According to Sistrix ebay now gets more organic search engine traffic than Amazon and that has very direct consequences for online retailers – you need to improve your ebay listing search engine optimisation. It also provides a wonderful opportunity given that Google, is placing greater emphasis on trusted ‘brands’ within their search results and you can turn that to your advantage.
To build up any sort of meaningful search engine visibility these days takes a great deal of time and/or money. Jumping onto the ebay juggernaut will allow you to cut the amount of time a new retailer can have products become visible essentially down to the amount of time it takes you to list them. For established retailers it gives them another market to sell to.
[Sistrix search engine performance metric over time. Red: ebay.co.uk; Blue: amazon.co.uk; Green: play.com]
It is prudent, however, not to jump straight in and list all of your products into ebay. Take some time and think about how you will productively use the ebay opportunity and not just use it because its there.
Below you will find a number of actionable tips to increasing your ebay sales using search engine optimisation. We will relate them specifically to Cloud Fulfilment and the feature that allows you to send your store’s products directly into the highly-trafficked auction website.
– Product Listing Title –
Many online store owners are already mindful of listing keywords cleverly in the <title> tags of their websites’ product pages and this concept is no different for ebay listings. ebay obviously has their own search algorithm and you need to think about the best way for your products will be found when people use their internal search engine.
Conventional wisdom states the best strategy is to stuff your products with all kinds of related keywords (this is also a tactic used by Amazon retailers). There are some very good reasons why you should be doing this given that people search for the same product in a wide variety of ways. In actual fact, this human trait led to the coining of the phrase ‘the long tail‘ and this is what ebay auction listers have tried to monetise. But as you will see later, this is a dangerous trap to fall into.
Using SEMrush.com we can see a very clear example of why people stuffing titles when we find keywords related to ‘nike air max trainers‘:
This leads people to stuff their product titles with all the keywords they can think of:
But if you want to get added exposure and top rankings in Google you need to be a bit cleverer – because stuffing keywords in title tags just won’t work anywhere near as well as they used to:
Did you notice that ebay isn’t listed at all in those Google search results? Despite ebay’s massive improvement in search engine performance from December 2012 to November 2013 (the top most chart in this post), they don’t even appear in the top ten results for “Nike air max essential trainers” – despite having 1,389 listings on their auction website. This is because the vast majority of those listing items on ebay are thinking with an SEO mindset from 2003. Those old tactics just won’t work anymore.
You need to think about both ebay AND Google!
Google’s search engine gets many times the number of searches than ebay so shouldn’t you be thinking about the balance of needs of the two?
Logically ebay gives you a second bite of the SEO cherry. By using this additional marketing channel you realise that Cloud Fulfilment’s channel integration features gives you a great opportunity to increase sales without paying for premium listings on ebay – simply employing a bit of SEO knowledge and common-sense.
Ecommerce SEO into 2014
During 2013 we’ve seen a very significant shift by Google towards rewarding sites with very unique title tags – and we can only see this becoming more important during 2014. We don’t just mean differentiated from the other pages in your site, but we mean differentiated from pretty much everything else on the internet. We’ve seen in a number of studies that using unique words in page titles is being rewarded handsomely. When we mean ‘unique’ here we actually mean words that aren’t in the most 5000 or so most commonly used words. Now we don’t mean spam your product titles with random words from the dictionary, but use the title to describe the product using more than the just the key features, but also benefits the product offers.
You may think that breaking from the tradition of spamming your product titles will have an impact on performance, but you do still have the opportunity to use your product descriptions to be more verbose as well as micro data in the form of ‘item specifics‘.
Another reason why you shouldn’t spam your product titles is that they’re often used in the search results pages and if you use spammy, illogical, forced product titles they will appear alongside other websites that use more attractive titles. These titles, in turn, attract a much higher click-through-rate, and sales as a result.
To improve your integrated ebay product titles with Cloud Fulfilment (Login > Connectivity > Click on the relevant product under the ebay column). Remember that words at the beginning of a <title> tag generally have more weight, that you want to include the core keywords and that you want to have some unique content in there; the Nike example above could work as ‘Nike Air Max Essential Trainers in Size 5 – boxed with original packaging‘. Alternatively you could try: ‘Nike Air Max Essential Trainers with contrast nike Swoosh and Air Sole Unit‘. Remember – the title isn’t everything. Relying on a spammy title is just lazy and unproductive.
If you wanted another example of why you shouldn’t stuff keywords into ebay listings see this search for all pages on ebay.co.uk that are in their products folder: site:www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ – do you see how non-spammy the titles are? The products listed first obviously are more attractive to Google than the later ones. Now part of that process will be the number of links to the pages or if ebay have given them more exposure within their website, but we are in no doubt having less or non-spammy product titles in ebay will help your listings be more visible.
Pro Tip: Sign up to TeraPeak to find out exactly what users on ebay search for, what sells and how you can improve your listings.
– Product Description –
Again, you should use this as an opportunity to achieve two main objectives:
Differentiate – The search engines generally don’t like content being copied across websites, they prefer to have unique content listed in their results pages. Now, given that your content will essentially be competing with ebay for rankings, and ebay is a very powerful website in search engine performance terms, you should really look to differentiate your content to some degree.
Customer Profile – It is important to note that the customer profile of ebay customers may actually be different to your own – you may have some cross over. But if people have accounts with ebay they are more likely to be cost conscious and respond to words such as ‘cheap’, ‘saving’, ‘deal’, ‘unbeatable’ and ‘offer’ than your own usual customers. What’s more, you may not actually want to use those words for branding reasons.
Joining the two thoughts together you could simply tweak your ebay listings very quickly to be more sale/discount focused. You should also rationalise the content to a degree and more the information more condensed and to the point. It is a lot easier to rationalise text in your ebay listing that to make it more verbose and lengthy.
– Linking In –
Don’t be afraid to link to your ebay listing from your own site or blog. If you have changed your product titles and descriptions then those products may end up being attractive to Google for a much wider or different set of keywords. Don’t forget that ebay places other ‘content’/text around your listings which may aid them. Linking in will give them a direct boost (of varying magnitude) and may actually increase your volume of sales.
– Summary –
ebay offers such a fantastic opportunity to tap into new markets and increase your search engine appeal. We give you the opportunity to seamlessly and effortlessly send your product listings into their service, but with a little bit of extra effort you can deliver great returns by simply tweaking your listings to be more focused on ebay’s type of users and to please the search engines.