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How to ethically “Hack” eBay Search Engine? | Start Dropshipping in 2020

11 min read

In 2015 I started dropshipping on eBay together with my brother who is a technology expert and a developer, I almost gave up on it quickly after I started because I got frustrated by the amount of manual work we had to do to generate sales. Ofer didn’t give up, he actually made a genius move: he decided to create a software to help us with our daily tasks, those I hated so much, he called it the DSM Tool which stands for Drop Shipping Management Tool, literally what it was for us. 

I never dreamed it would go so so viral and become the #1 most popular software in the eBay dropshipping industry and I am so grateful that it happened. 3.5 years passed since we launched DSM and during that time I got to work with so many wonderful professionals who are just so smart, that is exactly what inspired me to write the secrets I’ve learned of how to generate sales by ethically “hacking” the eBay search engine by using SEO. I honestly believe that in 2020 gaining the basic knowledge of search engine optimization should not be taught in any fancy courses, but should be available for everyone, I hope it inspires you too to start the journey and build your own online business.

What Is eBay SEO? – The “Cassini” Project

eBay is a search-engine based website, you go in, you search for something and you get results sorted by pages. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a technique used by digital marketing experts where they try to rank their products to the first page of the search results for a specific keyword.

There are many parameters that affect the rank of your products for specific keywords and your goal is always to optimize your eBay listings to rank high in the search results.

listing of iphones on ebay

Screenshot from eBay.com

The official name of the search engine of eBay is “Project Cassini”. It is a very advanced very complex to understand. For example, it dynamically changes the rank of the products on the front page for every search depending on both who is selling the product and who is trying to buy the product. Different products can appear on the first page to different buyers. Your success as a seller, in general, can dramatically affect your ranking both positively and negatively.

Start eBay Dropshipping Step By Step

If you look to start dropshipping on eBay, the tasks you will have to perform can be split into 3 groups: Preparation, Optimization, and Performance. Your responsibility in your journey to becoming a digital marketer in general and an eBay dropshipping expert specifically depends on your ability to expertise in all three areas.

Preparation

Any product that you can think of has a life cycle. Think of stores you used to visit in your childhood that doesn’t exist anymore. Now think of stores that did last until today. Do they sell the same products? Most likely they have constantly kept finding new trending and successful products to sell. 

The preparation starts with finding what to sell on eBay dropshipping and preparing it to be published on your eBay store. There are a few different names to pretty much the same product sourcing techniques that are being taught in eBay dropshipping courses. They are usually “sniping”, “optimization” and I even heard of “snoptimization”.

Basically, in all of the popular courses, the product sourcing methods are based on locating other dropshipping sellers who are successful and then sourcing exactly the same products as their best selling products and try to sell them for a bit cheaper. Well, actually that’s not 100% correct. You don’t have to sell it for cheaper, the optimization part is related either optimizing the product details such as the keywords in the title of the product or by trying to source very similar products instead of exactly the same products as your competitors.  

The second most common approach for product sourcing was developed by Nahar Geva, the owner of the eBay analytics software company Zik Analytics who with his team developed a technology that “listens” and records every change that happens on eBay and then let you find trends as they are starting, even if your competitors did not yet find them. It’s a wonderful thing to catch the trend’s wave when it only gets started, think how rich you could get if you’d be among the first ones to put your hands on fidget spinners back in 2017 when it went viral.

Optimization

The word used in digital marketing to describe your potential buyers is “traffic”. Understanding how the traffic for your products behaves is key to your success. For example: If a product of yours is being viewed by many people but isn’t getting purchased, it might be lacking information that your potential buyers are missing. Understanding the relations between the data you see (number of views) and the action that will optimize your sales (adding information to the product description) is basically what the process of optimization is all about.

Moreover, every new eBay account has a limit of only 10 products it can publish, and later as you grow you start paying “insertion fees”  for the products in your store. If you don’t optimize, you are eating off of your own profits.

Because of that, the optimization process that successful dropshipping sellers perform on their account is very similar to what physical store owners do. Think of the supermarket near you, then think of those products they have at the entrance – these are constantly being replaced to increase the sales in the store, whatever isn’t working – is being moved back to the aisles.

Performance

eBay is constantly looking at your performance. From how many people are actually buying what you try to sell them when they view your product to how many of the tracking numbers you’ve been uploading on time. If you want to understand why just look at it from the eyes of the buyers – they don’t know they buy the product from you, they think they buy it on eBay and that’s all they care about. That’s why in the buyer’s eyes your performance is eBay’s performance, and eBay cares a lot about keeping a high performance standard.

The eBay seller dashboard shows most of your performance parameters, but a true eBay SEO “hacker” knows that there are other, hidden parameters that can affect your performance as well. For example, as soon as you start selling one product, other products are starting to gain more views and sales as well.

So performance requires constant optimization, and optimization requires constant preparation. The success isn’t built in one day, but that’s business. I myself have failed many times with many businesses I’ve built, and I will fail again of that I’m sure. But we’re not giving up, we’re entrepreneurs and for us the hard parts of the journey are just another part of it. 

Just a note here about that failures part, I believe that eBay dropshipping is such a great business model to start a first eCommerce business with because it has almost no upfront investments. Unlike many other businesses that require spending money on advertising or investing in inventory or manufacturing and shipping, eBay dropshipping is quite a safe way to start your own online business.

I myself didn’t have any spare money to invest when I started, even the learning part my brother financed. I honestly loved this business model because I didn’t have to risk my tiny savings or take a loan. Putting your family and the people you love at risk by using money you know you’re not supposed to risk to build an online business for the first time is just not right to do, don’t you think?

How to Become Succesful at eBay SEO

In order to be able to become successful at eBay SEO, you must think differently from other people. Most people are linear thinkers, they think that if they do A then B should be the result of it. Successful eBay SEO “hackers” understand that there are many parameters that can bring results and that each parameter affects all of the others.

types of oriented thinkingEvent oriented thinking vs. systems thinking, explanation and image by Kurosch Khazaeli

How to Build a System for Success

Building a system for success requires you first to commit to the process. You have to believe that you can do it. Many people fail to do dropshipping, many people don’t manage to figure out the systematic approach that is required to hack eBay SEO and many people just don’t care about their customers (they fail the “performance” stage).

You can see them in comments on Youtube videos and angry Facebook posts. They will keep saying that eBay dropshipping is dead (I hear it since 2015) and that you can’t make money online. Don’t get me wrong, if you see an advertisement that shows a beach and a cocktail you are being lied to (otherwise what am I doing writing this article instead of drinking a White Russian in a casino in Vegas?). 

The system for success requires dedication and it requires to invest some of your time in learning, no matter if you only have one hour or ten hours per day. It also requires you to lower your expectations because it can take some time before you start seeing profits, time is probably the number one factor for frustration for those who fail in making money from eBay SEO hacking.

Why is it so important that you will commit? Mostly because eBay dropshipping is only the beginning. As you grow and start understanding how traffic works, how to plan, optimize and measure performance for your eBay store a world of new opportunities will open up for you. You will be able to start giving services for other eBay sellers, start selling on your own website using Shopify or even manufacture and own your own brand and sell it on Amazon.

Get Started With eBay Dropshipping In 7 Days

Probably the best part about eBay dropshipping is how easy it is to get started with it. Unlike any other business, you can start generating sales usually within 7-14 days. It only takes one thing, remember? Commitment.

This is why I have prepared for you simple steps to follow so that you could get started as well!

Step 1: Join DSM Tool

That’s the easiest one. Just register at www.dsmtool.com the free plan has no time limit, so there is literally not a single reason you won’t do it. Once you register, connect your eBay store and you will start getting a series of emails that will help you set up suppliers for your store, find what to sell, and list your first item!

Go on, register now!

After you completed your registration with DSM Tool you will have to complete the initial account setup, you can follow the guide on how to set up DSM Tool for eBay Dropshipping in the help center.

Step 2: Join the #dropshipperschallange

The #dropshipperschallange is part of the free learning section in the DSM Tool Facebook community! During the challenge you go step-by-step through the process that will help you gain the expertise you need to start dropshipping yourself, basically, within a few days most of the people who take is seriously should already make their first sale!

Step 3: List your first item

Look, just like you, I work the same way to optimize our success with the DSM Tool software. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you get to start your own successful business as well, right? OK so listen, here is what I have learned over the years: The one main reason that makes people succeed is taking an action.

You have just read the entire article, you have already invested your time in your success. Now it’s our turn to invest in you as well. After you finish the registration part, and you join the Facebook community, your next step is to actually list the very first item on eBay.

For that, we’ve prepared for you the complete guide on how to list the very first product on your eBay dropshipping store with DSM Tool. You will probably get done with it faster than you think, it’s really simple! eBay dropshipping is probably the easiest way to start your online business. Because I know how simple it is, the first thing that we’ll talk about after you make some sales is how to expand your business and generate income from other channels while your eBay dropshipping operation is automated and you don’t need to spend that much time on it, but to get here you have to first list that first item, right?

So as I said, my turn was to provide you with the information and the tools you need to get started, now – it’s your turn.

Written by Kfir Shapira

Kfir is a Co-Founder and the CEO of DSM Tool. He is working with eBay since 2008 and 8 years later in 2016 joined the founding team of a revolutionary drop shipping management platform - DSM Tool. He has a B.A in Business and Entrepreneurship from IDC Herzeliya. Kfir also plays the drums and owns a dog named "Bamba".

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