marketplace SEO

Mastering Marketplace SEO – eBay, Amazon and Etsy

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    Here is a question that a certain group of people have to ask themselves when they begin to think about SEO for their business; what happens when your search engine isn’t Google and your webpage is actually a product listing?
    Online marketplaces are a great place to sell and, whatever you might think, Amazon does NOT own the online retail business. Well, not exactly. In his last letter to shareholders the Amazon CEO admitted that ‘third party sellers are kicking our butt’, referring to those independent retailers who sell on Amazon versus the company’s own offerings. Sales from independent third-party sellers accounted for 58% of the physical gross merchandise sold on Amazon in 2018.
    eBay isn’t fading either, although it has changed a lot over the years. And for many who were probably once told they could never make a good living from their artistic creations the introduction – and still rising popularity of Etsy has been a life changing revelation.
    The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions to shopping – and indeed to movement in general – that are still accompanying it has seen online retail in general thrive and sales have increased in excess of even expert predictions. People locked in their homes are going to shop online, and, even when allowed to go to physical stores many are staying away, either because they don’t feel comfortable doing so yet, or they have simply got used to making their purchases online. So the market for sellers on any of these three marketplaces is bigger than ever.
    But these are also very competitive marketplaces, and it takes more than just having a great product and a decent price to get your listings in front of the eyes of as many buyers as possible. It takes marketplace SEO, which, as you’ll see, is a rather different creature than SEO designed to please Google.

    Etsy SEO Basics 

    Etsy’s search algorithm tries to figure out how relevant a product is for a searched term.

    There are six main areas you can tweak to make your product as relevant as possible and therefore rank higher.

    Product Listing Title

    • Use your main keyword first – in the example below that is Celtic Bracelet-  then as many others as you can that may also capture different searchers. As this seller is aware, there are other ways people may search for this type of jewelry, and so his title should lead Esty to rank him in several searches.
    • Think like a buyer and try to use words they would use in a search. Some of them may look strange when written down – Thor bracelet?? – but given the rise in popularity of the Ancient Norse God thanks to his decade plus long dominance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe then yes, this is likely to be a search term plenty of people will use.
    • Don’t repeat the same words
    • List any similar products as variations so you don’t end up competing against yourself.

    Etsy product listing

     

    Keywords & Tags

    Etsy sellers can make use of the keyword and tag sections to further describe their product so that Etsy gets the best possible picture of what the product is to assign it a place in their search. Here, the basics to keep in mind include:

    • Search Etsy yourself to see what keywords and tags others are using to describe products similar to yours.
    • Feel free to re-use the keywords from your title.
    • Again, use words your customer would use in search, not necessarily the ones that read best.

    Category

    • Use the most specific and relevant category for your product. Simple.

    Images

    • Quality pictures are a must. Not only are they eye catching and build trust.
    • Use all available image slots.
    • Alt- tag each image so that search bots understand what it is too.
    • Include close ups, photos of intricate details and curated lifestyle shots. People want to see as much of a product as possible. And each alt-tag is another chance to communicate what your product is to the search bots.

    Store Description

    • A well-written description will help you convert, and Etsy prefers web stores with a real and solid story to share.
    • Keyword stuffing in your description will not help you, so don’t do it.
    • Put the most descriptive info first and keep your tone consistent.

    There is more to ‘winning’ on Etsy than SEO, you need a great product and plenty of positive reviews, but good SEO can be a real help to get your products in front of your future satisfied customers in the first place.

    eBay SEO

    Most searches conducted in  eBay’s search engine – called Cassini –  will result in multiple results of the same products, just being offered by different sellers.

    eBay store

    This tells us two things.

    First, there’s a lot of competition on eBay.

    Second, getting listed as high as possible in the marketplace search results means you’re more likely to get the click–and ultimately the sale.

    More Than Keywords

    Unlike  Etsy, when the eBay search engine looks at your listing, it also takes into account a wide variety of other factors:

    • Your prices, delivery times and return and shipping policies
    • The speed you respond to inquiries
    • At what price your bidding starts (eBay likes $0.99 starting bids)
    • The ‘Buy It Now’ to Auction ratio of your listings

    There’s a lot more to eBay SEO than just keywords, but using relevant keywords with buyer intent is still integral. Listing titles should have the relevant keywords as should product descriptions.

    eBay Product Descriptions

    eBay gives the seller a lot of control with their product description, offering what is essentially a blog style WYSIWYG editor to create a product description in almost any way you want.

    Therefore, not unlike Google and a blog, it’s a good idea to try to use your most relevant keywords as early as possible in your eBay product description, as well as in H2 headings.

    Stay away from tacky phrases like “[email protected]@K”. And acronyms like “BNIB” and “BNWOB” can confuse people do you mean brand new without box or brand new with original box? You will have to specify later on, but a confused browser is never likely to make it that far.

     

    This is a great example of making use of keywords – to please Cassini – but also describing the product appealingly. Sunscreen isn’t actually that glamourous, but this description makes it sound like it is.

    Auctions & free shipping

    eBay is the home of the online auction. Bidders are notified when they’re outbid or when the auction is ending. Therefore, they return and interact.

    eBay auctions promote activity and buyer/seller interaction, and Cassini loves this. To the point where eBay will give SERP preference to an auction of the same product, compared to a buy it now listing.

    Bonus tip: Increase your sale price to cover shipping and then offer free shipping. It sounds simple, but the ‘free shipping’ tag will make eBay, Cassini and the buyer love you.

    Amazon SEO

    Amazon Search – aka A9 – is a very, very unique creature.

    When people use Google, they are usually using it to find the answer to a question. But when they use Amazon, they know what we want. They are not looking for a way to cut a tomato, they’re looking for kitchen knives to do it with.

    Therefore, Amazon’s search engine, A9 was custom created to cater to  buyers with purchase intent.

    Because of this, Amazon SEO is a little different. You’re not just wanting to rank higher in marketplace search results, but you’re also trying to win the ‘Buy Box’.

    Since Amazon does not have duplicate listings (not many, anyway), vendors selling the same product compete to get a front spot in what is essentially a queue of sellers.

    amazon marketplace seo example

    Winning the buy box comes down to a lot of external influences.

    • Product title–Get the brand, product range, material and/or main feature, colour, size and packaging/quantity into the description first.
    • ISBN/EAN numbers are needed for every product. Fill out as much specific information as you can about your product. The more information, the more Amazon knows about it.
    • High-quality product photography, buyer reviews and the number of sales play a huge part.
    • Amazon will give preference to vendors selling via Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA)
    • The number one influence on the health of your Amazon store is how you handle returns and refunds.

    Amazon is unabashedly out to make buyers happy–not so much the sellers. Help Amazon sell things, and Amazon will give preference you in its search results.

    Summing up…

    Marketplace SEO is more tricky than Google SEO. You’re subject to a whole new set of algorithms and sellers must constantly be vigilant to maintain the selling edge. Luckily, what you need to succeed is well documented and easily attainable–with a little hard work. And good help goes a long way too. Our team of eCommerce SEO experts have spent countless hours perfecting storefronts and listings across all three popular marketplaces and are ready and waiting to do the same for you.

     

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