eBay Listings: How To Reach The Top Of Search Results

Amazon isn’t the only online marketplace in cyber-town. And it would be folly to forget the original eCommerce pioneer, eBay. 

With 20 million vendors vying for sales on eBay, the competition is incredibly stiff. So brands need to take action to drive traffic to their eBay listings.

Attracting clicks is about more than just making a listing look good. It’s also about optimizing eBay SEO to ensure your listings appear at the top of shopper search results. The great Cassini isn’t easily impressed though, so brands must be highly considered in content creation for it to favour their products. 

Here are some top tips to get your eBay listing to the top of the rankings. 

Getting started with eBay Listings: The Basics

Firstly, let’s familiarize ourselves with the basics of eBay product listings. Otherwise, you risk losing sales or breaking one of the platform’s policies.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. There are two types of eBay listings

When eBay first launched, anyone could sell off secondhand items in its auction-style sales. Today, you can still sell a product to the highest bidder. But eCommerce brands usually use eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ listings to sell products at a fixed price.

2. You need to factor in fees

eBay usually charges brands 35c to list an item on its platform. (Although, every account receives a monthly allowance for free). You also have to pay a percentage every time you make a sale. However, pricing also impacts eBay SEO. So it’s important to consider product pricing carefully.

3. Get to know eBay’s selling policies

Most of eBay’s rules are common sense. But it’s important to be familiar with them, because a careless slip-up could result in reduced visibility for your eBay listings. In some instances, it can even end in account suspension.

Here’s some key points to remember:

  • eBay listings can’t include any contact details, external links or misleading content
  • Banned products include alcohol, certain foods and most adult-only items
  • Avoid order cancellations and late shipments at all costs – they’ll impact your rankings!

It’s also worth noting that once you upload images and product descriptions, eBay can add them to its product catalogue for third-party sellers to use. This is outlined in eBay’s User Agreement. So if you’d prefer to retain exclusive use of certain images, don’t add them to your eBay listings.

4. New accounts have listing limits

Sometimes eBay limits the number of listings a new account can publish. Even eBay shop subscribers have to contend with these caps until they can prove their performance is up-to-scratch.

eBay does this to maintain the quality of its service and protect customers. However, if you don’t want to wait, you can request a listing increase here. Brands may need to provide some business details to speed up the process.

How to get your eBay listing to the top

eBay SEO is key to landing the top spot in search results. In fact, this is usually the best way to improve your online marketplace strategy – whatever channel you sell through. So, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding eBay SEO and Cassini

To ensure that your listings appear at the top of shopper search results, it’s vital to keep Cassini (eBay’s internal search engine) happy. Cassini decides where to rank products in the search results, and content is one of the most important deciding factors — the more relevant the content to what the user is searching for, the higher the listing.

To optimise your eBay listings, you need to know how the algorithm of its Cassini search engine works.

To help customers find relevant products, the Cassini search engine ranks eBay listings based on keywords, seller engagement, product pricing, customer service and sales history.

You can find out what keywords your audience searches for on eBay with tools like KeywordTool.io or Terapeak. Free tools like Google’s keyword planner or Title Builder are helpful too. Alternatively, you can look at data from your other sale channels to determine the phrases your customers most commonly search for.

It’s a good idea to use multiple keywords in your eBay listings. Just make sure they are highly relevant to your products. eBay SEO isn’t just about targeting popular keywords. It’s also about targeting the keywords that will drive conversions.

How to write your product description for eBay SEO

You need to carefully craft each listing with keywords, engagement, accuracy and your brand values in mind. It can be a tough balancing act, so invest time in getting it right.

1. Product Categories

Be sure to list your product in the correct category, otherwise your listing will be brought down in search. It could also cause problems with eBay global shipping, as some items are not allowed to be shipped to other countries.

2. Product Title

To start, you need to choose a title. The Title Builder tool can help with this, but don’t rely on it too much. The maximum character count for eBay titles is 80, so choose your words wisely.

eBay suggests using descriptive keywords to clearly and accurately convey what you’re selling. That means including important details like the item’s brand name (artist or designer) and any specifics like size, colour, and condition. And while we may be stating the obvious here, no typos please!

Avoid:

  • Multiple synonyms or plurals (it’s not needed for search and may make your title less attractive to buyers)
  • Punctuation marks and asterisks
  • Words like ‘wow’ or ‘look’ (buyers don’t search for words like these)
  • Overuse of acronyms
  • Using all caps
  • Obscene language
  • Website and email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • False or misleading information

While it’s important to include keywords in the title, it needs to attract clicks too. So add vital information that will appeal to shoppers. 

However bear in mind that  keyword spamming isn’t allowed on eBay. For example, brand names other than the specific brand name used by the company that produced the item. These types of listings will be ended and the insertion fee for the listing automatically credited.

We recommend using eBay’s search suggestions to find out what buyers are searching for. For example, start typing in “xbox one controller” as per the below image. eBay will show you the most frequently searched related terms. You can then use the same exact words, in the same exact order, to begin your title building.

eBay search listings
Using eBay search suggestions can help you identify what your buyers are searching for

3. Product Subtitle

Having a subtitle makes your listing stand out. To make the best use of subtitles, showcase why a buyer should buy from you. What makes you different as a seller? Is your product different from others on the market? Do you offer a better service? Do you have freebies? Also use subtitles to promote free shipping, free support, warranties, or anything else that can help conversions.

4. Product Description

For the product description, brands should focus on driving conversions. Include helpful information, key selling points and a couple more keywords for the Cassini search engine. Also, describing why you’re different gives you a competitive edge.

If you provide plenty of details, shoppers can confidently make a decision. It’s also a good idea to use short sentences and other formatting that will help them quickly scan the description.  

When writing your product description, eBay suggests:

  • Organising information in paragraphs with similar information grouped together
  • Starting with the most important details first, like item specifics such as size, shape, colour, age, manufacture date and country of origin
  • Clearly stating the item’s condition, such as new or used. Be sure to mention any flaws or repairs
  • Being clear about what’s included and the type of packaging
  • Using complete sentences and correct spelling and grammar
  • Including your return policy for international returns (if different from your national returns policy)
  • Including a story about the item, or why it’s appealing. Many eBay sellers find this boosts bids and sales
  • Avoiding item descriptions copied word-for-word from other sources (like shopping websites, other eBay listings, or manufacturer websites)
  • Avoiding all caps, multiple fonts and font colours, and HTML. These can make your listing unreadable on mobile

Once your eBay listings are live, you can view their performance from your account. With stats on rankings, clicks and conversions, you can then see which listings need improvement.

Once a brand lists a product on eBay, other third-party sellers can automatically upload this information to their listings. This can improve brand consistency. But to safeguard against inaccurate or off-brand product descriptions, you should also enlist the help of content compliance tools.

5. Product images for eBay listings

eBay requires all sellers to include at least one photo in each listing. The maximum number of images allowed per listing is 12, and the minimum is one. Images must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side, but eBay suggests using images that are at least 1600 pixels on the longest side — this gives the zoom effect you see on some eBay listings. However, it isn’t recommended you enlarge smaller images to make them 1600 pixels, as this results in a poor quality image.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so this is a great way to inform shoppers. Brands should use high quality, original images which show products from every angle. This should increase sales, while also reducing returns and negative feedback.

However, don’t add text, borders or watermarks to your images as this goes against eBay policy. Your images also need to be at least 500 pixels long. Although eBay actually recommends using much higher quality images that are 1600 pixels on the longest side.

Images can be uploaded JPEG (it should have a quality of 90 or higher on the 0-99 JPEG quality scale), PNG, TIFF, BMP, and GIF file formats. Images can’t have borders or text on them. Stock photos are only acceptable for new and unused items. All other items should have an image that shows its actual condition. Make sure any photos imported from the web are HTTPS compliant to avoid security warnings in browsers.

 You can also add descriptive alt tags to each listing on eBay. This will make your products more accessible to the visually impaired, while also improving your eBay SEO.

 6. Item Specifics

Item specifics are the features or specs of your products. They also act as a filter when a buyer is shopping, so they can easily find what they want. For example, if you’re selling a mobile phone case, indicate what material it’s made of, the colour, what model it fits, the brand, etc.

Make sure all item specifics are filled in and relevant to your product. If your item specifics are not filled in, your item will not show up in the search results. This is especially important in mobile, since most buyers on a mobile phone will use item specifics to drill down into listings. Use eBay’s Item Specifics Lookup Tool to discover which item specifics are most relevant to your product.

Try creating an eBay Promoted Listing

One of the easiest ways to get your eBay listing to the top of search results is to pay for it.

With the demise of third-party cookies, retail media is taking off. This kind of advertising targets consumers as they shop and links in with the modern consumer journey. It provides brands with the chance to swoop in and land a sale right at the moment of conversion.

eBay Promoted Listings provide brands with the opportunity to reach more customers. These ads appear in really prominent positions on eBay, including the home page and the top of search results. They appear as suggested items at the bottom of product pages too.

An eBay Promoted Listing is similar to an organic one, but it is labelled as ‘sponsored’. These ads hugely boost visibility and you only pay when a shopper converts.

Because they boost engagement and sales volume for your listing, they also offer knock on benefits for your organic eBay SEO as well.

Final thoughts

Without carefully crafted descriptions, strategically placed keywords and eye-catching images, your products would get lost in the ether of eBay’s 1.7 billion listings. Whether you run ads or just want to improve the performance of your organic listings, these steps are crucial in this increasingly competitive environment. 

Now you know how to create content to hit the number one spot on eBay, you may want to learn how to make content instantly shoppable across all your digital channels, from website blogs to social videos. ChannelSight Where to Buy solution achieves exactly that. Talk to our team today to learn how.

guide for brands to maximize marketplace sales