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eBay SEO: How to Optimize Your Listing and Boost Your Cassini Rankings

By Reading Time: 8 minutes

With more than 167 million monthly visitors, eBay has the power to put your products in front of a vast number of users. That said, eBay’s size can also work against you—it’s easy to get lost in a sea of listings. Getting in front of your target customers requires savvy eBay SEO practices that ensure your products show up on relevant search results.

Whether you’re just thinking of setting up your eBay store with Printful or already have one, you’ll have to figure out how to get more traffic to your product listings. To help you get started, we’ll look into the ins and outs of eBay search engine optimization and here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • How  eBay Cassini, the eBay search engine, works
  • How to find the best keywords for your listing
  • eBay listing optimization best practices to increase eBay traffic
  • What to avoid when implementing your eBay search engine optimization strategy
  • The eBay SEO tools you can use to boost your listings

Let’s dive in!

SEO Basics: What You Need to Know

Before we discuss specific eBay SEO strategies and tactics, let’s brush up on a few basic principles. SEO or search engine optimization refers to the process of getting a website or webpage to rank well on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

SEO involves a number of tasks like keyword research, content creation, link building, site speed improvements, and others. The purpose of SEO is to improve a website’s rankings, ultimately driving more traffic to it.

Understanding the eBay Cassini Search Engine

Cassini is eBay’s search engine. It works similarly to Google—it uses algorithms to determine how to rank product listings on its search results. eBay hasn’t revealed how its search engine really works, but here’s what we know:

  • It factors in your keywords: eBay Cassini’s goal is to serve up search results that are relevant to the user’s query. One of the ways it determines relevance is through keywords in the listing title and product description.
  • It’s driven by buyer behavior: eBay’s search engine uses buyer behavior to determine the ranking of a listing. If many customers click a listing and end up buying the item, that could signal Cassini to rank that product (or similar ones) higher.
  • It looks at the seller’s track record: eBay Cassini also factors in a seller’s previous performance—successful sales, ratings, and customer service.

How to find the best keywords for your eBay listing

Wondering how to get more traffic on eBay? The first step to getting your listings to rank—and increasing your eBay traffic—is to find the best terms to incorporate into your product pages. Keyword research is a critical component of any SEO strategy, be it for Google, Bing, or eBay’s Cassini search engine. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

1. Start with eBay’s search function

If you’re racking your brain on how to optimize eBay listings, kickstart your keyword research by entering your product into eBay’s search function to see what comes up. Put yourself in the shoes of an eBay customer and think of the words and phrases they would type in.  

You’ll want to look at the query suggestions in the eBay search bar. Doing so will give you a better idea of what terms to include in your listing. For example, when you type “headphones for kids,” the search bar will suggest more specific phrases—“noise canceling headphones for kids,” “kids headphones boys” etc.

eBay-suggested-search

In addition to looking at the search box’s suggestions, examine the search results themselves. Identify what the top results have in common to figure out what the sellers are doing to get to the top page. How do they format their titles and descriptions? How are they using their target keywords? The answers to these questions will give clues into what works for others in your niche, and you can then incorporate those practices into your own listings.

2. Consider other keyword tools

If you want to take your keyword research to the next level, look into SEO tools such as Keywords Everywhere or KeywordTool.io that identify keyword search volume, competition level, and other important information you should consider when trying to discover the right terms to use in your listings.

3. Get cues from top eBay searches

This step is particularly useful if you’re still deciding what to sell on eBay. Looking at top eBay searches will let you see what’s trending on the site, so you can figure out what to put up for sale.

trending-on-ebay-page

If you already have items for sale, it’s still worth looking at top searches because they can give you ideas on upcoming trends and what search terms go together.

WatchCount is a popular eBay app that surfaces the top products that are being “watched” (bookmarked) by eBay users. It also has a feature that uncovers related product searches and keywords in various categories—enter your product or category into the keywords bar and the site provides related search terms and alternative keywords.

eBay-top-searches

You’ve done your keyword research, now it’s time to learn about eBay listing optimization and boost your presence on the site.

eBay Search Engine Optimization: 9 Steps for Success

As mentioned above, eBay’s search engine factors in relevance, buyer behavior, and the seller’s track record, which means that optimizing your listing isn’t just about adding the right keywords. It’s also important to boost your seller profile and provide the best buying experience possible.

Below, you’ll learn the 9 steps in which to do just that. We’ll start by talking about ways to level up your seller profile (steps 1 to 4), then move on to optimizing your listings (steps 5 to 9).

1. Choose a seller name that tells people what your store is about

While it’s unclear whether or not eBay Cassini factors in a seller’s username in its rankings, it’s a good idea to choose an eBay handle related to what you’re selling. It builds trust and sends the message that you’re an expert in that product category.

2. Incorporate a few keywords into your profile description

Keep your bio short and easy to read. eBay sets a 250-character limit, so you need to tell customers what sets you apart and why they should do business with you in as few words as possible.

3. Use a profile photo that represents the brand  

Upload a profile image that accurately reflects yourself or your brand. If you’re using a personal eBay account, you can keep your profile image casual and go for a photo or illustration. However, if you’re using an eBay business account, you’ll want to go with a branded logo.

As for sizing, eBay recommends that your picture dimensions be 300×300 pixels with a minimum resolution of 72 DPI.

4. Build a strong seller reputation and track record

Your track record and eBay rankings can make or break your profile. Cassini looks into seller performance and considers ratings and reviews, customer disputes, and responsiveness.

That’s why it’s important to keep your customers satisfied. Sell your products at fair prices and describe the items as accurately as possible in your listings, so customers always know what they’re getting. Be responsive and polite to buyers and make it a point to respond quickly.

Doing the actions above will help you gain higher ratings and positive reviews, which will lead to higher eBay rankings and more customers.

A great example of an eBay seller following these best practices is thrift.books, an eBay store that sells used books at low prices.

ebay-store-front-example

In addition to having a targeted and straightforward eBay handle, thrift.books has a profile image that reflects the store’s purpose and a bio that tells people exactly what to expect. thrift.books also has a product-related keyword (i.e., “used books”) in its profile description. The seller has an excellent reputation, with over 800,000 positive ratings and several glowing reviews.

5. Put your most important keyword in your title

After you’ve done your keyword research, decide on the most important keywords on your list and use them in your listing title.  

Resist the temptation to include too many keywords, as this will make your titles long and difficult to read. Remember that you can always include additional keywords in your description.

eBay-listing-example-product-title

6. Use related keywords in the description

Having your main keyword in your product description is great, but overusing it will lead to a wordy description that doesn’t read well. Instead, look for synonyms of your keyword and use them throughout the text.

Another way to make your content easier to read is by using headers to break up the text.

7. Keywords should make up 5% to 7% of your description  

eBay recommends having a keyword density of 5% to 7% in your descriptions. So, if you’re describing a product in 200 words, you should use your keywords and synonyms 10 to 14 times.

eBay-listing-example-description

8. Have unique identifiers in your listing

If applicable, include unique identifiers such as Universal Product Codes (UPCs), European Article Numbers (EANs), International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), and Manufacturer’s Part Number (MPN) in your listings.

According to eBay, unique identifiers help its search engine direct buyers to the right items, ensuring that shoppers find what they’re looking for.

eBay-listing-example-item-specific

9. Use images to give buyers different views of your products

Upload clear images of your products and make sure they showcase your items from multiple angles. You want your product photos to show off the various features of your products, so shoppers know exactly what they’re getting. The goal is to drive sales by giving people more confidence in their purchase decision.  

eBay-listing-example-pictures

If you’re Printful customer, use our mockup generator to create different types of mockups that showcase your product.

eBay SEO: What to Avoid

So far we’ve discussed what you should do to improve your rankings. Now let’s move on to what you shouldn’t do when trying to get your listings to rank on eBay.

1. Stuffing your titles and descriptions with keywords

Keyword stuffing is a big no-no in any SEO strategy. It creates a poor user experience, as it makes the text difficult to read and raises red flags with search engines, which can lead to penalties and poor eBay rankings.

What should you do instead? Don’t overuse your keywords; follow eBay’s recommended keyword density of 5-7%. And remember to write for human beings, not search engines.  

2. Clickbait in your titles

You may think that using attention-grabbing or click-baity terms like “wow!” or “must-see!!!” would help your listings, but these words do nothing for SEO. Buyers don’t search for these terms so you’re only cramming your titles with unnecessary words and characters.

3. Using hidden text

Trying to hide text by making it invisible or by changing the color so it disappears into the background is unacceptable and violates eBay’s search engine guidelines, which can lead to poorly-ranked listings — or worse — your account getting penalized by eBay.  

Tools for eBay Listing Optimization

While you can get plenty of SEO and keyword ideas using eBay’s native search bar, consider using third-party tools that offer deeper insights into keyword search volume and competition. Having that data helps you identify the best keywords, so can make sure you’re using terms that your customers are searching for.

Here are a handful of eBay listing tools that can help your SEO strategy.

1. Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is an app built specifically for eBay for surfacing terms relevant to your products. It pulls the data from real search queries that buyers enter when using the eBay website or mobile app.

The free version generates a limited list of keywords that you can copy and export. The paid version delivers more keywords and includes data around search volume and popularity.

eBay-SEO-tool-keywordtool

2. Keywords Everywhere

This is a free browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox that displays metrics like search volume, competition, and CPC whenever you search for keywords on engines like Google, Bing, and eBay.

What’s cool about Keywords Everywhere is that you don’t have to leave eBay to get the info you need. Unlike other SEO tools, which require you to open a new tab, this plugin displays keyword data right on eBay’s website, so you don’t have to switch to a different tab or window to view the SEO metrics.

eBay-SEO-tool-keywordseverywhere

3. Terapeak

Terapeak is a comprehensive eBay tool for advanced sellers. It lets you do everything from surfacing top eBay keywords to analyzing market trends. Terapeak analyzes millions of transactions to provide figures such as average prices, sales totals, and average shipping costs.

Boost your presence on eBay

Increasing your eBay traffic and visibility through SEO boils down to providing the most relevant information to your customers at the right time and place. You can do this by:

  • Identifying the keywords that your customers are searching for
  • Incorporating those search terms into your product titles and descriptions
  • Building a strong seller profile by optimizing your page and, more importantly, being a great and trustworthy seller who keeps customers happy

Just like with everything in life, SEO takes time, so be patient. The best thing you can dois start optimizing your store today to see the results sooner rather than later.

Francesca is a writer and content marketer specializing in retail, ecommerce, SMB, and technology. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Thought Catalog, and more.

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