We continue to explore other Ebay SEO aspects, but this time we will focus on aspects that can be influenced by the sellers - so lets dive into the Seller controlled SEO aspects of Ebay.
In the previous article, we discussed ebay SEO aspects that are completely under the control of ebay, meaning no matter how much sellers invest in optimizing these aspects, their impact is rather insignificant.
In this article, we will continue to explore other Ebay SEO aspects, but this time we will focus on seller controlled SEO aspects of Ebay.
Structured data is a key element of SEO that pertains to the way a website’s data is organized. In order for traditional search engines to correctly index the website, special attention is needed to properly optimize the website’s data structure.
Like traditional search engines, Ebay’s search engine Cassini relies on listings’ specific data structure to extract information about the product on sale. Simply providing a detailed, keyword-laden title is not enough anymore. Ebay’s guidelines regarding structured data are clear and strict, and sellers who fail to comply with them risk having their listings disappear from the search results.
The first step towards structured data optimization is choosing the correct product category. While in some cases it may be clear to which specific category the product belongs, many products can fit in multiple categories.
In order to maximize the benefit of the structured data SEO, the best, most fitting category should be selected. To determine which category is the most fitting, sellers need to familiarize themselves with Ebay’s internal method of evaluating and determining product categories.
Item specifics are an integral part of the structured data as well, and should be provided completely and accurately as possible. Again, failure to strictly follow Ebay’s guidelines regarding item specifics may lead to the rejection of the listing.
Meta tags are blocks of text added to the site’s code that describe the content of the page. There are a couple of meta tags the Ebay sellers are highly recommended to implement:
Title tags, as their name suggests, determine the title appearing at the top of the page. While important for traditional SEO purposes, it is also vital for Ebay SEO because Cassini also scans the page title for keywords match. In fact, it is one of Cassini’s main sources of keywords, and has a tremendous effect on the listing’s ranking in the search result.
Meta Description Tags
Meta description tags provide a short, relevant summary of the content of the page. Meta description tags are mostly known for the short texts that accompany Google search results.
Ebay used to provide sellers with Search Engine Keywords, which were relevant meta description tags for specific categories. However, thes description tags never did make it to Google as short text, basically having no influence outside Ebay.
Nevertheless, sellers can control what description appears beneath their Ebay store’s Google entry by optimizing the About Us section of their online store. This is because the About Us page, as well as its underlying meta description tags, never changes, in contrast to listing pages, in which the description tags usually contain a snippet of the product description.
When Google crawls a website, it looks for keywords and keyphrases in order to determine how relevant the website is to the search query.
When discussing Ebay keyword SEO, there are two main points:
The best way to learn what keywords are most popular is to study shoppers behavior, and more specifically, to examine what words and phrases shoppers use when using the search bar. Ebay helpfully pools these often searched keywords into a keyword database, which is invaluable for optimization.
However, it appears that the majority of Ebay sellers believe that their best source of keywords is their competition. Sellers who want to take advantage of this situation and surge over their competitors will do well to focus on the keywords shoppers actually use, rather than keywords other sellers think they use.
Even Ebay itself encourages its sellers to put themselves in the place of shoppers to figure out what they might search, but stops short from recommending conducting a research into it. At the end of the day, however, such research into the behavior of shoppers is the best source of keywords.
Keyword Usage in Listings
As mentioned above, Cassini scans listings’ titles to locate keywords. Since Ebay limits the number of characters in the title to 80, sellers tend to use every character to add another keyword, and then continue to use the item specifics to add a few more.
However, when adding keywords, it is very important to comply with Ebay’s guideline regarding structured data and the use of keywords, in order to avoid keyword spamming. One of these rules, for instance, is that the keywords used in the item specifics should be similar to those in the title.
It is important to note that contrary to common belief, the content that appears in the listing itself, including any keywords embedded in the product description for example, have little influence over Ebay SEO.
SEO also encompasses the use of images in pages. Every seller on Ebay knows to add several images to each listing, but most of them neglect to optimize them afterwards.
The Ebay app allows shoppers to search for a product online by taking a photo of it. In this case, a clear frontal image of the product, similar to the one taken by a shopper, can help the listing be more noticeable to Cassini.
Sellers tend to focus only on Ebay search and optimize their images to better fit it, cropping out the background completely for instance. But these have no real effect on SEO, as Cassini will have a hard time matching them to a shopper’s photo. That is why it is recommended to upload images with a white background, and reasonable edges.
The use of computer vision certainly improved the scanning of even poor quality images. However, sellers who optimize their images improve their listings’ overall performance and ranking in the search results.
When beginning any SEO process, it is recommended to review the search engine’s guidelines and regulation regarding SEO. Before any active optimization can begin, all compliance issues should be fixed. This is the first step towards improving performance in search engines.
The same applies to Ebay, with its own policy and regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations usually leads to poor performances and might even result in the rejection of the listing, depending on the severity of the non-compliance.
Some examples of sales techniques that are prohibited by Ebay are using keywords that are irrelevant to the product on sale, adding links that direct customers to a site other than Ebay, using third-party statements or logos that vouch for a seller's 'reputation' or 'trustworthiness', and creating duplicate listings.
Despite the fact that the majority of sellers know about these rules, and assume that non-compliance will carry some sort of penalty, many sellers continue to hurt themselves by using some of these prohibited sales techniques. The result is that these non-compliant listings suffer a sharp drop in the search results ranking, if they remain visible altogether.