eBay SEO: How to Optimize Your Listings and Boost Your Cassini Rankings
With more than 183 million active buyers in 2020, eBay has the power to put your products in front of a vast number of users. It’s also 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, I’ll walk you through the ins and outs of eBay search engine optimization.
Here’s what I’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 to increase your eBay traffic
- What to avoid when doing eBay search engine optimization
- The eBay SEO tools you can use to boost your listings
Let’s dive in!
SEO basics: what you need to know
Before I get into specific eBay SEO strategies and tactics, let’s brush up on a few basic SEO 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 and drive more traffic to it.
eBay Cassini search engine: what it is and how it works
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 Cassini really works, but here’s what I’ve gathered:
- It analyzes your product relevance: eBay Cassini’s goal is to serve up search results that are relevant to the user’s search 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’s Cassini also factors in a seller’s previous performance—successful sales, ratings, and customer service. Sellers with better performance get higher rankings in the eBay search results.
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 include in 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 bar
If you’re racking your brain on how to optimize eBay listings, kickstart your keyword research by entering your product name into eBay’s search bar 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 related search queries that show once you search for something. Doing so will give you a better idea of what terms to include in your listing. For example, when you search “Bluetooth headphones,” just below the search bar you’ll get related queries with more specific product details: “bluetooth headphones over ear,” “wireless bluetooth headphones”, etc.
In addition to looking at the search suggestions, examine the product listing in the search results. 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. Use eBay SEO keyword tools
If you want to take your keyword research to the next level, look into eBay 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. Take notes from top eBay searches
This step is particularly useful if you’re still deciding on what to sell on eBay. Looking at the top eBay searches will let you know what’s trending on the site, so you can figure out what to put up for sale. To find the top searches on eBay, sales insights, and other data, head to eBay’s Seller Hub. 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.
Another option is WatchCount. It’s a popular eBay SEO tool 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 will provide related search terms and alternative keywords.
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, the eBay Cassini 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 on how to do just that. I’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. Including keywords related to your niche makes your store more relevant in the search results.
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, reviews, customer disputes, and responsiveness.
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.
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 (“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 focus keyword in your title
After you’ve done your eBay keyword research, decide on the focus 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. I recommend using 1 keyword in your title and leave the rest for your profile description and product listings.
6. Use related keywords in the description
While including your focus keyword in your product description is great, overusing it will lead to a wordy description that doesn’t read well. Instead, look for synonyms for your keyword and use them throughout the text.
Another way to make your content easier to read is by using headings 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 up to 10–14 times.
8. Add 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 toward the right items, ensuring that shoppers find what they’re looking for.
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.
If you’re a Printful customer, use our Mockup Generator to create different types of mockups that showcase your product.
eBay SEO: What to avoid
So far I’ve talked about what you should do to improve your rankings. Now let’s move on to what you should avoid when trying to get your listings to rank on eBay.
1. Stuffing your titles and descriptions with keywords
Keyword stuffing means oversaturating a text with keywords, and 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 to do? Don’t overuse your keywords and follow eBay’s recommended keyword density of 5–7%. And remember to write for human beings, not search engines. To tell whether a text will read well and not come off as spammy, read it out loud. If something seems off to you, it will definitely sound off to your customers.
2. Clickbait in your titles
You may think that using attention-grabbing terms like “wow!” or “must-see!!!” would help your listings, but these words do nothing for SEO. Buyers don’t search for these terms(and are likely annoyed by them), 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 you can make sure you’re using terms that your customers are searching for.
Here’s 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.
This is a free browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox that displays metrics like search volume, competition, and CPC (cost per click) whenever you search for keywords on search 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 in eBay’s search bar, so you don’t have to switch to a different tab or window to view the SEO metrics.
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 do is start optimizing your store today to see the results as soon as possible.