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tictictic_OnEbay
(member)
10/30/06 02:11 PM
More on Now What? re keywords  

I know this is not a sexy topic, and it's also a little brain-numbing, but I think it's important, so I'm going to post about it again. [Be sure to read the Update at the bottom]

EBay's search protocols are very tricky; seems to me they are pretty close to rocket science. I've read their Help files as well as the site Moonstruck22/Marty posted here. Informative and interesting, but I'm still puzzled by which keywords and keyword strings get results and which don't.

Right now I've got an auction for a Halloween toy with its original box. The name of the toy is AMAZING FLYING WITCH (I am NOT trying to promote my auction; it's just a perfect example of the search problem). If someone knows of this toy and is searching on that exact name, the auction WILL NOT SHOW UP in search results. Here is an excerpt from the description:

AMAZING FLYING WITCH
BATTERY OPERATED
Nicely detailed -- love those green socks and pointy fingers; flies by propeller at end of broom; works well (batteries not included); about 8" x 11"; nothing missing; with box (great illustration of her flying over a city with strange towers and turrets)


And here are the specifics of which words/strings (or keyword expansions, as eBay apparently calls them) work and which don't work (all searches are Title and Description, All Categories):

Works:
"flying witch"
"amazing flying" witch
and of course this: amazing flying witch (no quotes), but then you get 90 listings.
Does not work:
"amazing flying witch", which is the full name of the toy as printed on the box.

Works:
"green socks" "pointy fingers"
Does not work:
"green socks and pointy fingers"

Works:
propeller broom (no quotes)
Does not work:
propeller "end of broom"

Works:
"strange towers"
Does not work:
"strange towers and turrets"
"strange towers and"
"towers and turrets" (although a bunch of listings for decorated eggs turn up -- apparently, Towers and Turrets is a brand name).

Works:
witch "flying over"
Does not work:
"flying over a city"
witch "flying over a city"

I don't know about you, but I find this troubling. If I were looking for another of these toys, I would study the box and use search strings such as "amazing flying witch", propeller "end of broom", "flying over a city" witch, but none of these would bring up the auction in question. In fact, after seeing no results for the exact name of the toy, I'd probably just give up, being confident that any seller would certainly use that name in their description or title.

We all do our best to think like an eBay shopper when we write our descriptions. If eBay's search protocols don't behave like ordinary people think, our efforts are defeated. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check some of your auctions to make sure the most likely search strings are working, and if not, please complain to eBay.

Thanks, Sue

UPDATE:

Just before posting this, I decided to try something. I revised the auction to add the phrase amazing flying witch in black text, so it's hidden in the black background -- it's above the pictures and below the link to email me (if you go to item #140047390944 and highlight it, you'll see it). Now when I search on this exact keyword string (with quote marks), the auction comes up! What does this mean??? Is it something to do with the formatting of the original auction's text? The original has the phrase in Maiandra GD, size 18, green, all caps, centered. The phrase in the revised auction is in the default eBay formatting (Arial 10, black, lower case, aligned left). Should we all be hiding these key phrases in our backgrounds?? Is it something to do with the location in the description (above the images)?? What is going on??





bluepennylady
(addict)
10/30/06 02:24 PM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: tictictic_OnEbay]  

Sue,

Interesting indeed!

Something that I was reminded of at eBay live, when attending the Organic and Natural search engine optimization seminar, was to write all my descriptions in lists using the bullet form. Bold the first line which should match the auction title line as the robots and search engine spiders see that as important and relevant information. Since I have been doing that again, I find my auctions pull up more easily.

I have found the same problem as you when searching for auctions. The more eBay works on the search engine, it seems the worse or pickier it gets. That's just my thought on it. I don't know if it really is but it seems that way to me anyway.

Judy/blue



AquilaStamps
(member)
10/30/06 02:42 PM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: tictictic_OnEbay]  

Sue:
Nope, not a sexy topic but it sure is important. First of all you are sooo smart hiding that text. Don't know why it works, but I may have an idea. First though 99.99& of my auctions are white type on a black background. They search pretty well. I've noticed lately though that searching is getting worse and worse. I tried something on your auction. I searched for

propeller at end of broom

It didn't find anything but down below it gave me suggestions to check out:

Get more results with fewer keywords:
4 items found for propeller at end broom
912 items found for at end broom
1585 items found for propeller at end ....

your item was in all of them

First I thought they were taking out short words such as prepositions etc in the way that google does. But that's not it.

I ran a test on one of my auctions and was able to find almost every search I did but in a few had to go down to where they make suggestions and they threw out "short" word

One of the key things I have been acting on is to try to keep "short" words out of the title and first line of the description. Now I use bulleted text (white on black) and for some reason every time I switch off from that to regular paragraph text the ability to search goes way down.

Today in Ina Steiner's newsletter she had this:

Buyers Say eBay 'Favorite Searches' Feature is Broken
By Ina Steiner
AuctionBytes.com
October 30, 2006
eBay shoppers are complaining that the "favorite searches" feature is broken. On the eBay discussion forum devoted to search issues, a buyer posted, "I have a list of Favorite Searches stored on My eBay. I use them once a week to check for stuff. I always get many hundreds of results. Today they all give me 0 results. Did eBay change something? Or, is something broken?"

So maybe it isn't just you. If buyers are noticing it in their favorite searches that used to work -- and they don't work now? eBay is messing up yet again.

Don't know if any of this helped or not but I'll try some searches later this evening and see what I can come up with using your auction. Oh yea, love the witch!

Garry



bluepennylady
(addict)
10/30/06 03:07 PM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: AquilaStamps]  

Sue.

The black text on black background is an excellent idea. The same concept would apply to white background using white font. I use the same background as Garry with Black text. Some of my auctions have the dark blue font. Those are the ones my staff was messing around to see how it looked and we never got changed.

I am curious if white text on white background would help auctions pull up higher in the searches. I may try that

Judy/blue



substance292
(newbie)
11/01/06 11:36 AM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: bluepennylady]  

This is such an interesting thread! (And I'm not being sarcastic.) I was wondering if any of you use meta head sections in your auction templates? If this has already been covered and I missed it, sorry.



bluepennylady
(addict)
11/01/06 11:40 AM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: substance292]  

Cher,

No I don't but I have seriously considered it, wondering if it would work. And if it is allowed. I wonder if eBay would consider meta tags as keyword spamming.

Okay, who's gonna be in charge of contacting eBay to find out

Judy/blue



substance292
(newbie)
11/01/06 11:42 AM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: bluepennylady]  

Hi Judy! Actually I have seen many when I "view source" for someone's auction. I haven't put any together myself. I never thought of it being keyword spamming!



bluepennylady
(addict)
11/01/06 11:45 AM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: substance292]  

Cher,

Well what just came to mind is Sue hiding words in her background. Same principle just not using the Meta tags instead simply typing search words in the description that are the same color as the background. If Sue's auctions pull up better in a search, I bet the Meta tags would be just as effective.

Hummm, I may try that!

Judy/blue



substance292
(newbie)
11/01/06 11:49 AM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: bluepennylady]  

Judy, I was actually thinking more along the lines of being picked up in a Google search or something like that. I don't know much about it but I'm doing a little research. The information in this thread is just amazing.

I was just reading your posts in another thread about AW2K not supporting shopping carts. Does that mean there is no way to update a website from AW2K and use it for direct sales?

- Cher



bluepennylady
(addict)
11/01/06 12:08 PM
Re: More on Now What? re keywords [re: substance292]  

Cher,

The meta tags and hiding words in the description will both pull up Google searches. Just the same as writing a Review or Guide and inserting the tags on those. Or your Myworld.ebay.com pages.

The answer to your updating a website and shopping cart with AW2K is yes and no If you have your own website containing AW2k generated websites and thumbnail pages, you can absolutely insert a Paypal shopping cart and allow the buyer to purchase. The backend management is all manually done though. YOu can't go to your own website and update like you do for Auction lots. But it can be done. I sell product off of my own website all of the time. I don't have a shopping cart---yet. The buyer emails me the list with the Item number, I manually create an Invoice and add the requested product..

Now I am working on something else. And I think it is totally doable and I will be able to link the Aw2K website thumbnail links to a webstore which has a shopping cart. When I am done "figuring" out all the How to's. I will let you know. The webstore site is free. I only have 3 items up as I am playing around trying to figure out the "tech" part. So I'll let you know how that goes.

The webstore site is called www.ecrater.com. So far I have been impressed. It costs nothing to have the store. They only charge for upgrades. If you don't use upgrades, it costs nothing. You might go take a look.

Judy/blue




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