords are also no longer important in the title alone. Unlike Voyager, Cassini searches the entire range. Accordingly, it helps to mention keywords in the description and product features as well.
During a product search on eBay, Cassini normally focuses on two areas: Item description and item features. Optionally, the user can specify that item descriptions should also be searched. Of these 3 product details, the item name is weighted the most for ranking. If we want to increase the visibility of our offerings, this is the first place we have to start.
We have 80 characters available for the article description. It is advisable to take full advantage of them, using as specific keywords as possible. General terms produce more search hits, but product-buyer interaction is low. A customer is usually looking for something specific and the more a product title matches his imagination, the more likely he is to click on it. General search terms, on the other hand, are usually only used to get an overview. Most customers then go into detail and specify their search. Our job is to map these precise searches into our keywords in the product title.
The essential product data should therefore appear in the article description together with the most frequent search terms. Brand, size, color, material can be as important as alternative spellings or designations of a product. Descriptive adjectives such as “nice pants” should be avoided. Optimally, the product image should convey this feeling and make a mention obsolete. Objective nouns such as “cotton” offer much greater added value to the customer.
In addition to visibility, the article title is also important for relevance. In addition to the preview image, the price and information about the offer, the product title is also responsible for whether the searcher clicks on the offer or not. An uncharitable stringing together of keywords is not reader-friendly and can cost clicks. Punctuation marks such as commas, hyphens, or parentheses can create contrast and consume minimal space. The position of the keywords within a product title is also crucial for relevance. As a rule, people pay the most attention to the beginning of an item name. Accordingly, the most important keywords should be placed in front.
The subtitle is the light gray text below the item name and consists of a maximum of 55 characters. It is not searched by Cassini for keywords and is therefore not relevant for the visibility of offers. Its value comes from the additional information content we can convey on the search overview page. This is where product features belong that the customer would not look for, but might still be interested in. Here is an example:
Special characters can also be used. For example, checkmarks or other symbols can be used to draw more attention to the offer. In the mobile display, however, subtitles are unfortunately only displayed on the product detail page. The use of a subtitle costs extra, currently one-time 1,10€ per offer. If you list in 2 categories, the value doubles to 2,20€.
In addition to the article description, the article characteristics are also keyword-relevant. By default, eBay provides the most frequently used features for different categories. Customers use this information to find a suitable article. Therefore, it is worthwhile to maintain these fields, even if filling them in is only optional. In addition to keyword relevance, some features on the platform are used as filters to further narrow down the search. For example, you can filter by brand or condition. The filter settings for each category can be found in the left column on the search results page:
If the corresponding characteristics are left blank and the customer selects a filter, then the offer can no longer be found. Item features are therefore important for visibility for two reasons at once. Here is how the features are displayed on the product detail page (the product in the example is a TV):
It is essential to store the EAN as an article feature in order to be represented with the offer in Google Shopping. Furthermore, it is possible to automatically generate item data for a product from the eBay catalog using this barcode number. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that a product is already listed there.
The item description is the product detail where we can get the most out of it. In addition to the possibility to add text, we can also completely customize the design. This freedom does not exist in any other online marketplace. This enables us to offer our customers real added value.
Unfortunately, the design cannot be configured in the eBay backend. For this purpose, an already prefabricated HTML/ CSS code must be inserted into the corresponding field when creating the offer. But don’t worry, there are plenty of templates available on the web for this purpose, as well as relatively inexpensive premium templates. If you want to have a template tailored specifically to your needs, you can also hire specialized programmers, and also use eBay product videos, for example. For more information about templates, see our blog article about eBay design templates.
In terms of content, Cassini requires an “informative character” of the item description. What we can say for sure is that fully pumping description with keywords will be negatively evaluated by Cassini. It is best to follow the SEO recommendations for Google regarding the keyword optimization of content texts. The item description is also relevant for Google Search and Google Shopping. If you bring external traffic from outside the marketplace in this way, you will receive bonus points from eBay.
The same rules apply to the article description as to the product presentation in your own online store. For example, it is worthwhile to offer cross-sell products or to include a buy-it-now button in the template. In general, the presentation should subtly emphasize one’s own brand and not overwhelm the customer with information and/or design elements. Less is sometimes more. A good example is the monitor, whose article description we have already looked at above. The colors harmonize with the logo and the product texts are clearly presented. The template has a clear focus on the product. This is how it should be.
A template should always be mobile full responsive.
Optics and especially haptics are difficult to assess in contrast to stationary retail. Product images can make it easier for potential buyers to recognize certain product features at first glance and reduce uncertainties.
Both the number and the quality of the images have an immediate effect on the ranking. Whenever possible, you should deposit at least 3 images per offer – the more the better. This is in line with eBay’s recommendations. A maximum of 12 product images are possible and each additional image rates Cassini positively. Image quality also plays a major role. Ebay recommends a resolution of at least 1600 pixels on each page. Here, too, you should stick to the guidelines if you want to get the maximum effect for the product.
Images also play an immensely important role in conversion. The first product image is largely responsible for whether or not the customer clicks on an offer on the search results page. It should match the item name and have as “clean” a presentation as possible. All other images are relevant for the product detail page. Customers here have the option of scrolling through images in a gallery and using the zoom function if the resolution of an image is appropriately high. For example, the additional photos can show the product in its usual use or highlight product details. If you do everything right here, you’ve already done half the job.
The right category is also crucial for visibility. On the one hand, the customer has the possibility to refine his search by categories and subcategories. For maximum product-buyer interaction, it is therefore important that our product is also found in the category in which the customer expects it to be.
On the other hand, eBay search preselects the category for certain search terms. If you enter “stereo system” in eBay, for example, Cassini automatically puts us in the “compact stereo systems” category. That we should put our offer in this category is a no-brainer.
When typing a search term, eBay even suggests 2 categories that best match it. One of them, from experience, is the category we are automatically promoted to when we simply type in the search term and click Find. However, a customer could just as well decide to search in the other suggested category.
If two categories are relevant for us, we can also add a second category to our offer. However, extra charges may apply if we want to use special options such as subtitles or Gallery Plus.
Ebay bases its price evaluation on the median of the best-selling products for the respective search query. If an offer deviates too much from this median, Cassini classifies the offer as not relevant for buyers and downgrades the ranking accordingly. So you should always stay within a certain range. For pricing, it helps to look at competitors’ (best-selling) offerings.
Usually, however, the price range of these offers is wide enough to influence the ranking with certain price measures. If we want to get a new product to the top of the search results page as quickly as possible, it can be worth undercutting the competition (slightly) at the beginning. Because new listings on eBay always get a slight ranking boost, this period is especially good for this.
Due to the low price, our offer gathers a lot of product-buyer interactions within a short time and is ranked high in Cassini’s relevance. If the ranking is right, you can raise the price again and – as long as the offer is otherwise optimized – customers will continue to buy the product even with the slightly higher price. But beware: Cassini penalizes large price jumps upwards. However, price jumps within 10% are not a problem.
The ranking of a product is always linked to the corresponding offer. If an offer expires, the ranking is also gone. If we then list the product again, we have to start all over again.
This gives rise to a number of implications:
Offers with term GTC (Good Till Cancelled) should be preferred. These are automatically renewed by eBay as long as a product has enough inventory. In the event that short-term shortages occur, eBay has a special feature built in. If desired, you can specify that an offer without stock should not be terminated, but only receive the status “Out of stock”.
This option can be found in the eBay backend at account settings > settings > seller settings > sales form and listings.
This status is maintained by eBay for a maximum of 90 days before an offer is finally terminated.
An important ranking factor in this context is the sales ratio. The sales ratio is the quotient of the total number of sales and the number of available items. In the example below, the sales ratio would be 10 / 5 = 200%. For Cassini, a higher value means greater buying relevance. Over time, this value increases with each sale and makes our offer more valuable.
However, you can control the sales ratio yourself to a certain extent. Especially for a new offer without many sales it is worth to set the available quantity small and keep the sales ratio high. In order to prevent an offer from accidentally running out-of-stock, you can use the automatic refill function of JTL or Afterbuy. In this way, you can significantly mitigate the disadvantage against products with many total sales and high sales ratio.
The total number of sales does not otherwise play a role in assessing the quality of the offer. For Cassini, only sales figures from the last 30 days are relevant. That’s good news, because it means we can compete even with established product listings in the short term. A possible method to generate many sales within a short time and to increase the ranking by low prices has already been presented in the last section.
On the other hand, offers that have not been sold for 30 days rank particularly poorly. From this starting position, it is difficult to move forward. If a new product is not sold for 30 days, the offer should be terminated and relaunched. Each new listing gets a small ranking boost and a renewed chance to interact with buyers. You might want to consider optimizing your offering in the course of relisting. Otherwise, the new offer will face the same fate for the next 30 days.
The processing of orders also plays a role in the evaluation of an offer. Some customers prefer a certain shipping service provider or payment method. The more options we can provide to the customer, the more likely we are to meet the optimal service from the customer’s point of view. We can use it to prevent bounces in the purchase process from some customers. Cassini also honors this fact. Increasing the number of payment, shipping, and return methods immediately boosts the ranking of all affected listings.
Likewise, the quality of eBay’s shipping and return policies is perceived. A short processing time as well as a 30-day return policy is rated positively by Cassini. If the seller covers the return costs and/or offers free shipping, eBay even displays this in the search results page (see image below). In short, anything that adds value to the buyer increases the likelihood of purchase in eBay logic and is therefore rewarded with a higher ranking.
The last optimization factor revolves around the logistical processing of orders and communication with the customer. The service status is composed of 3 factors: “defect rate”, “rate of items not shipped on time” and “cases closed without clarification by the seller”. In order to achieve a certain level of service, there are certain limits within which the quotas are allowed to move.
With top scores, the status of a top rating beckons. This not only brings an immediate ranking boost for all listings, but is also a necessary prerequisite for other quality awards on eBay such as eBay Guarantee and eBay Plus. An overview of all requirements for a top rating is available here: https://verkaeuferportal.ebay.de/anforderungen-fuer-status-verkaeufer-mit-top-bewertung. What exactly one of the mentioned quotas entails is explained in the seller cockpit in the eBay backend.
In addition, eBay also tracks communication with the customer. Answers to customer questions should be provided within 24 hours. Complaints are to be prioritized thereby general questions absolutely. If customers are satisfied, this also translates into positive dealer ratings. The psychologically important 99.5% mark should be the minimum requirement. Honest product detail pages also help. If the customer receives a product that he did not expect based on the product description and/or product images, this usually results in negative consequences. Cassini incorporates both customer communication and seller ratings into its algorithm.
The platform has been operating with its new “Cassini” search algorithm since 2013. The main issue here is relevance. If Cassini classifies a product as relevant to the potential buyer, it will be ranked higher on the search results page. Product-buyer interactions are particularly important. These are an indicator for Cassini that it is an attractive offer. The number of sales, for example, is an important factor.
Besides relevance, visibility is of great importance. A product that would convert brilliantly, but is not found by the customer, generates no sales in the end. So it’s about increasing the visibility of the offers in addition to relevance. However, this is always done to a degree that does not come at the expense of relevance. After all, if products are only found via general or incorrect keywords, then product-buyer interaction is usually low. Then the product does not fit the specific idea of the customer.
But enough of theory! In the following, we present 10 concrete methods that you can use to whip your ranking and thus your sales upwards. We address both visibility and relevance.
Understanding eBay Search with Todd Alexander breakout session from the Retail Global conference on the Gold Coast Convention Centre May 29 – 31 2013.
Through Marketplace Optimization (MPO) you can significantly increase your sales on marketplaces like Amazon(Amazon SEO) or eBay. There are other ways and strategies to be able to increase sales on the online marketplace eBay and we would be happy to discuss them with yours directly. We can also help you with eBay advertising.