Are you launching your own eBay store? Or are you already an eBay seller, but you aren’t getting the financial results you were hoping for?
To be successful on eBay you need to get your product listings on the first page (or close to it) of search results and that can only be done if you understand the ins and the outs of eBay SEO. How can you do that? First things first, you need to understand what SEO stands for, and how Cassini (eBay’s custom search engine) works.
Understanding the basics of SEO is not only good for eBay sellers, even if we are specifically talking about eBay’s Cassini here, but it’s also important for all eCommerce sellers to understand so make sure you read this article even if you are a Shopify, Big Commerce, or other kind of online shopping platform seller.
Why is SEO important? Because Search Engine Optimization is how you can promote your products online to potential customers specifically looking for what you are selling.
This article will give you specific and general action lists to make sure you stand out on eBay through Cassini and SEO, including but not limited to tips on the importance of accurate listings, how social media can still help you with Cassini placement, and the importance of having an eBay store design that is mobile responsive.
What does SEO have to do with Cassini? How does it work?
Cassini is the eBay search engine. It was launched only recently, in 2013 to be exact, and it works similarly to other search engines you’ve used before like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These big search engines gather information about what users are searching for, what they click on during those searches, and whether or not users abandon the store after clicking on the result.
As a search engine, Cassini gathers thousands of different points of data from its users. It then takes that data and what it learned from that info to predict what future users searching with that same search term will want to see. It’s all about an algorithm, or a specific formula to predict what stores users want to engage with.
Here are some examples of what information Cassini gathers from search engine behaviors.
- How did you phrase your search term (ie “black heels” versus “black pumps”)
- What listing did you click on for that search?
- Did you click on multiple listings and then close a few?
- How long did you spend viewing those items?
- Did you bid on anything?
- Did you click on “buy it now” for any listing?
- How many pages did you view?
- Did you watch any listing?
- Did you enlarge any listing images or scroll through photos?
All of those little things help eBay determine what listings match specific searches so that then all future searches are more accurate for their customers.
And what about eBay sellers? How does this impact you?
When considering what items and search terms are associated with your store, Cassini tracks a few things on each of your pages as well. Here are some examples:
- What is the price of your item?
- Can users “Buy it Now” or do they have to put in a bid?
- What is the starting bid price in auctions?
- What do you have in your product description? Accurate terms or keyword stuffing?
- What is your return policy?
- How quickly do you respond to inquiries?
- Are you photos of good quality?
- Are your shipping policies, prices, and delivery times easy to find?
All of this data helps Cassini make decisions about your store and whether it will respond well to searches related to your eBay products, AKA is your store relevant to what you are trying to sell and what users buying those products want to see.
It all has to do with SEO. Like we discussed, Search Engine Optimization is the name of the game and it’s vital for eBay and eCommerce sellers to understand. Based on your eBay SEO and other factors, Cassini assigns you a score that then impacts your page placement on eBay searches.
What elements make up Cassini’s score?
Cassini sets a score to listings based on everything we talked about above, as well as a few other factors, and while you may never learn what your store has scored personally you can understand what these metrics are determined by.
When looking at your listings, you need to look at four different SEO factors.
- Product title
- Product description
- Category of product
- Catalog listings
Every single one of these different factors has their own set of concepts within each. For example, should you stuff broad keywords into the product title? No, not if you want conversions. Keyword spamming will not help you get a better Cassini score because your impressions on each listing will not be relevant to the buyer.
Your reputation also impacts your placing in search and your Cassini score. If you aren’t getting good feedback as a seller, your visibility on eBay will be penalized. As it should be! Why would eBay promote a seller that is giving eBay a bad rap?
Overall, considering the above factors when working on your store and your product listings will help you get increased customer engagements and more impressions from Cassini search.
If you take care of your business, Cassini will reward you
To be shown in eBay search through Cassini, you need to take care of your business. Optimize your listings, be honest about product quality and features, take great quality photos, and much more. It’s not just about the buyer and their search habits, it’s a combination of a lot of factors and the ones you have control of are your attention to detail in regards to custome
Be the store you would want to shop at! It’s that simple and that complicated. Cassini will connect buyers with the sellers that meet that need.
Cassini best practice tips
While there is still so much about Cassini that we cannot know, especially since it is such a dynamic search engine that is constantly changing it’s algorithm, but there are several things that you can do as a seller to make your store stand out in the best possible way to buyers. And honestly, working on the quality of your listings will help you get more sales and more traffic on eBay so following these tips are basically a win/win scenario.
Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Create accurate eBay listing titles and descriptions
This is the most important, and longest, tip as there are so many different factors to a great eBay product listing.
Using eBay SEO strategies in your listings is a smart idea, as long as they keywords you choose are accurate to your listing. Keywords help shoppers find your listings in search. But thinking about what kinds of words or phrases you should include in a listing is tough, especially for new eBay sellers. eBay, thankfully, has a tool that helps sellers with eBay keyword research. It’s called Terapeak and it’s a tool similar to Google Keyword Planner. You can use tools like these to find out the kind of search volume your prospective descriptions and titles for your listings.
The most important aspect of your listing may be your title and as such we recommend that you format your listing titles as an eBay shopper would search for it. For example, if you are selling a blue fit and flare dress, add that and other important product qualifiers to the eBay listing title like the size of the item (if you only have one size) and the brand name.
Other qualifiers include certain qualities in the item, like the material, whether or not it has been used, and other common eBay terms you’ve seen. For example, some listings will say NWT in the title, frequent eBay users will recognize this to mean New With Tags.
In the example of the blue dress, your title will end up looking like this: Gucci Blue Fit and Flare Dress (Small, NWT)
It’s descriptive and has a few key terms for this kind of product that shoppers will search for without stuffing a lot of nonsense keywords to game on impressions. Keyword stuffing does add more impressions to your listings, however, it dramatically decreases your click rough rate (CTR) because you are serving your listing to a mass of people that are looking for particular items that have no bearing on your listing. After awhile, eBay will notice no one is clicking your listings and penalize your store by lowering its appearance in search.
Then, you have to work on your product description, eBay categories, and catalog specifics (like your products UPC).
For your eBay listing category, make sure to only add your product to categories that are relevant. Catalog stuffing will not help your listing, as it makes your listing less accurate to people that see it. As we’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t matter how many impressions your eBay listings get if no one clicks on them. This does not impress Cassini, in fact, it will lower your chances of being shown in top results once eBay sees that people that are served your listing aren’t converting.
As for your description, follow the same rules as your listing title. Create a groomed description that helps users understand everything that they would want to know about your product. Keeping your buyer in mind when writing your description will help your listing in so many ways.
Creating a high-quality listing that features relevant keywords and information that your buyer will want to know could give Cassini more of an incentive to share your listings because of the amount of time that buyers will spend on your page reading the valuable description.
Better description = Better SEO = More results in Cassini
And as a bonus tip, never copy and paste the information into your description. If you need to add something from another document or page, make sure to add the content into Notepad or Evernote and then copy it from there. This way it clears your formatting and makes your description easier for Cassini to understand.
Don’t forget that your listing should include a custom eBay listing template that matches your store design, because otherwise, your listing may not engage shoppers.
Tip #2: Use high quality images
Your images on eBay make a significant difference in your Cassini ranking. Your click-through-rate and sell-through-rate are really important to your eBay search results, and since your eBay photography has an impact on whether or not people are interested in your listing — it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Adding multiple high quality images that are also original to your store will help show your interested customers that you are trustworthy (AKA not a scam artist selling items they don’t actually have) while also giving them valuable information about the items they are interested in buying.
Again, it all goes back to making a listing that you’d want to see yourself for products you’d want to buy. Give your prospective customers all the details they need to make an informed eBay purchase.
Tip #3: Offer free shipping and free returns
Free shipping and free no-hassle returns are great for all sellers to offer. While it may seem annoying and counter-intuitive, if you provide accurate and detailed listings along with great customer service you are unlikely to run into many situations where you’ll need to accept a return.
To afford free shipping on your items, you can mix in part of that price into your item’s listing price. While this technically means in the backend you aren’t actually offering completely free shipping (because you’ve added this processing fee), it still manages to encourage your customers to make that final push to purchase.
On a related note, too high shipping costs is actually listed in our top three reasons why customers are abandoning their carts blog post. Don’t underestimate how important your shipping costs are to customers!
This helps your eBay SEO ranking because it is seen as a value that you give to your customers, and Cassini loves eBay sellers that put their customers first.
Tip #4: Do your best to get good seller feedback, including responding ASAP to inquiries
Like we mentioned above, being a responsive seller and doing the best you can for your customers is actually
one of the smartest things you can do for your Cassini SEO standing.
eBay believes in Customer-Centered-Commerce, meaning that the more that customers believe in your store, the more Cassini will as well. To impress Cassini, impress your customers. It’s a cyclical relationship.
This means you need to get good seller feedback and be seen as responding to questions and concerns promptly. Cassini strives to connect shoppers with the sellers that will give them the best products, so you’ve got to meet that standard.
Make sure items are as described, shipped promptly, and that you answer all of your inquiries from customers (ideally within 24 hours). Poor feedback does not only impact your star rating, it means you will rank lower in eBay search engine placement.
Tip #5: Be careful when you relist old listings
Cassini sees everything! If you add a bulk of listings at once, set them as GTC (Good-til-canceled) or set to automatically Relist and then rarely sign into your store, your listings could be considered “stale” to Cassini. eBay wants to see you going into your store and updating it frequently, so using automatic listings makes it seem like you actually aren’t an active eBay community participant.
A way around this is to use the Sell Similar option, this way your listing looks like a new and fresh item. However, if your item has a lot of watchers it may still be a good idea to use Relist (at a slightly lower price) so that then you get more engagements on your listings. Those watchers will get a notification about the decline in price and be more likely to check out your listing again and make the purchase.
Tip #6: Offer auctions
Auctions really help with your seller engagement as it creates a lot of excitement with potential buyers. The more watches, bids, clicks, purchases, etc, you get on a listing the more active your store seems to Cassini. Having a good mix of auctions in your listings (say, close to 10%) is considered a good mix.
Cassini is a big fan of auctions and your customers will be too!
Tip #7: Have a limited-time sale
Who doesn’t love a good sale? Just make sure your eBay sale is genuine. Putting everything in your store on sale does not help your sell-through-rate as it actually makes your store like an outlet, which isn’t the kind of image you want to have if it isn’t true. It just confuses buyers.
Pick a few items in your eBay inventory, or even a whole category of items (for example, have a sale on bikinis at the start or end of the Summer season), and put them on sale temporarily. It could be for a flash 24 hour sale or a longer weekend sale for a holiday.
Sales encourage more shopping and engagement from customers and it also helps Cassini see who is more active on eBay.
Tip #8: Be social
If you aren’t on social media, and you own an eCommerce store, we’ve got a bigger problem than eBay SEO to talk about. While Twitter and Facebook seem to be the standard in social media marketing, Instagram is quickly becoming an important platform for sellers to adopt. We talk a little about this in our 3 Unconventional eCommerce Tips post, as well as talk about the importance of content marketing in our eCommerce Trends to Watch blog post.
Now you may be asking, what does social media have to do with eBay SEO? Well, we’ve talked a lot here about the importance of having high sell-through-rates and click-through-rates and social media can have a significant impact on both.
If you are bringing in customers to eBay as a social media referral, eBay and Cassini are going to appreciate that. eBay wants engagements and by creating a base of super fans on social media, you are doing exactly that.
Tip #9: Have a mobile responsive design
And lastly, you need an eBay template design. No store can be successful without having a storefront that encourages clicks and sales. A huge part of that is an eBay design that is mobile responsive. We’ve spoken on this topic as well, in fact, we’ve shared many articles on the importance of mobile responsiveness, so feel free to check out our previous articles for even more on this subject.
In this day and age where so many users are browsing the internet, using social media, and shopping on their phones — it’s important to have an eBay HTML template that adapts to different screen resolutions. If not, your store will be clunky and hard to navigate. If that’s the case, people aren’t going to shop at your store and Cassini will see this as people abandoning your shop.
Thankfully, there are a lot of affordable eBay design options out there and we at OCDesignsonline offer years of experience to the table. To bring your best foot forward and impress the customers you are working so hard to engage with, request a free quote from our team. We’ll bring your store up to snuff.
Don’t forget, all of this time-consuming SEO work is aimed at getting you seen by more users so that you can earn more on eBay. Don’t let it all be for nothing by leaving your website in the 90s.
So there you have it, a rundown on eBay SEO and their Cassini search engine. These tips on the importance of your eBay listings and storefront appearance will make a significant difference in your search engine placement while also boosting your sales.
Give it a try. We’ll be here to tell you “I told you so.”