Overview

In episode eight, we talk with eBay SEO expert Dave Snyder from listranksell.com and dig deep into eBay SEO. We’ll also have some across-the-board SEO tips for sellers!

The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly is the #1 resource for the seller community across all platforms and hub for information on growing your business with List Perfectly. Find out more at listperfectly.com/podcast, leave a message or ask a question at https://anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast, or email us at podcast@listperfectly.com.

 

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Episode Eight  Links


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Transcript

 

Intro

 

Liz and Doug:

All right, we ready? We’re ready. I’m ready. Are you ready Doug? I’m ready. Oh my gosh, Doug, this is episode eight. It is episode eight. We’re almost to the double digits. I know two way from 10. You know what they say? You’re not good at math? Yeah, no, I’m not. Most podcasts only last 20 episodes. So if we get there and beat that, we are, we’re good. We’re beating the curve. We’ve got 21.

Liz:

We’ve got it. What’s new this week, Doug. What’s going on?

Doug:

Oh, I dunno. Liz, lots of stuff. You know. I think about, I’m thinking about search this week, searching for things, searching for houses, searching for listings, searching for things to buy, searching for things to sell. What’s up with you this week?

New Speaker:

Oh my gosh. So actually my eBay has totally kicked up this week. I’ve had a stellar week sales week on eBay Poshmark. Mercari I’ve even had Facebook Marketplace sales. My oldest son, moved back home during the pandemic. He’s looking at his, uh, masters. He’s an architect, architecture school. So he got accepted into RISDI so Rhode Island School of Design and also UIC, University of Illinois, Chicago, totally different architecture programs, but absolutely that fits his needs. So he’s torn. So I am in a state of having a young adult in my house, trying to make big life decisions, which it’s always fun when I take a break and I go upstairs and talk to him, he’s like, I don’t know what to do, so…

Doug:

Tell me what to do mom.

Liz:

That means that in about a couple months, I will have an extra spare bedroom when he goes off to college again. So yeah, it’ll be a bittersweet. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m also looking forward to it. And anybody with young adults that have moved back home will understand that.

Doug:

All right…

Liz:

I’m Liz.

Doug:

And I’m Doug. And welcome to the seller community podcast from List Perfectly. As Liz mentioned, we are on episode number eight.

Liz:

The seller community podcast is produced by List Perfectly each week for your enjoyment and show notes are found At listperfectly.com/podcast. Now let’s get into the show.

Doug:

This week we’ve got Dave Snyder of list rank sell. What’s list, rank sell you ask Liz?

Liz:

So list rank sell began with a single question and that question was can search engine optimization be applied to eBay listings? I am so excited to learn more about eBay, SEO and tips for all sellers.

Doug:

All right, let’s get into some eBay SEO with Dave Snyder.

 eBay SEO With Dav Snyder of List Rank Sell

Doug:

We’re joined today by Dave Snyder. Dave is the founder and chief analyst at List Rank Sell an SEO agency dedicated solely to the eBay marketplace. Dave’s goal is to establish SEO on eBay as a legitimate measurement driven practice within the minds of both sellers and the SEO community at large.

Liz:

Welcome to the show, Dave, and thank you so much for joining us today.

Dave:

Thank you for having me.

Doug:

Tell everybody how you and I met.

Dave:

We met at e-commChicago 2019, and I think the first conversation we had was about death metal. There was a question posed during the session and is anyone here like death metal and like two people raise their hands and mine was one Doug’s was one…

Doug:

So that reminds me is I knew Dave was there, but I hadn’t met him yet. And then when I saw him in the crowd, I saw the raised hand connected via death metal and then talked…

Dave:

I started studying SEO in 2005 in order to, build some websites. And the first couple like usually happens where major failures and, my wife started selling on eBay in 2009 and the following year we started to do some legitimate drop shipping. So not online arbitrage, but actual, you know, building relationships with wholesalers directly. We were using the only directory worth noting, it’s called worldwide brands at that point. That’s when I began, I was 2010. I started to say to myself, I wonder if I could optimize an eBay listing, is it possible to do so that’s where the journey started. It was kind of a question out of necessity. I wanted these listings to be the best they could be. So the next three years were a process of studying testing. And by 2013 I felt comfortable enough with the subject that I began to offer some consulting services.

Dave:

And then clients began to ask me for different things, you know, could you do this? Could you do that? And so we would try to do different things and over time began to build out a kind of series of packages, serious services that people liked that worked, et cetera. But in 2014, that was a really interesting year because eBay got into trouble from an SEO point of view. And I took two months off during that time and did nothing else and just studied everything I could find about eBay search going back to the very beginning. Also trying very hard to figure out how to this happen. So using tools like SEMrush, et cetera, to dig into eBay’s URL structure, and just try to figure out what was going on here. Several important people in the SEO community wrote about what happened.

Dave:

There was kind of a definitive article on search engine journal. I think it is, or search engine land. I can’t remember, but by a guy named Danny Sullivan, who’s considered like the father of SEO, kinda nailed it down in July of 2014. From that point forward and this, you know, just to make it clear, I wasn’t one of these people that wanted to see eBay like fail that wasn’t my take. And I think a lot of people who are in this industry, supposedly that’s their goal is to, you know, one day see this company go down, you know, and I hate that. In fact, the very first blog post I wrote was called their blog is not our blog. It’s actually a take off of a song, from a favorite band of mine, which is actually a tongue in cheek reference to the book of Deuteronomy, which is their rock is not our rock.

Dave:

And so they there’s this, notion out there that we’re going to analyze this and we’re going to, we’re going to make them look bad. I just wanted to understand it. And then I wanted to be able to determine, okay, what’s the best way going forward for sellers considering what’s all happened. The whole history is basically, in 2019, that’s when we released list rank. So, and then things really began to change where the, our target audience was really what our services were geared towards and not, you know, like we, we don’t do like one hour consulting sessions. We have a five-hour minimum. Our target are usually medium-sized businesses, which is like 10 to a hundred employees. They’ve got a fairly large eBay presence and they have a marketing budget and they would, they’re paying for SEO elsewhere. And most of the people claiming to do eBay SEO, they’re usually some kind of eBay guru who thinks they know a bit of SEO and that’s like the most dangerous person to get your advice from because they’re getting it from who knows, where…

Speaker 3:

Could you explain what SEO is? And then what SEO is, according to eBay?

Dave:

SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is at its core, a marketing technique. The process employed the intent is to increase the visibility of whatever it is you’re optimizing. So you can optimize a webpage, a video and image. And in the case of e-commerce is going to be generally a product listing. You can optimize an eBay store, but that’s very limited things you can do for that. But the, the product listing itself is, is by far the focus you want more human eyeballs on whatever that is that you’re trying to optimize. That’s the goal. And so there’s a, there’s a big difference between SEO and say, conversion optimization. Okay. So most e-commerce focuses on conversion optimization. So when you hear them talking about optimizing the listing, they’ll talk about improving the photos. We’ll talk about their pricing model, um, whether you’re offering free shipping in a market that really requires that return policy that you know, whether your item is described.

Dave:

Well, all the kinds of things that impact once someone gets to the listing, are they going to make a purchase? Okay. We also have a, we have a couple of rates one’s called the condensed sales rate. The other one’s is the demand sales rate, and it measures the likelihood that something will sell. So if, if I go, I, I love these Funko pop dolls, unless it’s a highly, highly sought after Funko pop, though, it will so far better in new condition, on eBay than used. So if you get this idea, I’m going to so use Funko pop dolls. You’re probably not going to sell them. And you’ve got to optimize them all day long and it’s, they’re not, they’re not going to move. So there are aspects you have to understand your market. You have to have best practice in place. Then that’s where most agencies stopped.

Dave:

They’ll do what they consider to be some SEO, tweak your item, specifics, maybe look for some keywords or whatever, and then they’ll be done. Our focus is on only on search. So we will give our clients, our long-term clients. We’ll give them what we call action items, just like homework with deadlines. And so let’s say a seller has got a watermarks in their images. Those have to come out. Otherwise they do impact search rankings on ebay.com. Anyways, you may UK to some degree, eBay Australia is a whole nother mess because just about everybody still does that stuff on ebay.com. If you’re doing that, I mean, it’s a guest policy in all cases. And so we really firmly believe in policy following eBay policy, policy violations are one of the primary, types of black hat, eBay, SEO. They’re doing it because they think they’re going to get an advantage, but in the end it hurts them in search.

Dave:

And there are patents written about this, talking about eBay, demoting listings in search using that word demote over and over again, depending on the violation. So that that kind of stuff is really important. But, on eBay, it targets two main things. Number one would be structured data, which no one at eBay’s talking about anymore, because most people on eBay believe that structured data started with eBay, but it didn’t, it’s, there’s a long standing SEO technique that eBay decided to adopt. And when the product side of it of structured data failed eBay as a connotation started, stopped talking about it. But that’s what everybody cares about in SEO structured data. So that’s one side and then the other side would be your usage of keywords and they have to be done in a very specific way. Otherwise you’re wasting your time.

Liz:

Could you really quick explain structured data?

Dave:

Yeah. So structured data is the result of organizing information on a webpage so that it can be read by a specific search engine. So in the case of Google, for example, eBay uses what’s called schema markup. And all that does is tell Google very quickly, what’s on each page. So their schema markup for a product page. So what that basically does is it it’s part of the code and it quickly tells the search engine. This is, and then fill in the blank. And if you don’t do that, so like our, our eBay SEO services page has is using services schema, and then there’s details. We can provide it. It’s not enough to just put eBay SEO services in our heading tag and our title tag. Okay. So on eBay, eBay has its own internal structured data and item, specifics and category are the two main ways that you tell eBay what it is.

Dave:

It’s not enough for you to have the keywords in your title, because they could mean something else. This is one of my favorite examples. Let’s say you’re selling a vintage and enamel teapot. Okay. And you have those words in your title and most sellers think, well, I have those words in my, in my title, therefore he knows what it is. Let’s say, in reality, you have those words in your title, but you’re actually selling a pair of earrings that are vintage, have an enamel surface, and are in the shape of a teapot. Those same keywords are going to be in your title. And eBay has to discern what it is. And it’s increasingly not looking to the title for that. You’re looking to, it’s structured data for them. And so you’re going to tell eBay both by how you categorize it, and then secondarily, how you fill out your item specifics, what it is, which is what’s called an entity.

Dave:

The entity is what the item is, regardless of what keywords people use. So I like to use this example, I have this pair of favorite Nikes, and I wear them all the time. On eBay you can categorize those under athletic shoes. You can also categorize them under sporting goods. There’s a sporting goods section for that kind of item. And in the US we call them sneakers or gym shoes, but in the UK, they’re oftentimes referred to as trainers, regardless of the keyword use to describe them or the taxonomy you use to categorize them what they are never changes, and that’s simply shoes. Okay. And so there was a, a fabulous session, at eBay open 2019. And I forget his name now, because I haven’t heard anything from him in awhile, but a great quote was, you know, a shoe is a shoe regardless of how you categorize it. And so their goal was to ascertain what is this. We just wrapped up a relationship with a client where all we did was changed categories for 2,600 listings. That’s all we did because category is actually more important than anything right now on eBay.

Liz:

My mind is, yeah, my mind is just spinning right now. So one example that I can think about in the clothing community and tell me which way this goes, data structured, data categories and items, specifics. What are the ways that I learned and that a lot of sellers in the community, let’s say I have a I’m up in Colorado, a Denver Broncos. T-shirt, it’s just a men’s Haynes, Denver Broncos. T-shirt. So eBay is going to give me two categories to select from so I can either put it in sports as fan apparel, or I can put it in men’s t-shirts right. My best practice to know is I just Google it. And whatever I see eBay brings up in search is what category I put it in?

Dave:

There’s this thing eBay’s doing right now, it’s called search index trimming. And that phrase comes from a patent that was rolled out in 2020. And this is an example that Doug said that he really liked…

Doug:

I’m bummed do you went with the teapot and the sneakers. Cause I’m waiting for this…

Dave:

Okay. Darth Vader or that who were yes. Yes, of course, of course. So if you go to eBay and you search Darth Vader figure, but, first of all, when you’re doing this, you want to do it in an, in an incognito page. Okay. That’s, that’s extremely important. You don’t want your past search behavior to effect what you see. And then when you do a search click, the eBay logo again, so that your last search doesn’t affect. Because even though you’re not logged in machine learning, which is eBay learning from your past search behavior, as well as others, but in this case, it’ll just be yours because you’ll be, you’ll be the only one there. You don’t want that to impact your, your later searches. So each test you do, you’ve got to do from eBay’s homepage. Okay. And within an incognito or private browsing page, um, Chrome will be incognito.

Dave:

Firefox will be a private, but it’s the same thing. You know, you don’t have any cookies that are affecting anything. So right now, if you type in Darth Vader figure, you’ll see that as 8,600 listings. If you go to the top of the category tree at the top left, you’ll notice that it changes from 8,600 to 14,300. So there are roughly 6,000 listings when you search the phrase, Darth Vader figure that are not visible to search when you search the phrase Darth Vader figure, and they contain the phrase Darth Vader figure, but they aren’t visible. Okay. Now, it’s really important that I make this clear, this is a marketplace function. Okay. So the idea that listings disappear, that’s intentional. If, for instance, let’s say you’re going to search for Metallica t-shirt and you filter by black intentionally. Then eBay’s going to remove the t-shirts that are different colors, but you only supposed to see the black ones, right?

Dave:

So this disappearance from searches known as we call it listing displacement. So there’s listing visibility. That’s what we’re focused on, but we’re also focused on decreasing listing displacement those times when you’re listing disappears from search, a lot of those listings that don’t appear. I like, for example, I saw a set of earrings that our little logo Darth Vader’s. Okay. So the phrase Darth Vader figure is in the title, but they aren’t a toy. Okay. They are actually earrings. So the entity isn’t Darth Vader figure the entity is his earring. Okay. And that’s really critical. So just because the phrase is in the title doesn’t mean that that’s what it is. It could be describing what it is. So there’s a patent. And this is, this gets a little complicated, but another, another patent that identifies a difference between the front end category and the backend category.

Dave:

So there actually four categories on eBay. The first one is the one that you give in your eBay store. Okay. You create, you have an eBay store, you create your categories. That’s the first one, the other three are controlled by eBay. The next one is the one that eBay talks about, which is the best fit category, which is by all, they had never defined it as far as I know, but from the context, it seems that that’s the most logical one, the best fit. The one that seems the best. So, you know, it’s a shoe. So putting it in shoes like it’s easy to do is that cause eBay’s taxonomy, which is a really stupid word for the category tree, the category structure is a mess. Okay. They didn’t have a search engine for two years from 95, September of 95 to September of 97, there was no search engine.

Dave:

The only thing it had was a set of categories. And that’s how you found, you know, you just click on categories. The other two categories are the front end, which is the category that you choose for your listing. And so the front end could actually be two categories because you can choose up to two. The backend is the one that eBay says internally is associated with that phrase. And according to the patent, every search phrase is associated with a single category. And this is where it gets really fascinating because that single category is not always discernible. Okay. Sometimes it’s not discernible at all. And if you’re not in that category, your visibility is going to be very low. So if you are looking at that page, if you’ve typed in Darth Vader figure, and you’d go back in your browser to the original page and you look over to the left, you’ll see that the category that’s highlighted is TV, movie and video games.

Dave:

And that’s under action figures and that’s under toys and hobbies. If I have a Darth Vader figure that I decide to put in Star Wars collectibles, which is a pretty big sub category under collectibles, and someone searches for it by a short tail phrase, which means three or four words, three or four words that are searched, essentially it means short phrases. My listing disappears from search completely. Okay. So that’s, if it’s not in toys and hobbies, it’s going to disappear from search. And the reason why eBay is doing this is to make search more manageable. So the product based shopping experience, which was a failure it just simply wouldn’t people with eBay calls, habituated buyers wouldn’t adopt new buyers, kind of liked it. So that I just briefly, that was, an attempt to basically make you be a little bit more like Amazon.

Dave:

They actually called it the buy box. And there was this product page that would link, let’s say, you’re selling this specific Kenner star, you know, Darth Vader doll from 2009. Um, and everyone’s using the same UPC. So the push for product identifiers was huge and they would group them by those product identifiers. What the purpose of that was, was to you go into eBay, you search something and you see hundreds of thousands of listings and eBay was trying to reduce that number somehow, make it simpler for buyers to find what they were looking for. This is a natural function of marketplace search, probably just about every e-commerce platform. Does this, it much harder to nail down on Amazon because their data isn’t public, the way eBay is eBay doesn’t hide anything. You know, if, if you show, if, if you search for something on eBay, you’ll know exactly how many listings there are that have that phrase.

Dave:

Whereas Amazon will only show you the first, however, many thousand, and then they hide everything and they, they, they don’t have this nice open API that eBay has. Um, and in my opinion, they don’t, they don’t innovate on the tech side. The way eBay does eBay gets a really bad rap on the tech side from sellers. But they’re, well-known in the tech community, which is fascinating. But so this, this process then, basically what you’re doing is if eBay filters. So what anybody’s doing is they’re automatically filtering to a specific category. If you’re not in that category listing to a large degree is not going to be visible. People will still find it if they know what they’re looking for. So someone searching Darth Vader figure Kenner 1977 you know, whatever this nice long phrase, eBay doesn’t do this filtering the smaller, the number of listings resulting listings. Okay. So then, then suddenly everything’s visible, but on the surface, you know, it, 80%, according to eBay, 80% of all searches include at least one filter, one application of item specifics, which in, within the left-hand navigation, you’ve got to optimize for these short phrases, assuming that someone’s going to filter by, by brand or filter by size, um, and not type that in to the search bar.

Liz:

So what I’m hearing really categories really where it starts because a buyer’s going to come on to eBay and they’re going to type in, and I learned this actually from another seller. Thank you, Katie. You taught me this when I had a question about this t-shirt I just typed in. So for instance, I followed along with you and I typed in Denver Broncos shirt, 77, over 7,700 came up in the fan apparel and souvenirs football, NFL. So eBay is just showing people that type in Denver Broncos t-shirt if I click on the all it’s over 11,000, so that tells me as a seller, I need to make sure if I have a Denver Bronco shirt. It is in that category before I even think about item specifics, correct?

Dave:

Yeah. Yeah. So a Broncos t-shirt would need to be in the sports memorabilia category. Yes. Perfect. Yeah. And because the item specifics flow from that category, right? Okay. So those items, specifics that show at the left-hand, those are also coming from that category as eBay has been expanding its item specifics, which a lot of sellers hate every category had it’s kind of funneled item specific. So if you even clicked brand, you’re still only in that category, what’s happening is eBay’s a lot of these so that you can actually see multiple categories within that item specific. So like automotive, for example, all of the automotive brands now are on one column, they’re all in the same column. So what, what can happen then is you, you find that brand within the item specific, you’re still seeing multiple categories within search, which is beneficial. What they’re doing with item specifics is actually once they get there with it, it’s very good for the platform. Now this isn’t the case for a lot of like more narrow niches, but things like clothing, fashion automotive, really big funnels on eBay. The item specifics now are, cause it used to be that eBay didn’t filter directly to the category, but we could tell the backend category by clicking on an item specific because it would fill then, then it would filter to just one category. Now it’s the opposite. Now what we’re seeing is eBay’s automatically filtering to a category.

Liz:

It’s bringing it all together, it’s unifying it. And I can totally see that. When you’re typing out your titles eBay will recommend a category based on artificial intelligence, based on what you typed out in the title. Right? What’s been your experience with that because it may not tell me to put it into this or does it, I really don’t know.

Dave:

We found that maybe two thirds of the time, the top one was right, but I’ve got examples where they, the backend category is not even one of the four options, but that’s fairly rare. And now that eBay has rolled out helix, which is the name of the new unified listing tool. And we just began to test that as of the last update to see what those categories look like and as people. So it’s real hard to say, I wouldn’t assume that that’s the category. And then how does that all tie into best match as the best match in a, one of the things that makes me crazy about the conversations about best matches that people talk about, they’ll say, you know, we’ve cracked Cassini the right article about that. And then they don’t even know the difference between Cassini and best match. So Cassini is the search engine best matches the algorithm.

Dave:

So Cassini decides what appears and then best match decides how to rank, what appears, you know, eBay’s got some pages for sellers explaining best match. So you’ve got to have a good quality listing. It’s got to be relevant to the search phrase. And eBay is incorporating elements of best match now into promoted listings, which is fabulous because Promoted Listing so much better than it used to be, especially with the new suggested ad rate. And you know, without it initial velocity from SEO is not going to be there, but with it and the changes to SEO it’s that, that’s how we saw such huge increases. The algorithm itself has been written about many times in the eBay tech blog. Also, of course, in patents, the three things that we would list as the most important ranking factors in best match from our testing will be number one, your usage of structured data and keywords.

Dave:

Number two is just like sheer, sales velocity. And then finally, just going to you, your usage of best practice and your avoidance of policy violations, but in terms of, you know, tricks that people are using to game the system, none of them are long-term. Most of them are going to hurt you in the long run, a good portion of them won’t work at all. So I’ve actually written an article about the importance of good till canceled. When, when eBay rolled out good, till canceled as a policy, I was very excited and I knew that a lot of people would hate it because they believed that the listings were going stale over time. And so, as a result, and so I go into a lot of detail, actually, there’s that article. And then the one that’s really popular on Google is an article I wrote some time ago called The Myths of Stale Listings.

Dave:

You can’t find any search behavior on Google for stale Amazon listings. The only stale listings that exist in search behavior are stale eBay listings and stale real estate listings. The concept of a stale listing is a myth. And I’ve explained to you why listings on eBay do not grow stale over time by sheer amount of time that they’re on the site that does not happen. If a listing starts to get lower in search, it was stale to begin with. There was something wrong with that listing, whether it’s a lousy market, whether there’s, it’s priced too high, any number of reasons why it doesn’t sell will be in place. The idea that it has to be kept fresh comes from that in the early days of eBay, when eBay first began to roll out fixed price listings, there was this massive reaction in the veteran community that, that said, these are going to roll.

Dave:

These are going to become stale over time. They aren’t gonna remain fresh like auctions are. So there was this conflict between the three day, the seven day, the 10 day auction, that was always fresh and new, but the, that listing just gonna sit there and that mentality has stuck. So if you’re looking for SEO traction, you have to have, what’s known as a static URL. It can’t change. So you get a new item number, that new item number is your new URL. If you have any kind of engagement on that listing Watchers, views, whatever it is. But just the fact that people are looking at it is a noticeable engagement factor on, on eBay. And you don’t want to lose your engagement. eBay does associate activity on the listing, even if it doesn’t sell as something significant, but our experience is you take that listing with a thousand views and you optimize it. It’s going to do better in search because now it’s going to start appearing for searches. It didn’t use to appear for, and that’s really where keywords come into play.

Liz:

Just keep that listing with the views, with the watchers and optimize it. So optimize the category, optimize the category, optimize the title, optimize the pictures and the item specifics is that yes. Yeah. I mean, tell me I’m wrong.

Dave:

No, no, you’re not wrong. It’s so when we start a project with a new client, we do not end their listings. We optimize them. Okay. So when you end a listing and you’re realistic, you get this minor ranking signal short-term boost invest, match. Okay. Everybody wants that. But what they don’t realize that long-term, they’ve just shot themselves in the foot from an SEO point of view. There’s a history with that particular item number…

Doug:

When you said, if you’re worried that your listings are stale, they were stale from the start. Yeah, that’s interesting. So, you know, take a look, but there are a lot of sellers that still will, you know, they still go by that regularly delisting and relisting their stuff.

Dave:

When eBay talks about Google, it talks about Google shopping. And the reason for that is because the Google index, the natural organic 10 blue links, Google index, um, like Funko Pop dolls, the first four pages of Google for Funko pop figure, whatever it doesn’t show a single eBay listing, even though they sell like mad on eBay, everything from GameStop to Walmart, to sites, I’ve never heard of on those pages. eBay doesn’t have a single page, not, not a category page, not a listing page on a browse node, which are the old structure that are browse pages, nothing is appearing and that’s, it’s gradually improving. So, when we optimize, we’re optimizing for eBay, if we optimize it for eBay, it will be optimized for Google. There are things that you do, like not having stuff in the background or not having any kind of text on the image.

Dave:

That’s going to help you in eBay search. That’s also going to allow you to be indexed in Google shopping, which is important. 70% of all eBay’s traffic starts on eBay. 80% of eBay’s traffic is organic that could include and would include Google shopping. That means the rest of it is either links or paid. An eBay does a lot of paid advertising have any really talked about keywords, but basically you want to get your keywords from a tool that accesses buyer search. My favorite tool is called Keyword Tool Dominator. It has the most access to eBay’s auto-complete. First of all, it’s got to be coming from eBay. Don’t use Google phrases, use eBay generated phrases, and then you wanted a tool that gives you the most. And the nice thing about Keyword Tool Dominator is that it’s a one-time fee, your item description of all the pages. And that’s because it’s in, what’s called an inline frame, which I won’t get into, but it affects how Google can read it. And it also affects how Google attributes, the content. So the long and short of it is the item description is the least important aspect by far of, of SEO. If someone says, Oh yeah, you know, have keyword density in your item, description, keyword density. Isn’t a thing. It’s been a thing. Certainly hasn’t been a thing for the last 10 years.

Doug:

Yeah. And it’s just interesting to me, this is what I’ve always said about you, Dave, and, you know, you’re the eBay SEO expert, but it’s much deeper than most sellers think about, think about all these different levels. And, you know, like you said, they get, they’re used to certain things or certain things throw them off, or they’ve just never evolved their thinking from an SEO perspective. If you know, a little bit about SEO, a lot of it makes sense to have that static URL sending traffic to, um, and just, you know, optimizing When we optimize a listing fully, very rarely are we going to go back and like, tweak it later, you have to know what your buyers are searching and it’s oftentimes going to be different than what your competitors are using. Almost always going to be different than industry standard terms.

Doug:

Where’s the best place for listeners to find you?

Dave:

listranksell.com. We, we try to link out to everything we’re doing from there. Our Twitter page, we have an update every day on our Twitter list rank sell account with eBay, and SEO news. It’s usually SEO related. Sometimes it’s just something eBay interesting or SEO. Interesting, but usually 99% of the time it’s SEO. LinkedIn of course, but, you can get to all of that from listranksell.com.

Liz:

Your blog is awesome, especially if you’re listening right now, seriously, go to list rank sell, go to the blog and look what Dave wrote in the latest on the Spring 2021 Seller Update that I was like, there’s not a whole lot in here. Dave taught me that’s not true. So go back and read that blog and learn a little bit about SEO and really just how to improve eBay just based on, just based off of the Spring Seller Update. Um, Oh my gosh, Dave, thank you so much. I can’t, I need to go back and listen to this five more times to wrap my head around this. I just want to say thank you so much for your time. And is there anything else that you want to add? Anything that we didn’t ask that you think is very important for our listeners to hear?

Dave:

First of all, thanks to both of you for inviting me. This has been a lot of fun for me. It’s a subject that you get me rolling and I don’t shut up. It’s one of like three topics that I won’t stop talking about. If this is something you haven’t done before, the main three things that you’re concerned about are, is your categorization. And it’s based on what eBay’s filtering too, if you can, otherwise you’re going to probably use the best fit category. The one that makes the most sense. And then secondly obviously item specifics, we didn’t really talk about, you know, that, that lightning gauge is really nice because it helps you see, how much you’ve completed. You don’t have to fill that blue thing in to, you know, everyone you give them is going to help you. Um, so, but it has to be applicable to what you’re selling. And then that same little filter will be showing up in the left-hand navigation on the left of search. And that’s how you’re going to gain visibility. And then thirdly is just do your keyword research and make sure that you’re using terms that are descriptive of what you’re selling, but they’re what people are, are actually searching based as opposed to what you some great competitor of yours is using.

Doug:

This was awesome. And I’m sure we’ll have you back Dave, but thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking with Dave Snyder, eBay SEO expert of listranksell.com. Thanks Dave.

 SEO With Liz and Doug

Doug:

Th at was a great segment on SEO specifically eBay SEO, but so Liz, what do you think about when you think about SEO? Like when you’re listing, what are the like super high-level things you consider?

Liz:

Well, I think Dave covered a lot of them. I’m still a little bit geeked out, right? Like I’m not an SEO person. But I love hearing about that stuff and it really makes me think of my listings. And like I said earlier, after listening to Dave, I did go back and optimize some of my older listings, and I optimized them because they do cross-list. So I’m more than just eBay. So I went back and it kind of kept that in mind using all of these best practices for eBay and including them. So that my listing, when I do go to cross-post them, it’s optimized across the board. One of the things that I learned, I actually, um, took eBay Seller School. And one of the slides I’ll share really quick, I think that most of our listeners are clothing, but I actually have this on my Instagram if you go back a couple of weeks. I put this little side and so…effective titles. So for eBay SEO, for apparel or clothing, they have your title. You know, something that you want to include is brand, gender, product type and attributes. So for the example that they gave would be like an Ann Taylor women’s sweater, black size six. So that’s optimizing your title for eBay.

Doug:

First of all, I’m an XL Liz. So, you know, I would be searching for XL stuff, not size six and Ann Taylor black dresses, but, uh, and that was the, that was the great thing about the Dave chat is, you know, obviously it was eBay specific and went eBay deep, but it had a lot of those, uh, a lot of tips that apply across the board. So, you know, when you list anywhere, you want to make sure you’re in the right category. So, you know, you’ll get assigned a category, but double-check that because that’s going to help you get found. You definitely want to think about your title, what you’re going to include in there. You know, think about those keywords. Um, that research Liz is talking about. That’s, you know, that’s the very research and stuff that works that people are going to be looking for. But think about that in your other titles, think about keywords in your description. And then the big thing is always, you know, do the research like look for, you know, you could Google stuff, but look for, um, look for similar listings. Look what they’re using that works. You know, don’t be, you don’t want to be super bare in your description, but put enough for people to find it. And I think Liz, the big important thing is put yourself in the buyer’s shoes is like, what are they going to be searching for when they’re looking for whatever you’re selling?

Liz:

Absolutely. And so one of the things that I kind of do in List Perfectly, so I do have the pro plan. And so what I do is I go through and there’s an actual, um, there are four different lines titles, and you can optimize your titles for specific platforms. Um, like you said, about items specifics, they’re different across all platforms. So a pair of leggings say a pair of Lulu Lemon leggings may fall under the active wear category on eBay, but in Poshmark, they don’t have an active wear category. They’re going to go in their pants and then leggings. So you have to be sure that you’re hitting all of those attributes across all of the platforms that you’re listing on something that I find very interesting. And I don’t know, I want to ask you about this, Doug. Okay. So eBay does not have tags, but we know that other platforms do anywhere from three to 20 plus…

Doug:

But definitely on the platform you’re listing on. Like, I, we all know I’m a big fan of Mercari, so I list stuff on there and they allow you to put three hashtags when you’re listing. That’s the thing is, is you want to, you want to put all three hashtags and sometimes it’s a challenge sometimes it’s not. So, and that’s a hashtag is like a search term. That’s going to bring you up. Uh, in this case, it’s internally in the Mercari internal search engine. And we’ll talk about, uh, on platform versus off platform in a minute. But for instance, yeah, if you, so whatever you’re selling, you know, you want to put applicable hashtags.

Liz:

So Doug, if you did sell that Morrissey, t-shirt, your title may be, you know, whatever your title is. Right. But then what about the hashtags? Like how would you build that title?

Doug:

So here’s the deal. Obviously I would never sell a Morrissey t-shirt I might, I might give one away to some special person, but who knows? But, so here’s the thing with something like that, a Morrissey t-shirt, so obviously I’d put Morrissey t-shirt in the title and then, you know, if it was a tour shirt or whatever it was, I’d put that in too. And this is interesting because it’s going to be a little nichey. So I would go down to, in Macari to my three hashtags, I put probably hashtag Morrissey because obviously it’s Morrissey, I put hashtag the Smiths because that’s the band that he started and comes from. And then I do something like, I like to throw in a little niche hashtag because like his psycho fans or something they would know. So his nickname is Moz, M,o,z. So I’d put hashtag Moz you know, another example I’ve sold a few nine inch nails, like rare import CDs. So in there I’ll put hashtag nine inch nails, hashtag NIN, cause they’re also referred to there and then hashtag Trent Reznor because that’s his band, he’s the main guy. And so, you know, the advantage there is taking advantage of those niche terms, but you know, you could be narrowing narrowing yourself a little bit.

Liz:

If I were to search Morrissey t-shirt and brought yours up, I would be able to see your tags. So let’s say I did Morrissey t-shirt and all I’m finding are reprots blah, blah, blah. And somebody has the hashtag Morrissey click that hashtag and it brings up all listings that have that hashtag, which is going to be a different search than just Morrissey. I tested it this morning on another brand. I clicked the brand, it wasn’t Morrrissey, but I clicked a brand within a listing. That’s the hashtag. And then I searched that brand and I got two different search results. So you’re kind of covering yourself when you do both. And the same is going to go…so like marketplace, I think you could have 20 it’s something crazy. Right? Um, so when you’re listing on marketplace, it’s kind of the same thing. If somebody runs across Doug’s listing and it’s not quite what they want, but they see all of those hashtags, there’ll be like, Oh, or let’s just say, they’re looking at a nine inch nails and they click the hashtag nin. It’s going to bring up all the nin hashtags from within the site, which helps narrow down search instead of just going in and typiny nine inch nails. So you’re basically getting a little bit more exposure, really optimizing your listing within that site.

Doug:

I’m not always a fan of using a million hashtags just because you can. I always lean towards being a little more narrow. You know, you don’t want to do too much. You don’t want to get too broad. I kind of lean towards, you know, you don’t wan to irritate your searchers. So you want to use applicable hashtags. You want to have it dialed in a bit in terms of SEO overall, you really have to think about on-platform SEO and off-platform so obviously on-platform you want buyers to come in and find your stuff. So you have to optimize for the platform. So it’s like on eBay, you do your stuff, you do as many items specifics as you can.

Liz:

So when you are doing item specifics, make sure that you’re choosing from the pull-down menu and not creating your own, make sure that it’s something that you think people would actually search.

Doug:

So a lot of people search via Google Shopping because they want to price compare. So you kind of have to think about that. I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge to get listed in there, but they like certain things. So that’s where you hear the recommendation of a white background. You know, you don’t want to have a cluttered background and you know, that’s the official word, but you can go there and you’ll find stuff with a cluttered background. So, but you do have to think about Google Shopping because a lot of, um, shoppers now are shopping there to price compare. You’ll have your people that are platform loyal, but you’ll also have people that are looking for the best price.

Liz:

I hear it all the time in our community. I don’t need white backgrounds. I do a board and a plant and my listing show up, you know what I say? Good for you. Yeah. That’s great. If that’s, what’s working for you and you’re seeing a positive result, great. If your listings are showing up, that means you’re doing all the other optimization stuff correctly. Right? Um, there’s something about your listing. That’s getting picked up. That’s cool. Um, my biggest tip. So when I list, I think multichannel. So if you would’ve asked me, or if you see any of my posts from any groups from two years ago, my answer is different. Why? Because platforms, shoppers and e-commerce has changed in the last two years. That’s true. So now that, um, you know, on a couple of different platforms, they all require something a little bit different.

Liz:

I have to kind of come together and see what is going to work for all platforms without taxing my time. Okay. I’m a single seller. It’s just me. Right. Um, I take my own pictures. I do my own listings. I know, I know, I know I need to grow. I need to grow for right now. It’s me. So what I do is I just try and do the best that I can to appease all platforms. I do my pictures on white backgrounds. I use photo room. I use photo room. It’s quick. I can do, I can take out the background of a hundred pictures and five, six, seven minutes. Right. Um, so there’s a tip, um, love photo room. That’s just my own personal plug. So I make sure that my pictures are square. I take it in the one-on-one, uh, the one, one ratio in my camera, right?

Liz:

So that I don’t have to spend time cropping. It’s not a requirement on eBay, but it’s a requirement on Poshmark. I just take my pictures one-on-one mode and make sure that I have the white backgrounds. I make sure that I use lists perfectly title, uh, section when I’m listing. I started on my listings and List Perfectly so I can see how many characters what’s going to fit, where, so I can just go through and maybe take out womens in Mercari because it doesn’t fit. Right. And I make sure. So for eBay when I go through there, AI’s pretty strong. So I want to have that strong title, right? So their AI they’re they’re, um, artificial intelligence, pretty good at picking the right category, picking the right brands, whatever, based on the information that I’ve entered. So I can go through pretty quick. And I make sure that I fill out as many item specifics that pertains to my item.

Liz:

That makes sense. So if I’m listing a black t-shirt, I’m totally skipping over character, leave it blank, skip it. It’s not going to pertain to me. So I make sure that, you know, on eBay, I’m hitting as many of those quick little tip. When you’re looking at the item specifics, you’ll see a number above that item specific. So under color, it might have 1.8 million. What that means is that 1.8 million buyers have clicked on a color on the left search navigation to find what they’re looking for. So if you leave color blank, or if you make up your own, if somebody comes in and is looking for a purple t-shirt and you have a lavender t-shirt and you’re like, well, my I’m just going to type in lavender. Guess what? Your shirt is not going to show up in that search. So eBay is telling me that number right there is the searches within the last 30 days that buyers have made on the left-hand navigation, like Poshmark. It’s very simple, gender, you click gender category colors. Those are all there for a reason. And it’s to help buyers search your items. It’s not there to annoy you or take up your time. So those are my tips. I make sure that the pictures are there. I make sure that my titles are optimized as best as I can per platform. And I make sure that any specifics are filled out. Bonus, check your pricing. So for a lot of sellers that are doing one-offs, uh, rare vintage, you know, buyers are gonna find you.

Doug:

I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of competition out there, especially, you know, the broader stuff you sell. A couple of things you said is like, yeah, I tend to lean towards, know the guidance. And I love that you’re, you’re advising to, you know, optimize across the board because that’s efficient. I think that’s smart.

Liz:

I’m all about saving time. I have to be efficient, but at the same time, I could be efficient and throw up and pictures, but I kind of want to stand out because I’m selling in a sea of people that are selling exactly the same. Yeah. I mean, I can do it’ll do, but you know what? My payout is going to say, it’ll do I, you know, as a seller, you have to weigh that. What I do may not work for everybody else. Doug, you may have rare vintage, whatever t-shirts and you may be the only one you could get away with it. It’ll do. Right.

Doug:

I would say if you’re going to be Liz or Doug lean towards Liz. All right, Liz. So let’s sum it up. So you got to think about a lot of competition, you got to do your research, look at your category, maximize your title. One thing you really want to use, all those characters use as many of the characters as you can, because that’s, you know, that’s free space. Um, that’s one of the main things people are gonna see. That’s the first thing they’re going to see. Um, you know, think about your category, to think about your title. Think about your description, your keywords. If you can use the hashtags to think about those, look at similar stuff, you really got to stand out and you know, think about what people are looking for. Put yourself in the buyer, choose and think about what they’re going to be searching for to find your stuff. Well, thanks, Liz. This was a fun chat about SEO and again, but the main takeaway is if you’re going to be Liz or Doug in online selling lean towards Liz.

Liz:

Do what works for you. If you’re killing it, don’t change it up. But if you want to up your game, you know, I’ve been doing this a long time and I learn every single day. I learn something new every single day, listening to Dave. I don’t know…you know, I, as sellers, we can’t know everything. So we have to lean on each other. Dave is an expert in his field. When I say he’s been doing this a long time, uh, you know, I follow him on LinkedIn. I follow his blog now. Oh my gosh. He’s, he’s been at this a long time. And he’s got a lot of great information since eBay is my main platform. Definitely, definitely gonna follow him.

Doug:

Yeah. And if you have any SEO tips or questions, you know, be sure to send them in podcast, it lists perfectly.com or post them in the Facebook group. And we will maybe share them on air or answer your questions if we can. But like Liz said, it’s always a learning thing. So we’re always learning too.

News

Doug:

All right everybody now it’s time for the news and, oh…Liz, I’ve been handed an urgent announcement. You also have it. Why don’t you tell us what it is? What’s the word on the street, Liz?

Liz:

Yes Doug coming soon List perfectly executives will be hosting an exclusive panel with the official team of Facebook Marketplace. So this is, I have not seen this. Facebook Marketplace has been doing a couple of AMAs on their Facebook page, but this, um, this is big. So List Perfectly executives get to sit down and host a panel and share with all of us what the Facebook marketplace team has to say.

Doug:

Very interesting. So tune in for that, um, and you’ll get more details as they emerge. And again, we’ve managed to squeeze in social commerce news. It’s going to be the next big thing, but that’s exciting. I can’t wait for that.

Liz:

Super exciting and very much needed. And I am so happy to be able to announce that List Perfectly will be doing this sit down panel.

Doug:

It’s going to be cool. Well, thanks for that urgent announcement, Liz. And now back to the show…

 Outro

Doug:

Thanks for joining us this week on The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly for episode eight, eight, eight, eight, eight. Sweet. On episode eight, we talked to Dave Snyder and we learned a ton about eBay SEO, SEO in general, SEO across all platforms, tips and tricks.

Liz:

Dave can be found at listranked,sell.com where he and his wife, Heather share eBay SEO, resources and tips. They are also available for consulting. You can find us at listperfectly.com/podcast. Leave a message or ask a question at anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast, or email us at podcast@listperfectly.com. You can also post a question in the List Perfectly Facebook group. Use the hashtag #sellercommunitypodcast and mention Liz or Doug. You can listen to us anywhere you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe and tell your friends.

Doug:

Follow us on Instagram @coloradoreworn. That’s Liz and I’m @snoop.dougie. And then of course also follow @listperfectly on Instagram and also find the List Perfectly Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/list perfectly. All right, I guess that’s it, Liz?

Liz:

No, no, no. I’ve got one more thing, Doug…This is just a super cool announcement that I want to throw in there. April is Earth Month and List Perfectly is celebrating Earth Month. All month. We are going to have special guest back, List Perfectly’s own CMO, Alex Shadrow for a special Earth Day special. Be sure to follow @listperfectly on Instagram, where you’ll get sustainable tips all month long. Here are a couple of stats. Did you know that by using List Perfectly and being a reseller, you are part of the solution to the climate crisis. Here are some statistics from our very own CMO and Al Gore certified climate leader Alex Shadrow AKA @sustainabae on Instagram. The average American only wears 20% of their closet and throws away 82 pounds of clothing per year of which 67% or more could be resold. For each year a garment’s life cycle is extended we reduce its carbon footprint by 79%. Overall shopping resale versus retail is 82% more sustainable we will be doing an Earth Day special with Alex. We’re going to have her back, um, to talk all about sustainability, Earth Day, Earth Month and reselling.

Doug:

All right. That’s awesome. Thanks for that. And thanks for those tips and we really like that, uh, shopping resale versus retail is 82% more sustainable. So buyers and sellers sellers are helping so that’s great.

Liz:

So yes, as a reseller, whether you realize it or not, you are part of the solution.

Liz and Doug:

See you next week. Oh, we’re almost there. Okay. Bye bye.