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How to Optimize eBay Listing Titles to Boost Sales

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eBayTitles are precious real estate on eBay listings – there’s limited space to describe what you’re selling in a way that can help you get found by those searching the more than 1 billion items on eBay.

We spoke to Elad Darmon, CEO of Title Builder, about a recent study his company conducted and asked him what sellers could learn from the study.

What is “SEO” for eBay and what does it mean for sellers? Darmon said it’s the practice of applying search engine optimization techniques in order to increase your eBay listings’ visibility and gain more traffic.

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“When I, as a seller, started to see a decrease in sales, I began looking for the main reasons behind it in terms of my listing design and pricing strategy, but mainly I tried to measure the effect of eBay Item Title on the average sales per day factor,” he said.

The study he conducted used his company’s tool and analyzed 961,668 eBay item titles. The goal was to find a correlation between average sales per day and title length – including character count and word count per title.

They also examined the use of Top Searched Keywords in the item title to better understand the influence of these keywords on sales.

The key takeaway: longer item titles significantly outperform shorter item titles.

“We discovered that item titles with 75 characters or more generate more sales on average per day,” he said. “Furthermore, the presence of Searched and Popular Keywords in item title is strongly tied to more successful sales.” The biggest lesson for sellers is not to be lazy, Darmon said – take the time to optimize your eBay item titles.

Given that the study found that the number of Searched and Popular Keywords in item titles is strongly tied to more successful sales, how can sellers find the right keywords for the specific items they sell?

Darmon said one of the most effective methods was the eBay Sold Listings filter, which allows you to see exactly what other sellers wrote in their item titles for any sold item.

There are many other external tools, both free and paid, to get “Keywords Ideas,” he said, including Google Trends, Title builder, What to Sell, Watchcount, and Terapeak.

“Our data shows that you need a critical mass of popular keywords in your eBay item title in order to appeal eBay buyers and eBay search algorithm. That’s why you often see on eBay search results item titles that contain only keywords, without any grammar or sentence logic. The key takeaway is to use all sources you can to explore the best keywords which describes your item and use as many searched and popular keywords in your eBay item title as possible.”

How does this differ from Amazon? “eBay lets you create your own product descriptions and titles, whereas Amazon.com creates the product descriptions for you. In practical terms this means you will do less work on Amazon.com, but the drawback is you will have less control over your marketing.”

Why Brand Names May Not Work Best
The study suggests sellers may be able to free up room in the title by putting the brand name in the Item Specific field and not including it in the title – depending.

Usually, when selling a known brand, the best practice is to include the brand name as a title keyword and as the item specific “Brand.” However, many eBay sellers are selling items from Private Label suppliers – these brand names are not being searched for on eBay, and the data shows that sellers can simply remove them from item titles and include it only as an Item Specific.

“This helps sellers to free up title space and place more commonly searched keywords in the item title,” Darmon explained.

Dump the Acronyms
The study pointed to acronyms such as NWT (New with Tags) and NIB (New in Box) as generating fewer daily sales on average. But that might be counter-intuitive for some sellers in certain categories such as clothing.

Darmon said that data includes items from all categories – including clothing categories – and found that the average sales per day is higher for eBay items without acronyms such as NWT, NIB or OEM.

“This may be due to the fact that not many eBay buyers (at least not as many as we think) are actually using these acronyms as searched keywords, but instead using eBay condition filters to find their next purchase,” according to Darmon.

However, the study did not collect any data regarding acronyms like: EDP (Eau De Parfum), EDT (Eau De Toilette) etc., he said, “so you may still want to use them.”

Subtitles May Be Effective
The study found that subtitles have a “reasonably strong” correlation with average sales per day, giving them an advantage on eBay. Since subtitles cost extra, are there tests sellers can run to try to determine the effectiveness of subtitles for the items they sell?

“The strength of an eBay subtitle is the “Marketing” value it can add to your title by emphasizing the special opportunity in buying your product,” Darmon said.

“Since subtitle costs money, I would not use it for “cheap” items, and I can’t tell you what to write in your subtitle, since its content is not being searched for by an eBay search engine.”

“But, according to our data, you should positively consider using subtitle (if the price is right for you…) in order to generate more sales per day on average.”

You can read the full report with charts on this page of the Title-Builder.com website.

A version of this article appeared in the May 4th issue of EcommerceBytes 411.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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