|Mon Jan 14 2013 21:29:36|
eBay Search Algorithm Penalizes Stale Listings
By: Ina Steiner
I posted a Letter to the Editor this evening that describes a phenomenon worth discussing - the stale eBay listing, and what sellers can do to revive their listings and get better exposure.
eBay attempts to bring back the best, most relevant, listings using "Best Match" search as the default sort order in search results. eBay shares a certain amount of information about its algorithm - the formula it uses to decide which listings are most relevant to the search terms shoppers enter - but the exact weight given to various factors remains a mystery to most sellers.
The reader going by the name "Mass Howler" said he believes relisting and using the "Sell Similar" feature causes listings to fall in eBay search results. He wrote all of his eBay listings from scratch with new photos and said his sales have taken off.
eBay introduced a metric in 2009 in which Best Match looks at a listing's recent sales in relation to the number of recent impressions it received as a key factor for Fixed Price listings. An impression is any time a buyer sees a search results page that includes the listing.
Others agree that refreshing a listing can unburden it from its old baggage, so to speak. Sellers shared some interesting experiences in this Letters to the Editor blog post from 10 days ago.
One seller who lists 30-day Fixed Price listings said he puts his store on vacation and hides his listings every other day. "We take the store off vacation after about an hour which restores listing visibility and in about 15 minutes all of our listings are visible in search again. We have found that this process ends up re-indexing our items in search and seems to keep them from going stale in the middle of the 30 day run. Our views and sales seemed to increase after we started doing this, so we keep at it."
However, eBay differentiates between auctions and fixed price listings in its Best Match algorithm. What works for one format might not work for another (and its algorithm has category-based differences as well).
eBay offers advice for sellers on how to optimize for Best Match and shows a seller's "sales funnel," which consists of impressions, clicks and sales (sold items). "An Auction-style or single quantity Fixed Price listing may also have multiple sales if it has been successfully sold and relisted with new inventory," eBay writes. eBay also offers a Listing Analytics Application.
It's best to run tests to see what works for your listings before making wholesale changes to all of your listings. (For instance, if you have a consistent best seller - it gets lots of impressions, clickthroughs and sales, you probably want to keep relisting it!)
Feel free to share your thoughts on optimizing listings for eBay and what you've found works and does not work for auctions and fixed-price listings in the categories in which you sell.