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Ebay Title Pain

An Emanaged Rant

On eBay, title is key. Its key. This isn’t Amazon where you can rely on thousands of search terms. This isn’t Tesco or Walmart which heavily favour category grouping. This isn’t where you just throw words at the wall and see what sticks. This is eBay, and the title is your prime real estate. This is your beachfront property on eBay.

To be fair, there is a lot of nonsense out there. I would use a stronger word but I’ll keep this rant PG-13. It’s easy to get into a routine that you feel makes sense, or emulates previous success, and not critically think it moving forward. There, I tried to understand. I tried to sympathise with your crazy silliness. Done. Back to ranting, what the heck is this? Come on. Why bother to get out of bed in the morning? Why not just have a garage sale outside and give up on eBay? Life is tough, I get it. But you could at least try here. I’ll emulate you here; I wont spend another second on it.

Going the polar extreme opposite, this creation isn’t a whole lot better. Sure, we’ve maxed out those 80 characters. We’ve thought about this a bit more. We’ve tried. We got out of bed that morning, good stuff.

But the logic here is… well, non existent? Are you selling a movie? A television show? A fan? A cinema quote? Oh, no, wait, you’re selling a T shirt… there it is, right at the end…

Let’s restart. Hi. How are you? How was your weekend? Good, good… so, eBay titles. A good title is trying to balance several things at once. These things often don’t always glue perfectly together, so at times you are left with a puzzle you cant fully complete with that last piece.

A good title balances three main components:

  • Details / USPs
  • Search term relevance
  • Readability

Search term relevance is exactly as it sounds, but let’s emphasize the word relevance. I think many might need to double check the meaning of that one and rethink a few of their titles.

Logically, this is simple to grasp, even for a simpleton like myself. If you are selling jeans, don’t call them ‘trousers’ in your titles. If you are selling a laptop computer, don’t call it a ‘desktop replacement PC’. If you are selling a dog’s chew toy, don’t call it a ‘cats dog-torture device’.

There is sometimes a belief with titles that you need to cast a wide net and capture as many search terms as you can. Nope, wrong. This simply hurts you over time. You might get a ton of traffic upfront, but over time you’re going to be acquiring too much of the wrong traffic. If I’m looking for trousers, and you enter trousers into the title, but you’re selling jeans… am I suddenly going to think “Oh yeah, I want jeans instead”? Unlikely. Title search terms are about the right type of traffic. You want the buyer to want your item. Their search inputs should be a close match to your item for a chance to convert. You want to make sure you capture their searches as close to a direct match as you can.

The buyers that were looking for trousers want trousers, not jeans. If they want a laptop, don’t confuse your hits by adding ‘desktop’ into a title for a laptop. The buyers you want to attract are those looking for your item. Don’t intentionally damage your conversion metrics by spamming a title with fringe words.

Of course, do add secondary names for items. I have no idea what the difference is between a sweater, sweater vest, cardigan and jumper. To me, they are all hoodies without the hood. Something I wear over my T-shirt as often as I can to hide my budging beer belly. I don’t really blame you here. It’s a natural fit. If the buyer is looking for a sweater, they might want a hoodie. If they are looking for a hoodies, they might want a sweater. But over time, you’ll likely not going to see much listing domination in this category. It’s too broad. You want to think long term, focusing your listing for long term positive conversions. That may mean less traffic, but should mean the right kind.

Where your item may legitimately have a secondary name, try to fit it in. But make sure it’s a good match. That’s all I am saying. Make sure you pick the identity correctly, and use those words first. Over time, you’ll want to try different things of course too.

Readability is where the layers start to conflict. You can create a solid title in the traditional format pretty easily.


But can you make it read well on screen?

Readability is more important and often missed from many eBay sellers. However some very smart people somewhere did science things and actually determined it’s a pretty import factor. It’s a very reliable source which I wont reference at all.

But thinking about it logically, I guess it makes sense? If you can read the title easily and know what the item is, you have a more positive subconscious appreciation. You get warm fuzzy deep feelings about it subconsciously. Sort of like your teenage years. You were emotional, you just weren’t sure about what. Being primitive and emotional creatures at heart, readability pushes your conscious logical brain to favour some listings over others. This is decent on search terms, but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

According to those smart people who use numbers and stuff, readability counts high as a factor to convert that screen view into a click. People are lazy. They don’t want to think, let alone read an extra second. If your title is hard to scan and understand, but the listing right below or above isn’t, you’re at a disadvantage.

Details and USP’s are the final bit. These are things you should have in item specifics mostly. Where you have a USP for the item and no recognised item specific, you add the USP to the title. Or, if you have a USP that is well known in the particular industry and product type, you are advertising it here.

USP’s shouldn’t be duplicating core item specifics and variation data. This crap pisses me off. This listing had two colours and 4 sizes. One was out of stock. The size and colours are in the damn drop downs, which eBay are indexing and using for search. Why add them to title? What possible good is it doing you? Why on earth are you calling it coffee? Stop the artistic nonsense. Most buyers are search for brown or tan, an actual colour name, not ‘coffee’, which will produce coffee listings in their search pages. It didn’t help you also advertised ‘all sizes’, but only had 5 in stock. This silliness is harming you. Do you update your titles with stock changes? No? So, if you sell out of Size Small Red… but your title tells me you have it, did you just create a negative conversion for no reason? Why did you do that? These shoes were black and white! A TINY line of red was on the sole. Not only is it offering no value, and at times slightly hurting you, but it is taking up space for USP’s. A USP isn’t just to generate a click and convert a viewer to a buyer. Its also to qualify the buyer upfront. USP’s can stop buyers from clicking on your listings, which is sometimes a good thing.

Let’s say I’m looking for knee high steel toe cap biker boots in pink. I’ve got a eventful weekend lined up and need some shoes to wear when I get home. Let’s say you have what Im looking for, but your boots have a Zippper closure. I want lace up. (This should be in your item specifics.)

If you add ‘Zipper closure’ or something indicating this, you’ve just stopped me from clicking on your listing. And that’s a good thing, because I wasn’t going to buy your item. You saved yourself a negative conversion by stopping me from clicking on your listing, finding out the hard way, and returning to my search. Its equally true in the other direction. If I am looking for a zipper closure, tell me! Flirt with me, so I click and take this new relationship a step further. You qualified the right buyer and filtered out the wrong buyer you wouldn’t have secured anyway.

Last… and this is a personal one. It’s just my opinion. But Im right.

Why are you telling me it’s high quality? Do you know it’s the best? Have you tested and proved it? And why are you adding ‘sale’ to the title… which I can see you haven’t updated for 6 years. You’re always on sale? How is it exclusive? Nothing screams ‘high quality’ more than a sale on an earring-ear501 for 6.23 dollars.

Stop the dribble. Buyers will make their own decisions. Your images and the rest of your listing quality will scream ‘crap’ or ‘quality’, so focus on getting the entire listing looking good. If you put it on sale, use the Markdown manager and a sale event. Adding RRP to the subtitle and ‘sale’ to the title is telling me you’re pretty much always on sale, and I have no reason to act now.

Also… STOP SHOUTING AT ME. But definitely interested in a T-shirt Shirt. I thought I only wanted a Shirt, but you’ve opened my eyes to T-Shirt shirts…

I feel better again.


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