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The 5 Crucial Factors of eBay Search

By Terapeak  on February 10, 2012

Today we welcome guest blogger Alice Delore! Alice is an education specialist for, an online community of over 95,000 online sellers and retailers. Their product range consists of an online selling course, ecommerce software and their flagship product, a wholesale directory. Salehoo logo Have you ever given much thought to how eBay decides which listings to rank at the top of search results when buyers search for products? Familiarizing yourself with eBay’s search ‘algorithm’, or search system, is one of the more mind-boggling features of the marketplace. It’s also one of the most important features, so let’s take a look at the 5 factors that get your items ranking in eBay and increase your sales! Factor 1: Item Specifics Plenty of eBay sellers skip over selecting item specifics because they don’t understand what they are or how beneficial they can be. Item specifics essentially give you a secondary item title: When buyers search for keywords that do not appear in your title, but do appear in your item specifics, your listings can still rank for the search term. For example, if you are selling baby shoes, your title might be “Baby Shoes Girl Size 2 Pink Sequined Zappos”. Then using item specifics, you can define your baby shoes even further by adding other characteristics such as “soft sole” or other key characteristics that buyers might search for. Factor 2: Product Information eBay’s Product information feature allows you to type a few keywords describing your item into the listing form, and see if eBay has pre-defined information on the item. Not all items will have pre-defined product information, but if there is information for your item, it is essential that you use it. This is simply because eBay has determined from their own research that items with Product Information have much higher rates of success than those items that do not. Don’t worry if eBay has no information for your product, however. There are benefits to having unique product descriptions that are not the same as other sellers. Factor 3: Keywords All sellers understand the importance of using relevant and specific keywords in your item titles and descriptions. Thankfully eBay extended the listing title character from 55 characters to 80 characters in 2011 so we have more room to include the right keywords in our titles. The best way to determine which keywords are best for your item is to think about what you would type into eBay’s search field if you were shopping for it. Factor 4: Sorting search results eBay buyers have the choice on how they sort their search results.eBay Sort Feature Example They can choose from Time: ending soonest, Time: newly listed, Price + Shipping: lowest first, Price + Shipping: highest first, Distance: nearest first and Best Match. It will come as no surprise that “Time: ending soonest” and “Price + shipping: lowest first” are the most popular options among buyers. Having low start prices for auction-format listings and competitive prices on fixed price listings will help to get your items ranking for the price + shipping: lowest first option. Ranking well for the time ending soonest option means knowing what time your items sell and at what time. Getting this data is made easy using the Terapeak Product Research feature which tells you, at a glance, the day of the week and time of the day when the item sells the most. [caption id="attachment_2774" align="aligncenter" width="382" caption="Terapeak Results"]Terapeak results example[/caption] The most important sorting option to have a solid understanding of is Best Match. Best Match is the default sorting option that eBay uses to rank listings, and because only around 20% of eBay users actually change their sorting option to something other than Best Match, it well worth knowing how it works! Factor 5: Best Match According to eBay, Best Match helps buyers find exactly what they are looking for in as little time possible.  There is no magic bullet for getting high rankings in Best Match search results, and it’s just as well! If all the Top Rated Sellers and PowerSellers knew all the secrets, it would make it a lot harder for others to get their share of exposure! The best way to rank well for eBay’s Best Match is to work towards getting your listings matching the following criteria:
  • Offer good prices
  • Keep shipping costs low or offer free shipping where possible
  • Provide buyers with good customer service and maintain high DSRs
  • Work on the 4 factors outlined above (Item Specifics, Product Information, keywords and sorting options).

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