eBay Flexible Page Search Engine and Design Optimizations

Problem

eBay has thousands of flexible pages that are used for a variety of use cases including: browsing eBay categories, hosting content for specific holidays or seasons, highlighting trends & interests, and other ad hoc pages.

These pages were built for flexibility of design and easy, quick deployments to the website. In order to achieve this, the pages were built to host various types of image banners containing custom content with links. This was great for the original intent of flexible pages, but over time it became difficult to maintain a standardized user experience. Furthermore, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) suffered from slow page load times (due to massive images) and the lack of crawlable text.

Solution

The Verticals Product Team in coordination with the SEO Product Team spent time identifying top use cases for eBay’s flexible pages, then set out to build integrated content modules to support these use cases. By building dedicated modules, the teams were able to create a standardized user experience, and build content designed for improved SEO in order to improve eBay’s ranking search engines.

The new modules built for the flexible pages are:

  1. Deals Strip — Exhibits top deals on eBay for a specific category
  2. Sales & Events Strip — Displays ongoing Sales & Events on eBay
  3. Visual Categories — Presents eBay Categories in an engaging manner
  4. Collections — Showcases groupings of curated eBay items
  5. Guides — Promotes interesting and informative content relevant to eBay categories and inventory

The solution for improving the flexible browse pages took more than simply identifying the problem and isolating specific modules to build. It also involved coordinating business units across the globe to adopt new formats for their merchandised content and swiftly introduce the specific content types on thousands of curated pages. In order to simplify this process, the teams created a project that details specific templates and patterns for utilizing modules on flexible pages. This effort involved multiple product teams, all business units, merchandisers, the design team, as well as the creative and marketing teams. The various parties developed the proper page formats and guidelines with a combination of their expertise in eBay and verticals along with data from current and past page performance.

The Magic

The Before — Home & Garden Category Page from Q4 2015

The Before — Home & Garden Category Page from Q4 2015

The After (Desktop) — Home & Garden Category Page from Q3 2016

The After (Desktop) — Home & Garden Category Page from Q3 2016

The After (Mobile) — Home & Garden Category Page from Q3 2016

The After (Mobile) — Home & Garden Category Page from Q3 2016

Metrics

I cannot share these. But it was a positive improvement in SEO Visibility globally.

As seen on my website: http://www.alexjmeyers.com/blog/2016/8/16/ebay-flexible-page-search-engine-and-design-optimizations