Why marketplace SEO is so important

Why marketplace SEO is so important

While paid marketing campaigns end when the money stops, marketplace SEO keeps on pushing products sales regardless of any marketing campaign, at a very low one-time cost. This is why marketplace SEO is so important.

Despite what many sellers believe, the best way to market your products in online marketplaces, value for money-wise, is not paid ads, but rather marketplace SEO.

While paid marketing campaigns end when the money stops, marketplace SEO keeps on pushing products sales regardless of any marketing campaign, at a very low one-time cost.

Of course this is not the first time marketplace SEO is discussed, however, even now, after so many words have been written on the subject, it seems many sellers are still unaware of its importance. 

What is Marketplace SEO

Marketplace search engine optimization (SEO) is the process by which product listings are adjusted according to specific parameters, in order to improve their findability and discoverability in the marketplace.  

There are, of course, other factors that might influence the performance of a listing, such as the seller’s shipping and returns policy, compliance with marketplace rules, etc. However, product listings that have been optimized for marketplace SEO are proven to show improved results after optimization. 

Marketplace SEO is an efficient, useful and proven method to boost product listings performance across various marketplaces, and it is one that is worth investing in for the long term.

Marketplaces maintain and tweak their internal search engines regularly, so they could better cater to shoppers needs and demands. However, however as the number of sellers and products on the marketplaces grows and many of the sellers sell the same or similar products, its gets more and more difficult for any seller to appear at the top of the search results. Moreover, many of the sellers listings are not only out of the top results - they are completely hidden.

The reason for this is called “listing outplacement” which, strangely enough, is a function of the marketplace search engine that prevents listings from appearing in relevant searches. 

In the last few years, and in order to create a better shopping experience, several marketplaces began limiting the search results, by showing listings that fit a very specific internal criteria, for example listings that come from a single category, hiding all the rest. In this specific example the marketplace search engine first determines to which product category the buyer query refers and then shows the results only from this specific category.

why marketplace SEO is so important - houston rockets

Above we can see an example from Ebay where after a specific search only the listings that are categorized under “Fan Apparel” appear, while thousands of other equally relevant listings do not appear in the results.  

Since as early as Fall 2019, eBay has been working to improve the buyer search experience by implementing a patented technique that proactively reduces seller listing visibility in specific circumstances.

While this might seem strange to sellers, marketplaces rely heavily on AI to improve the shopping experience, and this is one of the results - otherwise perfectly well optimized listings don’t come up in relevant searches.  


How Does Marketplace SEO Improves Findability and Discoverability


Marketplace SEO uses the parameters of the search engines - what the search engine “looks for” - in order to adjust product listings so they appear in all relevant searches, and also rank high in the results page. 

This process guarantees improves findability and discoverability, and has two aspects:

Compliance with Data Structure Rules 

Even though many different marketplaces have had varying degrees of success with data structure, regardless of its success, it is a critical element in every marketplace.

Data structure requires sellers to follow certain rules that dictate what a listing should technically look like. The requirements vary from marketplace to marketplace, but generally they include mandatory product categorization, the product’s attributes and other information used by the search engine.

While very important, this task is often overlooked, and  failure to comply with the rules of the marketplace might lead to listing outplacement. 


Keyword Optimization


Keyword optimization is one of SEO’s most basic principles, and it still maintains its importance in search optimization generally and specifically in marketplaces.

Keyword optimization is done both in the listing’s title and in the product description. Both are important, but the title is critical, because all marketplace search engines use the title keywords for indexing the listing, whereas indexing by the description keywords vary from one marketplace to another.

When optimizing the title keywords, it is important to select terms the shoppers often use when searching, so it’s worth researching which ones are the most popular. 


Just to be clear, these are NOT Marketplace SEO:

  • Ongoing prices adjustments
  • Overly descriptive product titles
  • Larger, square photos in search results
  • Creating duplicate listings to increase discoverability
  • Copying or partial copying of successful competitors content
  • Uploading images with keywords in the file name
  • Adding alternative text to images
  • Using up all the word space in the product description
  • Store name or categories full of keywords

This is just a partial list of actions masquerading as marketplace SEO. But there is no use for these distractions. Marketplace SEO is a reliable, cost-efficient and long-term method to improve findability and discoverability in marketplaces, leading to more conversions and sales. 


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