This particular aspect of Best Match is among the easiest to influence by including the appropriate keywords in the listing’s title. The relevancy score is determined by historical buyer behavior for a particular search query. For listing titles that are similar to yours, eBay determines how many times in the past those auction titles were clicked on, added to watch lists, bid upon, and ultimately resulted in a sale. The more often these bidder activities occurred, the higher the relevancy score for the keywords in a particular title. The “key” to success here is to determine what the appropriate keywords are and include them in your listing’s title.


Another factor influencing eBay’s Best Match search results is something termed “desirability.” This is a relatively basic function of supply and demand. If most searchers on eBay using the query “iPod nano” are actually looking for the MP3 player vice iPod accessories (such as chargers or cases) then the demand for listings of Apple MP3 players is high. If most of the listings with the keywords “iPod nano” in the title are actually selling accessories, then the supply of iPod nano MP3 players is low.

Auctions where supply is low and demand is high will score well for desirability.

Include Best Match Keywords

One of the ways you can score Best Match points for your listing is to identify and include keywords in your auction title. For any particular search query, there are keywords that are worth more than others. A search query is simply the text that a visitor to eBay types into the search box. In the example below, the search query is “Star Wars comic.”


Often, the keywords that are worth points to your listing’s Best Match score are pretty easy to identify. For the query “Star Wars comic,” I’ve pegged the following words and phrases and being worth extra Best Match points:

  • Marvel (identifies the publisher of the original Star Wars comic series)

  • Dark Horse (identifies the publisher of the most recent Star Wars comic series)

  • Lot (signifies more than one comic for sale)

  • nm (near mint condition)

  • 1 (often identifies the first issue in the series)

  • Jedi (identifies a popular mini-series)

  • 1977 (identifies the year the original series was first published)

  • etc…

eBay tracks the words in the particular titles of auctions that: (1) get clicked, (2) get added to watch lists, (3) get bids, and (4) ultimately get sold. For the search query “Star Wars comic,” eBay has determined that these particular words appear more often in the titles of listings that get that desired bidder activity (click, watch, bid, buy) than those that don’t.

Test Your Auction Title

One of the best things about eBay is the ability to test your marketing efforts with little financial risk. You can easily test the effectiveness of your title using this handy tip from the Internet Marketing Tips Blog:

Post your item, then make a note of where it ranks. Go in and change your heading… eBay will rank it again within just 5 minutes. Check to see if this improved your listing or not, and revise your heading again if you need to.

You can do this as many times as you like up until the last 12 hours of the auction.”1

Note: Recent Sales boosts will be lost for multi-quantity, fixed price listings when you re-list if you: Increase the start price; change the category; change the title; change the item condition. You can add to the item description, but not change existing description. (See Chapter 3.)

Make the Most of Your Listing Title:

Maximize the value of every character eBay permits in the listing title without being dishonest or misleading.

You have 80 characters to use in the listing title. Each word you include can potentially score points towards your Best Match ranking. Don’t waste precious space in your listing title and don’t short yourself by not using the titles to their fullest. Go back and review the screen shots of the Star Wars comics search results. Notice how much shorter many of the titles of the auctions languishing on the third page are compared to those on the first.

Never Use Negative Keywords

Right now on eBay there are 4,707 auctions with the term “never used” in their listing title. There are 1,603 listings with the term “never opened.” There are 2,276 auctions with “never worn” in the title.

This is bad news for the seller who wants to rank high in the Best Match search results for items that are new. Why? The keywords you include in the listing title can have a positive or negative impact on your auction’s rankings in the search results. This determination is based on bidders’ past history for listings with those words for a particular search query.

If listings with words in the title like mint or New in Box (NIB) tend to get clicked on, added to watch lists, bid upon, or purchased for a particular search query, they will help auctions that include those words rank higher in the Best Match search results.

Conversely, if keywords like used, opened or worn tend to be avoided by bidders who are searching for new items, these words will have a negative impact on auction listings that include them – regardless if they are preceded by the word never.

Here’s an extreme example. Use the BayEstimator to analyze the effects of the listing title underwear never worn against the search query underwear. Now use it with the title new underwear. That’s a 20% increase in my auction title’s Best Match relevance score. I also have 7 more characters in the title when I use the word new vice never used which affords me more room to include other valuable keywords such as mens, sexy, briefs, or boxer.


Keywords are the words that the eBay seller includes in the precious 80 characters of the listing title. These words are used to determine the relevancy and desirability scores of the auction listing. Selecting the right keywords represents the most efficient way to influence your search result ranking in Best Match.

1Chris Audet, Best Match: Don’t Get Left Out, (April 2008).