How To Write An Effective eBay Title


What is an effective online auction title?

To answer this, we first need to establish what we are trying to achieve:

  • High Search Rankings?
  • Increased Click Through Rate (CTR)?
  • Increased Conversion Rate?

If it’s a high ranking you want to achieve, then stuffing the title with keywords is likely to help, but at detriment to the click through rate. Is someone really going to want to click on a bunch of keywords, without a clear indication of the item they are about to see? Possibly, but if the listing that the customer is taken to is not as relevant as perhaps the keywords suggested, then you’ve directly affected your conversion rate.

Writing an effective auction title isn’t just about choosing a string of words that you think will best describe a product, it requires research, understanding, planning, product knowledge and testing.

There’s a great deal of work that goes into search engine optimisation (SEO), and eBay is no exception. eBay’s primary function is to sell product, and to do that, it needs to bring buyers and sellers together. It does this by offering a searchable database of items being sold, directly to a buyer. The key here is ‘searchable’, it’s no good if a store has millions of items to choose from, if a customer cannot find the item they want, there’s no way they can browse millions of items.

eBay’s search method searches the ‘Listing Title’ of all the items in its database. It can also search within the description of the item by ticking a checkbox, however this option is off by default and in my experience rarely used, if only as a last resort.

To create a successful title, you need to do plenty of research on your products, look at them from a buyer’s point of view, what would you look for when purchasing the product, what do you need, or want to know?

This requires you to know your target audience!

If a seller were to describe a product using technical jargon that a potential customer may never have heard of, the likelihood is that the customer will not find the product in a search query, as they will be using more common keywords or phrases.

Are you targeting a demographic that may use more abbreviations or slang for search terms? You need to know your product, research Title Keywords and Research Sold Listings.

Avoid using abbreviations and symbols. Use men or mens instead of men’s, as an apostrophe will be ignored anyway.Symbols are simply ignored and treated as spaces, e.g. apersand, slashes etc.

Think like a buyer. Do you know exactly what you’re looking for?Are you browsing a range to determine what you want?

Think like other sellers. Compare yourself to your competition, what works for them, what doesn’t work for them?

Be Specific. Use as much detail as possible, use model numbers and brand names, but stay relevant. Avoid common ‘stop words’.

Maximise eBay character limits, use every character available where possible. The new limit (since August 2011) is 80 characters. Make Titles Relevant by using descriptive keywords that clearly convey what you are selling. Include your item’s brand name, artist, or designer. State exactly what your item is, even if your title repeats the category name, but never include words like ‘wow’ or ‘look’. Buyers don’t search for words like these.

Avoid Keyword Spamming. Never use words that have no relevance to the product being sold. This is seen as misrepresentation, is against eBay rules and only confuses and frustrates a buyer.

While being as specific as possible is good, it is important not to focus on proper sentences, or (as discussed above), punctuation marks such as commas, exclamation points, and dashes – they do not affect the eBay search engine and waste critical space. If you do use a second title line you might try adding common misspellings to your ads, since the searches will turn those up as well.

Strengths and Weaknesses. It’s no good selling a TV as ‘Brand New in Box’ if you’ve already dropped it and chipped the corner! All this would lead to, is a complaint, a return, bad feedback, and an unhappy customer. It’s much better to describe such an item in detail, including its faults. Use close-up photos to show the true extent of any damage.

You’re much more likely to sell a product with a detailed description. The customer will appreciate your honesty and not be shocked when the item arrives is a non-mint condition. Many customers will be happy to purchase a soiled item in the knowledge that the purchase price is reduced.

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