If you’ve been keeping up to date with eBay announcements (which I hope you have!) you’ll know that September’s eBay Seller update is set to be something of a gift…

… a gift that, when used correctly, will help you increase your sales.

An eBay Seller update to get excited about?


eBay are giving us ‘space’… in the form of more characters for your listing titles. Instead of the usual 55, we’ll now get 80. Hurrah!

Seriously though, this really is good news because I’m sure you know just how difficult it can be with some products to try and squeeze everything important that you need to say into that tiny space! And it’s so important that you do get the right keywords in because this is the main way to actually get potential buyers to click through to your full listing description. In other words you need to get them to click through in order to purchase.

Your keywords play a hugely important role in your eBay selling, yet I am truly astounded and dismayed by the sheer number of eBay sellers who simply ignore this fact and ultimately are throwing sales away every day – not to mention their listing fees – on a regular basis.

I think you’ll agree whole-heartedly with me when I say that there really is very little point in advertising your products for sale on eBay unless potential buyers are going to view your listings and buy your items.

So why do I see so many eBay listings that will never, ever get page views? Some sellers are merrily listing away not realising that in fact they have totally wasted their listing fees before they have even finished writing their product description!

Eager to write a stonking description full of pretty colours and swirly luminous writing (which by the way I advise you don’t do under any circumstances) they overlook the simple process of using the correct keywords in their listing titles and descriptions.

The reality is this:

If your keywords in your title and description are not effective, it doesn’t matter how amazing your listing looks because your products are unlikely to get seen.

So, let’s just go back for a moment because I want to explain exactly why your keywords are so important so that you have plenty of time to have a good think about how you are using the space for your own keywords and you’ve got a chance to line up some really great ones for September.

What exactly are keywords and why are they so important?

A keyword is simply a popular word or phrase that potential buyers use to search for a particular item.

Firstly how does this apply to your title? Well, each and every word you use in your eBay listing title is a keyword and therefore is a potential word that buyers might search for.

These keywords are the main way in which potential buyers will actually find your listing and is probably the most important part of the ‘sell your item’ form!

Keywords sell products – this is an undisputed fact.

Then there is your actual description – the part where you advertise your product, add images and sell the benefits and features.

What you need to remember is that there is a significant difference between searching for a product on eBay and searching for the same item using a general search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Why? Well because eBay buyers can search eBay by both the title and description for an item. You simply use ‘Advanced Search’ and tick the relevant boxes.

Not all users will actually do this – most just use the search box at the top of the page, however it is worth making sure your description also includes your relevant keywords to catch the percentage that do use advanced search.

So, if you make sure your eBay title and description include keywords that are searched for and relevant to your product then it stands to reason that you will dramatically improve the search standing of your listing and most importantly – the visibility of your product. If you don’t include the search terms then your listing won’t display in the search results. And what use is that?

If your product doesn’t appear in the returned search it won’t be clicked on. And if it isn’t there to be clicked on, then no-one can actually view or purchase your item.

To put it bluntly and rather obviously, if your product is invisible you won’t sell it. This is what will happen if you underestimate the importance and value of your title and description keywords and is why it’s important to use the correct keywords THROUGHOUT the whole ‘sell your item’ process.

The whole of eBay’s ‘Best Match’ default search system relies on matching searched for keywords with listing titles. And that’s exactly where the power of your listing titles i.e. your chosen keywords, comes into action.

What you need to know about keywords

I have researched long and hard into just how big a role keywords play in the success of your products and what you can do to make sure your products always get seen, but before I go into this further you need to know a few facts:

  • 70% of searches by buyers on eBay are done using the search box at the top of a page which means that your title keywords are ultra important.
  • These words that a potential buyer searches via the search box are compared with the titles only of listings, not the description.
  • If you also use a sub-title and pack it with keywords this won’t significantly help your cause. Subtitles are not included in the search unless a potential buyer has ticked ‘search title and description’ in advanced search which, as I’ve said, very few do.
  • The order that you write your keywords in is not important. As long as each keyword is in the title it will be recognized by eBay. So ultimately your title does not necessarily have to make complete sense as long as potential buyers can understand it once they reach it!
  • A poor title will definitely result in fewer visitors and less sales.
  • The more keywords you can fit into your title the more often you will appear in the search results. With 80 characters available this will now be easy.

How you can increase your page views and make more sales

First, you must decide on the keywords to use so you have to think like a buyer. Which words would you use to search for your product? Write all the words down that you can think of that are relevant and then narrow down the list to the strongest ones. These are the keywords you will use in your title. It doesn’t matter if your title doesn’t read like a sentence. For example, the proper English way of writing might be:

A Ladies Beautiful Brand New Large Black Leather Hobo Style Handbag With Silver Clasps And A Long Shoulder Strap With A Black Dust Cover Also Included

This is far too long and doesn’t include enough keywords. Plus there are characters wasted by the inclusion of the words A, Beautiful, Brand, Also, Included, Style and With.

It would be far more effective if it simply read:

NEW Ladies Large Black Leather Hobo Shoulder Handbag Silver Clasp + Dust Cover

All the necessary details are there (colour, material, condition, size, style etc) and importantly they are all keywords that are likely to be searched for. When have you ever heard of anyone searching for the word ‘beautiful’ or including ‘and’ in their search selection?

You can also look at other sellers listings for ideas for hot keywords. Look at listings that have got lots of bids or lots of sales history and use the same keywords in your own title – obviously don’t copy someone else’s listing word for word, that is wrong!

Just make sure that the words in your title convey exactly what the item is because that is what is required of a powerful listing title.

Now here’s a secret…

Here’s a big secret that you may not know about, simply because eBay have made it quite hard to find!

Go to http://keyword-index.ebay.co.uk/keyword-index.html and you’ll be able to view the top overall searched for keywords on eBay.

Even better…

Go here: http://category-keyword.ebay.co.uk/default-category.html and you can break it down by categories and even sub-categories – how brilliant is that!

So you’ll have no excuse for using poor keywords any more! Just as an aside, I hope it goes without saying that you must not use an irrelevant keyword when advertising your products – this is keyword spamming and may result in your listings being removed – then no-one will find them anyway!


Here’s a quick recap to ensure you get the most out of your eBay listings:

  • Include your product’s brand name if it is branded. If it is not branded, don’t spam. Including name brands in your title that are not relevant to what you are selling is prohibited by eBay.
  • Use relevant, descriptive keywords that state exactly what you are selling.
  • Use variations of words to describe your product e.g. iPod could also be described as MP3, Jumper could also be described as Sweater, and so on.
  • Avoid using pointless words such as L@@k, WOW, the, a, and, with etc. Buyers don’t search for these words so you are wasting characters.
  • Always check your spelling.
  • Every relevant keyword that you include in your title will increase the chance that your listing will be found so use as many of your 80 characters as you can.
  • Don’t waste characters on commas – your title doesn’t have to be a complete sentence or grammatically correct.
  • Do include words like “New” or abbreviations like “BNIB” (brand new in box) or “NWT” (new with tags) if they apply and you have space. Competent eBay users will search for these terms.

So there you are. Get your keywords right and from September make use of those 80 characters and you will reap the benefits. Get it wrong and your listing may as well be invisible!

As always I wish you the best of success