Optimizing Your eBay Title

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Optimizing Your eBay Auction's Title

If you aren't already aware of this, you should know that the words included in your auction title are what get indexed into eBay's search engine.

Very simply, this means that when anybody performs a search on eBay the words that are in your auction title are what determine whether or not your listing will appear in the search results.

When I worked at eBay, one nice lady repeatedly complained that her auctions were not appearing in the search results. I took a look at several of her auction titles, then ran a search for them using eBay's search.

Consequently, her listings appeared just as they were supposed to.

I informed the seller that I searched for the words in her auction title and her listing came up just like it should. The seller then berated me for my lack of understanding regarding her complaint.

"Of course you can find the auction!" she angrily told me. "You looked at my auction and know what to search for!"

As I gave a quizzical look and tried to figure out the woman's complaint, she continued.

"What about all the people who don't know what's in my auction title? How are they supposed to find it?" She concluded, "I want my auction to show up when someone searches for flower pots!"

"Ah!" I said to myself. "She just doesn't understand how eBay's search works."

I then proceeded to explain to her that if she wanted her auction to appear when certain words were searched for, she would have to include those words in her title. If you don't include the words "flower" and "pots", then of course your listing won't appear when somebody searches for "flower pots".

Search engines work by searching for the specific keywords that a person enters into it. If your auction title doesn't contain those specific keywords, then it won't show up in the search results. And if your auction doesn't show up in the search results, it's very unlikely that it will get any bids.

So let's get right to it and discuss how we can optimize what is arguably the most important real estate on your auction: the auction title.

Choosing and Using High Traffic Keywords

First and foremost, include as many of the keywords and key phrases as you can that you believe potential buyers will be searching for.

A good exercise to help you out with this is to write down as many of the keywords and key phrases that you think anybody looking to buy your item might search for. When you've got a good list, rank them in order of importance.

For example, if I were to try and sell a cell phone, I would probably consider the manufacturer and model number among the most important keywords, whereas the key phrase "really cool phone" might end up lower on my list.

What you don't want to do is load up your auction title with a jumbling of keywords that doesn't make sense. Make sure your title reads well first. If you have room, include any additional keywords at the end of your title.

For example, this is a much better title to use…

Sliding Cell Phone by Samsung SGH-E635 w/ camera flash

…than this:

cell cellular sliding camera phone flash color lcd e635

That jumble of keywords might get your listing to show up in more search results, but you'll receive far fewer page views because nobody can understand what it is your selling, especially if they are just skimming through the listings.

The key is to think like a buyer. If you were looking to buy the item you're selling, what would you search for? When you look through the search listings for a particular product, what title would you be most likely to click on?

You have space to enter 55 characters in your auction title. Try not to waste it with characters or words that nobody will ever search for, such as "L@@K!" If you really do run out of words to use, then using attention grabbers like that aren't always a bad idea. But considering you're only given 55 characters, you should rarely be short on useful words.

Here's a little tool you might find handy: It's the Keyword Discovery keyword research tool. By entering a keyword into the Keyword Discovery search tool, you'll be presented with several related keyword phrases. What makes this tool so handy is that it will tell you the popularity of a specific keyword on across several search engine networks.

Take a look below at the example for "flower pot":

As you can see, the term "flower pot" is fairly popular. But the important thing to note here is that many people also searched for flower pots made of a specific material. Based on this knowledge, you'll probably want to include the material your flower pot is made out of in your auction title.

Taking Advantage of Misspellings

One more thing you should consider is including common misspellings of certain keywords. You should only do this if you've got the room (and, of course, should be considered before using attention getters like "L@@K!"). Most people will know how to spell what it is that they're looking for. But if anybody mistypes or has a slip of the finger, you're auction could be the only one that shows up in the results, effectively eliminating the competition.

Use misspellings with care. In the case of "flowre", it's probably not popular enough to warrant using. However, there are rare times when it is better to choose a misspelling over the proper spelling as indicated by the following story:

Toward the end of the last century, a lot of people were selling end-of-the millennium paraphernalia. The interesting thing was that almost nobody knew how to correctly spell the word "millennium." As such, nearly everybody that was looking for millennium items searched for "millenium" (one "n" instead of two).

Smart sellers put both spellings in their title, but if there wasn't room it was better to intentionally misspell "millennium" than to use the correct spelling.

Avoid "Keyword Spamming"

While using misspellings in your auction title is okay, one thing you want to avoid is using keywords that you think will drive traffic to your auction, but don't actually describe the item you're selling. This is considered "keyword spamming" and can get your auction removed by the eBay police.

Here's a quick example to let you know exactly what I'm talking about here.

I used to sell a lot of GPS units, in particular the Garmin StreetPilot 2620. A good title for that item might be:

Garmin StreetPilot 2620 GPS navigator unit for your car

That's 55 characters exactly, and does a good job of describing what it is I was selling. The following title would be considered keyword spamming:

Garmin StreetPilot 2620 GPS, like Magellan Roadmate 700

If the eBay cops were to see that, my auction would have gotten pulled right away. This is because the words "Magellan Roadmate 700" have nothing to do with the item being sold. It is considered particularly bad because the name of a manufacturer is being used that is not related to the item being sold.

The reason eBay frowns on keyword spamming is because it lessens the shopping experience for buyers. Personally, I hate it when I search for "poker chips" and I get a bunch of listings for poker tables from all the keyword spammers. If I was interested in a table, I would search for it! It's just one more thing I have to sift through to try and find what I'm really looking for.

eBay's policy on keyword spamming is also very advantageous to you as a seller. By stopping keyword spammers, it prevents other sellers from encroaching on your territory (for example, a seller selling a Magellan Roadmate trying to steal away buyers searching for your Garmin StreetPilot).

Additionally, it means people who find your auction are highly qualified in that they are people who searched specifically for what you have.

Understanding How eBay's Search Engine Works

To fully understand how to take advantage of your auction title and best optimize it for eBay's search engine, you have to understand how it works from a searcher's point of view.

Learn more about how to use eBay's search.

So we've established that your auction title is one of the most important parts to getting traffic to your listing. But your job is hardly finished.

In the end, no matter what you are selling, always remember:

Think Like the Buyer

As a seller, you should never forget that cardinal rule.

Next: Make Your Auction Listing Stand Out


Optimizing Your Auction Title
Make Your Auction Listing Stand Out
Cross Promotion
Bait and Hook (NOT bait and switch!)
Buying Traffic Through Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
Getting Listed in Search Engines
Chapter 1 Summary & Takeaways

Jump to another chapter:

Chapter 1: Driving Traffic to Your Auction Listing
Chapter 2: Listing for Higher Profits
Chapter 3: Does Any of this Stuff Work?
Chapter 4: eBay Stores
Chapter 5: Auction Management
Chapter 6: What to Sell on eBay
Chapter 7: Finding Products to Sell on eBay
Chapter 8: Mining eBay's Traffic
Chapter 9: HTML Tutorial
Chapter 10: Acting Like a PowerSeller
Chapter 11: Final Words