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eBay Auction Title Tips

This is the fourth in a series of articles about eBay keywords. In the previous articles we looked at Selecting eBay Auction Categories And Keywords, eBay Keyword rules, and Finding eBay Keywords. In Finding eBay Keywords, we also put together simple titles based on the words we discovered in our searches.

This article contains eBay title tips and assumes you've read the previous articles.

New Longer eBay Auction Titles

In October 2011, eBay increased the length of auction titles to 80 characters. This means you can get more words into the title, and if you add additional words buyers may use to search for your item, you can get more viewers.

That's pretty simple, but there's more to it than that.

Bad eBay Titles

Earlier this week I found an auction for a neat little cast iron fence on eBay I thought would look good on my toy train layout. The seller hadn't included the size in the description or put anything into his photos so I could guess the height of the fence.

So I sent him a question and he responded that the size was listed in the title of the auction.

(Note: He would have done better to just tell me the size, but this isn't an article on how to be a courteous eBay seller so I'll just move on.)

I hadn't seen it, but when I looked at the listing again, the size was there in the auction title. It was at the end.

I use this as an example of people not reading the entire title. We tend to scan from the left to right, and make a decision based on the first few words. This means the first few words are the most important.

Shorter Titles Still Shown On eBay

In the watched items view eBay only shows the first 55 characters. So once a prospect watches your item, he will only see the first 55 characters unless he clicks on the link.

If you are cross promoting your listings so buyers click on a link to see your other listings, that page also only shows 55 characters of the auction title.

Also many eBay searches are cut off at 55 characters. And many eBay affiliates who are running scripts have them set up to display only the first 55 characters.

In all of these cases, someone who clicks on a shortened title link is unlikely to read the title again.

So to sum this up, add more words to your titles, but use the most important keywords first.

eBay Auction Titles and Searches

Most eBay searches are done for title only (That's the default search) so you must include the most valuable words in your title. In the example above with the cast iron fence, the seller was correct to put the size at the end of the title, but should have included a size statement in the description and/or a recognizable reference item in the photos. (I use a 9-volt battery, others use coins or even rulers.)

eBay Title Examples

eBay auction titles shouldn't be sentences. Instead run keywords in a list. Here's some examples of eBay titles that are only keywords:

  • Lionel 50 Gang Car from 1950s Postwar
  • Stangl Pottery Double Bluebird 3276D
  • Hubley 456 Horse Cast Iron 10" Doorstop w/ Original Paint

Notice all of the auction titles above have the brand name first. Two of them have the catalog number second, the Stangl brid has the mold number last because they are searched by the name "Double Bluebird" not the number. Extra keywords are put in the rear of the title like "from 1950s Postwar" and "Original Paint."

The word "with" is abbreviated as "w/" to save space because no one will search on eBay for the word. You can also use common eBay abbreviations in your titles. That page has a list of them along with their meanings.

In the last example I added condition information to the end. You should usually add condition information to your eBay titles. If your item is in exemplary condition, you'll want to move the condition statement to the front of the title.

NOTE: Don't use the words "like new" as a condition statement in your title. More on Using The Word Like In eBay Titles.

If you use tracking numbers in your titles, they go at the very end.

Filling Up eBay Titles

Here's some things you should only use in your eBay titles if you have room left over AFTER using important keywords:
  • L@@K
  • NICE
  • Rare
  • Unbelievable
  • !!WOW!!
  • Deal
None of these words mean anything, and certainly aren't keywords buyers use in searches. Instead of using these, use words from the list below as appropriate:
  • Vintage
  • VTG (a search using "vtg" returns listings with "vintage" in the title)
  • Old
  • Works
  • Runs
  • Complete

Do you see the difference between the two lists? The second list of words aren't really keywords, but rather are descriptive words that serve to give the reader a better idea of what the item is or does.

Using Complimentary Brand Names In eBay Titles

You can use a complimentary brand name in your title by using the words "use with" or "works with" as a modifier. In the example I gave on the page about eBay keyword rules I had a Marx tower listed with the word Lionel in the title like this: "Marx Metal Floodlight Tower use with Lionel." Lionel made cheap looking plastic towers so I also included the word metal.

Use keywords in this order in your eBay titles:
  1. Manufacturer or brand name
  2. Model number or name of item
  3. Condition and operating statements (Exceptions - use first in title if wonderful condition)
  4. Complimentary brand names
  5. Your auction tracking number if you use one.

Thanks for reading,


PS Proper use of eBay keywords and titles are only one important facet of eBay selling. The Auction Revolution is your guide to eBay. Take the eBay Seller's Quiz to find out how well your doing, and get your copy of the Auction Revolution at:
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