Now that eBay has fully launched it’s new Cassini Search Engine, a lot of sellers are wondering what they need to do in order to optimize their listings for it. Everyone wants to rank near the top of the search and best match results. But how do you get there? I’ll try to give you some facts you can use to increase your visibility and boost your listing exposure. But first, lets look at eBay’s overview of the new search platform Then we’ll break it down into specific recommendations.
The director of Search for eBay gave a recent presentation at the 2013 PeSA Internet Conference in which he outlined a few basic factors that the Cassini Search results are based on. He indicated the following.
eBay’s core values with Cassini:
- Relevance – Buyers should quickly see the results that they intend to see and want to see, rather than having to dig through results that don’t matter to them.
- Value – Buyers should always find items in their eBay search results that represent a good overall value.
- Trust – Buyers should see listings that they can trust, from sellers that are likely to serve them well and generate return business for eBay and eBay sellers.
- Convenience – Buyers shouldn’t have to work harder than is necessary and they should have a pleasant transaction from the initial search all the way through to receiving their item.
The above tells us a great deal about eBay’s intentions with the Cassini Search, but it doesn’t tell us what the specific factors are that will get your listings to rank higher. So let’s take a closer look. We do know that the old search was based primarily on the listing title. Although it still counts, there are now also a lot of additional requirements that will need to be met in order to do well under this new set of “core values.”
Cassini Search Ranking Factors:
- Listing Title – Use descriptive, relevant, and popular keyword combinations.
- Catalog and Item Specifics – Whenever available use the eBay catalog to create your listings and fill out the item specifics as completely as you can.
- Complete Item Descriptions – Add as much clear and informative description as you can and include details about the condition of your item as well as any facts the seller should know.
- Photos – Add as many good, colorful, and large pictures as you can.
- Seller Performance and Buyer Satisfaction -Your seller ratings, dispute resolution history, shipping and return policies, plus buyer communication history.
- Item Performance over Time – Calculation of how many times your listing has been seen vs the number of sales it generates.
In your Listing Title use the best keyword combinations you can to describe your item. For suggestions try typing phrases into eBay’s search box without hitting enter. You’ll see the “auto complete” pop up with high-performing keyword combinations as “suggestions” from eBay.
In addition to making sure you fill in the Catalog and Item Specifics, also make sure you add your own item specifics whenever possible to better inform buyers and more completely describe your products in a way that search will identify.
When making a Complete Item Description the idea is to keep the buyer engaged as long as possible and to eventually get them to commit to buying an item. Do this with rich text and additional photos. Ebay is measuring each impression to see how well, and how long it can keep a buyers attention and how often that impression becomes a sale. Essentially you’re being measured on how interesting your description is so make it good.
When taking Photos be sure to use several pictures that are in good focus, have adequate lighting, and are at least 1600 pixels on the longest side. Use photos from the eBay catalog if available. Really, really good photography will pay off for you, but it is a huge subject that I can’t express in a small article so do some additional homework here if you need to.
The Seller Performance and Buyer Satisfaction factor isn’t just about being a Powerseller or having Top Rated Seller status. They are considered but eBay goes much deeper with this metric. It will look at your overall feedback, detailed seller ratings, customer service history, dispute resolution history, past buyer protection cases, plus how well you’ve responded to eBay’s message communication system as well as your seller compliance rating.
With the Item Performance over Time factor, it really pays to have fewer listings do more. Crowding your competition with more of your ads will now be completely counter-productive. It will decrease your standing the more your listings are viewed without a buy-through.
So basically eBay is now evaluating every single thing that you do as a seller and making it part of the Cassini Search ranking process. That’s an awful lot for a seller to have to review and improve on. Here are some suggestions that I hope will help you out.
Tips to boost your listings in eBay Search and Best Match:
Use eBay’s free Listing Analytics application. It lets your search for keywords and tells you their rank. Plus it lets you view your impressions, clicks, and sales metrics to better understand the behavior of your buyers. It also sorts the information, compares it to similar listings, and gives you tips to help optimize your items.
I also recommend that you do a search for the item you are selling and take a look at the top results. Compare them to your own listing and see if there are any obvious differences. Take notes and make any improvements that you can. For the less obvious factors that are behind the the new the calculations, it will pay off to be completely paranoid about everything you do as a seller. Because they’re making a list. They’re checking it twice. eBay’s gonna know who’s naughty or nice. And you will be ranked on it.