Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Feb 3 2017 21:30:41

eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

By: Ina Steiner

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During this week's chat session, eBay addressed a seller's concern over whether their listings were getting exposure in search engines like Google, since they sell vintage goods that don't have Product Identifiers (referred to as PIDs). 

"Just the simple assignment of a random code to satisfy the eBay catalog won't do jack to satisfy and stay competitive with the major search engines," the seller said. 

eBay explained that while unique items are not necessarily excluded from Google Shopping, auction-format listings are. (And readers should note that according to eBay's FAQs on Structured Data, eBay won't require such items to have product identifiers.)

Here's the fulltext of eBay's response to the seller:

Our advice is to start by checking to see if your listings appear via Google, both on Google natural search and Google Shopping - using keywords that you have in your titles.
 
Items that are one of a kind or do not have Product Identifiers are not excluded from Google Shopping. Only Fixed Price listings appear on Google Shopping (Auction format listings may appear in natural search).
 
That said, we can't guarantee that all eBay items will appear on search engines. Search engines tend not to share all the factors that make up their algorithms externally. 
 
To learn more about how Google indexes marketplace listings, we recommend that you check out the following page (link to Google help page)
 
As eBay's inventory is more aligned with structured data, buyers will see more and more product pages for many basic searches in some categories (like Electronics). Product pages provide buyers with a better shopping experience. They can compare prices quicker and make informed purchases faster. Sellers who provide the best value (prices, shipping, etc) can rise to the top of these product pages.

eBay moderators also addressed sellers' question about the February 2017 mandate on adding Product Identifiers after the first question posted on January 18 (and repeated on January 25) had gone unanswered during those previous chats:

Thanks for your patience on this. Here's the update:

We heard from many sellers that they need more time to get ready so we are relaxing the timelines and postponing the requirement until next year. 
 
At the same time, we want to encourage you to adopt product identifiers wherever you can now to get more visibility for your items in search on and off eBay - and to have them appear on eBay's new product pages.

This summer you'll have more options, including the ability to use Amazon, Google, and seller-generated product identifiers.

The new portal for uploading your entire catalog of private-label and unbranded products with eBay-generated product identifiers will also be available this summer.

We hope this extension helps. We'll provide more specific dates as soon as we have them.

A seller then questioned why eBay was blaming sellers entirely for the delay, since the tools meant to help sellers comply were not yet available (one was due out in the fall but has been postponed).

Moderators didn't respond.

Here's a link to the weekly chat held on February 1st.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 4 00:58:30 2017

ebay is like a dead cat in the road.  You wish the owner cared......but they don't.  You wish the cat knew better.....but she
played in the road.   Just sayin.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: papertrail This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 4 01:46:32 2017

I suppose for vintage sellers on Ebay, like myself, at least we will all be in the same boat. Vintage Ebay sellers will ALL get little Google shopping exposure or none at all. Makes it a level playing field for all of us - but it's a playing field I am not very happy playing on, so I'm looking for other fields.

I belong to a Worldwide group on Facebook for those of us who are interested in antiques.The group is about to add the Facebook selling function so members can offer items for sale. A 40 000, and growing, captive market is not to be sneezed at.

Ebay started and grew with the help of vintage and secondhand sellers and buyers. Now Ebay have thrown this group out with the bath water.

Looks like Facebook have lined up the pails to catch the bathwater.

It is my opinion that Facebook are developing a total sales platform that they will launch only when they know it works perfectly. Unlike Ebay who trial none of their ''brilliant'' ideas then wonder why sellers and buyers are leaving in droves.

When Facebook fully launch their total platform, the race will be on between Facebook and Amazon and what a mighty race it will be. It will propel online Worldwide shopping into the next phase. Meanwhile, Ebay won't even be in the race, let alone know where the starting line is.
 

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: blueribbon1844

Sat Feb 4 08:35:01 2017

EBay has a weak Investor's  Business Daily Composite Rating of 46, meaning it's underperformed 54% of stocks in the past year.

I for one will be overjoyed when the hole in the ship finally sinks it. Years of selling, being abused by bad policys, unfair search results and ranking, overcharged fees, the site not working properly, and don't even get me started on customer service at eBay.

They can take their product identifiers, dashboards, defect reports and shove them where the sun doesn't shine.

The CEO is more concerned with a refugee program and donating money, than fixing his own sites search results.  

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 4 11:04:22 2017

Checked Google for one of my eBay auction listings this morning, Sat, Feb 4.  Been live on eBay since Sunday, Jan.31 (i.e. plenty of time to show up in Google).  The item is vintage, obsolete, and listed with the original manufacturer part number in the title.  Not an excruciatingly rare piece, but not particularly common.  Pre-internet/eBay days, you'd have to hunt for days, weeks or months to find one, but you would eventually.

eBay search for this part number returns 13 results.  Only two are the correct item (one mine, one someone else's) - other results are something different altogether (not related at all to this item).

Searched Google, using just the OEM part number I used in the title.  Search returned 226 total results.  None was mine, and only one was the actual item in question, from someone else (and NOT on eBay).

Tried again with one of the descriptive words in my title.  This time it found almost nothing but the correct item, but virtually everything in the Search returns were Fixed-Price eBay items, non-eBay items, or incidental references to that part/part number (like in Forums, etc).  My item showed up several pages down on an eBay scraper site, along with tons of other similar-type items gleaned from eBay, put together on a site just to get clicks.

Same search on Bing (just the OEM part number).  A look-a-like (not OEM but with the description containing OEM part number) on eBay found in position 10.  My item is in position 19.  I could live with that.

So, where are all the eBay items Google found (on eBay) when I search eBay itself with the part number?  The listings have that OEM part number in the title (even if they are not all OEM).

Google is still punishing eBay (and us), I guess.  And eBay?  Well, the "dead cat" scenario seems obvious...

@papertrail -

Guess I should be looking into Facebook for future usage, now that the eBay "dead cat" is showing more and more signs of stinking rottage.

Tell us more about your Facebook group.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Feb 4 11:19:02 2017

@dans parts - As stated in the article, Google will not show any listing that does not have a BIN (or set) price. I read an article about this years ago, and I don't remember exactly the reason, but I think it was the fact that with an auction the price can change from moment to moment and Google wants people to see a result and know immediately what the price they will pay is.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Feb 4 11:45:51 2017

    ''Ebay is like a dead cat in the road.  You wish the owner cared......''  Good analogy........ Here's another one:
    No matter how many times you back up & run over a racoon, it's still flat.  (Ebay is the bus, sellers are the racoon).

    Ebay sellers should remember that Ebay is just one more US corporation willing to throw everyone under.  They prove again and again, that they don't know what they are doing, and are run by inexperienced middle management, willing to throw out proven governance policies, in favor Disruptive Innovation.

    ''A seller then questioned why eBay was blaming sellers entirely for the delay, since the tools meant to help sellers comply were not yet available (one was due out in the fall but has been postponed).  Moderators didn't respond.''
    The fact that mods don't respond to such a simple & reasonable question says it all.  But then they know very well that they won't have to answer any further regarding that problem.  Any real discussion happens on forums like this, not on the one the question was asked.

    And how come no one cares that Google gets to set all the rules regarding success?  With Google deciding who gets to the top of search, according to ad revenue, what matters is that in the future, Ebays control will only be on it's own site anyway.  (As was the case in the 90's)  Google is already pay to play, Ebay will become the same, as others have already.

 After all, Google is about directing mobile users to the cheapest instant coffee, closest coffee shop, and the price of diapers.  That puts the pennies in the advertising bucket, and the Billions into the offshore banks.  They don't need to do right by anyone, or even make search relevant to anything but penny advertising clicks.  I use the Duck anyway, way less GARBAGE!










   

     

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 4 23:10:00 2017

@iheartjacksparrow -

I read the article that Google SHOPPING won't show auctions.

Google Shopping and Google Search aren't entirely the same thing.

I was using a "natural/organic" search for just the part number.  It should have shown that, I think.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Feb 4 23:47:02 2017

I mentioned here a few months ago (when ECB announced the start of a Facebook Marketplace) that government regulation is the only roadblock.

Or, in other words, how the IRS is going to collect income taxes on Facebook sales. When the taxation aspects are addressed, then online selling as we know it now will change.

Groups which specialize in certain types of collectibles will sprout up. And it will be not a right, but a privilege to be a trading partner.

Scam a seller? You will be banished from purchasing again. Same goes for sellers as well. The groups will police themselves.

Sellers would have no fees except income tax, and whatever fee would be paid to their payment processor. Of course, Mr. Zuckerberg could become greedy and want a piece of the action.

If Facebook has their own processor for payments, it would put a bit of money into their coffers, and monitor all the transactions for tax purposes. And the dreaded selling fees from the Bay or River could disappear.



Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sun Feb 5 00:01:11 2017

Yes, my prior comment was a bit off-topic, and a follow-up to the post by papertrail.

Folks who specialize in a certain collectible can perhaps find the item(s) on Google through a FB group. But not on eBay.

Do folks that cannot find what they are looking for on Google also go to eBay and search?

Or do they just think that the item does not exist, because they may assume that if the item was on eBay, it would surely be included in a Google search??


Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: papertrail This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 5 07:11:36 2017

@ dans parts

the FB group is called Talking Antiques - the selling button is not on the page just yet, but will be appearing soon for us all to use.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Feb 5 08:51:49 2017

As a publicly traded company with corporate executives who own large numbers of shares in the company, eBay is loathe to announce or take any responsibility for negative occurrences lest share prices suffer downward pressure.

This explains why eBay does not use their announcement board when it is obvious internal systems are in distress.

This explains why eBay press releases after a system failure always indicate that "a small number of users were effected".

This explains why question about platform issues are often disregarded by company spokespersons.

And, this also explains why eBay is so quick to blame the product identifier issues on sellers rather than admit that as a company they have failed to meet their stated goals.

This company, it's executives, management and spokespeople are trained to put a positive spin on every negative event because top executives do not want to see the value of the stock shares they hold to be negatively impacted.... even when the company itself is at fault.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 5 10:24:13 2017

I have been selling used/vintage books, comics and magazines for almost 15 years on-line. In 2013 87% of my sales came on eBay.

In the spring of 2014 my eBay sales collapsed for what would prove to be the first of three times. Each collapse brought my sell through rate down 30-40%. These changes corresponded with eBay changes its internal traffic control program (Cassini), not with changes on Google or elsewhere. Cassini directs consumer traffic to EBay's preferred sellers by blocking access to other seller's inventories on a rolling basis.

Today I sell as many vintage comics and magazines on Etsy as I do on eBay. I have always sold more books on Amazon, and that continues. On Bonanza I do okay selling comics.

For the last three months eBay has accounted for less than 50% of my on-line selling revenue.

EBay management can blame whoever they want to for the on-going slow death of their marketplace. Anyone who takes the time to understand the situation knows their problems are of their own making. I see the evidence every month. EBay abandoned small sellers who list unique items years ago. This is not a situation created by Google, it is the result of policies EBay management implemented over the last several years, policies they seem irrationally reluctant to give up on despite overwhelming evidence that they have failed.

I think current management is simply afraid to admit failure of their "vision," that would result in their dismissal, so they are trying to ride out the problem hoping something, anything, might fix the problem for them. That, and they also love the huge checks they get every month while continuing to refuse to do their jobs.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 5 23:12:04 2017

eBay ALWAYS takes the easy way out.

Knowing that they are "#2" in ecommerce (and I highly doubt that) you would think that Google would be on their speed dial.

But instead, its easier for Uncle Grifter to cry up a storm, and for eBay as a company to blame its selling partners.

Sure, UPCs are great for new items - but its not make or break. I (and most sellers who sell new electronics) had already been adding them in anyway. I can certainly tell "you" that its made NO DIFFERENCE in sales.

In fact, sales have been horrendous in the last 45 days ......

I "knew way back when" when I used to see my old listing pics - with borders AND text in them in Google Images - all while eBay would scream from the highest roof tops that pics with text and borders wouldnt get picked up by Google.

They lied then and they lie NOW.

Its the same thing as how they deal with fakes ... 1/2 ass, sloppy, shoddy job - getting just enough done to put the blame ANYWHERE but on themselves.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 6 00:57:51 2017

About a year ago I gave up entirely on eBay after having NO sales for quite some time in my category and listings in my category on eBay fell from several thousand items to several hundred items. I've since moved everything to Delcampe and guess what. All of my collectible sales on Delcampe can be found on Google very easily, any time. Plus I've sold more items in the past 2 weeks that I sold on eBay in the last 5 years. And on top of that, my category on Delcampe now has over 10,000 items listed while eBay only has 200-500 items. Throw in sales commissions that are about half eBay's with no issues regarding canceling sales at any time for any reason and it just works so much better.  

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 6 01:08:09 2017

I have gave up on my items appearing on search engines if they are listed on ebay.  I searched for Levi's womens red tennis shoes size 7.  After going through all 11 google pages for this search, I never found my ebay listed item.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 6 01:37:10 2017




I agree with rhawk   ''ebay is like a dead cat in the road''  waiting for
Department of Sanitation to pick them up ..


Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 6 06:28:33 2017

Ebay items appear in Bing.  I don't know why Bing is different than Google, but it is and it favors Ebay.  However, most people go directly to the website home page to do their shopping, I know I do.  I rarely use Gooogle shopping unless I absolutely cannot find it on the company page.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 6 06:31:21 2017

I just tested Bing searches for "zara heeled shoes" and zara.com appears first, then ebay, then amazon.
Then I did a search for Levi's womens red tennis shoes size 7 - Ebay shows first then zappos. Plus you don't go through 10,000 pages like you do with Google.

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 6 08:09:26 2017

eBay says "That said, we can't guarantee that all eBay items will appear on search engines".

They should have added "or even eBay for that matter".

Perminate Link for eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure   eBay Weighs In on Google Search Exposure

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 6 08:37:02 2017

My website items which are BIN have always shown up well on google - generally any of them on page one - they don't have identifiers - their old vintage - now -0- ziltch pretty much zero right along side ebay - nothing. So I'm pretty much restricted to repeat buyers and new buyers on ebay only which has been holding up for me but you can always do better. If Facebook comes up with something REAL not Pintrest which doesn't do squat I'll give it a try but show me the money

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