Maximize Your Profitable Keywords on eBay

Attract buyers by using the language they use.

by Janelle Elms
- Nov 05, 2008

I don't do fast food. Fast coffee, definitely, but fast food just doesn't do it for me. Except for one time a year when McDonald's has its Monopoly game. Then I'm there almost every day. (At least we know the company's marketing works).

Once, I was in the drive-thru and got to the pick-up window and the employee leaned out and said, "You ordered the 'Classic,' right?" I said, "No, I ordered the Grilled Chicken, no mayo and no tomato." She said, "Right, you ordered the 'Classic.'"

This confusing exchange repeated a couple more times before we both understood we were talking about the same thing—just using different words. So are your customers not finding you because you're calling your products "Classic" and they're calling them a "Grilled Chicken sandwich?"

In my last article, we discussed how you find these valuable keywords that your buyers are using. Talking their vocabulary—instead of yours—will translate into profits since they will be able to find you. But these words are even more powerful than simply keyword search options. There are two more main uses for having the correct keywords: Attracting your ideal customers and feeding the search engine spiders.

Attracting your ideal customers

The words you use in your business, from the title of your listings to the descriptions to the e-mails you send out, will attract a certain customer who can relate to the vocabulary you use. This is a powerful concept, but one that many people overlook. Think about the books you have in your house. Are they the same ones your neighbors have? No, because you are different people attracted to different concepts presented different ways. So are the keywords you are using in your business attracting the customer you want? Check out this small excerpt from a real listing on eBay (This went on for more than five paragraphs; the language and emphasis is theirs). Think about the type of buyer the seller will attract with this type of vocabulary:

"Winning bidder must make payment within five days after auction end. Failure to pay within seven days will result in the posting of a Non-Paying Bidder Alert. Failure to pay within 10 days will result in Negative Feedback being posted. PLEASE DON'T BE A DEADBEAT BIDDER! Bid Only if intend to Buy. I POST NEGATIVE FEEDBACK AND SUBMIT INFORMATION TO COLLLECTION AGENCY FOR ANY NONPAYER."

"WE SHIP ONLY! IN U.S. STATES! All International orders will be automatically cancelled and negative feedback will be post that include(s) Canada! No shipping there!!!! Make sure you have valid, correct shipping address on file with PayPal. If you don't, we will ship to wrong address get $5 UPS address correction charge, and you can be sure I will e-mail you about that!!!! Plus, you will wait for your item forever or it may come back and you are responsibly for reshipping cost in case item comes back due to invalid address. IF THEY LOST, DAMAGE YOU ON YOUR OWN!"

So if you want bidders who are negative, frustrated and demanding, then by all means use language like our seller above did. This is their vocabulary, and they will be attracted to these words.

If you instead used keywords that included:

  • Your 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.
  • We will carefully pack your item so that it arrives safely at your front door.
  • We know you are excited to have your new item, so of course we ship as soon you pay for it.
  • We strive for 5-Star gold customer service. Please let us know what we can do for you.

Now what kind of customer will you attract? Here you're setting up buyers' expectations, and providing the very important "security and confidence" part that will turn lookers into buyers. Which version of customer service keywords were you attracted to?

If your business and products are not showing up in the top five items on the first page, then you stand to lose more than 75 percent of your market share

Feeding search engine spiders

Many members of our eBay Stores 1% Club rank on the first page of Google, not just for their business name, but more importantly for the products they sell. With people's ever-shrinking attention span, your buyers are no longer searching up to three pages of information to find what they are looking for. Recent studies have shown that if your business and its products are not showing up in the top five items on the first page, then you stand to lose more than 75 percent of your market share.

It's not only important that you know what the valuable keywords are that your customers are using, but you also have to place them correctly on your sites for the search engine "spiders" to find. I refer to this process as "feeding or starving your spiders." Basically, spiders "eat" the amount of quality keywords in your content and take it back to Google. Google will then determine your ranking based on this information (and a few other key elements, too, but that is for another column). But spiders have to find those keywords first. Here is a list of the major areas eBay has already set up for spiders to easily locate those valuable keywords:

Titles and description: Many of you have seen eBay auctions while searching for something on Google. These are easily picked up because your title is (or should be) keyword-rich for the buyers to easily find your listing on eBay. But how many potential buyers are you missing by just concentrating your marketing efforts on eBay? More than 71 percent of searches are done on Google, far surpassing the other search engines. By setting up your eBay listings correctly, you are now gaining additional exposure outside of the eBay search for your business.

About Me page: When used correctly, your About Me page can be a very powerful source of "spider food." By talking about your business, products and business philosophy, you will have a page filled with your researched profitable keywords. The reason I received my first book deal is because McGraw Hill was on Google looking for an eBay Education expert to write its next series of books and my About Me page came up.

Reviews and Guides: One of the easiest areas on eBay to get ranked for your keywords on Google is Reviews and Guides. A review or guide is typically focused on one topic (a product/idea/process), so the content of the article will be rich in cohesive keywords—which are very valuable spider food. Now, I know this should be common sense, but after seeing how many sellers are using Reviews and Guides incorrectly, I felt the need to mention it: Write a review or guide on one of your products—and then make sure you link it back to that product or category in your eBay Store. If you write a guide on McDonald's Monopoly pieces, but you sell antiques, all you have done is provided the spiders with information to rank your guide on something that won't attract your customers.

eBay Store: An eBay Store, if used correctly, is the most powerful search engine optimization tool you could have in your eBay business. Stores are set up to be a smorgasbord of spider food—but only if you know how to use the tools eBay provides. The first three major areas that spiders pay attention to in your eBay Store are the title, description and categories. Other "spider food" areas include your Custom Pages, meta tags for each page in your Store and your Ask the Seller page (same as your About Me page mentioned above).

At the OSI Success Library, we have just completed an in-depth, step-by-step, four-hour training CD that walks you through these steps and more on finding the Profitable Keywords that your customers are using.

About the Author

Janelle Elms is a best-selling author, inspiring educator and Visionaire of the OSI Rock Stars. You can hear her on wsRadio every Wednesday on Ask Janelle Radio. Learn the success information you need to grow your business at For step-by-step training on how to set up an eBay Store for maximum exposure and profit, visit One Percent Coach.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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