With billions of transactions every day, selling on eBay has become highly competitive, and listing down and putting up photos of your products is not enough. Having an effective marketing strategy is crucial, and this includes how you write product titles, descriptions, and even how you categorize each one.
All this is part of SEO or Search Engine Optimization. You may have heard of the Google version, but this is different from eBay’s SEO called Cassini. So, what is it? How do you, as a seller, make the most out of it and expand your reach? How does this help you increase your earnings?
The SEO Basics
For the unfamiliar, SEO is something you should look into even beyond blogging purposes. In the online marketing landscape, this is the process of improving the visibility of your website or your products. Having good SEO increases your chances of showing on the first or top web page results and thereby having more people see your content or products.
This can be tricky for beginners when one deep-dives into it, but there are ways to navigate through the entire process efficiently.
eBay SEO vs. Google SEO
The SEO of Google is almost similar to eBay, where when a user searches for a specific product, both search engines or algorithm shows multiple versions of the same product. This means you will be competing with thousands of other sellers via Google web page result alone.
For eBay, it has its own algorithm called Cassini, found in the search tab of the website. The difference between this and Google is the former checks if your product is correct, relevant, and useful to the user or potential buyer.
If your listing doesn’t meet the criteria, there is little chance for it to show up on the first page of the search results. Naturally, this means having no exposure and no buyers for you.
The Cassini Guide
Your goal is to have Cassini show your products on the top of the search results. How do you do this? Ensure these four features are accurate and helpful: categories, product titles, item descriptions, and catalog listings.
First, there are two kinds of eBay SEO: Product-specific and Seller-specific. The former work similar to Google and WordPress, which means having good keywords allow you to appear at the top of results. On the other hand, the latter is about how you operate your shop or eBay account. This covers quick response time, good customer feedback, and having an overall credible account.
So, aside from having strong visibility for all your listings, you should also balance having good Seller-specific SEO. Being honest about your items, open to negotiations and constructive criticism, and overall efficient makes for a good eBay seller.
Searching for Keywords
First, what are keywords? These are the one to four-string of words that best describe your item or product and what users type on the search bar.
For instance, if you sell a pair of jeans, you should include “jeans” in your listing. But this can also be extended into long-tail versions that are still applicable: “denim jeans,” “jeans for women,” “denim flare jeans.”
Do Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to find synonyms for your keyword. This looks at the most common phrases used that are related to your keyword. Once it identifies your listing is relevant, this allows you to be seen accurately by users.
On your own, you can do this, but the best practice is to utilize tools. You can choose from Google Keyword Planner, Terrapeak, to Ahref. The site shows the rest of commonly-used words and phrases synonymous with yours when you enter a word. Use these when writing titles and descriptions for your eBay listing.
Writing Effective eBay Listings
eBay SEO focuses on these features: categories, product titles, descriptions, and catalog listing. Make sure to follow these best practices to make your listing good, both product-specific and seller-specific.
One way to do well on this aspect is to make sure that you only place your listing under the relevant categories. If you are selling a bag, then list them under “bags,” “accessories,” and for “men,” “women,” or “kids.” Cassini is smart–when you list under incorrect categories, it will ignore it and not have you appear even on the correct search results.
This is the most important area as it tells the potential buyer what you are selling. In less than 80 characters, you should be able to let the world know what kind of item it is.
Now, you may be tempted to write a bunch of keywords in hopes of having your listing rank high on search engines. But never do this. Buyers are not robots. They will need to take time to process your long product title and figure out what it is you are selling. If, at a glance, your title doesn’t make sense, then you automatically turn them away. Naturally, this means no customer for you.
This is why you should be strategic in your title. Always start with adjectives and then with your keyword. For example, if you are selling sneakers, indicate a describing word, the brand (if applicable), and what it is. “Sneakers” is not enough but can be “White Adidas Sneakers.”
You can follow this up with a long-tail version that further gives customers specifics. “White Adidas Sneakers for Women” or “Pre-loved White Adidas Sneakers” are good titles.
Keep in mind that all words, descriptive and nouns, are relevant to what you are selling. Anything incorrect will turn away potential clients as you will seem not credible and can’t be trusted.
Next to titles, these can also make or break a potential earning. While you may be thinking that photos are enough to “show” your item, describing them goes a long way. After all, people would want to know the features of your product and other necessary details. You have to do this in under 300 words only.
For instance, if you are selling an Air-Fryer, buyers would prefer to learn about its key features. So, rather than simply saying “brand new Air-Fryer that comes in a sealed box,” enumerate what this kitchen appliance can do. Indicate what people can cook here, how they have to operate it, how much its voltage and watts, whether it weighs heavy or light, is the appliance made of plastic or other durable material, and is there a warranty for it.
Having accurate yet concise details about the product makes it easier for eBay users to evaluate if they will make a purchase. This also makes you a trusted seller as you are open and honest about the condition and features.
You can still write more details when the item is not an appliance, gadget, or gadget accessory. If you are selling something basic as a weighted blanket, you can try adding emotive words or telling a story. Rather than saying “a comfortable, weighted blanket,” try describing it as “a soft and comfortable weighted blanket you can use in the bedroom, the couch when watching movies, or even while working at home.”
Always prioritize a “lifestyle” approach to describing products, especially household basics or essentials. In this way, people would imagine themselves using your product or item, causing excitement, and they would be encouraged to purchase it.
Remember, online marketing and SEO are not only about taking good photos and keywords. Focusing on people (potential customers) and how your product improves their lifestyles should come first.
Apart from properly categorizing your items, do eBay’s catalog. This allows eBay users to easily navigate the thousands of products and come across the items they need.
When you go through the website’s catalog, you will see that eBay has input item specifications that you only need to choose the options applicable to your item or product. Once you have all details filled in and saved, this furthers your chances of getting found by users.
eBay views your listing as “complete” and, therefore, useful to customers. Again, Cassini is smart, and the more accurate and relevant your listing is, the more visible you are to eBay users.
Bonus: using Image Alt Tags
For those unfamiliar, using keywords to “describe your photos” is very helpful for SEO. When uploading a photo, right-click on the image to get the HTML code. Here, you can edit it so that when people search for an item similar to yours, your photo and listing will be included in the search results.
The HTML code looks like this:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”PLACE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE” title=”image tooltip”/>
Again, never place a bunch of keywords into the code. Ensure only the most relevant ones, a long-tail version, and/or a unique one. Doing this entire Image Alt Tags may be extra work, but optimizing your product-specific SEO is worth the shot.