Best Match Secrets Part 2: How products are sorted

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This is the second of a series of three articles looking at how eBay recalls products when a buyer searches eBay, the order those products are presented to buyers, and tips for getting your items to the top of Best Match.

Other parts to this series are:
Best Match Secrets Part 1: Getting found
Best Match Secrets Part 3: 5 Top Tips for Best Match

How Best Match sorts eBay Listings

Looking at a page of search results it’s often difficult to see how or why particular listings are at the top. It’s also important for sellers to realise that if they don’t show up in generic searches, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get less sales. Buyers will invariably refine a broad search to a more specific search and that’s when it’s more important for your listing to be found.

Here is how eBay’s algorithm decides which listings should be at the top of Best Match:

1) Recall

bestmatchsort1When a buyer searches for a product matching listings are recalled from eBay’s servers. These are then split into Auctions and Fixed Price Buy It Now (BIN) listings.

At this stage listings are unsorted in no particular order which isn’t the best way to present them to a potential buyer. eBay will now sort the recall to present the best value items to the buyer.

In these examples good sellers are denoted in green and below standard sellers items are red.

2) Sorting and ordering listings

bestmatchsort2Auctions are now sorted by Time Ending Soonest, this is the traditional sort order on eBay. Generally the most relevant items to buyers are those about to end.

Fixed Price are ordered with the best value items at the top. Currently eBay consider the best value to be the rate at which an item sells. This is measured by popularity – the ratio of the number of sales an item attracts compared to how often it appears in search results.

Any seller who is below standard will be demoted to the bottom of the sort order. There is a hard ceiling above which their listings can never rise. It’s worth noting that this includes auctions, if your listings are being demoted, an auction of yours which is about to end will be below all other auctions, even one newly listed by a standard or above standard seller.

3) Boosts in Search Results

bestmatchsort3Some sellers items will receive higher placement in search results. This can be because you’re a Top Rated Seller, or for offering free shipping.

eBay won’t reveal exactly how much of a boost listings can receive, but they have told us that being a Top Rated Seller is the most important followed by a smaller boost for offering free shipping.

4) Final Sort Order

bestmatchsort4Once the order of Auctions and Fixed Price items is determined the two sets of search results are combined into the final mix presented to the buyer.

Auctions sorted by Time Ending Soonest will be interspersed with Fixed Price listings ordered according to value combined with any boosts in search that the listing has earned.

In the examples it can be seen that all items from below standard sellers appear at the bottom of search results, but in reality they will be at the bottom of the last page of search results, not just on page 2. Depending on the search term this can be many hundreds of pages from the top of search results.

Demotion in search results is the single biggest obstacle to selling on eBay and the impact on sales can be devastating. Even if your product offers great value it needs to be combined with a good buying experience for your item to be ranked highly in search.

Tomorrow, in the final part of Best Match Secrets, we’ll look at five top tips to get your items ranked highly in Best Match.

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