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EBay SEO is something that every full-time eBay seller is going to have to come to grips with in 2017. It determines where your products are listed for relevant search terms, and subsequently impacts your sales and revenue. Without paying attention to it now, 2017 will be the year when your products fall down the pages, sliding from page #1 to the hinterlands of page #3 and beyond.

To avoid this, we need to get familiar with Cassini. Not the spacecraft culerrently hurtling through space, but instead eBay's proprietary search engine. Cassini was rolled out in 2013, and is the algorithm which decides where products and shops rank on the results page.

eBay SEO

The higher up the page your product ranks for relevant search terms, the more visits you receive from potential customers, and the more sales you make. And that's what we're here for after all. So whether we like it or not, Cassini should play a key role in establishing your eBay SEO strategy. In this article we will provide a thorough understanding of what you need to know in order to give your products the best shot at appearing on page #1.

Understanding Cassini | The Heart of eBay SEO

For brevity's sake, we're forced to keep things lean on the blog, but I highly recommend watching the video below to gain a fuller understanding of Cassini and what it means for eBay SEO. (It's Todd Alexander's presentation at the PeSA Internet Conference in 2013, unveiling Cassini to a fascinated crowd in Las Vegas.)

Now, let's break Cassini down into two important segments: 1) Product-specific and 2) Seller-specific. The product-specific segment refers to all the things you can do on the product page to improve your rankings. We will go into more detail below, but suffice to say here that titles, descriptions, prices and photographs play an important part here.

Seller-specific factors are more general and include your recent sales, reputation, and responsiveness to queries from potential buyers.

Product-specific Factors in eBay SEO

"All eBay does, is look at every listing on the site that includes [the keyword] in the title, and then shows every single one of those results. You will appear on those search results, somewhere in those hundreds of pages."

Now, let's figure out how we can get our products out of the wilderness, and onto pages 1-3.

The Title of Your Listing

In terms of eBay SEO, your product title is the single most important factor in determining where you rank for any given search term. Determining your most valuable search term is of vital importance here, so let's figure out how to do that.

First, we need to understand how many times a keyword or product is searched for on eBay. Getting this data requires third party tools like Terapeak which cost money. To get a free approximation however, we can look at data provided by Google and draw conclusions from that. Search terms which appear frequently in Google, are likely also popular on eBay and other marketplaces.

In order to get access to Google's search traffic data, you can either sign up for a free Google Adwords account to get access to their Keyword Planner, or sign up for a free KWfinder account. Both options are fine and will provide you with useful insights into the search behaviour of potential customers.

KW Finder for eBay SEO

Above you can see a screenshot of data regarding the search term "blue nike shoes". As you can see from the results, a subtle change in wording of your title can result in thousands of potential customers finding your product. To illustrate this point, let's assume you sell blue running shoes made by Nike for women.

In Google, the search term "nike women shoes" receives around 16,000 searches less a month than "nike shoes for women". With this information on hand, we can now assume that search trends will be similar on eBay. Thus, we should list our product with the title "nike shoes for women".

We've only looked at one example here, but hopefully it is clear that you need to optimise your title for eBay SEO, in accordance with what your customers are searching for.

Here is exactly how you write a killer title for your eBay products:

  • Use the search term that has the highest number searches on KWfinder or Keyword Planner
  • Include the search term at the beginning of your title
  • Less than 80 characters
  • Include special qualities (such as colour, age etc) at the end

Using Categories to Optimise Your Listings

Categories are the second most important player in eBay SEO. Changes to the category system happen frequently, which is why you should stay abreast of them here.

As an introduction, categories are eBay's way of intuitively grouping items that belong to the same niche. Below I have provided a break-down of the Books category:

eBay categories in SEO

The screenshot provided above, should shed a little light on the complexity that comes with large marketplaces, and the importance of attributing products to the correct category. Old Magazines, would not do well in the Audiobooks section for example.

For you, the most important thing is to be as precise as possible, picking the most relevant category for your product. In some cases, eBay may even change your category for you, but best to get it right first time.

What's important here, is to understand the way people normally search on eBay. Millions of datapoints show that people like to start broad and then focus in on their desired product. Therefore, most people will search for: "nike shoes", then "men's nike shoes" and finally "men's nike shoes blue"; and this is where the importance of categories comes in.

In order to get listed for the search "men's nike shoes", you need to categorize your listing correctly. If you omit to include them in the "men's" category for example, then your product will not show for the search term "men's nike shoes".

Price - The Elephant in The Room

Ebay SEO has become quite smart and sophisticated in recent years. Cassini knows for example, what is a reasonable price to charge for an iPad, or any given product. More specifically, Cassini looks at historical data to understand the price at which iPad's are most commonly bought.

As Todd Alexander puts it:

"We know that if someone types in iPad for example, the average prices range between $300 and $800. So we know that is the price that most people searching for iPad are looking to pay. If you have a $2 iPad case, we know that that is outside of what most buyers are willing to pay and will not rank you."

As a result, price your items attractive enough for visitors to purchase, but not too cheap that it falls foul of Cassini's perception of the value of the product.

Item Specifics

Fill in as many of the item specifics that you can. EBay has come out and said that the extent to which sellers include item specifics, corresponds with user behaviour which in turn helps with eBay SEO. This means that the more details you provide about your products, the higher it will likely rank in eBay, exponentially increasing your chances of making a sale.

Seller-specific Factors

Now that we've covered all the little win's to be included on your listings, it's time to look at how you're profile as an eBay seller influences your eBay SEO.

Buyer Behaviour - The Secret Sauce of eBay SEO

Buyer behaviour plays a huge role in eBay SEO. The main reason for this, is that it is such a hard thing to fake. It's incredibly tough to "game the system" and impersonate good buyer behaviour. But what is "good buyer behaviour", what do I mean when I say that?

Well, I essentially mean your products popularity and eBay measures popularity in 4 important ways:

  • Does the visitor make the purchase
  • What percentage of visitors click on your listing
  • The percentage of people who watch your listing
  • Whether someone bids on an auction

These four factors tell Cassini whether visitors are interested in your product or not. The more people are interested in your product, the better it is deemed to be, and the bigger the boost it will experience in the rankings.

This also means that people who watch your products are providing value to your eBay SEO. Ebay interprets "watching" as a sign of popularity. Thus, even if these people do not buy your product, they are inadvertently helping your SEO and improving your rankings.

"The more people who watch your product. The better your result will be in search."

Conclusion - This is How You Ace Your eBay SEO in 2017

In the article above we have covered the key points to consider when crafting your SEO strategy for 2017. The success of your strategy will play a huge part in determining the revenue of your business and success of your eBay store. That is why you need to make sure that you:

  • Target the right keyword and include it in your listing and copy
  • Categorise accurately and complete as many item specifics as possible
  • Price reasonably
  • Ensure good buyer behaviour on your listing

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That's all for today! For anything I've missed, please leave it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading :)