eBay Tips and Auction Tools
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eBay auctions are fun and represent a HUGE opportunity for profit.
Auctions are easy to do. There is no financial risk. And they generate great income -- you know, the enough-to- save-for-kids-college-education type of income.
Welcome! My name is Doug and I'll be your guide throughout this site. I've been selling and bidding on eBay & online auctions for a number of years now. When I started, there were no sites like this to help either beginners or experienced auction users. So I decided to create one. Since 1999, it has been my goal to provide sane, free eBay secrets and unique tools for eBay and other online auction sites. I sincerely hope you find it useful.
AuctionInsights provides you the tips and tools you need to make eBay work for you!
If you sell handmade Jewelry, Home Décor, Artwork, Stationary, Party Supplies, Furniture, Bedding, or Kitchen and Dining accessories, you have another platform on which to market your products. Amazon unveiled its new marketplace “Handmade at Amazon” earlier today. In competing with Etsy and eBay for Artisan vendors, Amazon hopes to capitalize on its enormous customer-base and sellers disgruntled with Etsy’s vendor support with free phone and email support, business reporting tools, and custom order tools.
Amazon is carefully vetting artisan hoping to sell on the “Handmade” marketplace. According to the New York Times, vendors must provide “details of their manufacturing process, including what tools and machines they rely on.” Amazon’s requirements further stipulate:
All products available in your Handmade at Amazon store must be made entirely by hand, hand-altered, or hand assembled (not from a kit). Products must be handmade by you (the artisan), by one of your employees (if your company has 20 or fewer employees), or a member of your collective with less than 100 people. Mass-produced products or products handmade by a different artisan are not eligible to sell in Handmade
A comparison of the fees associated with selling on Amazon and Etsy are as follows:
- Esty: $.20 listing and 3.5% of the final sale price.
- Handmade at Amazon: No listing fees until August 2016; 12% of final sale price which includes payment processing and fraud protection. (After August 2016, the monthly fee for a Handmade store is $40/mo if the vendor sells 40 or more items per month).
Are you familiar with the phrase “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO)?
While it sounds highly technical and arcane, SEO is simply the action anybody with a web presence can take to ensure that Google (1) is aware of a particular web page, (2) correctly recognizes what the main theme or topic of that particular web page is, and (3) ranks that particular page highly for searches related to that particular topic.
Search Engine Optimization centers around three main areas of emphasis including keyword identification, on-page factors such as text and titles, and off-page factors such as inbound links from quality websites.
Although SEO is not normally associated with promoting specific eBay listings, the techniques and examples I describe here can be incredibly effective if implemented with both patience and persistence.
The first step to getting found in Google is deciding what search terms your want to get found for. This involves a little research and, more than likely, some trial and error.
Your objective here is threefold. The first is to discern the specific keywords that are popular among computer users who use Google to search for information related to your product.
Next, you must decide which of those keywords or keyword phrases are most associated with searches made by consumers who are interested in buying your product.
Finally, it involves selecting the relevant keywords that strike the best balance between search popularity and manageable competition from other web pages contending for high rankings in the Google search results.
This keyword research is necessarily the first step in the process because it provides the basis for both your on-page and off-page optimization efforts.
One of my eBay listings on the 1st page of the Yahoo! search results
On-Page Search Engine Optimization Factors
As the name implies, on-page factors are concerned with getting things right on the page receiving the search engine traffic. When Google and the other major search engines attempt to decide what’s important about a particular web address, their algorithms take cues from several specific elements associated with that page.
These factors include the page title, description, headings, text, and the URL itself. Therefore, it is important to consider and carefully include the keywords you researched earlier in all of these on-page elements. I say carefully because, if over done, the page might trip Google’s SPAM filters and will be buried deep in the search result pages accordingly.
Off page factors are the most significant aspect of any search engine optimization campaign. Specifically, inbound links from numerous different reputable and popular websites.
If you think about it for a minute, inbound links are a terrific measure of reputation. If numerous sites that Google considers credible link to your listing, the search engine will assume that your page is an authoritative resource for your keyword phrase.
The links’ anchor text – the click-able words – are important to help the search engine discern what all the fuss is about. So it’s important to include your keyword phrase in your anchor text when you are carrying out your link building efforts.
View Part One of my Series on How to Get Your eBay Listing to Appear in Google
Since its introduction as the default method of displaying the search results in January of 2008, Best Match has had a profound impact on eBay sellers. For the lucky few who either by blind luck, finesse or brute force have been able to achieve a position at the top of the search results, Best Match has been a tremendous boon to their business.
However, the vast majority of sellers have not had such a favorable experience with Best Match. While eBay is still an excellent platform for these sellers to conduct the actual sales transaction, they can no longer count on eBay to send them the volume of traffic that made up the bulk of sales they had previously. Consequently, many sellers are without alternatives and struggling to be successful.
That’s why I developed the techniques I share in Beyond Best Match that empower eBay sellers to bypass the hassle of Best Match and get their listing to appear in the Google search results. Getting your eBay listing included and ranked highly in Google has some significant benefits. Specifically improved buyer trust, increased traffic from customers, and (ironically) an advantage in eBay’s Best Match.
One of my eBay Listings on Page 1 of the Bing Search Results
The Benefits of Natural Search Results
*Trust* – The customers that find your listing in Google are more apt to trust you. There are several reasons for this. The first is the simple fact that they actively searched for what you are selling and found your listing – you didn’t find them. They didn’t click on an ad – which involves a healthy level of suspicion and skepticism – nor were they lured away from doing something else online by a random link to your listing. They went to Google with an itch that needed scratching and clicked through to your eBay listing because they thought you might be able to help. Additionally, warranted or not, many people assign you instant credibility because you were ranked highly in Google. After all, Google does have a reputation for providing relevant search results.
*Traffic* – If you carefully research and choose a relevant keyword phrase and are successful in your Search Engine Optimization efforts, the traffic from Google will be significant. After I adapted and successfully implemented Search Engine Optimization techniques for eBay, the number of customers visiting my listings increased over seven-fold compared to the traffic eBay was sending. Incredible considering the fact that I’m paying eBay for traffic while Google’s is free. It may seem obvious, but it bears mentioning that an increase in traffic directly correlates to an increase in sales.
*Best Match Advantage* – With the exception of the collectibles categories, eBay calculates something called a “listing performance score” for fixed-priced (Buy It Now or BIN) listings. The listing performance score is a ratio determined by the number of sales generated (for multiple quantity listings) divided by the number of times the listing has appeared in eBay’s search results (impressions). Scoring well for this particular metric positively influences that listing’s ranking in the search results under Best Match.
Recall the formula for the listing performance score: sales divided by impressions. To increase this score, a seller needs to either:
- Decrease the number of impressions while holding sales constant;
- Increase the number of sales while holding impressions constant;
- Or a combination of the above.
Appearing in Google’s search results doesn’t count as an impression. Therefore, any sales you make from customers that didn’t come from eBay’s search results improves your listing performance score significantly. Ironically, efforts you take to compensate for the lack of traffic from eBay’s Best Match can actually increase the amount of traffic you get from Best Match!
The Way Forward – Get Found in Google
Getting your eBay listing indexed and ranking highly in Google and the other search engines requires a basic understanding of the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and some labor on your part to implement them. These fundamentals include identifying and using the appropriate keywords. Additionally these SEO fundamentals require addressing the on-page factors such as the listing title, the headlines, and an appropriate description. Finally, the techniques require addressing off-page factors such as links from several credible external web sites.
Sound hard? I won’t deny that this technique requires an investment in effort and some commitment to be successful. However, if you are looking for a way to increase the traffic to your eBay listings and corresponding bump in your sales, I know of no better way.
In my next post, we’ll start by covering the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.
Have you ever conducted a Google search and noticed a link to an eBay listing in the search results?
I have, and immediately imagined the massive amount of customers those lucky sellers are getting to their eBay listings directly from Google — without the hassle of dealing with eBay’s Best Match search algorithm.
So after writing “Best Match Made Simple,” I set my sights on developing a system that would allow me to get my eBay listings in the Google search results.
Boy am I ever glad that I did! The bump in sales I received after getting my listings to appear on the first pages of the search engine results pages made me forget about ever worrying about Best Match again.
Over the next few days, I’m going to share some of the techniques I detail fully in my new eBook “Beyond Best Match.”
Don’t Depend on eBay For Traffic Anymore
Going “Beyond Best Match” is about developing alternate sources of traffic to your eBay listings — specifically traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Our goal here is to get a link to our eBay listings on the first page of the Google search results for a popular search term associated with the product and get a share of that search engine traffic. I’m not talking about paid placement on the search result pages (a program Google calls “AdSense”). I’m referring to your listing appearing in the “natural” search results.
For example, I sell Ubuntu Linux installation CDs on eBay (a popular alternative computer operating system). According to Google, the search term “Ubuntu Installation Disk” receives an average of 14,800 searches per month. Of these, over 4,400 come from the United States — my target market for eBay.com. Even a small portion of this search engine traffic clicking through to my eBay listing would be like striking gold in my backyard.
One of my eBay Listings on Page 1 of the Google Search Results
Who Will Benefit From This Technique?
Sellers who employ multiple quantity fixed-price listings will benefit the most from the techniques I reveal in “Beyond Best Match”. Good ‘Til Canceled (GTC) listings are better than 30-day listings because once you get your listing’s URL (Uniform Resource Locater — or more simply it’s web address) indexed in Google’s search results, you want it to stick there. Relisting a closed item means a new URL and starting the process of getting indexed and ranked by the search engines over again.
While you might successfully get the product you are selling on eBay indexed and included in Google’s search results before your auction-style or single quantity fixed-price listing ends, it probably won’t be worth the effort required. So if you’ve got a bunch of widgets to sell on eBay, it would certainly benefit your bottom line to get your listing included in the first couple results pages of the major search engines.
In my next post, I’ll share the benefits of getting your eBay listing in the search results (hint: the benefits extend beyond increased visitors to your listing).