Now that most of my shipping tips are out of the way, I thought it would make sense to move on to the eBay “Sell Your Item” form and work our way down. The Item Title is one of the most important aspects of your eBay listing because it’s one of the only ways buyers will be able to find your item. Usually, when a buyer searches for an item, all of the words they search for must be present in your title in order for your item to show up in their search results. Because each Item Title is limited to only 55 characters, the words you pick are of the utmost importance. Here are some tips to guarantee that your item will be seen by as many buyers as possible.
First, here’s some general advice:
1. Never use words that a buyer is not likely to search for. Words like “Awesome,” “Rare,” and “Great Deal!!” do not belong in an item title because a buyer will never search for them and find your item.
2. Always use as close to the full 55 characters as possible. There is always another useful keyword that can be added.
3. If the item is new, make “New” or “NWT” the first word in the title. This also helps raise visibility in “Best Match Search because new items are favored in search.
4. I Recommend Capitalizing the First Letter of Each Word in the Title. This calls attention to the item while not “yelling” at the buyer. Never use all lowercase letters – it looks sloppy and gives the appearance that you are not interested in the item or the sale.
5. If a word has an abbreviated form that the buyer may search for, use both the abbreviated and written out form of the word. For example, if you’re selling a St. Patrick’s Day shirt, you’ll want to include both “Saint” and “St.” in the title because it’s possible buyers will only search for one or the other. If a buyer searches for “Saint Patrick’s” and you only have “St. Patrick’s” in your title your item is not going to show up in the buyer’s search results. Also note that eBay ignores most punctuation in Item Titles. If your title is “Patricks” and a buyer searches for “Patrick’s” with the apostrophe the item will still display in the buyer’s results and vice versa.
6. If the retail price of the item is much more than the asking price consider including it near the beginning of the title. It should only take up about 4 characters, like $580 for example. As you might have guessed, buyers are always looking for a bargain and this is an easy way to indicate that your item is what they’re looking for at a good price.
7. It is no longer necessary to include both the singular and plural form of words. For example, if a buyer searches for “American Apparel shirts” they will see all of the items that have “shirts” as well as “shirt” in the title, so including one or the other as appropriate in your title will suffice.
Next, I recommend doing a little research to find out what titles and keywords are most likely to bring the highest price. I’ll be using the same Xbox 360 example as I used in the Raising Visibility in “Best Match Search” Guide. The easiest way to do this is to search completed listings. To do this, identify the most general keyword or phrase that a buyer is likely to search for and enter it into search. I used “Xbox 360.” Scroll down the page a bit and look on the left side for “Completed Listings” and click it. You’ll have to be signed in to view these so do so if necessary.
Take a look at what titles and keywords other sellers are using to describe the item. Make sure to note if the price the item sold for is green, red, or black. Green indicates a sale, red indicates that the item did not sell at auction, and black indicates an item did not sell as a “fixed price” listing. Once you start to get an idea, go to the top of the screen and choose “Price + Shipping Highest First” from the “Sort by” menu.
Don’t get too excited if there are some items that sold for thousands of dollars. These auctions likely included extras. Skip as many pages as it takes until you get to the specific item you’re selling and take note of what titles and keywords sold for the highest amount. There’s nothing wrong with using the exact same title someone else has used in the past, but I recommend mixing up the words or tweaking it a bit so buyers don’t get confused and think your item is one they’ve already seen. It’s also a good idea to check out the auctions that did well and note how they describe and display the item in words and pictures. Also take note of auction duration and ending time. Finally, check to see if you can figure out where the buyer is located. Many times an auction that sells for a higher price than usual is purchased by a bidder in a country prone to scamming. Try to emulate these same methods in your own listing and you should be just as successful.
Terapeak Title Builder is another useful tool available for free from Terapeak. Start with the general keyword or phrase you used from the last section and enter it. Terapeak will randomly select 100 listings with that word or phrase and tell you how many of those listings include a variety of other keywords. It also shows the price those items sold for with the additional keywords listed. It’s a little deceptive because a keyword could indicate a completely different item from what you’re selling. For example, if you add “Elite” to “Xbox 360” you come up with a completely different item than the regular Xbox 360 console we have available for sale. Be careful here, but it might give you an idea of some extra words to include if you have some extra space in your title and can’t think of anything else to add.
Finally, BayEstimator is a tool available from eBay Research Labs that is helpful because it actually uses eBay search technology to help you create the best title possible. It’s a little bit complicated to pick up so I’ll let you look over their instructions and FAQ yourself rather than try to paraphrase here. I would only recommend BayEstimator if you are a seasoned seller or otherwise have an unhealthy curiosity for eBay search technology. It’s also unclear if it has been updated with new information since May of 2008. Nonetheless, it may be interesting to check it out. New sellers could probably spend their time learning more valuable techniques.
The goal is to create a title filled with keywords and phrases that buyers are most likely to search for, as well as one that eBay thinks buyers are most interested in. The trick is to think about what words you would use to search for the item and then put those words in the title. Along with that, you want to include keywords other people would search for as well. Use the techniques above to help you get a feel for what those keywords might be. Once you master that, you’ll be one step closer to maximizing hits on your items.