A Beginner’s Guide to SEO on eBay

Most people will agree that search engines are a key part of the online world. But have you ever wondered how search engines actually rank and sort website results the way they do? It’s all based on unique algorithms. While the exact algorithm of each search engine may never be known, we do have a good idea about some of the factors that these algorithms rank highly. The strategy of shaping a website as per search engine algorithms to improve ranking (and therefore more traffic) is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of SEO techniques to improve your traffic on eBay.

SEO on eBay and beyond

With eBay having its very own search engine called Cassini, it’s possible you may have already been doing some SEO without even knowing. Even something simple as using keywords in eBay listing titles and descriptions is a form of SEO. Previous Auction Nudge guides have already shared numerous ways to rank higher on eBay searches by taking advantage of the Cassini algorithm. But Cassini isn’t the only search engine that eBay sellers should care about.

eBay listings can also be found and indexed by Google and other major search engines. This opens up another (potentially much larger) audience of buyers. Luckily, there are many crossovers with SEO for Cassini and SEO for other search engines so there isn’t necessarily a lot more work required. Note that ranking in an ‘outside’ search engine is generally only possible for long-term Good Til Cancelled listings.

5 easy ways for sellers to use SEO on eBay

Learning and perfecting SEO can be a slow, tedious process. For this exact reason, there are many businesses and consulting companies that specialise in just in SEO. However, it is possible to improve SEO with just small changes. Here are five simple ways to optimise your eBay listings and store to improve ranking on search engines on and off eBay.

1. Have a relevant eBay store name

Make sure your store (or shop, if you use eBay.co.uk) has a logical and descriptive name. It should be able to inform potential buyers what you sell instantly. Your store name determines the store’s URL, something search engines use to understand what the page is about (and hence a minor ranking factor). Don’t worry, you can change your store name but be aware that any buyers who have it bookmarked will lose the direct link.

2. Use relevant keywords in eBay listing titles

The days of stuffing listing titles with vaguely related words are long over. Sellers need to cherry-pick the most relevant keywords and phrases for each listing title on eBay. The more relevant (or useful) a listing to a customer’s search, the more people will click on it and purchase the item. This is a win-win for both the customer, the search engine and the seller and hence search engines reward relevancy.

3. Name images appropriately

In the same way that a website’s URL should indicate the type of content to a search engine, the name given to images also should make sense. Always re-name image files from their default (e.g. IMG_4245) to something more descriptive and informative (preferably using keywords) before uploading to a listing. If you have more technical knowledge, consider also adding relevant ALT tags with HTML code.

4. Write a keyword rich listing description

Listing descriptions should be at least 200 words long. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the first sentence and throughout the description. It is important however that the text reads naturally and makes sense to the average person. Search engines reward unique content that isn’t written for robots. The final sentence of the description should summarise the item using the most important keywords.

5. Format listing description

One big block of text isn’t appealing to buyers nor search engines. Formatting each eBay listing description correctly can be almost as important as the content. Separate blocks of text with paragraphs to assistant with fast and easy reading. Subject headers should be used to introduce each paragraph and made bold to stand out. Bullet points are a clean and simple method to explain features of the item and are also search engine friendly.

What are your techniques to improve SEO within your eBay store? Share in the comments below!

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.