Ebay’s SEO Strategy: Part 1 – About Me Pages

Bill Cobb, president of Ebay North America, posted an update to the Ebay community that includes an overview of Ebay’s attempt to get more visibility in the search engines. Let’s take a brief look at what they’re doing.
The post is here:
http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200601.shtml#2006-01-18131737
Here’s an excerpt from his comments:
Also in 2005, with internet advertising costs spiraling, we put considerable effort behind developing new ways to bring more buyers to your listings who use search engines like Google and Yahoo. Behind the scenes, we’ve been optimizing our site content for this unpaid or “natural” search. We’ve encouraged the Community to use About Me pages and a few months ago, we launched Reviews & Guides. The content members create through these features not only makes the site a richer experience — these pages get picked up by search engines. This means buyers searching the internet for product information or other keywords are naturally driven to eBay.
Read more in the extended entry.
Let’s look more closely at Ebay’s optimization strategy and see what we can learn.
Bill first mentions the About Me pages.
Let’s look at a good example of an About Me page.
A good example:
http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=ericlerner
This page has a very good introduction, the text uses terms people might be searching on such as “worldwide stamps for collectors.” Ebay has set these pages up so there’s new content entered automatically, namely the items for sale. This increases the chances of the engines revisiting the page because they see new content.
This particular seller has created a link off of his About Me page to his own web site. Ebay is taking a bit of a risk at allowing this to happen. The link just says “click here”, it would be much better to have text hyperlinked like “click here for worldwide stamps.”
If you are an Ebay member and want to create an About Me page, then you start here:
http://hub.ebay.com/community
Towards the bottom there is a link to this page:
http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?AboutMeLogin
In the setup process, you can use the Ebay Defaults, or you can enter your own HTML code. You can also enter “Ebay HTML” codes.
Summary of suggestions for building an Ebay About Me page:
1. Outline the keywords you want people to find you on.
2. Decide what type of links you want to your own site, if any. Even though the page rank of your Ebay page will be low (at first), this link could certainly help your site’s link popularity.
3. You may want to create your HTML first outside of the Ebay tool, using an HTML editor. THis will be a lot easier than typing in the HTML code commands.
What happens when you build your page? Well what you entered is there – and so are automatically built metatags. Unfortunately the tools do NOT give you the ability to create your own Title and Description tags.
Instead, the Title has a standard string:
eBay View About Me for EBAY USER ID
What this means is you need to choose your Ebay User ID very carefully. If you’re trying to be found on a certain type of item you’re selling, it would help to have that word or words in your user ID.
For example, if you’re a seller of worldwide postage stamps, this user id:
ww-stamps
would be better than a name without the word “stamps” in it.
But how much better? This is hard to say. Certainly don’t change your Ebay User ID just to work in your key words in the hope of creating a better position in the search engines. Too many other things need to happen too. On the other hand, if you’re setting up a new user id, it would not hurt to work priority terms into the user id. It could give a slight boost.
That’s all for part 1. Next post will look at Part 2 of Ebay’s strategy: “… Reviews & Guides. The content members create through these features not only makes the site a richer experience — these pages get picked up by search engines.”

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