2022 Fall Seller Update – Its Impact on eBay SEO

eBay's Recent Changes: the Good, the Bad, and the Lucrative

2022 Fall Seller Update

Join us for the 2022 eBay Fall Seller Update review from an SEO perspective, like we do every time.

 

Welcome back for another episode of, “How has eBay search been impacted by the most recent seller update?”

Nearly everything we’ll be discussing specific to the update will come from the “Listing & promoting” section.  As always, be sure to review it yourself before reading this post.

Although we generally only cover the latest seller update’s effect on SEO, we will wrap up with a couple of other changes that I simply couldn’t ignore.

With that said, let’s get started by talking about eBay store search optimization.

 

Yes, you can optimize an eBay store itself

I am often asked whether it is possible to apply SEO directly to an eBay store.

While the practice of eBay SEO is focused primarily on the product listing page, there are actually a handful of ways to specifically optimize an eBay store.

One of the often-overlooked methods of is to create buyer-focused categories.

In contrast to what many “experts” believe, it is a myth that creating keyword-rich eBay categories will improve your eBay or Google search rankings.

Nevertheless, good eBay store categories will usually use keywords searched by your buyers.  This is because search terms tend to clearly describe things — like product categories — as well as help increase sales conversions.

In contrast to what many “experts” believe, it is a myth that creating keyword-rich eBay categories will improve your eBay or Google search rankings.  Nevertheless, good eBay store categories will usually use keywords searched by your buyers.  This is because search terms tend to clearly describe things  — like product categories — as well as help increase sales conversions.

As Google’s Alan Kent recently discussed, a major component of ecommerce SEO focuses on the site’s taxonomy.

The same principle applies to eBay stores.

While eBay does provide a search bar specific to your listings, you can assist your buyers’ search journey — including directing them to key products and top sellers — by providing them a basic guide in the form of concise category names.

To highlight their importance, the Fall Seller Update calls attention to the ability to identify your primary product categories with featured images.

eBay Store Featured Categories
Screenshot of excellent use of eBay store featured category images

If you decide to create featured category images like the ones above, make sure that you follow eBay’s guidelines — including using square images no larger than 300 x 300 pixels.

eBay businesses that take advantage of this relatively new store homepage component are doing more for their SEO than most of them realize.

 

The new eBay store branding module

These same featured categories are in the process of being rolled out in its new branding module.

eBay Listing Page Branding Module
Screenshot of eBay’s new branding module and inclusion of featured categories

Some of our eBay SEO clients are not yet showing the popular categories within this module.  When the categories are appearing, they are doing so regardless of whether the client is utilizing the featured category images on their homepage and independent of the eBay platform (US, AU, or UK).

But to gain access to this feature, you do have to have your own store categories created.  You can’t simply rely on eBay’s own product categories, as many sellers tend to do.

I’m not personally a big fan of the desktop version of this module, as it is currently buried beneath the listing’s item description.

The prior incarnation was located above the description field, and I am hopeful that eBay will eventually relocate this module for greater exposure.

 

Store exposure in eBay autocomplete

This past January, we discovered and tweeted the insertion of store branding within eBay’s autocomplete keyword suggestions.

Since then, the embedded store name has been changed to a full logo image.

eBay Autocomplete Suggestions Store Insertion
Screenshot of embedded store name within eBay’s autocomplete keyword suggestions

Few discussions on the subject of eBay keywords reference eBay’s autocomplete suggestions, and even fewer talk about doing real keyword research to build proper eBay titles.

I say “real” research, because a majority of sellers are looking to other listings — instead of what their buyers are searching — for their own title keywords.

“Keyword tools” like Title Builder get their keywords from successful product listings, which is one of the worst methods sellers can use to create their titles.

The apparent popularity of these tools is aggravating to me as a practitioner, as eBay does an exceptional job of collecting actual keyword data — which is inputted by its buyers.

Once eBay has gathered these keywords, they are then made publicly available in what is called an “autocomplete database.”

Keyword Tool Dominator is, by far, the best tool for presenting this database in an easy-to-search fashion.

eBay goes a step further and takes the keywords that are most frequently searched and suggests them to buyers according to the current query.

The new store name feature — which inserts an eBay store link into these suggestions — is honestly long overdue.

It has historically been very difficult to find a favorite eBay store without having previously saved it.  Literally anyone ought to be able to find your eBay store by simply searching its name within eBay.

And now they can — assuming its popular enough to trigger the feature.

It has historically been very difficult to find a favorite eBay store without having previously saved it.  Literally anyone ought to be able to find your eBay store by simply searching its name within eBay.  And now they can — assuming its popular enough to trigger the feature.

 

Parts Compatibility removed from Wheels category

Last spring, I mentioned that we have a client who was going to be impacted by eBay’s planned category updates and that I hoped to have a report as to any long-lasting effect it may have had.

The news isn’t good, unfortunately.

As their main product, our client sold pre-owned OEM wheel rims.

They no longer do.  Not on eBay, anyway.

After last spring’s changes to the eBay Motors’ “Wheels, Tires, & Parts” subcategory, our client decided to move onto selling another product type instead of implementing a complicated workaround.

Apparently as an unannounced part of the last seller update’s category changes, the “Wheels” leaf category was removed from Parts Compatibility completely.

There is literally currently no way to list a car or truck wheel rim on eBay, using “Wheels” as your primary category, and maintain access to Parts Compatibility.

There is a way to circumvent the issue, but it requires primarily listing in the “Other Wheel & Tire Parts” category and then selecting the “Wheels” category as the secondary category.

 

eBay Product Listing Categories
Screenshot of category gimmick to gain access to Parts Compatibility

 

Because of its impact on our client’s listings, I reached out to one of the execs at eBay Motors about the change.  The only thing I received was a brief message confusing me with an eBay employee.

This is one of the most bizarre changes I’ve seen eBay make yet.

Proper fitment, provided by using eBay’s Parts Compatibility, is a key driver of search visibility for automotive parts and accessories.

Without the necessary access to this feature, the following become an unwelcome reality:

  • Effected listings are significantly reduced in eBay search rankings and experience severe listing displacement,
  • eBay can’t tell what various years, makes, and models the rim will fit, and
  • eBay sellers are forced to resort to gimmicks that are time-consuming, costly, and likely to be a cause of future search visibility problems.

This needs to be corrected.  And soon.

 

Holy pay per click, Batman!

Did you know that Robin was originally named after Robinhood?  I always thought he was named after a bird.

Anyway, it’s time for me to eat my words.

We have actually seen a great deal of success for multiple clients with eBay’s pay-per-click (PPC) ads, also known as Promoted Listings Advanced.

When the new model was first introduced, I was less than enthused.

Listen to my former self mock my present one:

“We are not at all convinced that a ‘pay to play’ attitude towards eBay’s top search result is a good thing for anyone.  Nevertheless, we fully expect to see overeager sellers jump on board as soon as the new advertising model goes live.”

Granted, we weren’t early adopters of eBay PPC.

We waited a full six months before testing the waters of eBay’s Advanced ads.  And even then, I had to be practically begged by a prospective client to give them a try.  I was truly skeptical of their efficacy.

But no longer.

For businesses with significant profit margins, PPC ads on eBay are an almost sure way to quickly increase sales velocity.

We still fully maintain that a long-term SEO strategy on eBay does not depend on top search rankings.

And as was recently confirmed in an eBay Open 2022 session, Promoted Listings Standard (pay-per-sale) ads are “not to get your item at the very top of the search results…[as] the majority of impressions and sales come from those listings at the bottom of other sellers’ listings.”

But now that we’ve had a chance to test eBay’s PPC ads, we have discovered that some product markets respond well over the short term to pay per click — enabling SEO over the longer run by significantly increasing listing sales history.

But now that we’ve had a chance to test eBay’s PPC ads, we have discovered that some product markets respond well over the short term to pay per click — enabling SEO over the longer run by significantly increasing listing sales history.

Results include:

  • A single listing from a Pokémon card seller who made $4,518 over 31 days from pay-per-click ads, with an ad spend of only $125.
  • Another client who made $21,533 over the last 31 days from PPC ads that cost him $1,782.

In both cases, we anticipate they will eventually back off the more aggressive advertising in favor of a sustainable model built on organic search rankings.

But in the meantime, they are doing far better than I expected.

One tip:  Do not use eBay’s recommended keywords if you intend to attempt PPC.  You will pay a great deal for your ads, and you will make very few sales.  Extensive, thorough keyword research is absolutely necessary for the success of this advertising model.

 

Video for the eBay store homepage

In the recent update, eBay has released the ability for store owners to add video to their homepages.

As I’ve stated previously, the presence of a video in a listing — and now on the store homepage — has not been verified in any way to be a search ranking factor on eBay.

Nevertheless, this is a significant upgrade for eBay sellers that I couldn’t pass up.

Announced in March 2022, video uploads to product listings were made possible via the photo gallery.

Video was first described for the storefront homepage two months later, during eBay’s Q1 2022 earnings call.

Now fully rolled out, the feature enables sellers to showcase both themselves and their products.

A key requirement for these videos is that they can’t contain contact information that would take buyers off of eBay — as with other listing content.

eBay’s moderation process for these videos takes up to 48 hours, and videos don’t count towards a seller’s listing photos.

Speaking of which…

 

24 photos and a new day at eBay

…the doubling of the listing photo limit was honestly the biggest surprise from this update.

I’m sure there’s a veteran seller out there who can recall when the limit was first increased to 12, but eBay has had a 12-photo limit for as long as I can remember.

The increase to 24 will take place later this fall, and it will take effect in all categories except for vehicles.

There are all sorts of ways sellers may choose to make use of this boost in the allowed number of photos, particularly for items of significant value.

I can also foresee an increase in photo spam, particularly in the area of “lifestyle photos” that Amazon sellers seem to love so much.

It is true that there are always sellers ready and willing to do more harm than good to themselves, as well as to the eBay ecosystem.

Like a recent eBay SEO Audit client who has a 34-day handling time (due to his “arbitrage” practice of sourcing his products one at a time from another seller at the time of sale), a persistent “Last one” on half of his listings, no return policy (while his main competitor offers free 60-day returns), and some of the worst seller level metrics I’ve seen in several years.

Not to mention weak overall SEO.

But I would like to think that eBay as a whole is beginning to move forward and into the “new eBay experience” that many who spoke at the recent eBay Open event were touting.

And that the majority of these changes will ultimately improve the site for the better.

About Dave Snyder 21 Articles
Dave is Founder & Chief Analyst at List Rank Sell. He began his intensive testing and study of eBay SEO in 2010, which eventually grew into a full-service agency dedicated to the practice. Dave has developed a methodology that embraces traditional search as well as technical SEO specific to eBay. Previously, he led a successful career as a tax analyst representing Cook County property owners.

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