How to optimise your eBay listings

How to optimise your eBay business listings

Optimised eBay listings perform better than those that haven't been given much love, but what is optimising when it comes to eBay and how can you get it right for your business?


E-commerce platforms have changed significantly in the past few years. In an effort to keep up with the highly competitive market, various platforms have deployed search engines to improve the shopping experience for buyers. The main consequence of these new search engine features is that successful sellers have to build an understanding of how e-commerce product listings work within online marketplaces. 

In this article, we’ll cover how eBay listing optimisation works and why it’s essential for small businesses looking to increase their sales on the platform. 

What is SEO and how does it relate to eBay listings?

SEO stands for "search engine optimisation" and provides machines with vital information to ensure they place the right information in front of users. When you type a request into Google, for example, the search engine will explore all websites in its index that are related to your search term and share the most relevant results with you.

SEO doesn’t happen by accident. There are ways to make it easier for Google to find you, and the same is now true for eBay. The platform released its own internal search engine called Cassini to mirror what Google does but for eBay product listings.

In simple terms, if you make it easier for Cassini to understand your listings, you’ll have a better chance of getting to the top of search results when shoppers are looking to buy the kind of product you sell.

So how can e-commerce sellers excel at eBay listing optimisation and increase their visibility on the platform? 

Nailing e-commerce product listings on eBay

Although eBay listing optimisation can seem intimidating for the uninitiated, it’s easier to tackle if you break down your product listing into three, clearly defined sections.

Consider each of the two questions below when setting up and your e-commerce product listings will be in great shape in record time.

1. How do you describe your product?

Search engines rely heavily on words. As a result, it’s vital to use terms that other people would reasonably use to find your product or service. We call search terms like this "keywords".

For example, if you’re selling women’s beauty products, you’ll need to cover the type of product (lipstick, face cream, skin foundation etc), rather than using the word "cosmetics", which is very general.

Note: Be careful about the number of terms you include. Search engines are very good at spotting "keyword stuffing", where a seller crams as many keywords as possible into a small space to try and boost rankings. For users, keyword stuffing makes it hard to understand a page.

The key is to balance the inclusion of helpful information for search engines with accurate descriptions for buyers.

Tip: Use eBay-specific acronyms to communicate quickly with customers without using vital description space. GUC (Good Used Condition) or NWT (New With Tags) are some frequently used examples.

2. How do you visually present your product?

Pixelated images don’t inspire much customer confidence in a product, and search engines won’t thank you for them either. Take clear, crisp images. Your product should take up 80-90% of the frame.

eBay also recommends that sellers:

  • Use images that show the size and comparative scale of products
  • Avoid including additional props which aren’t part of the product
  • Take photos that are well lit and don’t use image filters
  • Capture images with the highest resolution possible

It’s important for e-commerce sellers to split test images. Trial and error can help sellers to find out what buyers respond to best.

3. How do you title your images?

Search engines struggle to decipher images. eBay has worked around this problem by recommending that sellers title their images in a way that helps their search engine. 

For example, a series of images featuring a pair of black sku shoes should be titled: black_sku_01_pair.img, black_sku_02_side.img and black_sku_03_heel.img depending on the position of the shoes.

Other factors that affect eBay listing optimisation

There are other factors that sellers should bear in mind when optimising listings for eBay. The Cassini search engine tracks:

  • How quickly sellers respond to enquiries
  • The starting bid for items
  • Whether shoppers can "Buy it Now"
  • Sellers return policies

The more concise information sellers provide, the more favourably the algorithm will treat their product listings.

Setting up for success with effective e-commerce product listings on eBay

There are several steps that e-commerce sellers can follow to achieve eBay listing optimisation. The trick is to balance accurate descriptions of your product with information that helps search engines understand your products.

In short, it comes down to communicating clearly. By focusing on inspiring buyer confidence in your products, small business sellers can help themselves to stand out and receive favourable attention from eBay’s Cassini search engine and customers alike.

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Jason Kaye
Experience: 10 years writing within the e-commerce, finance and tech landscapes
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