With such a wide range of products available to buyers on eBay, strong visibility is critical to making sales. Much like any website, eBay uses a search engine that can be taken advantage of using a technique called search engine optimization or SEO. Simply put, SEO involves learning how a search engine ranks items and using that information to optimize your listings.
eBay’s personal search engine is called Cassini. While the algorithm itself is kept secret in order to avoid unfair manipulation, there are a few tips and tricks that sellers can use to improve their search engine ranking. In this article, we will explain how sellers can take advantage of this information to increase sales.
How does eBay Rank Search Engine Results?
eBay’s search engine, Cassini, ranks items based on a number of different factors. The algorithm collects data from buyer searches on how they interact with different listings that appear in the search results. These interactions can include things like whether the buyer viewed, clicked on, bid for, or purchased the item in question.
Cassini also utilizes information input by the seller to rank search engine results. Sellers that use a generous return policy, for example, will find themselves ranked higher than sellers that do not allow returns or only allow returns in thirty days or less. Their shipping and delivery policies have a similar impact on search engine rankings.
Other listing specific factors include things like product information and item descriptions. In addition to these listing specific factors, sellers are also ranked according to their overall reputation on eBay. Factors like the seller’s average response time, ratings and feedbacks, and click-through/ sell-through rates can also have a substantial impact on search engine results.
For this reason, it is extremely important to be cognizant not only of individual listings but also of your overall status as a seller on eBay. All of the above-mentioned factors along with an additional set of unknown criteria are combined to give each listing a score that is used to rank them on eBay.
How Can I take Advantage of the eBay Search Engine?
Like any search engine, the primary purpose of SEO on eBay is to drive traffic to a desired webpage. When it comes to eBay listings, there are a few tricks that are sure to drive traffic to your site.
One of the most important aspects of eBay SEO is writing strong titles. Titles that include details like brand names and colors are a great way to help interested buyers find your item. A stronger title means a stronger conversion rate, a higher ranking in the search engine results, and accordingly, more sales.
Another simple way to take advantage of the eBay search engine is by including as many relevant details as possible for your items. These item details will affect whether or not your item shows up when using the filter feature. A well-worded item description with strong keywords will not only help buyers find your item but also keep them on your page longer, leading to even higher search engine rankings.
Similarly, the categories and subcategories that you select for your listing will strongly affect which buyers see your listing. While it might seem beneficial to select as many categories as possible for each item, research indicates that precision is the best way to increase listing visibility. As the image below shows, there are a wide variety of categories available, from ethnographic and vintage computing.
When posting a listing, it is best to condense the categories into as few as possible. For instance, if you are selling a computer keyboard, it is much better to simply select category “Computers & Networking” and subcategory “Keyboards, Mice & Input” and leave out less specific but vaguely applicable categories like “computer components” or “computer accessories”.
eBay also offers sellers the option to list with pre-filled information pulled from similar listings. To do this, you will need to search for an equivalent listing using the item’s UPC or EAN and eBay will autofill in the rest.
Other ways to improve your listings overall appearance, as well as search engine visibility, is to include high-quality images with alternative text that lets the search engine know what the image is displaying. Alt text can be added via HTML code.
Finally, Cassini favors new content, so engaging in practices like renewing listings and refreshing your RSS feed can go a long way in helping your listings show up. The more active your listing, the better. Constantly tending to listings and directing third party traffic to your listings will have a strong positive effect on your search engine ranking.