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Boosting Your Visibility on eBay: Can You Do SEO on eBay?

Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) has always been a key element in any digital marketing strategy. But because of the competitive nature of the industry and the complexity of inventory management, online retailers often struggle to find new ways to increase visibility and optimize product listings.

Which leads to the question, How can you do SEO on eBay? There have been many changes to eBay’s search function over the years, focusing on buyer experience and shopping comparison improvements to help shoppers find items more efficiently. The Best Match algorithm considers a number of components that can vary based on the listing format and selected categories. There isn’t any magic trick or a single factor that will automatically propel your listings to the top of eBay’s search results. There are, however, several key concepts to consider when you’re building an SEO strategy for eBay.

Item Titles, Subtitles & Descriptions

According to eBay’s optimization guidelines, you have up to 80 characters for your title. Use as many as you need to include details such as brand name, color, material, size and any other attributes that help to describe your products in a clear, concise and professional way.

eBay also offers you the option of using subtitles, which allows you to write an additional 55 characters to describe your product. You can add extra keywords or item specifics that don’t fit in the title, as well as additional product benefits, such as free postage, warranty or other promotional activity.

When building listings, don’t use all capital letters, special characters such as punctuation marks or asterisks or words that don’t describe your item (‘wow’ or ‘l@@k’). You should also avoid using false or misleading wording. It will have a negative effect on your listing performance, as well as your customer feedback.

As for your listing description, consider using at least 200 words to describe your products, with the most important keyword phrases mentioned at the beginning and end. Think of your listing as a mini web page hosted on eBay, and make sure you’re using optimal keyword density and relevant formatting (e.g., headings, bolding, smart use of font size on important titles and keywords). A lot of successful sellers implement the ‘80/20 Rule’, with 80% of their content in the form of product information, and 20% in the form of promotional material.

With the mandate eBay has put in place to not allow Active Content in descriptions, it’s important to avoid using Flash or JavaScript code since eBay will remove this content and it will compromise the display of your content on mobile devices.

Item Specifics and eBay Categories

Item specifics play a crucial role in the way your product is listed and presented to shoppers. Item specifics can include information such as brand, size, color, material or style, and they appear at the top of your listing description and the side navigation of eBay category pages, making it easier for buyers to find the products they want.

Consider using the Item Specifics Lookup Tool to find and use as many recommended item specifics as possible, and the ones that best describe your items.

Once your products have all the necessary information, it’s important to list them in the right place. Selecting the right eBay category will make sure your products show up in relevant product searches and will be easier to be found.

Product Identifiers

The use of product identifiers will also boost your visibility on eBay and search engines like Google, as this gives you better searchability on eBay for buyers looks for specific products. If you are not currently sending UPC, EAN, ISBN or MPN/Brand, now is the time to start, even if your category does not require it, it can help with sales and visibility.

Your eBay Store

Not only should your eBay store reflect your brand, but it should also provide additional web content using custom pages with information about your business, products, categories, shipping options and other details.

You’ll find different styles and types of eBay store formats, but you should always have an effective eBay shop name and URL, as well as a shop description. Make sure to also use eBay Shop Categories.

An ‘About Me’ page can be a good place to include internal links to your store, search filters and listings or even specific promotions. If you’re using images, remember to use alt tags, which significantly help images be indexed.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile commerce is playing an increasingly important role for eBay sellers. We know that over 60% of eBay transactions globally are ‘touched’ by mobile at some point during the shopper’s journey. This growing trend brings new opportunities for sellers to target products for mobile consumers, but it also creates new obstacles.

It’s essential to create concise and clear descriptions and titles with simple formatting in order to be displayed correctly across all platforms. If you’re using listing templates, make sure you’re using one that’s 100% responsive and compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Using low-quality images or text that can’t adapt to different screen sizes will not only hurt your conversions but also your listing performance.

Plan, Implement and Optimize

As with any SEO strategy, it’s crucial that you spend time researching, planning and assessing all the essential elements so you can improve the quality of your listings. Using eBay’s Listing Analytics tool or other resources such as the Google Keyword Planner will help you create good web content — and study the behavior of online shoppers. Keep in mind that this should be a continuous process, since trends, shopping behaviors and search engine algorithms will also continue to change.

Be patient and don’t expect measurable results in the short term. Selling on eBay is a fantastic opportunity to reach new markets, so these steps are worth the effort! Not selling on eBay yet? Don’t be the one to miss out on an $86 billion opportunity. Apply today!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.