One of the most valuable tools you have in your reseller toolbox is the ability to draft a written description. Keywords are so important and seriously under-rated. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is arguably one of the most significant considerations in reselling (paired with photography and pricing, of course).
Remember, most sales do not happen by chance or newsfeed scrolling; instead, they happen as a direct result of a search performed by the buyer. As such, it is crucial to include all of the words in your descriptions so that your listings show up in as many search results as possible.
Here is a reseller’s guide to SEO, explaining how it works and how to include keywords in your listing descriptions.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is fairly complicated but is simply defined, in the reseller context, as the process of getting listings to rank higher in search engines. Because search is the main way in which people find listings, ranking higher in search engines leads to an increase in traffic to a listing (and likely an increase in sales). This refers to search engines on individual marketplaces such as Poshmark, and also web-based search engines such as Google.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is important because most purchases happen this way:
- The buyer performs a search
- Your listing appears in the search
- They click on your listing
- You receive activity and exposure
- Activity and exposure leads to sales
Let’s break down these steps a little more…
- The prospective buyer performs a search on either a specific marketplace such as Poshmark or on a search engine such as Google.
The buyer searches for “Ripped Mom Jeans”
- Your listing appears in the search because your description contains the word(s) that they typed into the search engine.
Your listing titled “Levi’s High Rise Ripped Mom Jeans” appears in the search results (close to the top depending on how many other listings there are with the same or similar keywords), and your listings titled “American Eagle Light Wash Mom Jeans” and “J Brand Ripped Jeans” also show up, though they are ranked lower as they are not an identical match to the searched words.
- Your listings inevitably show up in search results, but sometimes they are never clicked on and viewed. Of course, having amazing photographs and competitive prices are influential here.
The search revealed 20,934,572 pairs of jeans. Perhaps, many identical to yours. If your listings are recent or identical, they will be at the top of the results, hopefully yielding clicks. If yours are better-photographed or better-priced, there is a greater chance of yielding clicks.
The buyer clicks on your listing because it was towards the top of the results and your cover photo and price look great!
- Clicks are good! Your listing received exposure once the prospective buyer clicked on it. Here is where clear images and a detailed description of the condition are influential.
The buyer is likely to “like”/ save your item, ask a question, browse your other listings, or make an offer. All of these actions are positive in the algorithmic sequence, and likely will lead to a sale.
- Activity and exposure lead to sales. Inevitably, the more clicks that your listings receive, the more activity you will generate. In every e-commerce context, exposure and activity lead to sales.
Here, the buyer didn’t purchase your jeans... she “liked” another pair and received an offer from a different seller. Perhaps, if you made an offer immediately, you would have made that sale. This is where activity comes in.
Regardless, you have your entire inventory and every listing description as ways to use keywording to maximize exposure and activity. Like pennies adding up to dollars, each character in your listing description is a valuable asset that collectively and collaboratively will place your listings in various search results.
Other SEO Considerations
Many other factors can affect how your listing may (or may not) rank in the search results including relevance and identicality, how recently it was edited, refreshed or shared, and any filters that the buyer selected such as size, brand, price, etc.
This is a general guide to SEO, but understand that it works differently on different reselling marketplaces. When a user performs a search on Poshmark or Depop, the recency plays a major role in the search results; that is, the listings that were “shared” or refreshed most recently will rank higher than those which have not. On Mercari and Tradesy, recency is not as influential in ranking.
SEO also works differently in major search engines. On Poshmark, the words in your title and listing descriptions are yielded in search engines on both Poshmark and across search engines like Google and Bing. However, on eBay only your title and item specifics influence SEO in the most significant ways.
Different platforms are also ranked differently on major search engines. For example, if you perform a Google search for various specific keywords, you will immediately see results for Poshmark listings. This is because Poshmark has paid for higher rankings in search results for that keyword. It is far less likely that your search will yield any Depop or Kidizen listings, as they “do not have good SEO,” because they have not paid the major search engines for higher rankings on the search results. Understand that search engines do yield almost every occurrence of keywords across the web, however. So, while your Poshmark listings may receive more traction than your Mercari listings, it is nonetheless important to compose detailed descriptions to maximize exposure.
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- Emojis destroy SEO (at least, in the reselling context, they do). Search engines do not register most emojis, they are unknown characters that appear as a box with a question mark inside. As such, using them (especially in your titles) can really harm your rankings.
- Think like a buyer. Because SEO is based upon search results, consider how people search for things. While it is true that the more detail, the better… make sure the detail is not too advanced or prohibitively specific. A buyer is not likely to search for a phrase containing “Glen Check Plaid Periwinkle Duster,” but the words “plaid,” “blue,” and “blazer” are commonly searched and SEO-friendly words.
SEO Fact: There are many tools such as Semrush, UberSuggest, Moz, among others, that report the statistics about which words are most commonly searched. Cyber statistics and SEO research is very interesting stuff!
- Size Matters. The length of your title and description is essential. While you want to maximize the value of every character and keywording opportunity, you do not want Google to break off your search results. “Unbroken page titles”, titles and descriptions that are of appropriate length to register properly in Google, perform best and rank highest in the search results. Currently, Google can only show page titles that are a maximum of 70 characters, and the optimal length is 30-70 characters. Most reselling platforms have title character limitations for this reason.
- Points for Spelling and Grammar. Spelling and Grammar matter. While some search engines include a form of spell-checking, listings with accurate spelling rank highest. Typos and misplaced words are damaging for SEO.
Similarly, being too accurate can be damaging. While the famous designer Maison Hermès includes an accent, this is not how it will be typed into search boxes. Similarly, while “button-down” is grammatically correct, “button down” is more commonly searched.
SEO Tip: Include both slang terms and nicknames as well as the entire brand in your listings. When you’re selling Birkenstock’s, also include “Birks'' in your description for more searchability.
- Be a Wordsmith. SEO yields listings with the words most similar to those typed into the search box, and the arrangement of those words is important as well. For example, if you are selling a 1993 Disney Denim Jacket with Mickey Mouse and Friends, consider the following titles:
- “Vintage Disney Mickey Mouse 1990s Denim Jacket”
- “Vintage 1993 Jean Jacket Characters”
Description A will rank higher, because:
- The words “vintage” and Disney” appear next to each other, and will be yielded when people search for vintage Disney anything.
- Disney must be included in the title. Disney is a classic, famous, and loved brand.
- Using the general decade, the 1990s, rather than the specific year, 1993, will generate more exposure.
- Mentioning “Mickey Mouse,” specifically will yield higher results in more searches for the most notable Disney character.
- While I would recommend including both in your description, “Denim Jacket” yields more results than “jean jacket” based upon a quick Google search.
SEO Fact: “Description A” above demonstrates long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are specific keyword terms and phrases that drive more relevant and qualitative traffic to your listings. With long-tail keywords, the words and phrases are specific to your exact item, as opposed to the classic considerations. You should consider long-tail keywords and phrases in your title, but maximize your description with classic SEO keywords.
For example, the listing description for the Disney Jacket should likely include the words: Vintage, 1990’s Style, Disney, Denim, Jean, Retro, Classic, American Vintage, Walt Disney World, Disney Land, Embroidered, Disney Characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck among others. These terms are not long-tail keywords, but nonetheless valuable characters to enhance SEO ranking and exposure.
- Title Matters. Especially when selling higher-end or desirable items, always include the full and actual title of the item by the designer or manufacturer.
While a great title is “Lululemon Wunder Under Crops Jacquard Size 4”, your description should include Lululemon Athletica Wunder Under Crop III Maze Jacquard White Black” because Lululemon is a coveted and widely-collected brand with buyer loyalty.
- A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. SEO is not just about words, but also images. The major search engines allow reverse-image searching, in which photographs are yielded. This is why so many resellers use the plain white background, as it is easier for search engines to yield similar results when a plain and lightly-colored background is used.
Reseller SEO: How to Use Keywords to Maximize Exposure and Make Sales
It is all about the title and description. Each character in your title and description is a valuable asset that you can skillfully use to generate exposure and profit.
Consider the following descriptions:
Description A: Poor
Frame mid-rise dark wash flared jeans. Flattering and cute jeans in excellent condition. Size 2
Description B: Better
Frame Designer Jeans. Dark wash denim jeans, high rise with 5 pockets and button fly. Flattering and slimming jeans in excellent condition. Cotton and polyester blend, with some stretch. Size 2
Approximate Measurements: Waist 24 Inseam 30.5
Description C: Best
Frame Le High Flared Jeans in color Sutherland. Dark wash mid-rise to high rise flared leg jeans. Slimming jeans with contouring and tummy control.
- Size 2
- Cotton, Polyester, Spandex Blend (Stretchy Jeans)
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Retail Value: $209
Approximate Measurements Not Exact:
- Waist Approx. 24”
- Hips Approx. 29”
- Inseam Approx. 30.5”
- Rise Approx. 9.5”
Tags: Flared Jeans Bell Bottoms Vintage Inspired Designer Jeans Y2k Aesthetic Dark Wash Jeans Slimming Waist High Waisted High Rise Dark Wash Casual Frame Denim Frame Jeans Authentic Designer
Bundle Discounts Available
5 Star Seller
Why is description C the best? It is not just because it is longer, but because it has so many more details and keywords. Description C includes the designer’s actual title and colorway. Description C features tons of additional words that a buyer may type into the search bar including those that relate to the measurements and material (yes, people search for these) as well as all of the words included under “tags.”
Here, I “word-dumped” at the end of my description. Word-dumping is perfectly fine, so long as you dump relevant words. Rather than incorporating all of the adjectives into a jumbled mess, I included the most important and relevant information at the top and included keywording at the bottom for higher visibility.
Reseller Tip: Did you notice the listing verbiage about discounts, shipping, and ratings? Include some marketing in your listings (or in a listing image) to generate sales.
How to Find Keywords to Use in Your Listing Descriptions
Sometimes, thinking of keywords is easy. As a general rule, describe your item as if your listing does not include images, and your description will inevitably be full of keywords. But with some items, it can be more difficult to think of keywords and descriptors.
To brainstorm keywords for your product listings, consider the following:
You would be surprised how many listings for dresses on Poshmark do not even include the word “dress.”
Consider necklines, hemlines, lengths, or style names. For example, be sure to include if the dress is strapless, mini, bodycon, etc. These are all style descriptors.
Consider if this item is preppy, classic, edgy, goth, bohemian, cottage core, streetwear, cosplay, y2k, retro, or may fit into any of the “cores” or “aesthetics” that are trending online. I use Depop to assist with these outrageous terms.
This is particularly beneficial when something is super old or super new, but especially with vintage. When possible, reference the decade on your vintage listings.
This is particularly important when the brand is popular. If the brand is unknown or undesirable, it is not as important to highlight it.
6. Size and Fit
If your sizing is unique, be sure to include that. If the item is maternity, petite, plus size, big and tall size, one size, oversized, “baby fit”, or anything outside of a typical sizing scale, include it. These words are commonly searched by people seeking unique sizing.
This is a big one because people search by color. In a listing for one dress, you might include that the color be defined as “burgundy, maroon, wine red, or a plum purple dark red blend.” Similarly, rather than describing something as just multi-color, you may choose to list every color that appears for maximized searchability.
Similarly, people love styles. Include all of the relevant adjectives that you can such as striped, plaid, polka dot, chevron, etc. This is particularly true of knits, such as cable knit, classic knit, open knit, exploded knit, waffle knit, and ribbed.
9. Material Content
Do not just photograph the material tag on your item, include the actual words in the listing, especially when talking about a trending or desirable material such as linen, velvet, or merino wool.
The occasion is one of the most common ways that buyers search, as they are always looking for an appropriate ensemble for a particular event or environment. Be sure to include the formality (formal, casual, business casual, professional) or even the event at which one would wear something (such as club dress, girl’s night out, bachelorette, party dress, cocktail dress, New Year’s Eve, etc.)
Other Ways to Find Keywords
If you aren’t well-versed in the many style names, patterns, or all of the “aesthetics” coined by Gen Z, here are some ways to find more keywords:
- Look at what is trending. Look online, at magazines, or go window shopping. Right now, you will see high-rise jeans, vintage-inspired styles, plaid, mustard yellow, oversized items, and early 2000’s y2k inspired pieces. All of these words are trending and being searched frequently!
- Look at the Designer or Brand’s Descriptions. Search your item on Google and find a retail listing, which will inevitably be packed full of style descriptors and keywords that you can use!
- Look at Other Active Listings and Sellers. It is always helpful to browse similar listings and see the descriptions that other sellers are using for inspiration.
- Use Google Lens. If you’re not sure of the name of a pattern or style, use Google Image to do a reverse image search. While you may not find your exact item, you will find similar items which will provide you with keywording ideas.
- Think Like a Buyer. Before you publish your description, think of which words you would type into the search bar if you wanted to find your item. Include all of those words and similar combinations of them.
You might also be interested in 8 Reseller Tips From an Expert to Succeed Selling Online.
Do you have any SEO or keywording tips or tricks? Share them below! Remember to subscribe to our blog for more reseller tips and content!