eBay SEO Is Changing and the 2024 Summer Seller Update

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eBay SEO Is Changing and the 2024 Summer Seller Update
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It’s that time of year again, as we go over another eBay seller update and discuss a couple of major changes to SEO on eBay.


July 8, 2024 Update:  eBay has released its Campaigns page under the Advertising tab in Seller Hub.  In direct contrast to the wording of the Summer Seller Update, both of the main Promoted Listings campaign types have, in fact, maintained the “Promoted Listings” title.  Promoted Listings Standard is now Promoted Listings General (instead of “general campaign strategy” — as described in the update), and Promoted Listings Advanced has been renamed Promoted Listings Priority (instead of “priority campaign strategy”).


The 2024 Summer Seller Update brings the eBay community up to speed with the ongoing changes that have taken place since the last update, along with those that are forthcoming.

It covers a number of topics I won’t be covering in this post, including the following:

But here at List Rank Sell, we dig into how the update affects eBay search and marketing.

Once I’ve covered it, I’ve got a couple of pretty big things to go over that only you, a friend of eBay SEO, would be interested in.


Renamed eBay advertising campaign options

The most significant changes that came out of the Summer Seller Update were the new names eBay has assigned to existing seller ad campaign types.

These changes consist of the following:

  1. Promoted Listings Standard is now simply a seller’s “general campaign strategy”.
  2. Promoted Listings Advanced is known as the “priority campaign strategy”.
  3. Promoted Display ads have been changed to “Promoted Stores”.
  4. Offsite Ads are now “Promoted Offsite”.

The first two changes are particularly confusing — including the removal of the “Promoted Listings” wording as well as the lack of capitalization — and unfortunately add to the things we all have to try and remember.

Unlike their names, however, the way these ad campaign types respond to seller input has remained consistent.

For instance, I’ve written in detail about general and priority campaign strategies on eBay.

Although we’ve not yet seen much come out of Promoted Stores, the Promoted Offsite campaigns we’re currently running are consistently generating a return on ad spend (ROAS) of over seven and provide unique insights into which listings have the potential of performing the best.

eBay Promoted Offsite Ads Report
ROAS report for current Promoted Offsite ad campaign


Centralization of eBay marketing features

None of the remaining updates made to eBay’s layout specific to seller advertising deserve their own heading.

The thing to bear in mind is that these features aren’t really changing, but are being moved around and largely simplified.


New Marketing summary page

The primary update was to the Summary page under the Marketing tab in Seller Hub.

eBay Marketing Summary Page
Screenshot of updated Summary page under eBay’s Marketing tab

The Activity Tracker found on this revamped page was first announced in April, and its layout is fairly self-explanatory.

One suggestion I want to make is to use the “All promotions” dropdown menu to see your promotions by type.

The “Review promotions” link shows you everything in one view and can be overwhelming for managers of large campaigns.


Start multiple eBay promotion types from Active Listings

Besides the ability to update item specifics data, add the Best Offer feature, and send seller-initiated offers to buyers from the Active Listings page, eBay sellers can now also add sale events and volume pricing directly from this page.

Note that this is not where you want to go if you want to make significant edits to sales or volume pricing.

Full control of these specific features is still found under the Marketing tab.


Product Research tool live on eBay’s mobile app

Much has been said about the release of Product Research on mobile, including a video that came out in March with an extensive Q&A session.

The unfortunate aspect of this rollout has been the combined theme of “more metrics and control” and subsequent removal of the Total Item Sales and Total Sold metrics from Product Research.

We are very hopeful that these essential metrics return, as invested sellers depend on them for understanding both downturns in eBay’s market and our changes to their marketing strategy.

We are very hopeful that the Total Item Sales and Total Sold metrics return to Product Research, as invested sellers depend on them for understanding both downturns in eBay’s market and our changes to their marketing strategy.

We are happy, however, that eBay is no longer referring to Product Research as a tool for finding title keywords or optimizing listings from a search perspective.

It is neither.

Product Research is a great tool, and we use it all the time.  But as a market research tool, it is not useful for SEO purposes.


Major changes to back-end categorization

Now for why you’re really here.

I have been writing about eBay’s “back-end” category since our very first year as an agency.

You should know by now that in the background eBay assigns a single product category to every search query.

The existence of this methodology is supported by numerous eBay search patents and can be directly demonstrated by testing eBay’s search results page.

In the past, eBay would, on a regular basis, automatically filter to a single category in response to broad search phrases and show only that category in its search results.

This means that listings not in eBay’s back-end category were fully removed from the results, a process known as listing displacement.

While in the past a listing had to be in a single category in order to show up at all, today things are happening differently — albeit utilizing the same focus on back-end categorization.

Instead of limiting its visible search results to one category, eBay is now favoring items that have been listed in that category.

Yes, you heard that right.  Your listing’s product category directly impacts its ability to rank.

While in the past a listing had to be in eBay’s back-end category in order to show up at all, today things are happening differently.  Instead of limiting its visible search results to a single category, eBay is now favoring items that have been listed in that category.  Your listing’s product category directly impacts its ability to rank.

Let’s look at an example.

Previously, a search for a car amplifier on eBay would have literally removed all of the items from search that weren’t listed in the back-end category — identified in bold.

Today, eBay now generally ranks higher listings that are in the back-end category (currently the car amplifiers subcategory under Consumer Electronics) instead of filtering to that sole category exclusively.

eBay Back-End Category As Ranking Factor
Screenshot of eBay’s back-end category, now a ranking factor

One of the visible differences is that the back-end category is no longer in bold.

Additionally, if you test these results you’ll eventually pull up listings that are in the other categories represented in the left-hand navigation.

eBay has enabled this significant change by universalizing numerous item specifics fields, which drive eBay’s search filters, instead of maintaining them as category specific.

The result is that, although all relevant listings are now once again generally visible in search results, it is very difficult to rank a listing without first distinguishing the back-end category.

In the above example, the vast majority of car amplifiers that have been listed in eBay Motors — instead of Consumer Electronics — are being directly demoted in eBay search.

One more time:  Amplifiers that are made specifically to go in cars cannot use the eBay Motors “Amplifiers” category as their primary one if they are to avoid being completely drowned out.

And this doesn’t just impact eBay’s organic search results.  Listings with sponsored ads also get demoted in the same way.

It turns out that not even paying for eBay ads can trump the almighty back-end category.

There have been some who have denied that eBay reduces specific listings’ visibility in its search results.

But I assure you, it does.

Speaking of eBay demoting listings…


The Listing Quality Score

I first read about what was described as a “listing quality score” way back in 2019, when it was then listed as part of a patent awarded to eBay related to a broad search result scoring function.

Then it came up again two years later in another patent, this time concerning a more well-defined ranking score that included “a relevance score, a listing quality score, and a business rules score (or, adjustment factor)”.

The patent states that the relevance score is based on “historical data that is used to measure the likelihood that an item listing will, if presented in a search results page, result in a transaction being concluded”.

In turn, the listing quality score is derived from “a measure of a seller’s performance of obligations associated with transactions in which the seller has participated”.

Specific to the business rules score, the patent reads as follows:

“When determining the order or arrangement of item listings for presentation on a search results page, an item listing may be promoted—presented in a more prominent position—or, demoted—presented in a less prominent position—based on the evaluation of a business rule that is dependent upon certain business rule data.”

Though vague, the patent clearly connects the listing quality score to eBay search rankings — as well as listing demotions.

But this wasn’t the last time I encountered eBay’s listing quality score.

Several months ago, I accidentally came across an unlisted YouTube video MyFitment — purchased by eBay in 2022 and responsible for the new Fitment Plus program — made in conjunction with eBay Motors.

I’m not posting it here just yet, as we’ve yet to verify the claims.

But according to the video, it reveals the top five ranking factors for eBay Motors listings.

Should it turn out to be confirmed via testing — which we are doing as we speak — it will be one of those moments that directly alters our process.

The possibility that at least some of these ranking factors will also pertain to other listings is at least theoretical, if not likely.

We are exceedingly cautious when it comes to making changes to our optimization process, so this won’t be something we do blithely.

Impulsiveness is the enemy of the slow, systematic methodology that is the practice of eBay SEO.

Our clients are invested and in this for the long haul, and so are we.

But just as the times, our process itself may also be a-changin’.

Keep your chin up.

About Dave Snyder 26 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.