Improve SEO on eBay by Completing Item Specifics Fields

Google search engine page with search results displayed on a computer monitor
••• Getty Images/Oleksiy Maksymenko

To succeed on eBay, it's important to know a little bit about SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. You don't need a degree in computer science, or even need to know how to write HTML. But it is important to know a few basics before listing on eBay to ensure maximum exposure to buyers by placing high in searches.

Including Keywords in Your eBay Listing

eBay's basic tutorial on SEO states that the title should contain between 1 to 3 important keywords. Don't go crazy and stuff the title with keywords to try to manipulate the search engine. This is not good for SEO and it confuses buyers. The tutorial also states that the description area should have 200 words of visible copy with important keywords at the beginning and end.

Many eBay sellers are under the incorrect assumption that the title is the only factor driving traffic to their listings. This is a buzz-kill for SEO. If you look at major retailers' websites, like Nordstrom, Target, and LL Bean, you'll see that there is always a written description, not just a title. These companies have multi-million dollar advertising budgets and know what they are doing. Follow suit.

Using the Items Specifics Section

One way to improve SEO is by completing all of the fields in the Items Specifics section. This section includes drop-down menus where sellers choose all of the details about the items they are selling, including:

  • Condition
  • Brand
  • Color
  • Size
  • Style
  • Material
  • Model
  • Country of manufacture
  • UPC code
  • MPN number
  • Part number

Completing this section helps to place higher in searches on both eBay and Google. It also helps the buyer understand exactly what he is buying so that returns are minimized. Furthermore, item specifics show up at the top of eBay Mobile which helps buyers find the information they need quickly and easily. The more information sellers can provide about their items, the better. If buyers understand exactly what they are bidding on or buying, they are less likely to cancel a transaction or return an item because of misunderstandings.

Required Product Identifiers

In February of 2016, eBay added a new requirement to the Item Specifics section, called Product Identifiers. The UPC field must be filled out. If the item is brand new and has a UPC code, it must be entered in this field. Speculation about this requirement is that eBay is trying its best to have items appear on Google. Some buyers will enter a UPC code when searching for an item.

Most items on Amazon must have a UPC as well, for searchability. eBay estimates 80% of the merchandise on the site is new, therefore, this policy will help tremendously with items appearing in Google searches. eBay is trying to level the playing field by requiring UPCs on new items.

If the item is used, vintage, or does not have a UPC, not to worry. There is a drop down box where sellers can choose "Does not apply." Obviously, it would be impossible to require UPCs on used or vintage items that never had one in the first place. (UPCs weren't widely used on consumer products until the late 1970s.)

Be Thorough with Your Listing 

Back to increasing SEO by completing Item Specifics. Always fill out as many of the item specifics that apply to your item. Don't lament over things like country of origin if it isn't obvious on the item. You can click the "remove" button to take that item-specific off the listing. The more complete the listing is, the higher in search the listing will place. eBay allows sellers to add item specifics if a crucial element is not listed.

It is best to use eBay's advanced form when listing items as it offers more choices for item specifics. Furthermore, the full eBay site on a regular computer or laptop is different than the mobile site - the full site offers more choices. For sellers who want to go the extra mile, it pays off in SEO benefits to use the full site.

SEO doesn't have to be hard or complicated. Write your listing as if you are speaking to another person because in essence, you are. Provide complete details, correct information, and use words buyers will search for when writing titles and descriptions.