Let’s explore the importance of product titles and descriptions to enhance search engine ranking on Poshmark, eBay, Depop, Etsy, Mercari, Shopify, and more!
One of the most valuable tools you in your reseller toolbox is the ability to draft a written title and description.
Keywords are so important and seriously underrated. 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, sales happen as a direct result of a search performed by the buyer. It is crucial to include all the words in your titles and descriptions so that your listings appear in as many search results as possible.
💡Tip: Learning about how search engines work is the key to enhancing your product descriptions to yield more searches.
Here is a reseller’s guide to SEO. We’ll dive into everything you need to know about SEO, keywords, search engines, and how to optimize your listings to make more sales. 💵
What is SEO in the reseller context?
Search engine optimization is fairly complicated but is defined in the reseller context as the process of getting listings to rank higher in search engines. Because search is the main way buyers find your listings, ranking higher in search engines leads to increased traffic and sales.
💡Tip: When a buyer searches for “Lululemon Align Leggings” thousands of listings yield, and you want yours to be as close to the top of the list as possible!
SEO refers to search engines on individual marketplaces such as Poshmark, eBay, and Etsy, but don’t forget about major search engines such as Google.
Why SEO Is Important For Online Sellers
To illustrate the importance of titles and descriptions, let’s do a little test. I call this the “Black Dress Test.”
The Black Dress Test:
The idea here is that you are a buyer looking for a dress for a particular occasion- choose your occasion and let’s go shopping:
1. Open up eBay, Poshmark, Google, or wherever you shop and perform a search for “Black Dress.”
As you might imagine, I received over 30,000 results. The first four are very different in terms of size, style, formality, etc. As a buyer, I’ve quickly learned that I need to narrow the scope of my search.
2. At this point, the buyer does one of two things; they either use the filters on Poshmark to narrow their search or add more words to the search bar.
I added the phrases “long sleeve,” “formal,” and “large” to my search so that I could see listings that are more comparable to what I’m actually looking for.
3. This process is simply going to repeat itself. Until the buyer sees something they like, they’re likely to use filters to sort the results or add different words to the search bar to narrow the results.
I ultimately landed on this dress, exactly what I was looking for!
A dress with the title “Ralph Lauren Black Long Sleeve Dress Large” would not have passed the dress test. I never would have seen it as it would have been buried deep in the pages of the search results. This is why it is important to include keywords in your titles and descriptions.
A Corny SEO Joke: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Page 2 of Google 🤣
How To Maximize Listings On Poshmark, eBay, Etsy & More
As we saw in the “Black Dress Test, the words in your title and description have a crucial role in the amount of searches your items yield.
SEO in titles and descriptions is key because most purchases happen this way:
- The buyer performs a search
- Your listing appears in the search
- The buyer clicks on your listing
- You receive activity
- Activity leads to exposure and sales.
Let’s break down these steps a little more…
1. The buyer performs a search. The prospective buyer searches on a specific marketplace, such as Poshmark, or a search engine like Google.
The buyer searches for “Ripped Mom Jeans”
2. Your listing appears in the search. Three of your listings appear in the search because your title and/or description contain the word(s) typed into the search bar.
First, your listing titled “Levi’s High Rise Ripped Mom Jeans” appears in the search on page one. This is because of the identicality of words in the search and your title.
Also, your listings titled “American Eagle Light Wash Mom Jeans” and “J Brand Ripped Jeans” show up…, but they’re buried deeply on pages 16 and 24. This is because the words are identical but not as close to a match.
3. The buyer clicks on your listing. Your listings inevitably appear in search results, but they are sometimes 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 are 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!
4. You receive activity. 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” or “watch” your item, make an offer, ask a question, or even browse your other listings. All of these actions are positive in the algorithmic sequence.
5. Activity and exposure lead to sales. The more clicks 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.
If you are selling on marketplaces with a newsfeed, some activity comes from there, too! Sometimes, sellers get lucky because the right buyer sees their item and just has to have it. More often, however, sales occur by a rendition of the process described above.
💡Tip: Do not forget about filtering options. Buyers often use the filtering and sorting options built into the marketplace to narrow down searches. Executing all of the listing fields will help to maximize search ranking when the buyer is filtering.
Improving Your Listings: Other SEO Strategies
This is a general guide, but understand that SEO works differently on different reselling marketplaces. Each marketplace has its own algorithm and “rules” to determine what will influence search ranking.
SEO also works differently in major search engines. This is why you will receive different results if you perform an identical search on both Google and Bing.
While we don’t know the secret code to search engine behavior, we know that relevance and recency are the two main factors determining SEO ranking.
Relevance refers to the similarity between your listing and the buyer’s search. Recency refers to how recent your listing is, (newly listed, or recently “shared,” “renewed,” or refreshed.
Many additional factors can affect how your listing may (or may not) rank in the search results, including filters that the buyer has applied, any paid promotions to advance your listing, or even any custom rules integrated into the algorithm of the search engine itself.
You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Online Marketplaces for Resellers
SEO Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips for enhancing your listings across marketplaces such as Poshmark, eBay, Etsy, and More
1. Emojis destroy SEO (at least, in the reselling context, they do). Search engines do not register most emojis, they are unknown characters that disrupt your keyword sequence. They can really harm your rankings.
2. 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 “Glen Check Plaid Periwinkle Duster,” but simple words like “plaid,” “blue,” and “blazer” are commonly searched and SEO-friendly words.
💡Tip: 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 are very interesting stuff!
3. 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 80 characters, and the optimal length is 40-80 characters. Most reselling platforms have title character limitations for this reason.
4. 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 to 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.
💡Tip: Include both slang terms and nicknames as well as the entire brand in your listings. For example, if you’re selling Birkenstock’s, you might also include “Birks'' in your description to expand reach.
5. 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 1. 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.
- Including “Mickey Mouse” will yield higher results in more searches for the popular Disney character.
- While I would recommend including both in your description, “Denim Jacket” yields more results than “jean jacket” based on a quick 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 instead of 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:
- 1990s Style
- Denim Jacket
- Jean Jacket
- Retro, Classic
- American Vintage
- Walt Disney World
- Disney Land
- Disney Characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck among others.
These terms are not long-tail keywords but valuable characters to enhance SEO ranking and exposure.
While an okay title is “Lululemon Wunder Under Crops Jacquard Size 4”, a better one Lululemon Athletica Wunder Under Crop III Maze Jacquard White Black 4” because Lululemon is a coveted and widely-collected brand with buyer loyalty, and when buyers search for that specific model, your listings will appear.
7. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. SEO is not just about words, but also images. Clear, well-lit, high-resolution photographs with a solid, lightly-colored background work best to enhance SEO rankings.
This is why so many resellers use the plain white background, as it is easier for the AI (artificial intelligence) in search engines to differentiate the “subject” of the photo from the “background.” A plain, white background will improve your listings’ rankings in Google.
💡Tip: If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a listing video is worth a million. Listing videos provide more detail and cause your listings to appear in more searches on the marketplaces where they are offered!
Reseller SEO: How to Use Keywords to Maximize Exposure and Make Sales
While photographs and description drop-down fields are important, it is really 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.
💡Tip: On eBay, it’s not about the description but the title and the item specifics! On most others, the description is as important as the title.
Consider the following example listing 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 Size 2 24” Waist. Dark wash mid-rise to high rise flared leg jeans. Slimming jeans with contouring and tummy control. Skinny leg, high waist, quality, perfect fit jeans.
- 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 features tons of additional words that a buyer may type into the search bar, including the designer’s style name and colorway, measurements, materials, and keywords.
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.
💡Tip: Did you notice the promotional language at the bottom of the listing? The verbiage about discounts, shipping, ratings, and my promotional code might help to make sales! Don’t be afraid to include some marketing materials in your listings (in the description or the photographs)
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:
1. Item: What is it?
Don’t forget to include the item! You would be surprised how many listings for dresses on Poshmark do not even include the word “dress.” This is easy to forget, but crucial for SEO.
2. Item Type: What type is it?
Style type is important because that is how buyers search. Consider necklines, hemlines, lengths, or style names. For example, they’re never just “jeans.” They’re skinny jeans, straight-leg jeans, boot-cut jeans, flared jeans, etc.
3. Style Aesthetic: What style is it?
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.
💡Tip: In The Reseller’s Guide to Cores & Style Aesthetics, you will learn about trending styles with examples and hashtag suggestions! This is straight gold if you sell anywhere with hashtags.
4. Age: How old is it?
This is particularly beneficial when something is super old or super new, but especially with vintage. When possible, reference the decade or date period on your vintage listings.
5. Brand: What brand is it?
This is particularly important when the brand is popular. Do not leave the brand to the brand dropdown, but include it in your title and description.
If the brand is unknown or undesirable, highlighting it is not as important.
💡Tip: For uncommon and unknown vintage brands, I recommend that you use the brand “Vintage” (eBay, Poshmark, Grailed) or “American Vintage” (Depop, Mercari)
6. Size and Fit: What size is it, and how does it fit?
Again, people search by size, so it should be written regardless of if it is included elsewhere in a listing dropdown.
If your sizing is unique, be sure to highlight that. For example, items that are maternity, petite, plus size, big and tall size, one size, oversized, “baby fit”, or anything outside of a typical sizing scale, those words are important for searchability.
7. Color: What color is it?
Everyone searches by color. In a listing for a 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 multi-color, you may list every color that appears for maximized searchability.
8. Pattern: Is there a print or pattern?
Similarly, people love styles. Include all relevant adjectives 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: What material is it?
Do not just photograph the material tag on your item; type the words! This is especially important when discussing a trending or desirable material such as linen, velvet, or merino wool.
10. Occasion: Where would one wear this?
Buyers commonly search by occasion or formality, 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 other sellers use 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 that 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.
💡Tip: You will also learn a lot about trending styles, keywords, and hashtags here.
Do you have any SEO or keywording tips or tricks? Share them below! 👇🏽