In 2013, eBay announced their very own search engine, Cassini. The search engine was created to generate a better customer experience by matching listings more precisely based on relevance. Upon release of Cassini, algorithms changed and what sellers used to practice to boost sales no longer worked. Sales used to be driven by traffic and page views because the algorithm was such that sellers would stuff keywords to get their products to appear in search results. Well not anymore, because Cassini prefers a “cleaner” buyer and seller experience. Here are 8 tips to help you use the algorithm to your advantage:
1. Product Titles
When writing a product title, imagine yourself as a potential customer searching for an item. Remember that stuffing keywords doesn’t work anymore and you want to be on Cassini’s good side. So write a title that is close enough to possible actual searches. For example, if I were to search for a brand new Iphone, I would key in something like this: “Brand New Apple Iphone 64gb”. So as a seller, your title should be as close as possible to what customers would key in, and not something like: “Apple Iphone New Unlocked Black Gold Silver 32gb 64gb”. The order and arrangement of words is important to appeal to Cassini’s algorithm. Cassini wants to reduce quantity and increase quality. Before you decide on a listing title, try searching for similar products on the eBay search engine to get a rough idea of what works.
2. Product Photos
When listing an item, sellers are allowed to upload up to 12 photos for free. Utilize this function and upload as many as you can, nothing less than 8 photos at the very least. Even if you feel that the photos are not relevant to making sales, upload them. Take pictures of multiple angles if to make it interesting. Having more photos will give your product a boost in Cassini’s search algorithm.
3. Listing Description
Your listing description should be as accurate and straight to the point as possible. Format the description to look neat by limiting the font styles and colours. Proofread your listing and make sure that the description is clear. Having long des criptions with structural and grammatical errors can be a turn off for potential customers so keep the description short and precise. Use points if necessary for clarity. As added value, a clear description works well for Cassini too.
4. Sales Markdown
eBay has a feature called the Markdown Manager. It allows you to run sales for entire categories or selected items. Sellers can use this feature to markdown items and run sales, possibly generating more sales, and subsequently be preferred in Cassini’s algorithm. It may sometimes be a short term solution to gaining sales, but it works as a positive sales cycle; with more sales, you start appearing on top, and as you appear on top, you are able to make more sales. Cassini rewards sellers that are able to consistently sell items by putting them in a position where they can sell more items. Yup.
5. Free Shipping
Free shipping is not only preferred by customers, but also for Cassini. Products that have free shipping will be given priority in search results. However, free shipping may not necessarily be a viable option for all sellers. Don’t do it if it will incur more cost than you care to bear. If necessary and possible, increase the selling price to compensate for shipping costs. Not that free shipping is usually only applicable to domestic shipping and not for international shipping; charges will vary by destination location.
6. Return Policy
It’s important to understand that eBay has a money back guarantee policy. So regardless of your return policy, customers still have the option of returning the items they have purchased from you. To play it to your advantage, set the return policy at 30 days. Cassini’s algorithm prefers sellers who have a 30-day return policy. Any product with a 30-day return policy will automatically show up top in searches and those with return policies of less than 30 days end up below or on the next page.
7. Item Listing Information
When registering an item to be listed, there are multiple boxes to check and descriptions to fill in like the brand, colours, etc.. They appear more than once and although they may seem redundant, they are not. Don’t skip any of them and fill everything in. If eBay has put it there, that means it has a purpose.
8. RSS Feed
What is an RSS Feed? RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a web feed that is used to distribute content to a large number of users at a time. Google receives RSS feeds from eBay, so when users search for a product on eBay on Google, they are able to see product listings based on the RSS feeds. How does the RSS feed affect Cassini? The listings usually remain the same every time someone searches on Google and Cassini doesn’t like old listings. Cassini like fresh listings. If you have an eBay store, you can access the RSS feed and switch it off and on again to reset the feed, hence producing fresh listings when a search is made on Google, or any other search engine.
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