You already know that selling on eBay has become more and more competitive.
But what you may not know is that eBay SEO is the most overlooked method of getting your product to stand out from the competition and be seen.
eBay SEO is the process of getting your eBay products (more commonly known as listings) to rank as high as possible in an eBay search.
But if eBay SEO sounds like just another fancy marketing acronym, you’re in the right place.
Today, you’re going to a step-by-step walkthrough of what eBay SEO is and how to use eBay Search Engine Optimisation to be seen and sell more.
In this blog post, you will learn:
- What the eBay search engine is
- How to get more traffic on eBay
- How to increase eBay sales using eBay SEO
- How you can find and use the best possible eBay search engine keywords
All these elements come together and keep people buying from you consistently.
Want to know ‘how to get your eBay listing to the top‘?
SEO for eBay is the answer.
But before you sink your teeth into the heavy details of eBay SEO, you need to know the difference between the eBay search engine and the mother of all search engines, Google.
The difference between eBay SEO & Google SEO
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and if you’ve ever had anything to do with blogging or online marketing, you’ll know that the importance of a good SEO strategy.
eBay has given a name to their own search engine. Well, not the search engine itself, but the algorithm that the search engine uses.
It’s named Cassini.
Yep, the same name as the NASA satellite that recently burned up in the atmosphere of Saturn.
This version of Cassini does some just as remarkable things, too – when you know how to please it, of course.
How does SEO work on eBay?
eBay’s (and Cassini’s) relationship with SEO is similar to Google in many ways.
In both cases, a search will show up multiple versions of the same product. It will give you duplicate content.
Search for a product on eBay and the results will be multiple listings of the same product from various sellers.
Just like Google – more than one of the same result.
Here you can see how the same products being sold by different sellers appear in the same search:
This makes eBay SEO very different to Amazon, for example.
A search on Amazon will (ideally) not give you duplicate content. That is to say, each result is a link to one listing. That listing may have multiple sellers, as you can see below:
So to stand out from all the other listings on eBay for products just like yours, it’s important that you tweak your listings to keep Cassini happy.
And to stand out in the eBay search results, you need to use eBay SEO.
But before you start learning about eBay SEO, let’s make sure that you know exactly what eBay’s search engine wants to see.
What Cassini (the eBay search engine) wants
First things first:
SEO is not just stuffing keywords everywhere you can.
SEO is the detailed practice of optimising every part of a web page to make sure that a search engine ranks it as high as possible.
Keywords play a very big role in this, but they are not everything.
Search engines are also smart enough to look at your listing and establish how useful your eBay listing is.
Cassini looks at your listings completely to see if they’re good enough to show. To do this, it asks:
- Is this listing what the buyer is actually looking for?
- Is there enough relevant information?
- Does it help, educate or entertain the user, or just sell?
When eBay displays your product in a high position, it does so because Cassini sees your listing as accurate and valuable.
To do this, Cassini looks at 4 product specific features about each of your listings:
- Product Titles
- Item Specifics
- eBay categories
- Catalogue listings
eBay’s Cassini search engine also looks at a wide range of seller-specific things. It will give high-ranking preferences to sellers who:
- Provide value to their buyers
- Shoppers can openly trust
- Make the buying experience easier and quicker for the buyer
- Have a track record of satisfied customers.
Now you’re going to take a deeper look at the finer points of eBay Search Engine Optimisation.
The 2 different kinds of eBay SEO
Optimising your listings and your eBay store for SEO consists of 2 different areas.
- Product specific SEO and
- Seller specific SEO.
If you plan to do SEO for eBay, you need to understand both.
Let’s take a look at what both these elements are made of.
Product specific SEO
Product specific SEO consists of more traditional SEO practices. It is based on the correct use of relevant keywords and is similar to SEO for Google and WordPress blogs.
Seller specific SEO
Seller specific SEO is the way that your shop operates and how much value you provide to a customer. Quick response times and a history of positive feedback, for example.
Both elements of eBay Search Engine Optimisation come together and – when used and not abused – can have an incredibly positive effect on the number of products you sell.
Next, you’re going to see how to do the best possible keyword search for your eBay listings.
1. Keyword Research to optimize eBay SEO
eBay search engine keywords are the words that you use that define what your product is. Very rarely is a keyword just one word.
For example, one of the keywords for this article that you’re reading now is ‘eBay SEO’.
But your best eBay listing will have more than one keyword and should also consist of keyword phrases, or long tail keywords.
Take a look at the image below to get an idea of what a long tail keyword is:
As you can see, a long tail keyword is simply the extended version of your keyword.
If you sell rubber boots, long tail versions may be:
- Rubber boots for kids
- Rubber boots for outdoor work
- Durable rubber boots
In a moment, you’ll see how to find the best long tail keywords for your eBay listing.
One often overlooked part of keyword research is Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI.
In simple terms, this is often called ‘using synonyms’. LSI is important to you, the eBay seller, as it’s the main driving force in building product titles and descriptions.
What is LSI?
LSI is the process that search engines use when they read a web page (or eBay listing) and look for the most common words and phrases used.
LSI looks at synonyms of these words and checks if they’re mentioned on the page, too.
The frequency and quality of synonyms used, tell the search engine how relevant your page is to the keyword that’s being searched.
Using keywords, long tail keywords and LSI in your eBay listings is one of the most powerful eBay SEO tricks.
By using a wide range of keywords and long tail keywords and LSI, you increase your chances of:
- Appearing higher in a search
- Getting eBay traffic to your store directly from a Google search
- Selling more
But how do you find the best eBay keywords for your product?
By using a third-party eBay SEO tools!
Some of the best programs to use for eBay keyword research are:
- Google Keyword Planner
In a moment, you will see how to use Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords for your eBay listing.
2. How to perform an eBay Keyword Search
For this example, you will see how to do keyword research using Google Keyword Planner – a free eBay keyword tool.
Firstly, head along to Google Keyword Planner.
Click ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’.
Next, type in your main keyword, and you will be presented with a list of keywords that are relevant to your main keyword.
By searching for the term ‘rubber boots’, you can see other LSI keywords that are relevant to our main keyword.
These are keywords that you must use in your eBay listing.
Use your better judgment to see which ones are relevant to your listing and which ones aren’t.
If you’re selling industrial rubber boots, ‘cute rain boots’ probably isn’t relevant to you!
From here, you can establish the best keywords to use alongside your main keyword – just like this:
Keyword: rubber boots
Long tail keyword: insulated rubber boots
LSI: rain boots
Once you have your selection of eBay search engine keywords, normal and longtail and LSI, it’s time to use them in the right place of your eBay listing.
3. Bonus: Keyword qualifiers
One very overlooked part of eBay SEO is the use of Keyword Qualifiers. Make this your advantage over other eBay sellers.
When a user searches for ‘comfortable rubber boots’, they have the option to ‘Save this search’, as you can see below:
This means that a seller is emailed every time a product is listed with those keywords in it.
This is huge for your eBay SEO efforts.
It means that if you use your keywords correctly, your item can appear directly in a users inbox, as well as in the search results.
However, your eBay keywords need to be the title of the product listing.
So now you’re going to learn how to write a product title to get the most from your eBay SEO efforts!
4. How to perfect your eBay product titles
The title of your product is probably the most important thing that a search engine uses to identify what your listing is about.
Becoming an eBay title builder professional is a shortcut to eBay success!
Your heading jumps up and down waving its arms telling the eBay search engine:
THIS IS WHAT I’M ABOUT.
Because of this, you need to use the most important keywords in your title and save the less relevant ones for other parts of your listing.
To create the best possible product title for your product, you need to use your new keywords, plus a little creativity.
Your eBay title can have up to 80 characters. It’s important to craft your title correctly, but not to stuff every single keyword in there – this does more harm than good.
In the following example, you will see how to create a product listing title for a birdhouse.
When putting a bunch of words together that do not make sense as a sentence, the brain is forced to stop.
It must take time to read and interpret each word individually and then see if they relate to each other.
Birdhouse feeder nest tree food safe sleep weather durable
While that sentence doesn’t make sense, you quickly get a clear picture of the product that’s on offer, as well as it’s features and benefits.
Bonus: Adjectives (describing words) at the start of a sentence can be even more eye-grabbing
Giant bird house feeder nest tree food garden safe sleep weather durable
But this title doesn’t exactly make sense.
It’s time to figure out which words are the most important here.
‘Giant birdhouse’ is important, because that what the product actually is. It’s also a long-tail keyword, with ‘birdhouse’ being our main keyword.
Everything after this long-tail keyword is relevant, but not essential.
Feeder – is important, as people looking for a bird feeder may also be looking for a birdhouse.
Food, safe, sleep and weather – aren’t too important, but nest, tree, garden and durable are quite relevant, according to Google Keyword Planner!
Giant Birdhouse Feeder, Durable Tree-Hanging Nesting Box for Garden & Home
- 76 characters
- Focus keyword
- Long tail keyword
Once you’ve got your eBay product listing written, it’s time to work on a product description!
5. How to write an eBay product description
Once your customer has clicked on the listing, the first thing they will look at is the product photo.
Obviously, product photography is very important, but it’s the product description that really does the selling.
Many online sellers, both on standalone websites and marketplaces are simply lazy and don’t put any effort into a product description. This means so many lost sales.
Use this to your advantage to stand out from your competitors.
By writing an eBay product description approximately 300 words long, you have space to explain your product in clear detail. Not to mention, a 300-word product description gives you plenty of room to sprinkle the most important keywords!
Be gentle with the keywords, though. Never repeat a keyword more than once.
Also, proofread your descriptions. eBay has become the home of poorly written product descriptions. See the example below:
Remember that Cassini notices your eBay SEO efforts, but it also likes it when you write practical, useful things.
Focus on writing a product description that tells a story, uses emotive words and paints a picture, rather than stuffing keywords in everywhere.
This cotton comes from the lower region of the Egyptian Nile, the part of the world that is best known for its soft, luxurious cotton.
Describe your product, how it feels, how much it weights, the size of it. Use emotional words and descriptive words.
Soft, just like the favourite blanket of your childhood, this towel set is the perfect addition to your bathroom.
Remember to list not just the features, but also the benefits of your product, too.
SEO for eBay tips: Use formatting. Bolding words is a great way to show Cassini which words are important. It also draws the attention of your reader.
For more tips on the art of creating a product description that sells, read the following article:
6. Using eBay Heading tags
Heading tags (or Htags) are the H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 headings of your product listing.
It’s important to use your keywords in these headings. Cassini looks at all these headings to figure out what your product listing is all about.
Htags are not a design element.
Using Htags to increase the visual appeal of your listing is going to damage your eBay SEO strategy.
Htags get the attention of search engines and your customers and say ‘I’m important, pay attention to me because I represent everything else here’.
eBay SEO best practices explain that H1 headings are the most important. H6 headings are essentially regular text.
In the following example, you can see how to alternate use of Htags in your eBay product description:
By putting your keywords and the most important information under the right headings, you increase your chances of ranking rank high for the most relevant terms.
Now with a solid understanding of Htags in your eBay listing, it’s time to learn the relationship between images and SEO.
7. Image Alt tags
Search engines can only see text, they can’t see pictures – not yet, anyway.
So to tell a search engine what your picture is about, we need to use Image Alt tags.
Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t make it easy to edit your Alt tags. But don’t worry, below you find an easy trick your competitors might not be aware of.
To do so, you need to go into the HTML code of your images.
For each image, look for the following code:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”PUT KEYWORDS HERE” title=”image tooltip”/>
TIP: Don’t put too many keywords in there. If you stuff too many words in and make it sound unnatural, Cassini will punish you by pushing you further down in the search results.
We’ve found that the best eBay SEO results come when you use your main long tail keyword, plus another unique but relevant phrase at the end.
Let’s use our wooden birdhouse example. you can use Alt tags such as:
- Wooden birdhouse front
- Wooden birdhouse mounting
- Wooden birdhouse construction
Now that you’ve learned all about item specific SEO, it’s time to take a look at your store and seller pages and see how to use SEO there!
8. Seller Bio
eBay has hard-coded your seller biography to be an H2 heading.
This is great news for you because it means that putting relevant keywords into your Seller Bio, you increase your chances of ranking for a search on those keywords!
Remember not to think just about SEO and keywords.
Think of your buyer that will read it.
- What do you sell?
- What makes you (not your brand) unique?
- Why else can you say to make your customer want to buy from you?
Your seller bio is where you explain all this. Remember to throw in a link to your own website here, too!
Jump on to eBay and it won’t take you long to find an eBay seller who has no bio at all. This is their loss and your gain. Buy writing a clever seller bio, you use SEO for eBay to your advantage.
Now you’re going to see how to get the best eBay SEO results from your store intro.
9. Store Intro
The store intro is where you introduce your store – not yourself.
eBay has been very generous with store introductions, as you can use 1,000 characters.
But what’s most important is that the content that you put in your store intro is coded straight to your meta description.
What does that mean for you?
It means that your seller bio is the most important place to use eBay SEO best practices!
Just like your seller bio, use this area to explain a little about your brand and your store.
Focus on telling a story, then go and optimise for SEO.
Phrases and keywords used here won’t mean you’re in the first position for all searches, but it will play a big part in building a relationship with your customer.
When your customer sees similar keywords used regularly, they start to trust you and invest in your brand and products. This increases the chances of them clicking on your listing and ultimately buying from you.
Here’s an example of a quality store introduction, written with eBay SEO in mind:
‘Welcome to my eBay shop. Please add me to your list of favourite sellers and come again. I offer beautiful personalised handmade cards for all occasions. All of my designs are modern and unique. Don’t delay, buy today. My range of cards include: Wedding Engagement Anniversary Children Birthday Female Male New Baby Good Luck Leaving / Retirement Baby Shower etc’
As you can see, this seller sells personalised cards and they’ve used eBay keywords that are also the name of the categories that they sell in.
10. eBay categories
eBay categories are one of the things that make the marketplace so great to sell on.
There are so many.
This means that any traffic that’s browsing all listings in that category is highly-engaged.
This eBay traffic knows what they’re looking for and they’re more likely to buy.
This is just another reason to optimise your listings for eBay SEO. Not just to attract customers who are browsing, but to attract customers who are ready to buy right now.
So how to do you capitalise on the sheer number of categories that eBay has?
By listing your products in only relevant eBay categories.
Don’t put your listing in a category where it doesn’t fit. Putting your listing in as many categories as you can is going to hurt you, more than help you.
Remember that Cassini (and most other search engines) are incredibly smart and will not hesitate to ‘punish’ you if you’re not operating correctly.
Now that you’ve read the best practices for Product Specific eBay SEO, you’re now going to learn a whole lot more about Seller Specific eBay SEO
11. Item Specifics & the eBay catalogue
eBay has a massive catalogue of products that are regularly sold on there.
Books, whitegoods, cars, electrical appliances, many of these things have item-specific details that have already been loaded into the eBay database for your selling (and buying) convenience.
eBay do this to make it easier for a buyer to use eBay item search filters and find exactly what they’re looking for.
Take a look at the following example to see how all the details for a pair of Philips headphones are automatically included:
By using the eBay catalogue this way, eBay see’s your listing as ‘more complete’.
eBay sees your listing as more valuable and informative to the buyer, and as you learnt earlier, eBay really like it when you do this.
eBay will reward your ‘more complete’ listing by placing it higher in the search results.
12. Popular products attract more attention
Remember in school how the cool kids only got more and more attention? The same idea applies to eBay listings.
Buyer behaviour is one of the most overlooked elements of eBay SEO and there’s a reason for that.
Unlike school, you cannot fake popularity.
The more attention your listing has, the higher it will be placed in a search.
Things that can increase the popularity of your product include:
- Number of people watching the item
- Number of views
- Number of questions
- Number of bids (if listed in a bidding format)
If Cassini sees that a product has a lot of watchers, views or questions, it understands that the product is popular, and will place in higher in the search results.
But it’s not always that simple.
Cassini also looks at the percentage of people that:
- watched your item after clicking on it
- click on your listing after it appears in a search result
- bought the item after having it on their watch list
So while hundreds of people may have your product on their watch list, eBay will see your product as more popular if more of those people buy that product than less.
13. eBay listing templates and User Interfaces
No matter how much effort you put into your eBay SEO efforts, an ugly or badly laid out listing template will hold you and your eBay sales back.
Make sure your HTML template is professional, simple to understand and makes it easy for you to give your customer everything that they need to buy from you.
14. A quality returns policy will help your SEO strategy
It’s a well-known fact of ecommerce that a quality returns policy can help you sell more.
eBay Tips: eBay provides benefits to sellers who take care of their customers.
If you provide a returns policy that lets your customer feel empowered about the buying process is a great way to do just that – take care of your customers.
It has been widely speculated (but not proven) that having a ‘no returns’ policy can damage your chances of making a sale as well as not appearing as high in the search results.
While it’s just purely speculation, it’s easy to see how having a well-planned and generous returns policy can help you sell more.
As you’re about to see, eBay prefers sellers who have a history of positive feedback.
Want to know more about creating a return policy that’s an asset to your online store or eBay shop? Read the article:
15. How Positive feedback can help you sell more
eBay gives preference to quality sellers. Sellers that have a history of pleasing their customers are the sellers that eBay will put at the top of a list.
If you have low Detailed Seller Ratings, negative feedback or a buyer makes a claim against you, you will be sent down in the search results. Not to mention, fewer people will trust you, and therefore less will buy from you.
The only way to ensure consistent positive feedback is to constantly delight your customers.
See the example below for a great example of a seller profile with regular and consistent positive feedback:
Increase your eBay SEO efforts by providing a good buying experience, and building a history of positive feedback.
You can increase your chances of positive feedback by providing a good buying experience, starting with responding quickly to customer queries.
16. Fast response times
How do you help your customer when they have a question?
Not by leaving a question unanswered for a few days, that’s for sure.
If you respond to your customer quickly, you keep them happy and increase the chances of them buying from you. This also prevents them from buying from someone else.
While quick response times won’t immediately see you landing in the first position of every search, it’s part of providing a quality customer experience.
Your eBay SEO strategy is benefited hugely when your customers are happy – and fast response times help that.
17. Always offer free postage
In the previous Seller Specific SEO features, you learnt that while they don’t directly affect your SEO efforts, they help keep your customers happy.
Well offering free postage in your listings does both. It keeps your customer happy and will get you ranking high in an eBay search engine result.
When you include free postage, even just regular postage, your sellers see the following on your listing page:
Listings that offer free shipping do achieve higher placements in the search results.
The sale price of your item does not have an effect on your search placements but offering free shipping does. That means it’s important to establish a solid pricing plan where you can offer free postage to your customers.
18. Other useful tips to remember
Now that you know the fundamentals of eBay SEO and how you create a powerful eBay SEO strategy, it’s time to take a look at a few other things that can help you rank higher.
- Avoid language like [email protected]@K or WOW in your but title, but do mention ‘FREE SHIPPING’ if you can.
- Price competitively – don’t try and compete by offering the lowest price. Offer a higher price, but provide value in the form of
- A generous returns policy
- Friendly Customer Service
- Fast payment
- Use human language. Use language that your customer regularly uses.
- Keep the handling time to a minimum – 1 day, no more.
Summing up your new eBay SEO strategy
In this article, you learnt how to increase your sales on eBay with a complete eBay SEO strategy.
With eBay increasing in competitiveness each and every day, any edge that you can get above your competition is going to be beneficial.
A well-planned SEO for eBay strategy can help you do just that.
Here are key takeaways from this article for you to remember:
- eBay SEO is more than just stuffing keywords everywhere, but you must do some keyword research.
- Become an eBay title builder pro by using keywords and structure correctly.
- Use Image Alt tags and HTags to your advantage
- Remember Seller Specifics SEO features, like quality customer service, a good listing template and free shipping.
Most eBay SEO tips are nothing more than common sense – providing the most relevant information in the most appropriate place.
On the other hand, it can be a complicated process if you’ve never had any SEO experience before.
Over time it becomes easier (and much more rewarding) especially when your sales start to grow!
Have you got any other eBay SEO tools or tricks that you’d like to share? Do you believe that your customer’s feedback can help you boost your SEO on eBay?
Let me know in the comments!