1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Get the Title Right

Pay attention to your listing titles; they're a big part of selling success


A large amount of time and effort are spent on listing optimization by most eBay sellers, including things like market research and statistics, sourcing and pricing, photos and descriptions, and listing terms.

One important aspect of your sales pitch, however, is often overlooked: the title of your auction listings. The title of your auction listings is central to:

  • The chances that eBay buyers will bother to click on your auction when they see it in a list of search results

  • The chances that eBay will show your item in the first place in a list of given search results

Remember in particular that eBay doesn't by default search item descriptions—only item titles. Buyers or prospective bidders have to check an extra box and re-run their search in order to get search results based on both titles and descriptions. Therefore, as a seller, your first line of attack in trying to find bidders/buyers is making sure that your title turns up in as many relevant searches as possible.

Correct Spelling, Correct Terms

The first and most important property of a good listing title is the fact that the following accurateinformation is included and correctly spelled:

  • Brand name/manufacturer (i.e. item make)

  • Item type or typical market name (i.e. item model)

  • Most common slang/"everyday speech" name (if applicable)

  • Condition ("NIB" for "new in box," "MINT" or "NEW" for new without box, "LIKE NEW" or "LN" for nearly new, "EX" or "EXCELLENT" for great condition, "USED" or "REFURBISHED" for other conditions, "AS-IS" for AS-IS items)

The vast majority of items sold on eBay are originally searched for using a combination of these terms—make/model, common name (i.e. "mobile phone" in addition to "Apple iPhone"), and condition.

Additional Keywords, Compatibilities, Affinities

A great, searchable title doesn't just stop at these terms, however. A really powerful listing title also anticipates the other things that users might be searching for that are related to the item you're selling. Amongst these things are:

  • Compatibilities. For example, "PlayStation 2" in addition to "Silent Hill Video Game," "mp3 music player" in addition to "Creative Muvo," or "83-85 Taurus" in addition to "Ford Headlights, Part no...."

  • Extra features. For example, "with accessories," "includes optional recharger," "all original," or "just rebuilt."

  • Auction specials. For example, "free shipping," "warranty available," or "includes installation."
As you build your listing title, try to imagine the sorts of things that you might search for if you were a user looking for the item in question. Assume, for example, that there are hundreds of pages of the item in question for sale on eBay. How would you narrow down the search if you were buying? What keywords would you add to the search if you were a buyer that might apply to the item that you are selling?

Read on to see a few before-and-after examples that will help to illustrate the types of changes that can turn poor item titles into effective ones.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.