eBay Tips 2008: eBay Shops and Search Engine Optimisation

No primary category set

The old order changeth yielding place to new. I can’t recall which poet wrote that (Tennyson?), I’ll Google it when I’m done with this post. But it is something that eBay sellers would do well to remember, especially with reference to how Google is transforming how people shop online.

Time was that people would come to eBay directly, search and buy. Nowadays much online shopping begins with Google, eBay turns up in results and then buying commences. It’s sage to expect that this trend is going to continue (it’s why I reckon that diversifying away from eBay into other channels is wise). Hold me to this, if eBay still exists: in time you’ll be getting more of your eBay customers from Google, than eBay itself.

This means that making your eBay Shop and listings as sexy as possible to Google and search engines is more than just about boosting the bottom-line. This is about survival.

eBay Shops SEO options

Aside from the name of your Shop, there are two key areas to consider: your Shop ‘blurb’ and your category structure. The good news is that eBay also gives you help with keywords. Check out the section in your Shop Manager.

Shop Blurb: The obvious temptation is to write something along the lines of “Hi there! I’ve been trading on eBay for 3 years and really hope you’ll buy from me! Check out my… blah, blah, blah…” This might be friendly but it’s bad for Search Engines. This would be better: “Daphne’s Furniture and Homeware Shop sells furniture and household goods. We’ve got chairs, tables, shelf units, sofas and storage units. Check out big brands… blah, blah, blah.”

Shop Categories: It’s the same game with your categories. Make sure that your Shop Category structure is working really hard. Of course, the terms will depend on what you sell, but the discipline in the same: cram in the keywords!

To use a field I know well, imagine ‘Dan’s Doctor Who Emporium’:

You could go for:

Action Figures

But this would be better:

Doctor Who Action Figures
Doctor Who Audio

Big Finish

Doctor Who Books


Doctor Who DVDs

Box Sets
William Hartnell
Tom Baker
David Tennant

Doctor Who Toys

New Series

It’s just about giving the search engines fodder to chew on to help them catalogue you. Hamlet summed it up: “words, words, words.”

Visit Dan at wilsondan.co.uk.

40 Responses

  1. I know this works, which is why I have categories and sub categories such as

    Dell Laptop Accessories
    Dell Laptop Power Supplies
    Dell Docking Stations
    Dell Accessories

    and then auction titles such as
    “Dell D/Port Dock Replicator Inspiron 8600 Precision M60”

    I might not always be top on Google, but for the searches that count I’m often on the front page and even higher on the front page of Google.co.uk

    The reason is simple, the words “Dell”, “Laptop”, “Docking Station” and then the laptop model are repeated in the shop description, category, sub category, auction title and auction description so Google thinks it’s highly relevant.

    It’s worked for me for years and will work for others as well

  2. At least it was Tennyson. I was slightly worried it was Browning. Still, Tennyson and Shakespeare in one blog post about eBay Shops and search engine optimisation. Who’d a thought it? You lucky people. ;o)

  3. I think this from Lord Tennyson is very apt

    Some one had blunder’d. Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die

  4. or even more apt

    Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley’d and thunder’d; Storm’d at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death

  5. I think if you follow the text book method chapter and verse you will never get nowt sold

    get the bugger flogged then worry about the technicalities

  6. Oh I don’t know Sue…

    Lots of people have never had much poetry in their lives… it tends to lead you to an overwhelming question . . .
    Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’

  7. We did hear from Chris that he liked his Blingited avatar didn’t we?

    I notice he doesn’t use it on the blog proper, only on the forum..perhaps he thinks there will be time
    to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.

  8. Did I tell you about the row I am having with Customer service at the moment?

    Would it have been worth while
    If one, settling in for the long haul
    And turning toward the email , should say:

    “That is not it at all,
    That is not what I meant, at all.”

    (with apologies ….)

  9. Oh well that’s me off then…

    Came here in search of a place to learn and discuss all things eBay and found another gossip centre for egocentrics.

    FGS is a there an eBay forum anywhere on the net where the subject is discussed in a business like manner?

    Am I alone in my quest for such a place?

  10. Ed: the problem with what you request is that if the ONLY content is “business like discussion”, the forum (I use the term in its loosest sense) will die. People, whether you like it or not, have personalities, and they will chat: even those of us who sell full-time on eBay don’t *only* talk about eBay.

    I’ve said it on Q&A and I’ve said it on the PSB: chat is what keeps people there. Chat is what means that people who can answer your questions are there when you need them. Chat is, if you like, the grease that keeps the engine running. You might not like it, but if you take it all away, nothing will work properly. That’s how people are.

    So with all the respect that’s due to you, if you want robotic eBay talk, this isn’t the place for you. I doubt such a place exists. And thank goodness for that 😯

  11. Ed, don’t be silly, you would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater if you went away.

    I apologise for hijacking the thread, it seemed a pleasant bit of light entertainment for a very short time… normally, I do try post more on topic, as do we all. But even the most business orientated blogs do have personal thoughts and fun gossip from time to time…

    See this comment from the FT’s no. 1 rated business blog Stumbling and Mumbling ….. but I think you don’t understand the function of news. It’s not a way of getting cheap, reliable information – it’s a way of spreading gossip (see this in the New York Times ), and it’s pretty good at it too.

    If I go to my job/New Delhi/Caracas tomorrow, I can make smalltalk with complete strangers about Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise, George Bush, the US primaries, Benazir Bhutto, Arsenal’s brilliance etc… thanks to the press. Most of what we’ll say will be apocryphal or at least wildly inaccurate, but that doesn’t matter one bit, what matters is that we have something to talk about – and, thanks to the press, we have…..

    What are your thoughts on Dan’s very useful tips? What would you like to discuss at the moment?

  12. Thanks Sue – not so easy putting them in on the blog, as I don’t have any easy linkmakery thingies like in the forum, and I am not sure how to do them …can I use bbcode on here?

  13. ed simple answerdont read the comments if they bug you.
    I rabble and dribble more than most so especially dont read mine,

    though make a point of reading Dan,s Sue,s and
    there are some really good sage comments and if you take the blinkers off[I have two pairs} there is lots to learn here

  14. thanks to dans article despite being not a great ebay shops fan I am seriously evaluating the search thingy with shops at the moment
    and may well just use ebay shops as an extra signpost in google,

    I cant remember how many listings and ID,S we have had over the years, though we listen and learn every day
    , that why we subject these poor people to our ramblings

  15. North, I have a Google alert set up to show me the incidents of my shop name each day, (not sure what it is showing me in terms of popularity of searches or just new spiderbot entries… ❓ or I might just be a nosy wee beggar) but each day I get at least one or two, and I have had up to 10, new search descriptions showing my eBay shop. It picks up the shop on other international ebay sites too.

    So it must be doing something…

  16. Liz, first you have to register for a Google account (easy registration, just email and password) then you can go to your account and set your alerts.

  17. ya see warra I mean, never heard of this google thingy, so all this bovine excrement fertiliser has produced a flower of knowledge

  18. oh – I am confused now…. did you just edit your post so I am now making no sense whatever?? (oh, wow, how unusual is that….. 😳 )

  19. Sorry Lynne – I tested it, and it didn’t work, so I edited my comment… sorry, you’re just too quick 😀

    Just so you and everyone else know, there are a few things I’m hoping to do with comments. One is preview, another is edit (for a short time after you post), and I’ll add BBCode to that list. Any other requests, get em in now.

    BUT I’m not promising a short timescale on this coz there are a lot of other things I want to do too, and also my buyers keep expecting their parcels posted, people want their websites finished, and suchlike (how inconsiderate 😀 ).

    And if anyone’s experienced at WordPress plugins and wants to do the job for me, I will love you forever 😀

  20. just had a worrying thought,
    did ebay and google not have a little fall out a few months ago,
    if selling ebays going to rely more and more on google, what happens when and if google filter ebay out of results in a fit of pique

  21. North: when and if google filter ebay out of results in a fit of pique
    IIRC there was some talk of this after last summer’s spat over Google Checkout’s party @ eBay Live. However, if Google are seen to be fiddling the results because they’ve “fallen out” with another company, I think that does enormous damage to their reputation as a search engine. They have to at least appear to be impartial – if they take action, it has to be because someone has done something to damage the integrity of the search results (e.g. BMW fiddling their ranking).

    Of course, anyone who’s done any kind of SEO – even if only white hat – knows that the search results are not impartial: they’re not about who has the best site, but whose site is the best match for Google’s way of working. I might have the best site on “purple widgets” in the world, but have written it all in Flash, so Google basically can’t see it.

  22. I tend to think google may not be quite as indespensable to ebay as Dan suggests,
    though I am certain it makes or breaks lesser web based companies



Repeat Buyers flagged in eBay orders


Start listing on eBay as 1st step to a new business


How to offer free post discounts on eBay with multi-buy discounts


Sellers add eBay Multi-buy listings to 12 million UK listings in 3 weeks


Etsy CEO on selling vintage: a ‘real treasure of Etsy’

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars