eBay Search Engine – Learn how to rank higher on eBay

eBay Search Engine makes use of its own algorithm called Cassini to decide which listings to show on top when searching for an item. So as a seller, how can you get your item to rank on top? Follow our guide to get to grips on which SEO factors you need to work on.

How does eBay Search Engine work?

Cassini was introduced back in 2013 to enable users to retrieve information about products and service they are seeking. Cassini works by gathering behaviour data on how a user searches, engages and purchases.

So, when you perform a search for an item, say “blue jacket”, it takes into account your past history to make a better prediction. It mainly depends on the following:

  • What listings you clicked on or bid on before
  • Listings that you previously watched
  • Your purchase order history
  • The duration you spent viewing an item
  • What images you enlarged.

However, the listing you are shown is not based on the buyer’s behaviour history only. As a seller, there are certain factors that are analyzed before deciding where to rank your item in the listing provided for the buyer. Here are a few of them:

  • Your return policy
  • How responsive you are to customer’s queries and complaints
  • How detailed your product information is – Needs to show accurate information.
  • The quality of the images you uploaded (Can the user see clearly what it is you are selling?)
  • Your feedback quality score
  • Your shipping restrictions, prices and delivery timeframe
  • Prices such as asking or bidding start prices
  • Your click-through and conversion rates
  • Percentage of ‘Buy-Now’ items compared to ‘Auction’ items.

So based on these factors, Cassini assigns scores to each of these listings to see how well each one meets the criteria needed. Cassini then returns a total score and sets the ranking spot for the item that you are selling. So depending on this score will dictate how far up the listing you will appear.

Know the SEO factors that affect your eBay ranking

Here are a few tips on how to improve your eBay search ranking:

Product title

The product title is important because it’s what the users will see first in the listing. The keywords need to be added in the product title. The keywords are the search terms used by users when searching in eBay.

One way to research keywords is to use the eBay search field. Based on the keywords you type; it suggests additional keywords that users tend to use in conjunction. If you want a more thorough method, a great tool to use is Terrapeak which is an eBay keyword research tool to help you find specific keywords that describe your product best.

Try to use the keywords effectively and make sure that the title makes sense. Avoid using special characters in your title and abbreviations. Cassini sees this as poor practice and will lower your ranking. Don’t forget to use the keywords inside your H-Tags also (found using the HTML Editor).

eBay Categories

eBay has done a great deal of research to ensure categories and subcategories that can target well different types of listings. It is essential that you mark all relevant categories. And by relevant, I mean do not over choose categories in hopes of being listed everywhere.

Doing this will only lower your customer engagement, click-through and possible conversions. There is nothing worse than trying to find an item only to retrieve a completely unrelated item in the results. Doing this may risk your chances of even showing up in the listings.

Item Specifications

Users most of the time do not search just by keywords, but they make use of filters. These filters are the item specifications of a product. When creating a listing you will have an option to add item specifications ranging from a number of attributes.

item specifics ebay search engine

Making use of qualifiers such as the colour of the item, material, type, or condition will help users find what they are looking for. For example, if you are selling a jacket its important that the user knows that it’s brand new with tags, it’s black, and the material is denim.

Omitting the specifications will result in not appearing in listings at all when users use filters. So make sure to add them. Your users will thank you for it!

User engagement

Cassini rewards users who are frequently active in eBay. For example, if you have a number of items to sell, try to avoid listing a batch of them in one day. Rather, it is advisable to keep a consistent pattern, and list a new item daily.

Moreover, updating details in your listings regularly will show Cassini that you invested in the quality of your listing and want to keep it up to date. This, in turn, will show that you want to give good customer satisfaction.

Another good idea is to use the function ‘Sell Similar’ when your listing ends. This will create a brand new listing with the same item. This trick helps because users tend to prefer listings that are recently added.

Another way to generate good traffic in eBay is to open an auction. Although auctions are lesser utilized by users, they tend to create high activity in eBay and this is after all, what eBay is after.

High-quality photos

Having a high quality and crisp photo of your product will attract the buyer even more. Users tend to overlook products that do not provide an image. Apart from this, the Cassini algorithm favours products that have high-quality images. It also takes into account the alt text. Here is information on how to change alt text.

User feedback and trust

Cassini rewards sellers who have high feedback as do users. It’s not always easy to get positive feedback especially in this day and age where users try to profit out of certain situations. Although sometimes difficult its always best to consider the user as always right and offer what you can do to help the situation.

Certain things can be done to prevent any negative feedback. For example, if you accurately describe your item’s condition, quality and brand will prevent users from contradicting you. Try to communicate with your customers quickly. Dispatch your products in the time frame you promised and make sure there are no hidden charges.

Free shipping

Users will always prefer free shipping.  Apart from the users, Cassini also favours listings that offer free shipping and ranks your listing higher. Consider altering the price of your product to accommodate for shipping.

Final thoughts and considerations

So now that you know how eBay’s Cassini search engine works, you now have the leverage you need to improve your rankings in eBay. Keep note that the Cassini algorithm is not shared with the public and all these tips are based on experience from SEO research. Therefore, these factors may change over time and there may be details that we do not yet know of. However, applying these SEO techniques will help you rank higher and get better user feedback. So why not give them a try?




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