Advanced eBay tips: how to optimise your store for search engines
If you're a regular seller on eBay and have sensibly set up your own store, you'll know there's a lot of competition to contend with. There's over ten million items for sale on the site at any one time and of course that's not counting outside competition. The likelihood is that when someone wants to buy something specifically, they'll search the whole web and not just eBay. For this reason, it's very important to make sure your eBay shop is optimised for search engines.
Choose a descriptive store name
Unless you have a very successful brand name, it's unlikely that your eBay store will be found on search engines if it's called something irrelevant like 'Stripey Zebra'. Instead, pick something that tells users what you sell, as your store name will determine your store's URL. For example, 'Jay's Computers' may be simple, but it sums up what you sell effectively.
Use appropriate keywords
In the description of your store, you need to use keywords that people are likely to search for, but they also need to be accurate of what you sell. There's little point in mentioning Apple computers if you don't sell them, for example. In addition, you need to choose a store theme that includes the store's description in the header, so buyers can instantly get a good idea of what you sell.
Remember that you can associate primary and secondary keywords to each store page you have. Make use of this function, as it will increase the chances of shoppers finding your pages via a search engine.
Make use of custom categories and pages
If you just stick to generic categories, such as category one and category two, no search engine will pick them up. Moreover, it will be very difficult for eBay users to find what they're looking for. Instead, divide your products into specific categories. You can create up to 300 categories and sub-categories, so you might as well make good use of them. In fact, it's a good idea to use all the custom pages you're given access to, as they present a great search engine optimisation (SEO) opportunity.
Write quality content
Search engines love quality content, especially Google, which remains to be the most popular search engine. So in order to rank highly, the content you write needs to be well-written and relevant to your audience. Keywords, although they are still important, should not be spammed. Search engines will recognise when you're spamming a certain word or phrase and will actually lower your page rank because of it.
You should also avoid duplicate content, whether you've copied it from somewhere else on your eBay store or from somewhere else on the web. Search engines love unique content, so try to be original. You should use hyperlinks too, but make sure you're linking the right words. For example, you wouldn't hyperlink the word 'find', as it's a general word and will probably have no relevance to whatever you're linking to. Instead hyperlink the product you're talking about, such as 'computers' or 'toys'.
If you can, some sellers recommend writing eBay reviews and guides, as they are a good way to drive traffic from both within and outside of the site. You could write about general tips for using eBay or you could write about the products you sell; just try to be informative and don't advertise your own store too much.
Track your performance
You can't improve yourself if you have no idea of how well you're doing in the first place. This is why you should take advantage of the traffic reports offered to all shop sellers on eBay. These traffic reports allow you to see what keywords were used to find your listings and what search engines or sites are driving traffic to your pages. Using this information you can improve upon the keywords you're using, but to get a more detailed report, you'll need to use external software.
A good traffic reporter is Sellathon, which is free to use for 30 days and then costs $4.95 (£3.03) a month. It claims that some of its customers have managed to double or even triple their eBay profits, which is pretty good when it's not that expensive to use in the first place. However, there are probably other traffic reporters out there, so make sure to shop around and try them out before putting any money down.
There is a lot of competition online, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to rank highly on search engines. Just be savvy on how you write and format your shop's content and keep an eye on how your store is performing traffic wise. You might be surprised at how much your profits jump by just making a few small changes to your keywords, hyperlinking and writing.