Is HTML bad for your eBay listings?

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This question has come up a fair bit lately with the release of eBay’s new search engine and it is a very good question.  The short answer is “yes”, HTML at first glance is bad compared to plain text listings however here are some tips to make your HTML listing outperform non HTML eBay listings.

Here is the problem.  eBay’s new search engine “Cassini” looks at not just the title like eBay’s old “Voyager” search engine, but now looks at the title, item specifics, short description (where your HTML is) and the long description (all of your HTML).

Cassini works like Google, it measures the ratio of how many times the keywords in your title are used in the rest of the listing compared to the length of your listing. (Keyword / Length Ratio) also called keyword density.


Here is an example.

eBay Title:
Long Red Women’s Evening Dress Cotton Size 10 and Belt ***

Item Specifics

Colour: Red

Size: 10

Style: Dress

Material: Cotton

Description: To keep this short I won’t put a description but let’s say the word dress was used 4 times and red was used twice.

Like Google, Cassini’s job is to sort your listing.  It does this by removing all the useless words like “and” “,” “****” etc and then counting how many times your keywords were used compared to the length of your listing.

i.e Dress was used 6 times. Once in the title, once in the item specifics, and 4 more times in the long description.

Now, I mention the short description, this is the 1st part of the HTML and although we do not know exactly how many characters Cassini takes into account, we believe it is approx. 150.

Here is an example of the 1st 150 characters of a normal eBay HTML listing.

<style>
<!–
body{margin:0;overflow-y:scroll}body{font-family:arial,sans-serif}body{background:#fff;color:#222}body{font-size:small}li{margin:0;padding:0}–>
</style>
<center>
<table height=”40″>
<tbody><tr>
<td><p><font size=”1″> <br></font></p><p align=”center”>
<font size=”6″> </font> </p>
<p></p></td></tr>
<tr>

Spot the problem, there are absolutely no keywords.

Sure, Cassini is intelligent enough to strip SOME of the HTML out, however often there is a ton of other irrelevant HTML code like Auctiva code etc which can negatively impact your keyword ratios.

Here is a simple fix to your short description to increase your keyword to length ratio.

Simply review your listing by clicking the “Review Listing” link, and then add your keywords to the very top of your description while viewing in NON HTML mode.

Bingo, now you have keywords in your “Short Description”.

Click the HTML tab to see where your keywords where added to your HTML. Yep, at the very top.

This is simple but very effective.

Please let me know your feedback.

Best regards


Neil Waterhouse

Author – Million Dollar eBay Business from Home – A Step by Step guide – https://www.neilwaterhouse.com
Which Items make eBay Sellers the most money on eBay? http://www.waterhouseresearch.com

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About Neil Waterhouse

Bio: Husband Father Full time online seller since 1998 Author Best Seller “Million Dollar ebay Business From Home” Multi Million Dollar seller Amazon invited guest speaker eBay invited guest speaker Alibaba invited guest speaker 1st eBay multi million dollar seller for Australia Post Eparcel 1st multi million dollar seller for Channel Advisor Australia Founder, speaker 4 largest eBay & Amazon Meetup Groups in Australia with over 6,000 members Creator of DropShip Formula™ Professional eBay Sellers Alliance invited guest speaker Retail Global invited guest speaker Channel 9 Invited Guest Speaker Radio Control jet fanatic!
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