eBay SEO – How to Optimize Titles, Listings, & More for Cassini

A screenshot of eBay home page with a banner of Lakers rare memorabilia
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The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your eBay Profile, Store, Pages, and Descriptions

All but a forgotten platform, EBAY still commands over 700 million visits a month (Similar Web, 2022), coming in as the 36th most popular site in the world and the 15th most popular in the USA.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of opportunity to be had from siphoning off even a fraction of those 700 million visitors to your eBay Store…but how can you optimize your pages in such as way as to ‘game’ the algorithm into sending you more traffic?

In this guide we discuss the ins and outs of eBay SEO, and how you can optimize your store pages to show up higher in the SERPS, earning you more traffic, driving sales, and boosting the bottom line.

You’ve Got Competition: EBAY SEO Can Help

As a seller on eBay, you’re going up against millions of private sellers, all vying to grab the attention of nearly 200 million users across more than a billion listings.

With that in mind, you need to tap into every tool at your disposal in order to get and stay ahead of the competition. One such ‘ace in the hole’ is Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short). While most people are familiar with SEO for Google, far more are sleeping on how they can leverage SEO to drive more organic traffic to their eBay store, listings, and products.

A screenshot of eBay new listings for Rolling Stones old Vinyl records

How Does SEO For eBay Work?

There are a multitude of ways you can promote your eBay storefront and product listings, but few are as impactful, nor as cost-effective long-term as is SEO.

The Importance of SEO for eBay

More than 80% of all purchase decisions made by consumers are influenced by a Google search. In other words, 8 out of every 10 sales are fostered, encouraged, and generated by Google.

Google utilizes more than 200 independent factors in its algorithms, layering individual algorithms in a way that ensures the BEST answers/information is presented to each user of its search engine.

SEO offers a way for savvy marketers and eBay store owners to manipulate their pages in such a way as to give search engines like Google what they want to see, thus increasing the chances of your listings showing up in Google, and earning you FREE organic clicks, traffic, and sales.

By influencing these ranking factors, we can send signals to Google regarding the usefulness, value, and authority of your content.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Google is CONSTANTLY making adjustments to this algorithm and rolling out hundreds of minor updates and a few core updates yearly to keep people like you (and us) from manipulating the search results too heavily.

That’s why having a team like Epidemic Marketing in your corner makes a lot of sense. We keep our thumbs on the pulse of Google, adapting and shifting tactics to what is working today, not yesterday or last month.

But more on that later…

A screenshot of eBay home page with a banner of baseball holiday deals

SEO for eBay vs. Google

Ok, so you’re familiar with SEO for Google, but what about SEO for eBay itself? Is there a way to optimize SEO on-site for eBay’s search engine?

Turns out, there is an opportunity to get the attention of eBay’s search engine as well, increasing your visibility on the platform and earning you more traffic (and ultimately, sales).

eBay’s search engine is called Cassini. And as luck would have it, this search engine is far less complex than that of Google or even Amazon.

Cassini does not discriminate against duplicate products across multiple sellers, meaning any competitor who also sells the same products as you will show up as well.

This means that SEO is even more important as you’ll be up against every seller who offers the same products as you.

How Does eBay’s SEO Algorithm, Cassini, Determine What Shows Up When a Customer Makes a Search Query?

Generally speaking, Cassini looks at the following in order to determine what order search results will display for a customer…

Here is what Cassini is looking at to determine ranking:

Seller Related Factors:

As you can see, similar to Google, eBay’s algorithms seek to not just rank relevant products to a customer’s search, but also those products with the greatest probability of delivering a good customer experience with a seller.

A screenshot of eBay search results returned for the search term Converse Sneakers

Developing an Effective SEO Strategy for eBay

When developing an effective SEO strategy for eBay, you’ll want to focus on three factors:

1. Keyword Optimization for Google – to siphon off free organic traffic from Google and other search engines

2. Optimized Store/Listings for Customers – useful information that will help convert the visitors you earn into paying customers

3. Optimization for Cassini’s Ranking Factors – to earn your free traffic from the more than 700 million monthly visitors that shop on eBay already

A. Keyword Optimization for Google

Over 80% of every purchase made by a consumer is influenced in some way by a search engine query. This means that shoppers who don’t regularly turn to eBay for their goods will often search on Google first.

This presents an incredible opportunity to make sure your eBay store and product listings are optimized to take advantage of everything Google loves.

Similar to ‘regular’ SEO, you’ll want to research what keywords your ideal customers search for before buying the products you offer, then optimize your content to match that search intent.

QUICK TIPS:

B. eBay Listing Title SEO

Optimizing the title of your product listing is perhaps one of the MOST impactful elements of SEO that you can leverage to earn more clicks and more sales.

Not only will optimization of the title improve SEO for Google, but it will also help eBay’s own search engine better understand why your product is the best fit for a visitor’s search.

QUICK TIPS:

Remember, we’re fighting two algorithms here. While Google may favor an over-optimized title, eBay’s own search engine relies more heavily on click and user data/behavior. This means that for eBay SEO, improving CTR (click-through rates) is just as important as optimizing the title for relevant keywords.

C. Optimization of eBay Listing Photos

Both photos represent yet another opportunity for optimization. It’s been said that a picture is worth a 1000 words, and the data is overwhelmingly in favor of that old adage.

IMAGE OPTIMIZATION

In fact, according to Hubspot, pages with optimized images tend to get up to 94% MORE VIEWS than those that don’t. Similarly, images result in 10% more viewing time, with posts on various platforms that include images earning up to 93% MORE engagement.

All of these feed eBay’s Cassini search engine with the consumer/behavioral data that it needs to give your product pages preference over the competition.

Not only is the image the first thing that will draw a customer’s attention, but it is also what ends up keeping them there long enough to transform interest to intrigue, and even desire.

QUICK TIPS:
PRO TIP: Adding an alt tag to an image isn’t the easiest (or most obvious) on eBay. To do this you’ll need to go into the page’s source code to edit the HTML. Once you’re in the HTML editor, search for the code representing the image you want to add a tag to. This tag should look something similar to the following: <img src=”image.jpg” alt=” KEYWORDS GO HERE” title=”image tooltip”/>

D. Headings and H-tags

Headings (along with the proper H-tags) tell search engines what your page is about (topics and subtopics), and how this information is organized on the page.

As far as Google goes, H1 and H2 tags are the most important, representing your primary and secondary keywords (or keyword phrases).

But eBay also takes into consideration H-tags, with its Cassini search engine interpreting H-tags in order to determine which listings best match a visitor’s search terms.

Writing high-impact headings that are optimized for both humans AND algorithms is both an art and a craft that takes some time to master.

Generally speaking, it is often best to approach these from a ‘human-first’ approach, considering how you can craft headings that capture attention, drive interest, and increase desire for the product.

Once you’ve done that, circle back and consider how these titles can be lightly modified to NATURALLY incorporate your main keywords.

E. Product-Specific SEO for eBay

This is best explained with an illustrative example. For this example, let’s say your product is a book about eBay SEO.

PRODUCT TITLE

eBay SEO: The only guide you’ll ever need to increase traffic and drive new sales

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

A no-holds-barred guide on the BEST SEO strategies for eBay in 2022. Earn more free traffic and boost sales month after month with eBay SEO techniques that are proven to drive growth and performance.

Now let’s take a look at what we did above.

First, we included our main keyword(s) early on in both the title and description (eBay SEO and eBay SEO techniques respectively).

We also sprinkled in the benefits or solutions customers would be looking for (i.e. increasing traffic, driving growth, improving performance, earning free traffic, boosting sales, etc.).

And best of all, we did this in a way that is an attractive description for a real person to click on, thus satisfying both eBay’s algorithm as well as Google’s.

F. Seller-Specific SEO for eBay

This is best explained with an illustrative example. For this example, let’s say your product is a book about eBay SEO.

1. Seller BIO

Does eBay place emphasis on the seller’s bio for ranking? You bet. Not only that, the seller bio title is yet another H2 Tag, thus representing another opportunity to sprinkle in some keyword variation to feed Cassini’s search algorithm.

But the bio isn’t just important for the ‘machines’ and algos. It is also a key factor in gaining the trust of customers.

Use the BIO to:

2. Store Introduction

Here you get a limited 1000 characters to work with. Let’s make them count. Creativity, origin stories, and your USPs (unique selling propositions) are all great ways to draw your customers in and help them make better buying decisions.

PRO TIP: The meta description that displays in search results is pulled from this store intro. Because of this, make sure the first 140-170 characters or so is a short descriptive elevator pitch on why your store has what the customer needs and why they should buy from you vs the competition.

3. Store Categories

Store categories should be carefully planned to match the search demand for your products. In other words, try to find logical ways to match categories to either high-demand search volume, or high-intent search volume.

High demand will earn you more traffic (top of the funnel), while high-intent traffic will earn your more bottom-of-the-funnel traffic and higher conversions with fewer buyers.

Although eBay does not let you make custom categories, they do offer a broad range of options for both buyers and sellers to choose from.

PRO TIP: When it comes to categories on eBay, make sure that you’re being specific and only listing products that are relevant to a given category.

4. eBay Catalogue

Upon creating a listing, you may have been surprised to learn that eBay automatically populates a lot of the item’s specifics for you. However, you may still need to fill out anything that’s missing.

Customers appreciate products with item specifics that are thorough, accurate, and detailed. This helps to provide a better buyer experience, and can help eliminate doubts surrounding basic questions such as dimensions, weight, what’s included, and so on.

5. Returns Policy

It should come as little surprise that having a favorable return policy can lower customers’ guard and build trust. For shoppers who are on the fence, having a good return policy may help them feel comfortable in moving forward with a purchase.

Although not a direct factor for SEO, indirectly the increase in clicks, time on page, and sales, can help boost your listing’s position by influencing the behavioral algorithm of the Cassini search engine.

6. Positive Feedback / Reviews / Ratings

According to data from a BrightLocal study, 57% of shoppers won’t purchase from a brand or seller unless they have a rating of at least 4/5 stars.

Similarly, Search Engine Watch reports that Google data across 10 million profiles revealed that those listings with the highest 20% of ratings overall received up to 1000 MORE actions/engagements from prospective customers than everyone else.

SalesForce data on digital shopping trends covering more than 1.2 billion shoppers along with research published in Forbes revealed that nearly 90% of consumers read reviews, and nearly 80% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. The result? An astonishing 270% increase in the likelihood of a customer making a purchase.

All of which plays directly into the behavioral algorithm of Cassini, and eBay’s goal of matching prospective buyers with those sellers providing a great customer experience.

PRO TIP: Take a proactive stance on earning reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and to thank your customers for their time and business.

7. Response Times

Today’s consumers are an impatient bunch, expecting immediate results and feedback. Modern customers not only expect fast response times, but correlate response times to quality of service.

As such, you should make sure that you have processes in place to respond quickly to your consumers’ inquiries. If consumers have to wait too long for a response from you, they may not feel comfortable leaving you positive feedback or a seller rating.

A screenshot of eBay home page with a banner of AKG wireless headphones on sale

Bonus SEO Tips for eBay

FREE Shipping

If you aren’t offering free delivery, you should start. Free delivery is becoming the norm, and not offering it can be a barrier to increasing conversions. All things being equal, customers will more often than not choose the store with free shipping (even if the product costs more). Beyond free shipping, you also need to make sure that your processing times are quick and efficient.

This helps to improve the customer experience, increases trust, improves satisfaction, and can lead to better reviews and repeat sales (both of which can indirectly help with SEO on eBay’s platform.

Social Proof

Today, social media is one of the driving forces behind brands big and small. More than that, social proof is a major trust factor that can be leveraged to your advantage.

Consider displaying high ratings or reviews you’ve received elsewhere, citing comments from eBay or other sites, and adding the number of items sold. Make them feel like they’re missing out.

Using an eBay Listing Template

While it may appear like Cassini doesn’t care how your listings are organized or displayed, buyers certainly do, and the actions of purchasers determine how Cassini will rank your products. Find a listing format in HTML that works well for you and your shop, focusing on readability, conciseness, and aesthetics, and stick to it.

Competitive Prices

Reasonable pricing is the key here. Too low and it might seem like its ‘too good to be true’ or overhyped. Too high and you’ll price yourself out of the market.

Authenticity Matters

You want to give the impression that the person responding to customer inquiries is a real person, not a bot. More than that, you want to connect and engage with your customers in a meaningful way that develops strong relationships and earns you repeat sales.

You should also include a link to your website, promote your brand, and provide customers access to further resources like manuals, instructions, and follow-ups after they make a purchase.

Promote Yourself as a Local Small Business

Presuming that you’re not actually a major corporation, promoting yourself as a small/local business can help drive sales. When given a choice, most individuals would rather give their money to an individual than a faceless corporation.

Answer ALL Customer Questions

Do your best to respond to all inquiries in a thoughtful, timely, and thorough manner. When possible, consider responding with images to help further illustrate your answer.

eBay SEO Tools: making your job easier

Mini shopping cart and a cellphone with eBay logo flashed on screen

At this point, we wouldn’t fault you for feeling a little overwhelmed. SEO for eBay covers a LOT. The good news is that there are eBay SEO tools to help automate part of the process for you.

Using automation increases your chances of success, streamlines efficiency, and reduces costs while increasing performance. It’s not a panacea and it won’t solve all your problems, but it may help you maintain high-quality standards and avoid missing anything.

There are many aspects of running a successful eBay business that may be automated, including the research and pricing of products, the creation of optimal listings, the promotion of those listings, and even the sharing of those listings on other platforms.

eBay SEO Tools

  1. Zik Analytics

This tool helps you find new product ideas from your rivals, identify trending product categories, and get your items to the top of the first page. Use this data to stock your eBay shop with items that will bring in a profit! You can get sales data for every item on eBay and use it to determine whether things have a significant market potential. Apply filters based on sales, customer feedback, and pricing to locate lucrative business prospects. Then you should save the goods you locate and import them into the program you use to sell them!

  1. Auction Nudge SEO by KeywordTail

Another useful SEO tool for eBay sellers is the Auction Nudge SEO by KeywordTail. This tool helps you optimize your listings to appear in relevant searches, as well as gain insight into the competition for certain keywords, allowing you to tailor your content accordingly. You can also use the tool to easily compare prices, create complementary products and track changes to your listings over time.

  1. keywordtool.io/ebay

Lastly, there’s the KeywordTool. It offers advanced keyword research tool uses eBay autocomplete to help you find the right keywords for your listings.

  1. SellerCloud eBay

SellerCloud provides you with all of the functionality you require to successfully manage your eBay company and grow to other channels. Using a solution that is tailored to the requirements of your company, you can rise to the challenge of multichannel selling.

As you can see, there’s a range of excellent eBay SEO tools available to help you maximize your visibility and reach more potential customers. By utilizing these tools and optimizing your listings, you can make sure your products are more likely to appear in searches and convert more of your visitors into customers.

Final Thoughts On eBay SEO

Search engine optimization is an invaluable tool for eBay sellers to reach more potential customers. By engaging in SEO, sellers can increase the visibility of their items and ensure that their listings are easily found. As a result, eBay sellers will be able to increase the number of sales they make and boost their profits. After reading this, be sure to take advantage of all the great SEO tools that are available to you to get the most out of your eBay sales.

If you need help, our team of SEO specialists have the experience and expertise to get you more traffic and more sales, leveraging our wealth of knowledge, SEO playbook of battle-tested strategies, and the right tools to help you get ahead of the competition (and stay there).

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