Ebay’s automatic good till canceled policy is not that bad. In fact, it is a good policy that can really help sellers who know how to utilize it and implement it in their Ebay SEO practice.
When sellers post listings with fixed prices or “Buy It Now” option on Ebay, they have no choice as to the duration of the listings, and must post them as “Good Till Canceled” (GTC). While in the past Ebay has allowed sellers to post listings for a predetermined period of time, nowadays, their only option is GTC, which means the listing will be automatically re-listed, and stay up until product runs out, or until the seller has actively stopped it.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about this change, and sellers’ opposition to it stems from a simple concern: Many sellers see this policy as just another way for Ebay to collect more fees from, since every time a listing is automatically re-listed, Ebay charges an insertion fee. This causes some sellers to even rotate between their listings, posting some, while freezing others, just so they could save up on these fees.
However, these insertion fees should not be viewed as fines given for overzealous sellers. They should be regarded as the price of doing business, and succeeding.
In this article we are going to see how sellers can benefit from the automatic good till canceled policy, even after paying some fees, by properly adhering to Ebay SEO.
Significance of GTC
It was Harry Temkin, former Head of Seller Experience at Ebay, who articulated the significance of GTC perfectly:
“We're making this change because we have seen that GTC listings offer more sales opportunities than any other fixed price duration. Over time, GTC listings keep and grow watchers, sales history, and SEO Authority as they maintain the same item ID and URL for the life of the listing. We believe all of the above improves the ability for buyers to discover items on Ebay, which thereby improves the likelihood of a sale."
It is rather refreshing in the eCommerce world to hear such a straightforward and honest statement. Usually sellers are left to rely on half-truths, misconceptions and misunderstood functions. For instance, many sellers believe the importance of GTC stems from the fact that it allows the listing to simply stay up longer, thus increasing its exposure.
While factually true, this is not the main reason Ebay switched to GTC. There are other, much more convincing reasons.
One of the most basic parameters of traditional SEO is a permanent and fixed URL. A web address that doesn’t change under any circumstance. Even though Ebay listings by themselves are not so SEO-friendly, their appearance in search engines depends very much on a static URL.
Most Ebay listings receive a rather basic URL:
The number at the end of the URL (in bold), signifies the listing’s product number, and it will remain fixed until the listing is terminated. Once the same listing is relisted, it will receive a new product number, and accordingly, a new URL to reflect it. If a shopper will try to click the previous URL, instead of redirecting them to the listing’s new URL, it will lead them to a page notifying them the listing was ended by the seller. This, of course, means the loss of plenty of potential sales.
The great advantage of automatic good till canceled is that as long as the listing stays up and keeps its original URL, it will become a lot easier to find outside of Ebay, in traditional search engines, other websites, social media etc. constantly increasing its exposure.
We just discussed how it helps our listings outside the marketplace, but GTC also contributes to marketplace SEO and the listing’s performance within the marketplace, by creating a long sales history.
A listing’s sales history is among the most important factors determining the placing of a listing in the search result page. It is so important, that it has become very difficult to sell anything in quantity without at least a decent sales history.
But when sellers end their listing, for whatever reason, the listing’s sales history ends with it. Once the same listing is relisted, it will begin completely anew. For instance, once the listing below is relisted, it will lose all of its prior 229 sales, and will begin with no sales at all. This, of course, will cause the listing to drop way down in the search result page.
Another critical factor determining a listing’s ranking in the search results is user engagement. User engagement is calculated by how many shoppers have seen the listing (impressions), how many clicked through to the listing (conversion to clicks), and how many completed a purchase (conversion to sales).
A clear indication of user engagement can be found in the number of shoppers who have added the listing to their watchlist. If a large number of shoppers “watch” the listings, sellers may use this to target them specifically - for special promotions for instance - increasing sales opportunities.
However, when a listing has ended, it is automatically removed from shoppers watchlist, in addition to losing all of its user engagement history.
On the other hand, with GTC, the listing maintains its entire user engagement data, which continuously contributes to its ranking in the result page.
“Out of Stock”
Another important feature for sellers to implement is the “Out of Stock” option, which preserves the listing’s sales history and user engagement data, even when there are no products left in the inventory.
The “Out of Stock” option allows sellers to “freeze” the listing for up to three months, giving them time to replenish their inventory. Once the listing is reactivated, it maintains its previous performance data. If the “Out of Stock” option is not used, when the inventory runs out the listing will automatically end, losing all its performance data.
Ebay’s automatic good till canceled policy is not that bad. In fact, it is a good policy that can really help sellers who know who to utilize it and implement it in their Ebay SEO.
Despite common misconceptions, even before Ebay’s 2019 policy change regarding GTC, over 80% of fixed price listings were already using this feature.
GTC is here to stay, at least for a while, so sellers need to adapt to it and adopt it, or lose out.