eBay Tips 2008: Review Your Titles

No primary category set

The first theme I want to explore in ‘eBay Tips 2008’ is getting the fundamentals right by going ‘Back to Basics’.

The most important part of your eBay listing is the title. Why? It’s how buyers find you. To succeed you need to ensure that your titles are 55 characters of sexed up keyword bliss. Of course, other factors do influence your eBay findability, but if someone is searching eBay for something to buy (and remember that the vast majority of buyers do search rather than browse) they probably won’t find your item unless your title includes the search keywords they enter in to eBay’s search engine.

There is always room for improvement when it comes to your titles and your first step is to understand what’s working. To find out the keywords driving traffic to your items, use the Keywords Information in your eBay Traffic Report. It it’s working, make sure you keep doing it.

Stating the Obvious

You’re close to what you’re selling and probably well-versed in the specialist terms related to your wares but your buyers may not be and by omitting the obvious you might be losing viewers. A divan is still a bed. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles is still a CD. For inspiration check out pulse; it’s a good tool to make sure that you’re playing to the gallery.

Use Every Space

If you aren’t using every space available in your Item Title, you aren’t trying hard enough. Don’t forget that words like ‘new’ are valid terms and if you have space do include alternatives. Doctor and Dr. TV and Television. Plurals are worth considering too.

Needless to say, if you haven’t filled every space, splashing out on a Subtitle is a waste of money. In any case, remember that Subtitles aren’t searched by default by the eBay search engine.

Not Nice

Nice. Beautiful. Charming. Lovely. Pretty. Attractive. Good words but bad for Titles. Your Title is less about describing the item you’re selling and more about dragging in the eyeballs: you have the Item Description to wax lyrical. Your Title needs to be crammed full of what people are searching for. Go for brands, types and specs. Retro is better than old. Art Deco (where it’s relevant) better than ‘thirties’.

Tomorrow: What’s in a Username?

Visit Dan at wilsondan.co.uk.

27 Responses

  1. Don’t forget that words like ‘new’ are valid terms
    I think it’s worth pointing out that this goes only if the item *is* new. “Nearly new”, “like new” and other similar phrases are keyword spamming and will get your listing pulled.

    Go for brands, types and specs.
    So long as they are relevent to the item you’re selling, of course. In the case of brands, that means being the actual brand, not being like it, or ripped off from it, or possibly something that someone who likes that brand might also like. 😀

  2. Ah ha: should I have mentioned keyword spamming. Yup, don’t do it! But even that might not be enough to save you from an over-zealous customer support rep. ;O)

    The best reason not to do keyword spamming is that it doesn’t work. You might show up in more searches but you won’t make the additional sales. It’s a bad experience for buyers and it says something about you as a seller (ie you’re a shady sheister).

    At no point will I suggest you break eBay’s rules, sail close to them perhaps…

  3. also if you use a plural then eBay will also pull out entries using a singular, although not the other way around. So don’t waste space doubling up, you can just use the plural if it is relevant.

  4. Quite right. But if you lack inspiration, slam in the singular. It’s definitely worth checking on that though Josordoni, especially on irregular plurals.

  5. I use Marketplace Research for my buying price estimations, and I am often surprised (pleasantly) at the way eBay can work out plurals and singulars!

  6. If you are going to use a manufacturers name in the title, I think it will be an advantage to spell it correctly.

    I regularly have a little chuckle at one of my competitors who spells the manufacturer’s name incorrectly even though the name is on the front of the machine.

    Apart from it not being found in searches, it doesn’t look very professional.

  7. The thing of course Owen, is that sometimes it helps to spell the name wrongly as well as correctly, as a lot of people don’t know how to spell and will put the wrong spelling in their searches..so if you spell it incorrectly as well as correctly, you will pick up those badly spelt searches as well. I tend to keep my title correct, but will sometimes add in an “alternative” spelling in the listing description.

    Wedgwood and Wedgewood is one example… in fact eBay have it spelt wrongly in some categories (yes, I have pointed it out to them several times… no it didn’t have any effect…)

  8. Owen: hehe. My personal favourite is bakelite. So many variants to be found. Bakelite, bakerlite, bakalite, bakerlight, bakolte, bakelight….

  9. I cant think of a more useful tip, title content is the single most important selling tool on ebay, dont matter what you add or do after, if they dont find you .they cant buy it

  10. It doesn’t make any difference to the searchability, whether a title is capitalised or not. It can be a good way of helping your Titles stand out in Serach and Browse results.

    Don’t forget that capitalisation is considered to be shouting online and that capitalising only some of your title can be more impactful.

  11. capitalising only some of your title can be more impactful

    This is correct, though I’d question whether “impactful” is actually a word 😉

    Capitalised *can* help your titles stand out in search results, but it can also make them unreadable, and if you have a Shop full of all-capitals titles, it really *is* completely unreadable. Use capitals sparingly. “….. SALE!” certainly works 😀

  12. Correction: “…capitalising only some of your title can have greater impact.”

    Thanks Sue, the woman who tought me: “embiggen”.

  13. But I like “impactful”…..

    it has a lot of …mmmmm….. impact!

    but seriously, folks, I have always used caps for titles and headlines. I have always found them easier to read than u/l for headlines, whilst I hate all caps for anything longer than a dozen words.

    But now after Sue’s comment about unreadability in the shop, I am wondering… I shall have to experiment with caps mixed with u/l…

  14. Lynne,

    I think it looks alright in your Shop when the titles are in caps… when there is a gallery pic. When a run if items that don’t have gallery, I find it a little dense.


  15. Whereas I think it makes for horrible readability even with gallery pix. There’s not necessarily an über-right answer to everything 😀

  16. What I might try is to use caps for the salient words, and leave the descriptives in u/l. So for example I have:


    That would make it:

    GOUDA Pottery Holland PZH Windmill CLOG 1946

    Now somehow I skip more words in the 2nd than in the first one… Sue? How is it for you?

  17. I think the capital works well most times, but I have been listing in lowercase for so bloody long ,I drive myself nuts meaning to hit caps lock and forgetting

  18. Well, doing back to how is it for me – yes, of course you skip more in the mixed caps than the all caps. If it’s all caps, you have to read it all – if it’s mixed, you read the words in caps first. That’s the point: if you have a page full of all-caps titles, your eye doesn’t pick out anything, whereas if it has certain words highlighted in caps, it *will* read them.

    I don’t think you can judge the result from one line: you need to read a whole stack of listings altogether to really get the effect.

  19. Thanks for all your comments. Interesting that like us no-one has a particular view one way or the other.

    We have tried both and it didn’t seem to make any difference either way so maybe we’ll try mixing it up a bit and see what happens.

    We do capitalise SALE, NEW, BNWT, etc and that does seem to work well but maybe ‘CROCS WELLIES size 11 blue’ or something similar would work! (if only Crocs allowed sales on ebay in the first place!) :o)



Repeat Buyers flagged in eBay orders


Start listing on eBay as 1st step to a new business


How to offer free post discounts on eBay with multi-buy discounts


Sellers add eBay Multi-buy listings to 12 million UK listings in 3 weeks


Etsy CEO on selling vintage: a ‘real treasure of Etsy’

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars