In my Ecommerce-Guide column this month, I talked about the problem sellers faced in optimizing their listings for eBay's Best Match search algorithm. This is because eBay reveals little about Best Match criteria. In the past, eBay presented search results by "time ending soonest"; now it uses a number of factors, and sellers are scrambling to figure out what those factors are, and which ones count the most in helping their items get to the top of search results.
Some believe eBay's new "Recent Sales" criterion is the number-one factor in getting better exposure for fixed-price listings, more important than high DSRs or offering free shipping. When it launched Recent Sales, eBay said its Best Match search algorithm would give more weight to multi-item listings that have experienced some sales, explaining that "a purchase from a buyer is a great way to measure satisfaction." Recent Sales only applies to 30-day Fixed-Price format listings with multiple quantities.
Two different sellers who both agree that "Recent Sales" is the major factor in getting fixed-price listings exposure in search actually disagree on whether it's a good or bad thing.
One seller believes Recent Sales disadvantages better quality items and, instead, brings up cheap products to the top of search results pages:
The new search rewards sellers with lower feedback, lower dsr's, and policy violations. Here is how it is. Those sellers are pricing their items dirt cheap, when they do so, they sell more. They are placed as the first item at the top of the page if they sell more, no matter if it is bad quality, bad customer service, bad shipping , or whatever, they get top search because they sell more. So ebay telling you that you have a raised search is not true, the truth is if your cheaper and I mean a lot cheaper you are number one in ebays eyes. If your selling a better quality item you are cheated.
Another seller says Recent Sales is a good thing, as it brings popular items to the top of search results pages: "So what's the magic? Selling popular items. Wow, who'd of thunk it. To get the best placement on ebay you need to be selling stuff that people actually want." He said the secret to great exposure on ebay for best match are the following:
1 - Number of sales - for FP30's, if you've sold 20 out of 100, I don't care if your DSR's are low and you charge $20 shipping, you will be in the top 10-20
2 - Number of people watching - My top "best match" items also are my top "watched" items - regardless of number of sales - so I know for a fact that they are counting "watched lists".
3 - Time remaining - no matter what, items ending within a few hours will always appear on page one.
Everything else being equal, free shipping and high DSR's further boost your positions.
Note that for auction listings, Recent Sales does not apply - instead, "Time Ending Soonest" appears to be a major factor in getting exposure.
Of course, Recent Sales favors high-volume sellers of commodity items - to use it, you must be listing multiple quantities of identical items.
If you've studied search placement on eBay, let us know what you're finding, and whether you think Recent Sales is useful to shoppers or not. And for those wanting to understand a little better eBay's thinking on Best Match, here's an email eBay sent to PowerSellers last month with some advice.
Make Best Match work for you
At the same time we lowered upfront fees, we optimized Best Match to consider recent sales as a key factor in search results for Fixed Price listings. The more items sold in your listing, the better position it can get.
Tips to build your "recent sales" advantage:
List in multi-quantity Fixed Price listings with the new 30-day duration-included in the new low fee-to build your recent sales.
Use the new "Good 'Til Cancelled" option, also included in the new low fee. Your listing will automatically renew for the same low fee every 30 days. As long as you don't change the title, item condition, or category or increase the price, your listing's recent sales will be carried over.
If your listing sells out or expires, don't create a new listing-just add inventory and "relist." As long as you don't change the title, item condition, or category or increase the price, your listing's recent sales will be carried over.