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How To: Using eBay Shop Keywords to Leverage the Extra eBay Shop Pages

In reviewing several eBay accounts for a client, I noticed that they were not using any of the eBay shop pages to promote niches of their products. Taking note that they were are paying for the anchor stores as well, that comes in at a cool £350 per month, none of the 15 customer pages are currently being used.

What’s an eBay Shop?

eBay ShopsCovering off the ground work first before we progress, as not everyone that reads this blog is professional eBay seller yet.

You may hear me and others mention ‘eBay Shop’ and ‘eBay Store’, this is because the USA have ‘eBay Stores’ and a few years back we ensured (via Jamie Parkins, who then ran the original (and in my opionon better) eBay PowerSeller Program) that the UK version was called ‘eBay Shops’, not ‘Stores’ as we felt ‘stores’ was sooo American.

An eBay shop is brilliant for the following reasons:

  • Its your own slice of eBay
  • Potentially cheaper listing fees
  • It features only your items
  • You can change the way it looks using eBay’s own feature addons or have a store graphically designed to follow the consistent branding from different channels
  • Categorise your items in a manner that makes sense to your customers (not you, I hasten to add) in up to 300 categories that can go three levels deep.
  • You can have a smaller eBay header on the eBay shop for Featured and Anchor levels
  • You can put all your live listings on ‘Hold’ for a holiday or similar time away.
  • Increased promotion, through various means, logo, relating shops etc…
  • Included cross promotion tools for listings
  • Listing frames, to ‘frame’ your listings
  • 5 Custom pages on the basic store, going up to 15 on Anchor level
  • Email Marketing, starting at a minimum of 1000 emails, right up to 5000 on the Anchor shop

There are other features as well, such as RSS feeds, reporting for both traffic and sales. The eBay shop is the most underrated tool available on the entire eBay platform.

I used to run the largest eBay UK group called ‘eBay Shops Making eBay shops work for you’, but someone closed it, to be fair I had not spend much time on it in a fair while, although I would like to find out whom closed it…

Open your eBay shop and watch the sales roll in…

ebay-shops-homepage-navigationWell maybe not, starting off on negative points, the eBay shop has slowly received less and less promotion by eBay. They used to be featured on the homepage header, that ran throughout the entire ebay site, that got dumped for eBay Outlets, its even been dropped from the main category menu and the left hand bar on the homepage. Its still on the homepage, but in a section that is rarely used and is sporting a colour scheme that only the sharpest of eyes could spot. See the picture to the right!

On a positive note, your eBay shop will be promoted in numerous places around the eBay site. However, just like a website, the only person who is going to reallllllllllllly push it is you.

You may also want to read my article called ‘A Previously Unreleased eBay Shop Exposure Tip‘ for a little tip that may help you expose your items to a wider audience than just by yourself. Also this article is one of a series of articles on eBay shops, check the related articles at the bottom of this page.

Custom eBay Shop Pages

Custom pages are the focus of this article and the keywords that you can use in them. For the differing shop subscription levels you receive a set number of pages, these are:

  1. Basic – 5 Pages
  2. Featured – 10 Pages
  3. Anchor – 15 Pages

I’d personally suggest that you do not upgrade your eBay shop purely on the amount of pages you are offered, while what I am explaining here will gain you extra, tarted exposure, a leap of £300 from Featured to Anchor levels are not worth the returns and such a increase should because the number of listings V’s fees dictate this shop level.

Note: I’ll be posting an article shortly that includes an excel file that tells you which level you should be using for the different subscription levels for the differing eBay sites

How to Access Custom Pages

This needs a special mention as I feel eBay do a good job at hiding most things, to navigate to the custom shop pages, follow these steps:

Go to My eBay > Hover on the ‘Account’ tab > Select ‘Manage My Shop’ > Left menu, under ‘Store Design’ select ‘Custom Pages

A direct link is here http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreManageCustomPages

A screen shot of this section is below, I have removed the sellers ID and page names for animosity.

ebay-shops-custom-pages-overview

eBay Shops Custom Pages Overview

About Me Page

Its also worth noting, you can also have an ‘About Me’ page, these pages are special and are not going to be covered in this article.  You can find out more on this page type on this blog in a week or two’s time or read the help file on eBay here http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/account/about-me.html

Standard Pages

The customer pages allow you to expand upon points or add content in more depth that what you could possibly do (without scaring people anyway) in a eBay listing. You should also try and keep information about your business to the About Me page, its best kept there and its better to leverage the custom pages for other information.

I would personally suggest that you start with two standard pages, these are:

  • Contact Us
  • Delivery & Returns

The reason for adding these two as pages of their own, because they are there for reassurance purposes. Even if people do not read them, by only their existence people will feel reassured (trust me on this one, I am not going on a bender about the factors that aid websites convert more through visual Talisman’s any further here).

Examples

Actually finding good examples of the custom pages being used was extremely hard, so few sellers use this functionality and its such a shame. However I found a few, which are below and most are poorly done, BUT top marks for using them!

Don’t skimp on the content either, Add Value

Please don’t be tight on the content and always add in some artwork too, don’t be doing a SuperDryStore and see this article for more information Part 3 : SuperDryStore eBay Shop – The Not-So Good Points.

Add value to the person who has clicked on the page by giving them the information they were after in a cleanly laid out format that is in plain English.

Using the Extra Pages

I’m sure without any creative thought you could think of at least three more pages to fill up with topics, however this is not the purpose of the article and would be a waste of what is about to follow.

With the extra pages, you can reinforce your dominance in a category by expanding upon strains of products and information and as I am about to show you, promote products too.

For example, if I was a DVD seller, I could make a couple of genre sections, such as:

  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • TV Programmes
  • Action & Adventure
  • Documentary
  • Horror

Then add some background or more information on popular series etc and maybe what makes a great Drama, great Horror and even add in some personal recommendations too.

You know more about your items than what I do, grab a sheet of paper and brain storm some ideas and use them as a base for the shop pages, you can always go back and alter them later. The next section may help with this task.

eBay Shop Keywords

There are several keywords that can be used in the eBay shop, its also worth noting that they do not work in listings and the About ME page has its own set of ‘tags’ that can be used.

Note: eBay call them tags, I call them keywords, if you see either of these terms, they mean the same thing, they are a special term like {eBayUserID} that can be used in the eBay shop and can be clearly spotted by the curly brackets either side of them. Also to help I will always mention them in a bold font face.

The eBay shop keywords that can be used are:

  • Your User ID
  • Your Feedback
  • Item List
  • Item Showcase
  • Individual Item
  • Item Details
  • Search box
  • Promotion box

I’ll now go through each of these and include where apt a use-case for each of the eBay shop tags

Your User ID

This tag is really handy for including your eBay ID and extra icons into a custom page. It does lack the extra control on choosing to show the different sections, but at least it shows the latest feedback count and the extra icons an ID may be sporting.

Keyword: {eBayUserID}
Example Usage:  My eBay ID is {eBayUserID}
Example Output:

ebay-shop-eBayUserID-tag

An example using the {eBayUserID} shop tag

Your Feedback

This is handy for bringing the latest customer feedback into a a customer services page, its also handy to bring in and then take a screen shot of and use in your listings if you feel you need that extra little boost to them.

There are some extra attributes to this tag, that can change the way it appears, these are:

  • COLOR – Used for the main colour
    eg GRAY
  • ALTERNATECOLOR – The colour used for alternative feedbacks
    eg PLUM
  • BORDER – The border around the table
    ie 1 or 0
  • TABLEWIDTH – I’ve never tried fixed widths, the default is 90%, I usually set this to 100%
  • CELLPADDING – The default is 0, probably best left at 0 too.

You can play around with the different colours that you can use for the table, personally I prefer the simple version, however you could try a mash-up using these colours from http://www.w3schools.com/HTML/html_colornames.asp for the ALTERNATECOLOR and COLOR attributes.

Keyword: {eBayFeedback}
Example Usage: {eBayFeedback SIZE=”5″}
Example Output:

ebay-shop-eBayFeedback-tag

An example of the {eBayFeedback} in use, ID's and times have been blurred, they're not blurred in real life!

Item List

This is one I use a lot, its one of my favourites. The reason why is because you can create  a custom page, say to ‘High Heels’ or even ‘Horror’ using the suggested example and then set the keyword just to bring back ‘Horror’ or ‘High Heels’ items using the KEYWORDS attribute.

As a tip, you can also specify the shop category number too, if you wish to narrow the results even further using the STORECATID attribute.

This keyword is also handy if you are creating a custom shop homepage as well, so you can bring in live items, just like the default store does, but then without hard-coding anything, the latest items can be shown with your filters.

Again there are some extra attributes to this tag, that can change the way it appears, these are:

  • SORT – You can change the order in which the results are returned
    2 – Ending first (default), 4 – Newly listed, 0 – Highest price, 1 – Lowest price
  • DISPLAY – Using this, you can swap between list view and gallery view
    0 – List view, 1 – Gallery view
  • TABLEWIDTH – The default is 100%, I’d suggest you leave it at this value
  • STORECATID – This is a super option, as suggested you can narrow the results down using this option and the next. You can find the eBay shop category ID’s here
  • KEYWORDS – If you can sort by store category ID, then adding a keyword here will focus the results
  • MINPRICE MAXPRICE – When your products are very varied or you have ranges within ranges, then using a minimum or an upper cap with the MAXPRICE option can help you really drill the results.
  • LISTINGFORMAT – The two numbers you may want to abuse here are 1 for auctions only, this is super handy if you create a ‘see all our auctions’ page on the shop and 9 for fixed price listings.

Keyword: {eBayStoresItemList}
Example Usage: {eBayStoresItemList SORT=”4″ DISPLAY=”1″ TABLEWIDTH=”” KEYWORDS=”bag” LISTINGFORMAT=”9″}
Example Output:

ebay-shops-eBayStoresItemList

An example using the eBayStoresItemList keyword to return just bags on a custom shop page.

 

Item Showcase

I’m utterly amazed that no-one has caught on to this keyword properly. Why? Because it could so easily be framed as a daily or weekly deal on your eBay shop and needs little to no formatting by yourself.

In the easiest example I’m refering to, pop the item numbers of say three items (max 4) and then it’ll automatically make you a featured item gallery.

eg: {eBayStoresItemShowcase ITEM=”w,x,y,z”}
eg: {eBayStoresItemShowcase ITEM=”280475881234,280475881234280475881234,280475881234″}

I covered this in detail in an earlier article called How to Make Your Own eBay Daily Deals & Weekly Deals check this article out to see a more detailed description.

ebay-shops-daily-deals-example

The Example Code Output with Live eBay Items

Individual Item

This tag is handy for promoting a single item, say within a custom eBay shop page. Just because it brings through just a single item, if you combined several of these together with content, then the page would quickly fill out.

Although to be frankly honest, you’d be better off with the “eBayStoresItemList” keyword to return multiples or the “eBayStoresItemShowcase” tag for bringing through a larger picture.

The attributes for this are limited:

  • ITEM – Specify the eBay item number to be used
  • DISPLAY – Using this, you can swap between list view and gallery view
  • 0 – List view, 1 – Gallery view
  • TABLEWIDTH – The default is 100%, I’d suggest you leave it at this value
  • BORDER – The border around the table
    ie 1 or 0

Keyword: {eBayStoresItem}
Example Usage: {eBayStoresItem ITEM=”01234567890″ DISPLAY=”0″}
Example Output:

eBayStoresItem Example

eBayStoresItem Example

Item Details

This keyword, in the right scenario makes the inclusion of live listing data into a custom page very easy and also very simple for users that want that little extra power when making their eBay store custom pages.

Using the “PROPERTY” attribute you are able to bring in specific attributes of a listing and then format them as you desire. From the listing title, price, picture, prices and direct link to the item. Its the internal components of the larger modules we have been playing with up until now.

Note: If you are after this level of control, then its probably time you looked at making an external application to query the eBay and add the level of control you are probably after. Not that I’m saying this tag is not useful, just that you can gain far more control by other means.

This tag has several attributes as detailed below:

  • PROPERTY=”title” – The item title
  • PROPERTY=”price” – Current price
  • PROPERTY=”binprice” – Buy It Now price.
  • PROPERTY=”time” – Time left
  • PROPERTY=”picture” – Gallery picture.
  • PROPERTY=”URL” – The item’s URL.

Keyword: {eBayStoresItemDetail}
Example Usage: {eBayStoresItemDetail PROPERTY=”title”}
Example Output: This is the Listing Title

eBay Shop Search Box

This is one of the best eBay shop tags there is, as it allows a user to easily add the search box to custom pages.

A prime use of this is if you were making a custom landing page for your eBay shop (You can do this after creating a custom eBay shop page and then setting it as the landing page. I’m really tempted to mention some shockingly poor designs (and probably expensive) that a certain company produces, but I’m not, I’ll just leave this link and leave you to make your own mind up).

Keyword: {eBayStoresSearchBox}
Example Usage: {eBayStoresSearchBox}
Example Output:

eBayStoresSearchBox Tag Example

eBayStoresSearchBox Tag Example

 

Promotion Boxes

I’ll be quite honest, I never actually got this to work. It didn’t work when it was first introduced and I’ve not used them since. However, when coming back to test them for this article, they’re working and they must have been fixed by eBay in the last 7 or so years :)

The idea is that you can create your own promotion boxes, then using the name you have set for them, bring them into a custom page. This could be handy if you want dynamic data from the promotion boxes on all the custom pages.

Keyword: {eBayPromo}
Example Usage: {eBayPromo ID=”eBay Guided Setup Position 1″}
Example Output:

eBayPromo-Example

eBayPromo-Example

 

Summary

The eBay shop tags can be very powerful and make adding dynamic content easy-peasy for any level of skill user. Combine this in with the more powerful functions and methods, you have the components at your disposal to create a dynamic and rich custom page experience for your eBay shop.

No, No, No. Its Your Domain Name, Use It. ChannelAdvisor Not Advised?

ChannelAdvisor

Channel Advisor Seller Buy4Less

Oh this made me giggle, while researching after posting the earlier article on a ChannelAdvisor customer called ‘Buy4less’ and ‘Wasting Your Most Important eBay Marketing Asset‘ I stumbled across this chestnut.

The Search Results

Click this link and let me explain the results you’re seeing.

You are seeing two things, the first is the use of the site: command, this is very useful for seeing how many pages have been indexed for a site, while not 100% accurate by Google’s own admission (see Matt Cutts from Google explain it in this YouTube video) its a great indicator and the second is a baw-drop by ChannelAdvisor for one of their featured retaliers. Let me explain.

Errr What Happended?

Now for the first link I gave, it shows lots of URL’s that have been indexed, great, but look again, the URL’s start ‘stores.channeladvisor.com/buy-for-less-online’ whats happened to the thier domain name ‘http://www.buyforlessonline.co.uk/‘?

I’ll tell you what’s going with it

NOUT, NADA, Sweet FA!

There is a single page for this domain indexed in Google, what they’ve done is use masking on the domain name instead of setting up a CNAME alias or similar to make the server treat the real domain name properly. So then everything starts from buyforlessonline.co.uk rather than some horrid domain path like ‘stores.channeladvisor.com/buy-for-less-online/’.

Knowing…

If you’re using a third party tool such as Channel Advisor, don’t settle for a crap website setup, make sure everything is in your ‘domain’ name, don’t be afraid to ask for the assistance outside for unbiased views & guidance, automaton tools are only one part of your businesses success.

Getting Out of Such a Mess

If you’ve managed to do this this, don’t panic. Ask your provider to create 301 redirects for every page they’ve got to the new domain paths. The new pages on the correct domain name are forwarded from the old domain, so you are not penalised for what would-to-Google the entire site disappearing an popping up elsewhere.

Curiosity

I wonder how much was taken on their website last year, I wonder if anyone noticed. I suspect ‘not a lot’ of revenue was taken this year on ‘that’ site. Pity, I quite liked the visual design.

How To: Knowing the 10 eBay Shop/Store Design Mistakes

Oh how these drive me nuts, please, please do not make the same mistakes. We can’t blame the shop owners featured in this article, they just don’t know better. You however cannot use this excuse after reading this article though!

Top 10 eBay Shop Mistakes

Here are top ten common mistakes sellers make when designing their eBay shop.

#1 The Giant Header

connies-bargains-galore
This award goes to http://stores.ebay.com/connies-bargains-galore

Check the header area out on this page!

Navigating the page to the line items means you need to scroll an entire page (yes an entire page I could not believe it) and more to get to them. Plus the header is on every page, so they’re all doomed pages.

Matt’s Tip: Keep your header to 250 pixels high as a maximum, anymore than this leaves the buyer having to think what to do next and we all know that’s a bad idea.

#2 The logo is not a Link

Camisera-Clothing
This award goes to a previous winner, http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Camisera-Clothing

Oh how this drives me nuts, the logo in the top header should always be a link, I covered this off in an earlier article, you can see the full details My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design

Top left logo = Link to Homepage

Never forget this. Its basic common manners on the net. Making user the think again is a bad, bad idea.

#3 No categories

phatpocket-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/phatpocket

102,169 that is over one hundred thousand items and no categorisation?

Even adding categories by Author Name (which they have, see the listings) would help.

You can have up to 300 categories, three levels deep, there is really no excuse for this.

#4 No Description

AZCARPARTSUK-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/AZCARPARTSUK

Take a look here http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/_sl.html?_an=1 and note that these are anchor stores, each paying £350 a month to be in this list. Now how many have no description?

Even though this store uses a custom header, you can still fill out the shop description area, because this description is not only used in the header, the shop search page (which we just saw), but also in the meta description.

#5 CAPS LOCK

YES-4-CAR-PARTS-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/YES-4-CAR-PARTS

Using caps lock is widely regarded as SHOUTING, also using caps lock for all the text, does not make the text clearer to the reader, it actually helps the person typing the text.

Never used excessive amounts of caps text in a description, title, or in the case the categories because its VISUALLY VERY ANNOYING.

PS. I am ignoring the image in the header that is in the header, they appear to have forgotten to re-register their domain name

#6 Paying for a design but forgetting how it will look

megabooksuk-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/megabooksuk

Never fork out cash for a design without seeing how it will look with your information in it.

I’m guessing that if this seller had realised that they have no categories and that they were not using any gallery images at all for their listings, they might have ended up with a different design and layout.

It all looks a bit bare.

#7 Forgetting the rest of the Shop

superdry-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/The-Superdry-Store

This one is brilliant and had already earned a ribbing in six articles, you can view them here: http://lastdropofink.co.uk/?s=superdry

So what’s wrong? They have a stunning homepage, but kinda have forgotten about the rest of the eBay shop, no categories, no real header, no left navigation, just a stark white page. This is the best case of ‘homepage blindness’ I have seen in years.

#8 Not doing anything

all-your-music-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/all-your-music

Well, lets be fair here, they did open an eBay shop, 1/10, but have left it as that. No categories, pretty sure that the default design, no description, no logo, no nothing.

Quite sad really.

#9 Main logo, not a home link

RSJ-Motor-Factors-Ltd-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/RSJ-Motor-Factors-Ltd

Nice design, although was a contender for #10 spot, however as I was typing I spotted the issue. I recently included this in an article My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design.

They’ve forgotten to realise that the default user action to go back to the homepage is to click the icon in the top left, the logo part where RSJ is written, sadly this entire header contains no a single link, so the browser is left flapping with no-where-to-go.

#10 No custom pages

WHATEVER-LAPTOPS-ebay-shopAwarded to: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/WHATEVER-LAPTOPS

I’m not knocking this store to much, the owner has completed a great job, added a logo, changed the header, added a shop description (not shown on this layout, but it is there), has really nice categories, two feature boxes along the top, nice product images, decent titles.

But has not picked up that there are up to 15 ebay shop custom pages to be abused.

Not making the Common Mistakes

For those eager readers, yes the lack of header logo link is here twice, it drives me bonkers, don’t do it! Its like a door to a house, but with no handles.

I know its really hard, there is normally a lot going on in a small sized business, its not surprising I was able to find all these issues in a few pages. But at least you now know what the most common mistakes are and to avoid them.

I have been working two other articles on the eBay shop, these are linked to below, the first article is already live, the second is due in the next 2-3 working days:

How to: SEO for eBay – 10 Minutes Per Day

Just because you pay eBay a fee for your eBay shop, insertion of a listing and a final value fee when items sell, unfortunately this does not mean that eBay unleash a team of experts to promote your business.

In many ways you’re left to your own devices and as long as you convert buyers now and then, it kind of keeps everyone relatively happy. But why should you be happy with mediocre?

chocolate-cake

I'd like to eat the entire cake, but I can only take one slice at a time

Cumulative effect

Once you’re in the game (see my earlier post on “getting in the game“) its only a matter of “practice to make perfect” and it does not need to consume hours each day. Just a few minutes here and there and the combination of lots of little things, make one monster!

Take this article for example, I conceived this while eating lunch on the back of a napkin, nothing major, a few notes, then prepared the layout, back filled it and this morning added some images and annotations. It is putting everything together, the idea, the notes, the layout, the back filling, the visual candy. The cumulative effect of this is the final product, this article.

Breaking it down

I was once asked this question:

How do you eat an elephant?

I paused for a few moments and honestly thought *k, that is a an enormous beast, I’m going to need a slab of garlic butter to go with that steak. While day dreaming on it for a few seconds, I was given then answer:

With a spoon

Yep a spoon. I got the point instantly. I’m hoping you do too.

elephant-car

See even elephants need spoonful sized mouthfulls too. Yummy. (Look at the people in the car, the dent on the roof and I'm pretty sure he's got his pinkie out too, rofl)

Only 10 minutes, set the calendar right NOW

Before you continue with this article, open outlook, Google calendar or write on your diary for the next two weeks, a 10 minute block at the same time each day, to look at and make these changes.

If you drink tea or coffee, all we’re saying is that we are going to have a quick 10 minute break, with a cuppa at a set time each day. With this done, lets dive in.

The areas of eBay to focus upon

We’re going to focus on a few key areas and then make the tasks really simple to do. These areas are:

  1. Research
  2. Listings
  3. The eBay Shop
  4. Reviews & Guides
  5. Outside of eBay

Research

If you are just starting the ball rolling, your first few mini sessions should be focusing upon looking at your competitors and understanding how they are better than you and how you can learn from this to ultimately sell more.

Firstly we need to identify who the real competitors are, do not use gut-feel for this, use facts. Go to Terapeak/ and sign up for the ‘advantage’ account, its $25 or £16, it’ll be the best £16 you have ever spent.

Searching by category and keyword searches to find the real competitors, compile these into an excel list based upon value of turn over and make a point of reviewing each of these, noting the points you like about them and equally the points you dislike.

Oh and do not forget eBay Pulse, somewhat limited, but can help with identifying top keywords and top sellers.

Once you have found your list of true competitors, check this list once per week to see how they are doing. Then once per month, go back and review the list and see if any new competitors have arrived and track those too.

I know companies that know more about their competitors than they do about themselves. A healthy paranoia is good, although some to border on excessive.

eBay Listings

To focus on this effectively, we are going to break this down into further sections, these are:

  1. Listing Titles
  2. Listing Descriptions
  3. Additional Text

Listing Titles

Even the most seasoned sellers can improve their titles, using the research in part one, you should already know top keywords for your categories. If you only do 20 titles in the 10 minute session, in a week you would have done 100, two weeks, 200 and in a month, a staggering 800 titles. Get started now!!!!

Listing Descriptions

I’m pretty sure every single description every written could be improved in some way. Again do not panic, we’re not after the entire elephant, we’re just after a tasty spoon full. You may have already learned through research that others may be creating clearer, more friendly descriptions that what you have.

One by one, with some time. That’s all it takes.

Additional Text

I’ve added this as an extra section, because we’ve covered the main two sections, title and description, however what about the rest of the auction contents?

I’ll give you some idea on the degree of scale I was recently given from a client, there had two lines, totalling no more than than 40 words for the description. The other 1454 words were terms and conditions and other useless scary junk.

Make all other content so simple, you’re mother could read it with her glasses off. Shipping, simple, terms, simple, anything else, simple. Customers are paranoid creatures, do not scare them. Caress them with nice information. Kinda like I am doing to you now :D

The eBay Shop

Again, this needs to be broken down in to spoon sized chunks so that it can be tackled in just 10 minute chunks.

  1. eBay Shop URL
  2. eBay Shop Pages
  3. eBay About Me Page
  4. eBay Shop Description
  5. eBay Shop Categories
  6. SEO Keywords

eBay Shop URL

The first task when looking at the eBay shop is to look at the URL. If we are dealing with an extremely well known & established eBay shop, then do not alter it.

However, if you are just starting out or have only a small following, then choosing a eBay shop name, making a URL that includes a nice keyword right name is strongly advised.

Edit your eBay shop name (thus URL):
http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreMgmtEditDetails

eBay Shop Pages

I have an entire article dedicated to this. You can view it here:
How To: Using eBay Shop Keywords to Leverage the Extra eBay Shop Pages
(This may not be live at the time of publishing this article)

Edit your eBay shop custom pages:
http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreManageCustomPages

eBay About Me Page

I have this noted to dedicate an entire article to this page, however in short the eBay about me page is a very handy page, as it gives you an extra icon next to your eBay ID. Its the ideal pace to promote your business and is the only page you are allowed to include a link to an off-eBay store on.

Edit your eBay About Me page:
http://cgi3.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?AboutMeLogin

eBay Shop Description

The eBay shop description can appear in more than one section. The first section you need to be aware of is that its used in the meta description tag for the eBay shop, also on some eBay shop templates its also used in the header area.

You’re allowed up to 300 characters for the description. I’d suggest the first 40-50 are human readable and then the majority are a list of the brands or other unique attributes and then are ended with another human readable sentence of 10-15 words. This way it reads well for both humans (primary goal) and search engines (secondary goal).

Edit your eBay shop description:
http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreMgmtEditDetails

eBay Shop Categories

You can have up to 300 categories, down three levels. Named what ever you want with in reason, up to 30 characters each. The added bonus is, that you can set separate keywords for these categories too!

Edit your eBay shop categories:
http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreCategoryMgmt

SEO Keywords

You can give each of your shop categories up to two primary keywords and six secondary keywords, plus you can specify your own keyword sets for the homepage as well.

If you are dealing with a wrath of categories you created in the earlier step, just plod your way through them, Just think in a few weeks, they’ll all be super hot, loaded keywords words and the task will be complete for a short while. Because you’ll want to be coming back to look at these again later to improve them further!

Tip! Refuse the urge spam the keywords. Think or even better, research what people are searching for an how that matches your category and match the keywords you use to the products you have in that given category.

Edit your eBay shop keywords:
http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?StoreMgmtViewCustomKeywords

Reviews & Guides

These are stellar places to pick up well targeted browsing buyers. The last time I had a stab at the reviews, I got an account to the top 100 reviewers on eBay UK. It took a lot of work and I did have a team to help me achieve this. But it can be done.

Take a look at http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/ You can review almost anything within reason. I’m not going to cover why you should be doing this in great detail here as again I have this already noted for a future article. But in short, it will help you be seen as the ‘Authority’ in your given area.

Tip: Stuck for an idea? Pick three items and say why you like one more than the others, now go!

To create your first review:
http://cgi3.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?CreateProductGuide

Outside of eBay

Its all about tipping the scales in your favour

I’m not going to be lame and suggest Facebook, Twitter as you already know this. What I am going to suggest is that you start your own blog, so you can talk about your items with your own community.

In short ‘blogging’ only requires some time, you have 10 minutes each day, thats all that is needed. Articles do not need to be huge like this one is, short and sweet works well too. Just be honest and show your passion.

If you’re worried about costs, do not be, here are two free options and they’re both great:

  1. http://www.blogger.com/
  2. http://wordpress.com/

Forum posting and generally just talking about your business and products will attract people. The more you talk, the more people will follow, its quite simple.

One crucial point I feel I need to make is that you should categorically should not use paid search such as Adwords or similar to promote your eBay shop. If you are at this level, then focus your attention on a creating your own web store outside of eBay.

Again the 10 minute rule applies here too, get in and get going and by the end of the month you could have created at least 20 blog posts!

Summary

I have shown you that all you need is 10 minutes with a cuppa to make a difference. We’re not after eating the entire elephant, or a VW with two people in it for that matter, but we can have a scoop of it each day and finally reach our ultimate goal. Now go get started!

Stop - Take Action!Take Action
Now that you’ve read this article, grab your calendar and put down a 10 minute window to make one small change, you’ll be amazed at the effect of this after just a week.

As Big as Big Boys – How Appear to be Big on a Shoe String

Looking BigLooking big is really quite easy on the internet, all it takes is some time, some cunning and a nudge in the right direction. Follow this step by step guide and you’re look like an established or corporate business in next to no time.

Here are some key page names you need to create and add to your site, ideally linked from your footer area on all pages (except the checkout if possible):

  • Press Office
  • Affiliates
  • Meet the Team
  • Careers, Recruitment or Join the Team at Company Ltd
  • Partners
  • Store Locator (if you have a trade or customer collections site)

Even if you do not have a press office, affiliate network set up, a team (other than the parents & pet cat), partners or a store. Get these pages up.

Get the Email Addresses Sorted
First off, with any decent hosting account you get a load of email boxes or forwarders, create a selection of email addresses, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and forward them all to your main email address. It doesn’t matter that these go to the same email address, its the message they convey.

Press Office
For the press office, write a little blurb, here is a great example, minus the link to the PR company, make the contacts name up or even copy Donna’s name.  70% of that page is one fat image, do the same.

Affiliate Network
Even if you don’t have an affiliate network set up, lob a page up offering 2.5-8% of sales to affiliates, you never know you might be approached before you go looking to join an affiliate network.

Meet the Team
A personal favourite of mine, get some half decent pictures taken, I didn’t say pay for them, you’d be amazed what  you can do with a phone and the grey scale setting in photoshop, just check my about me page. That was me taking the pee in Tesco’s sporting a pack of ‘spam slices’.

Talk you friend, mum and dad to get in as well, a short bio, although if you don’t want to go the ‘family’ route you may want to alter their surnames.

If you’ve got any accreditations, lob them on. I used my MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) logos for my eBay stuff, although for the best part it was pretty much unrelated, but looked FAB!

Careers, Recruitment or Join the Team at Company Ltd
More of a personal preference here, if the company you wish to create has a more relaxed feel, go for the ‘Join the Team @ Company Ltd’ , otherwise name it careers or recruitment.

You know the drill, we’ve all looked at sites we’d like to work for, google them and copy/paste and edit a few lines.

Partners
Always a firm favourite, if you shift, sorry I mean market branded goods, then include a few logos and make the impression that you work with these companies, even if there is someone in the middle (a few times probably). If they’re unbranded, brand them and knock up a logo in paint.

Store Locator
If you have premises, then this is a shocker for both the website and any marketing materials, if the buyer has no intention of visiting, a picture of a shop, office, warehouse or tent will reassure the customer, you’re real. Oh and include a google map, they’re free or just screen shot and paste the image in.

A big tip here is include the phone number and email address in clear sight, customers will normally always phone or email rather getting off their butts to come in.

So your website should have a cracking footer line up now, the above should take no more than 15 minutes per page (thats 5 min’s googling, 5 min’s pasting, 5 min’s editing).

Press | Affiliates | Meet the Team | Careers | Partners | Store Locator

It looks swish doesn’t, almost a ‘real’ professional company that you always were. You’ve now paved the way to these departments in you business structure, all in an hour or two. What its says to the customer, ‘is these people are real’. Get over that hurdle, the rest is easy.

Show Our Age
Talking of easy, thats not the end yet, here is a quality chestnut, under you logo, do just have some cheesy by line, include the date the business was established.

Ask yourself, which sounds better?

  • I Love My Feet
  • I Love My Feet | Trading Since 2006

Thought so, do it. It adds an immediate age to the company and puts the browser at ease, this is a defo a tick if using right under the logo placed in the top right hand corner, no fancy text, just plain Arial or similar font face.

Facebook & Twitter
Include these pages ONLY and ONLY after you beefed it up, spoken to the entire pub and got Aunt Bessie to hit the like button too, get at least 100 likes before trying to promote it to people you do not know.

You’ve seen the pages & invites, ‘come see my Facebook page’, its got 1 fan and some ‘hello’ post, watch the dust balls ride on by, they’re clicking the back button. You want something to model for this, see MyProtein’s facebook page, its got some FB guru company beefing that one.

Warehouse or Store Picture
Take a look here on Google for some ‘warehouse‘ pictures, pick one and include it in your listing, about pages or on the site footer. If you actually have a warehouse and even a team of staff, ike em out and take a picture. Only takes a few mins and the staff get to see daylight.

I’ll stop here, I hope you’ve taken on board the point of this blog post, if you are to be big in business, then you need to give the impression that you are big in business, even if you’re not.

Google SEO Starter Guide Updated

GoogleBot

GoogleBot

Google has updated their SEO starter guide which they first released two years ago. Not surprisingly they reiterate that any optimisation decisions should first and foremost be what’s best for the visitors of the site.

Visitors are real users of the website and are using search engines to find your work. If you’re creating quality, unique content (like this post for example), then any changes are likely to small and in the report they make another good point that its the collection of lots of small changes put together over time, that give good results.

Its broken down into these six sections:

  1. SEO Basics
    This section covers creating unique, accurate page titles and  how to make use of the “description” meta tag on your site(s).
  2. Improving Site Structure
    How to improve the structure of your URLs and how to make make your site easier to navigate for humans & search engines.
  3. Optimizing Content
    This section covers the offering quality content and services, how to write better anchor text, optimisation of images and how to use heading tags appropriate manner.
  4. Dealing with Crawlers
    How to make effective use of robots.txt and to be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links that you use.
  5. SEO for Mobile Phones
    A new section for mobile devices has been added, which shows how to n
    otify Google of mobile sites & how to guide mobile users accurately.
  6. Promotions and Analysis
    How to promote your website in the right manner and to make use of free webmaster tools.

You can read the full report here and I’m humble enough to recognise great guidance and will be adding a breadcrumb trail to this site in the forth coming days (page 10).

What a Silly Design Flaw – Missguided.co.uk

Missguided.co.ukI’m not sure who designed this site, but I do know it was only very recently redesigned. They’ve managed to make a very common and very silly error in their design structure, they’ve got a wealth of text, hidden in images.

Take a look here or in any of their top level categories, a screen shot is below, clearly highlighting the issue:

Missguided Lost Keywords

Missguided Lost Keywords Hidden in Images

That’s right the following text is lost, because search engines cannot read images, even worse they’ve just loosely labled the image with a title & alt tag of ‘Accessories’. So instead of seeing this:

Scarves, bangles and bows… charms, belts and bags- add delightful details, luxurious lockets and perfect pearls to complete any outfit! See below for our full range of bags, belts, bangles, bracelets, eyelashes, necklaces, headbands, scrunches, watches and sunglasses.

Which is 38 words, search engines see ‘Accessories’. Doh!

Don’t you make such a silly mistake too with your website, use text descriptions for your categories. Of course, by all means use images of models and perhaps in this example, put the peace, heart, ampersand & accessories in an image for style. But never, ever sell yourself short.

Yoast WordPress Breadcrumbs Plugin

Yoast.comTaking the advice from yesterdays post ‘Google SEO Starter Guide Updated’ on adding a breadcrumb to the sites theme, I remembered seeing a plugin from Yoast.com a few days back.

Installation was done in seconds, almost like every other WordPress plugin, unfortunately the auto insert option did not work, however within a few pastes in the files page.php, search.php and single.php it was in and working.

If you’re an avid blogger and the theme you are using does not come with breadcrumbs by default, this plugin was sooo easily added, even at code editor level, its worth adding and as a bonus its free.

Yoast.com also has a collection of other plugins for WordPress, you can see them here.

Google Does Not Use The Meta Keywords Tag

Amazon Meta Keywords HTML Tag

Amazon Meta Keywords HTML Tag

Myth, hear-say or Truth?

Truth! Google does not use the meta Keywords tag. Contrary to popular belief usage of this tag for anything meaningful was lost years ago when it got spammed & stuffed by everyone and his dog.

Offsite ‘factors’ were not being taken into account and pages were judged by search engines only on their content. Seems crazy now looking back.

Here is a YouTube video from Matt Cutts, a personal idol of mine [for his relaxed presentation style and the way he conveys his personal interest in the subject matter] on this very topic:

Although other search engines out there (no there really are) which do take the meta keywords into consideration. If your website solution already makes these automatically from other data fields, great, if not, I’d not suggest you loose any sleep what-so-ever. Spend the time on writing better content, site promotion or sipping G & T’s as the sun sets (sunrises and G&T are just wrong).

That said, if I asked myself the question “do I use the meta keywords tag?” the answer would be…
Yes, the day Amazon stops using them, I will do too. No G&T’s for me :(