Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

How eBay Best Match Search Works

In my ebook about writing better auction descriptions, I included a section on how best match searches work. This is important to know because it's the default search method, and if you do something that lowers your listing's visibility, people won't ever even see your title, much less your description. Below is excerpted from the eBook:

First lets look at how eBay's search engine works. The search engine on eBay will return any listing that contains the searched words. If you use the words twice, you don't get any advantage.

The default search is used in the overwhelming majority of searches. It brings up only listings with the keywords in the title, and orients them based on eBay's "Best Match" algorithm.

The Best Match algorithm orients search results based on the following factors:
  1. Nearness to a completed sale. This means auctions ending soon are mixed in with Buy-It-Now listings. (EBay may suppress auctions without bids that end within 15 minutes of the time the search was done.)
  2. Buy-It-Now listings are moved to the top of search results based on the likelihood of sales. This means that if buyers who have searched for those same words bought an item in the past, it will appear at -- or near -- the top in future searches.
  3. Buy-It-Now listings are moved down if they have a poor sales history. This seems to be weighted more by seller than by item. For example if two sellers list the same item at the same price, the seller who has sold them in the past will get his listing shown.
  4. Auction listings without bids that are repeats of previous auctions that didn't get bids may not be shown at all.
  5. At this time (July 2012) eBay seems to be working towards including shipping and handling charges, shipping handling times, and return policies into the best match results. Right now these factors only apply in the most competitive searches for new merchandise.

There's more in the chapter on how buyers search, but unless you are competing based only on price, your only concerns from a search point of view are maintaining a good sell through rate, listing in the best categories, and using the best keywords in your titles.

You can read the whole chapter and the rest of the book here.

Let me shift gears here.

There is an article on ecommercebytes.com about eBay's best match. The article quotes an eBay representative talking about best match:

Hoff said time ending soonest continues to be a factor for auction listings, however, there are others. "How important it is can vary under different circumstances and at different times. Many factors are considered in ranking listings including seller track record, competitive pricing (including shipping cost), and the relevance of the listing in relation to what the buyer is looking for."

This is not much different than my explanation above.

What is different is the reaction.

On the ecommerce site readers can post comments. The majority of comments are complaints. There isn't much in the way of helpful advice or feedback, it's mostly just people venting about how their businesses are suffering.

I understand that sometimes venting can be a way to clear your mind, but after venting adults move on and start working on making improvements.

When I write my newsletter, my goal isn't to collect complaints. It's to provide you with information you can use to improve your results.

Here's a comment from a newsletter reader:

"Terry is the single best source I've found to keep myself out of trouble and into profit with the never ending changes on eBay."
-- Dave Bross

Look at the best match material I provided above. Basically eBay has confirmed they are suppressing auctions without bids in best match searches.

What's that mean for you as a seller?

It means you have to be more diligent in crafting your titles and your descriptions to increase your chances of the viewers bidding.

After all, it really only takes TWO people to get a good price in an eBay auction.

With a smaller pool of people seeing your listings, you must do a better job of selling to the people who do look at them.

That means you pay more attention to your auction titles and keywords, the categories, and your descriptions.

These are all things you can improve.

In fact, that's what my new book is designed to do. Help you improve your sales so you don't even miss the extra exposure you're missing as eBay changes to a swap mart filled with useless garbage.

Get your copy here.

Terry


Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

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