Friday, July 9, 2010

Why Keywords Still Count on eBay and in Search

Why Keywords Still Count
Keys to making the 55 characters in your listing title add up to profit

What's in a word? Well, when it comes to the titles of the items you post for sale or bid on eBay, there could be gold in them thar' words—or not. The truth is your potential to get your item seen—or, better yet, bid on, or purchased—depends upon how well you choose your words.

In listings on eBay, "keywords" are those words and terms that buyers search for, found within your listing title. If you haven't given much thought to this aspect of marketing your goods, or if you wonder whether you're making optimum use of your item titles, consider these keys to choosing keywords, why they're critical to your sales success and why you should literally make every word count.

Understanding searches and indexing
At eBay (as well as within the major online search portals), listings are "indexed" in a search engine that identifies the words within the item title. When a user performs a search using a particular word or term, the search engine uses the index to locate and return a listing of items that match the user's search terms.

You're listing in the vast sea of offerings at eBay. Your challenge is to be seen among the millions of other items up for bid or sale.

55 characters or less
When you list on eBay, your listing title is limited to 55 characters, including spaces. Each word needs to serve a purpose, both as an effective search keyword and also as an accurate descriptor of your item for sale. Yes, you'll want to include a bit of marketing "pull" in your title to help encourage potential buyers to take a closer look.

For now, begin crafting your title to include as many pertinent keywords shoppers are likely to search for. Here, you need to know your commodity well, and know what terms buyers are using to locate these sorts of items. Review other active listings or closed listings to see what words others have used—did those words translate into a sale? Also, look for effective keyword combinations and other details that will help your listing get more hits.

As a guiding principle, you'll want to include as much of the following information within your listing title:
  • Brand name
  • Item origin
  • Year (or period) of production
  • Manufacturer
  • Item color, size and other descriptive attributes
  • Item condition

While that may seem like more than can be communicated within 55 characters, consider this example:

Polar Lights Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine model kit 2000 MISB

In the above example, a model kit of the iconic Mystery Machine van from the Scooby-Doo cartoon is being offered. Note that the title includes manufacturer (Polar Lights), item identification (Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine), item type (model kit), year of production (2000) and item condition (MISB, or Mint In Sealed Box). And, after all of that, there are still four characters of the available 55 left to use.

Don't get cute
Simply enough, don't waste valuable title space on words that do little to describe your item or properly identify it to buyers. Useless words like "cute," "adorable," "desirable" and the like often do little to help attract, let alone convince, any buyer. Words like "rare," "hard to find" and so on are not only unneeded (especially when buyers are already aware of the scarcity of an item) but they can also expose a seller's misguided (or, at best, misunderstood) attempt to wrangle a higher price. And, visual come-ons like "L@@K" and its sort are nothing short of obnoxious and should be avoided always.

Remember you're working to specify recognizable and understandable terms within your item titles, the sort that search engines have indexed and for which buyers are searching.

Condensed blog post from Auctiva Education

Auctiva is an eBay Certified Solutions Provider offering listing management solutions and features for beginner -to mid-to high-volume eBay sellers.

1 comment:

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