A few months ago I wrote in my weekly eletter about Cassini – eBay’s then relatively new search engine – and how it would affect you, your listings and where your listings rank in the search results.

Cassini has been implemented in the UK now for a while and during that time it has, I would guess, been tweaked several times. Obviously I can’t be sure as eBay is quite secretive about these things, however during this implementation period and following some testing myself, some major, very important factors have become clear to me, one of which I would like to share with you in more detail today.

Firstly it’s important that you understand that eBay collects data via Cassini – that is, they collect data from your listings and also from buyers searching for specific products and use this to rank listings in the search results.

The data they collect relates to keywords, number of clicks, item specifics, performance, images, feedback and buyers behavior and once you understand all of these and get them right, your listings will become of huge interest to eBay – in other words much more relevant – which means they will be seen more easily by buyers, and you will make more sales.

There are far too many factors to go into today, so I want to talk about just one of these factors that can get you started, very simply, on your rise up the rankings.

Exact relevance is key

So, first I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. When a buyer searches for an item, that buyer enters keywords into the search bar, which often results in a drop down box appearing with suggestions from eBay as to what the buyer may be searching for. For example, if you were a buyer searching for ‘black leather handbag’, suggestions returned by eBay may be:

  • Large black leather handbag
  • Ladies black leather handbag
  • Small black leather handbag

Now, pop yourself back into your seller shoes and look closely at those suggestions because this is important information that you can use to build a listing title that will be deemed important by eBay – and therefore potentially rank your listing higher in the search results. Let me explain! I’ve detailed before in previous eletters, the fact that when a suggestion appears in the drop down list on eBay it is because other people have searched for those exact keywords already – not just once or twice but potentially hundreds or thousands of times – which means that they are what eBay deems popular searches.

But what’s more important is that the terms which appear nearer the top of the suggestions list are in fact the most popular, so using my previous example of ‘black leather handbag’, the search terms ‘large black leather handbag’ and ‘ladies black leather handbag’ are more popular than ‘small black leather handbag’.

So, as a seller, if you are listing a ‘black leather handbag’ and it’s large in size, you should ensure that your first four keywords in your title are ‘large black leather handbag’ because these are exactly the keywords that buyers are searching for and are already on eBay’s radar in that exact order so to speak.

This is something that I have been investigating for some time and at this stage I’m pretty certain that it goes a long way to getting your listings ranked higher if your keywords appear in the order that eBay sees as most popular using the data they harvest from Cassini. eBay relies on those searched for queries to work out whether your listing is relevant, therefore if your keywords are in the same order as previous suggestions they are deemed ultra relevant and your listing will be placed higher in the search rankings.

Exactly how relevant should you be?

Let’s say you have a ‘black leather handbag’ for sale with an embellishment of studs. You might think then that your title should read:

‘Black leather handbag with studs’ because ‘black leather handbag’ has been searched for previously (as per my example) and so you know it’s popular.

However, I searched for those keywords for this example today and in fact, eBay does not return any suggestions in the drop down box for those keywords. This means that those keywords are simply not searched for!

When this happens you’ll need to try a combination of keywords to work out the best, most relevant combination for your product, and also to ascertain in which order they should appear. For example, I typed in:

‘Studded black leather handbag’ as an alternative to ‘black leather handbag with studs’

And eBay immediately suggested:

‘Black leather studded handbags’

So these are the keywords you should use in the title for your ‘black leather handbag with studs’, and in that exact order, because this is how buyers are searching for items like yours. Notice also that ‘handbags’ is plural rather than singular indicating that buyers are in this case searching for ‘handbags’ rather than ‘handbag’.

Use accessible data to your advantage

The message here is to always utilize eBay’s suggestions to ensure you build your title around the exact search queries that others are already using and in the exact order too, taking note of singular and plural words to ensure you create the best, most relevant title you possibly can. This information is there on eBay and plain for all to see – and now you can use it to your advantage.

The more popular your title, the higher your search ranking will become and the more page views you’ll get which ultimately means more sales.

As of last month you are now able to edit the title of your BIN listings even if you have sales or pending best offers on the listing, which gives you huge flexibility, so this weekend why not take a look at your titles, then put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and use the search box to enter your current keywords for your items.

You’re looking to see whether eBay returns suggestions from the keywords you’ve input…or not. Experiment with several options in a different order and look at eBay’s suggestions to see how close your titles are to the actual searched for terms. You can then edit your titles accordingly to improve your search ranking.

As I said earlier, there are other factors that the Cassini search takes into account too, but this is a simple tweak you can make, quickly and easily to get on track. I’ll be uploading more information on Cassini, it’s important factors and the strategy you need to make it work for you to the members area of  The Source Report in the coming weeks.

As always I wish you the best of success,