Selling on eBay is lucrative, but with so much competition, and new listings popping up every day, you need to make sure that your products really stand out. Using traditional SEO methods, conversion rate optimization, and UX (user experience) principles, you can improve your listing and ensure that you keep on making those all-important sales. Here are some key optimization tips that will help both the novice seller, as well as the more advanced eBayer. (Before you start optimizing — check whether you’ve committed any of these seven eBay shop cardinal sins).
Target niches on a granular level
Online, being niche-specific pays off. You will be missing out on important sales opportunities if you target your listing too widely. Make sure that your listing appeals to the dedicated niche buyer, rather than casting a wide net.Online, being niche-specific pays off. You will be missing out on important sales opportunities if you target your listing too widely. Make sure that your listing appeals to the dedicated niche buyer, rather than casting a wide net.
Choose a very specific product category so that your listing will come up for targeted phrases — go granular right down to descriptive words like color and size
Use niche vocabulary in both the product title and description: keyword research will help you here if you are not sure what vocabulary to use. A paid keyword research tool like Semrush is a great investment, but you can also collate keyword data from free tools like Ubersuggest. It’s a good idea to save your keyword data in spreadsheets and have it open when you are writing listings or updating your shop. A more precise vocabulary is better for you and the buyer, will result in a conversion uplift.
On-page rules for your listing
Just like with regular SEO, try to make your product title and description as contextually relevant as possible. There are a few things that you can do to maximize listing potential, from correct formatting and structure to content quality. (Here’s an anatomy of the perfect listing).
Rich text formatting will help search engine crawlers pick out important phrases and words — use bold type, but don’t go overboard either1. Rich text formatting will help search engine crawlers pick out important phrases and words — use bold type, but don’t go overboard either
HTML headings (H1, H2, H3 and H4 are the ones to use) are a great way to help structure your content for relevance
Look at your keyword density, but don’t get too obsessed with it. It’s better to focus on using synonyms and variants to increase page relevancy, rather than aiming for ‘ideal’ percentages (they will vary based on your niche and content quality)
Be precise and front-load the most important stuff at the beginning of your product title and listing — every element needs to earn its place. Your product title is really really important (just like a title tag is for SEO), so make sure that you spend time optimizing it. If you want to be known as a specialist seller, a relevant store name will help too
Fast load times are a plus so create short listings, using tabs and custom pages within your store for more content if needed. Make sure your listing is fully mobile-optimized (you have to set your viewport up correctly).
Great content helps your listing
Revisit your listing quality from a content perspective — have you really explained product benefits? Is your copy sales-led and well-written? The best eBay listings are short and punchy.
Showcase your brand, but be subtle: most people care about the product more than your brand. Make sure that your copy is as user-focused as possible1. Showcase your brand, but be subtle: most people care about the product more than your brand. Make sure that your copy is as user-focused as possible
eBay offers you a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge in the shape of guides. Guides can help raise product awareness and can help bolster your position as a niche seller
Unlike Amazon, sellers can gain traction through community engagement and community content. Guides, forums, blogs, social media, and reviews will earn you valuable community points.
Minimize buyer objections
Online, especially on sites like eBay, you have to quickly build confidence and trust. Buyers can be wary buying from unknown or new sellers — make sure that you mitigate any perceived risk to them.
Here are some easy ways to tweak your listing and make it more trustworthy:
Include money back and guarantee statements on your listing1. Include money back and guarantee statements on your listing
Make shipping and returns information super clear and easy to find. Free shipping is always best for consumers, and a few weeks returns policy is also a good idea
People often wonder whether eBay products are legitimate, so clearly state your authenticity
Is there a big drawback to buying your product, or is there a question that people often ask when they do buy? Why not address these objections in your listing openly and honestly?
Include elements of social proof in your listing, from testimonials and reviews, to customer social media posts and number of happy customers
Not sure if your listing makes the grade? Ask customers and associates to critique your listing.
What makes for great eBay imagery?
People online buy with their eyes, so make sure that your imagery strikes a balance between attractive and professional and genuine. Anything too glossy, and people get suspicious, but anything too low quality and your sales will suffer. Taking your own photos? Do you know how to actually take good product photos?
Focus on the products themselves. You want a clean and clear background with no ugly light spots from a flash1. Focus on the products themselves. You want a clean and clear background with no ugly light spots from a flash
Make sure the product looks real, and disclose any blemishes or imperfections by covering all angles. It’s also really important to give an accurate representation of size
Spy on the competition: sellers, online stores, marketplaces…
Just like in SEO, competitor research is a great way to maximize your listing potential. You need to see what others are talking about in order to be competitive in a shared marketplace.
Look at any of your other listings that perform particularly well and try to figure out why you are offering better value on on those1. Look at any of your other listings that perform particularly well and try to figure out why you are offering better value on on those
When you look at your competitors, make sure you look at both good and bad ones in your niche to get an accurate picture of the playing field
Popular products tend to either fill a very specific need, or then they have universal appeal. (You will probably have better luck succeeding as a seller by selecting a very specific niche)
Spying on product descriptions outside of eBay is obviously a good idea too. Start with the obvious one (Amazon), but you should also check out any Shopify stores that dropship similar products (there are a ton of Shopify sellers jumping on eBay niches right now — join their Facebook groups to find out more). Try to see how they structure their product and category pages for maximum conversions — these store owners tend to work really hard on their conversion rate optimization and you could probably learn a thing or two!
Use conversion tracking in order to improve your own listing; it’s easier to track improvements when you have an accurate benchmark to start from.
Selling on eBay is a great way to make money, but make sure that you maximize the potential of your listing through great content, keyword research, and good niche selection. What do you think is the most crucial element of an eBay listing?
About the author: Gareth Simpson
Gareth is an SEO pro with over a decade in the industry. Now based in Bristol, UK, his specialisms are blogger outreach and content. You’ll find him at his desk, drinking green tea and working on his latest campaign.