This article is about a 10-minute read and has a lot of highly actionable insights you can start using today. If, however, you are a super busy eCommerce business owner, here are the key takeaways.
Make sure your eBay listing title includes:
- 16 relevant keywords
- 4-7 item specifics (7 is optimal)
- 80 Characters or as close to that as possible
- Delete all acronyms from eBay listing titles
- Forgo the word ‘new’ in all titles
- Add subtitles to listings
- Omit descriptive adjectives such as ‘cute’ or ‘gorgeous’
- Make sure you use proper spelling
- Capitalize the first letter of every word
Keep reading if you want to gain access to the most simple and effective eBay title formula out there!
Why are eBay titles so essential to listing conversions?
eBay titles are one of the single-most important elements of an eBay listing, even more so than your eBay listing design. Why, you ask? Good question! I am sure you already know the answer since you are reading this post, but for those of you who are not sure why their eBay titles are so important, consider the following:
Based on research conducted by Title Builder, the majority of sellers make bad decisions concerning their eBay listing titles, resulting in a loss of sales!
Source: Title Builder
The median eBay title contains roughly 64 characters and 12 keywords, as shown in the above chart. The study conclusively shows that using 16 keywords in an eBay listing title is the ultimate number, but as you can see in the chart, the majority of eBay sellers are unaware of this! That means that for starters, by simply upping the number of relevant keywords you are currently using from 12 to 16, you can increase your CTR, or Click-Through-Rate, dramatically!
Now that you have your first piece of actionable eBay title-building advice, let’s briefly revisit the importance of an eBay tile:
- First and foremost, eBay listing titles are important to increase findability. Using relevant keywords is crucial so your eBay listing title is optimized for eBay’s search engine algorithm, Cassini. If buyers can’t find your item, then everything else you do is pointless.
- Think of an eBay listing title as you would a store front: It needs to be seductive and enticing enough for a customer to want to ‘enter,’ or in this case, click on it. That means that beyond the ‘image’ and ‘pricing,’ which are two very important elements as well, the copy or wording of the title itself is supremely important.
- And finally, you have the element of what I call technical optimization, which gives concrete actionable insights into building a successful eBay title. This can range from the number of keywords and characters, as in the example I mentioned above, and touch on points like acronym usage and capitalization.
This post is going to be relatively short but packed with actionable insights you can apply to your eBay titles today. As you read this article, I want you to open up your eBay seller hub and simultaneously update your worst performing listings according to my recommendations. Once you finish doing this with one or multiple listings, I want you to wait 3-5 days, or as soon as you start seeing results, and then post a comment below with your old title, new title and what changes in traffic or sales you witnessed (feel free to add a print screen of the listing itself or the metrics). This will be super helpful for me and other fellow sellers to know what worked for you, and by following the comments thread, you can get insights from other sellers as well.
9 easy things you can do today to optimize eBay listing titles
Include item specifics in all eBay listing titles
I am going to begin this list with one of the most fundamental aspects of an eBay listing title and that is the importance of including item specifics. As intuitive as it sounds, many sellers either don’t do this at all or only do this partially. The information you should include varies on an item-by-item basis and should include:
- Size (for clothing or shoes)
- Condition (not ‘new’ though, more on this in a bit)
- Model number
- Collection (mostly for designer goods, fashion and handbag categories)
This is the absolute basic information for Cassini, eBay’s search engine algorithm that decides which items to display for which search queries in order to index your item and match it with the most relevant searches. Adding item specifics has been conclusively proven to not only increase appearance in relevant searches but also to increase CTR and CR, or Conversion rates, such as more clicks on your listing, which translates into more sales.
In the following chart, you can see that according to the research conducted, item specifics in the 4-7 range, with 7 being the optimal number, convert 400% more than listing titles with item specifics in the 1-3 range.
Source: Title Builder
#1 eBay title listing specifics – Now, log onto your eBay seller hub, choose your worst performing listing and add 4-7 item specifics in a way that is logical and readable. Remember, we are not only writing for algorithms but first and foremost for human beings!
Here is a good example of a ‘successful’ eBay listing title that includes the right amount of specifics:
Use keywords in eBay listing titles
As I mentioned above, using relevant keywords is super important. A strong connection has been made between using an increased number of relevant keywords and an increase in CTRs and conversions. Anywhere from 12-18 keywords is good, with the number 16 being optimal. Remember not to ‘keyword stuff’ meaning don’t ‘decorate’ your title with keywords, but rather only use them when they make logical and syntactic sense.
Source: Title Builder
#2 eBay title listing keywords – Now go back to that same listing and make sure the title has 16 keywords in it. Check out this eBay keyword tool if you are having trouble thinking of all 16 on your own or if you want to get a ‘second opinion’ on your keywords of choice.
Create long eBay listing titles
Source: Title Builder
It has been proven that longer eBay listing titles increase conversion rates. This is likely due to the fact that buyers are able to receive the maximum amount of information pertinent to their purchase decision prior to clicking on a listing. This results in a higher number of high-intent buyers clicking on more relevant listings.
The guys at eBay know this to be true after doing in-depth market and consumer research, which is why the number of characters allowed in an eBay listing title was jacked up nearly 30%, from a mere 55 characters to the current 80 characters. But as Suzanne A. Wells says in her video above, “ou have to reverse engineer the way a shopper thinks and shops.” She goes on to say that “most sellers copy their listing titles off the clothing tags and write absurd titles the likes of, Ryan polyester blend top – black.” She says, and rightfully so, nobody searches for “Ryan polyester blend top -black People search for:
- What an item looks like
Or what they need the item for, such as a holiday, like:
- Valentine’s Day
You have to think like a buyer. A buyer is never going to put in adjectives like:
Buyers don’t use exclamation points and punctuation. Rather, they get on eBay and say:
- “I need some black pants for work” or
- “I need a red sweater for that Christmas party” or
- “I need a white linen top to wear to the beach”
Suzanne reminds sellers to “be mindful of this – it is all about the buyer and not you, the seller!”
#3 Create long eBay listing titles – The bottom line is, I want you to go back to that same listing, think like a buyer and get as close to 80 characters as you possibly can while using organic keywords and phrases that your past, present and future shoppers would likely use. If you’ve reached 77 characters, don’t add in something random for the heck of it!
Don’t use acronyms in eBay listing titles!
Source: Title Builder
When acronyms were widespread on eBay in the early 2000s, there was a very good reason. eBay listing titles were limited to 55 characters for the longest time, resulting in the invention of shorthand, such as:
- NWT – New With Tags
- NIB – New In Box
- OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
- OOAK – One Of A Kind
- NRFB – Never Removed from Box
- HTF – Hard To Find
- OOP – Out Of Print
While it is always nice to reminisce about times gone by, don’t allow yourself to become the victim of nostalgia. That means now that eBay has increased the number of characters allowed in a title from 55 to 80, there is no reason to continue using acronyms. Beyond that, acronyms are bad for business!
As you can see in the chart above, sales nearly double in the absence of acronyms!
#4 Delete all acronyms from eBay listing titles – This is actually a really easy optimization hack which you can apply to all your listings. Simply log onto eBay and delete all the dead weight acronyms and replace them with the actual words.
Don’t use the word ‘new’ in eBay listing titles!
Source: Title Builder
Beyond acronyms, another deadweight word which I personally was surprised to discover is the word “new.” Never use the word “new” in an eBay listing title. The reason? An item’s condition is already denoted in the listing form you filled out and is therefore automatically pulled up by Cassini, eBay’s search algorithm. When you manually add the word “new” into your listing title, this creates a duplicate of sorts and even a person who knows only the most basic principles of SEO comprehends that “duplicate content” does more harm than good in search results.
#5 Delete the word “new” from all eBay listing titles – Ditch the word “new” in favor of a keyword with high searchability and volume.
Make use of eBay listing subtitles
Source: Title Builder
Most sellers have seen subtitles in listings. Some use them while most choose to ignore this option as it comes at an additional cost. This is a mistake! Take a quick glance at the above bar chart and you will notice that eBay listings with subtitles convert at a ratio of 1:7 or 700% in comparison with their non-subtitled competitors. The cost of a subtitle is $1.00 per listing, which may be a lot if you are selling anything under $10.00, but may very well be worth it in the over- $10, $20 or $30 categories.
#6 Add subtitles to eBay listings – Seriously consider adding subtitles to items you currently have listed in higher price categories.
Don’t use non searchable descriptive words
I touched on this above following the mini vlog by Suzanne A. Wells. Nobody uses or searches for adjectives such as:
- Pop (as in ‘a color that pops’)
Or weird colors which no one has ever heard of let alone searched for, such as:
- Falu red
- United nations blue
- Caput Mortuum
#7 Omit descriptive adjectives eBay listing titles – It’s simple, just go over the one listing you are working on (or all of them) and delete descriptive words, colors and adjectives nobody is searching for.
Spell things correctly
One of the most avoidable and easiest things you can do for yourself and your eBay listing title is ensure that all the words are spelled correctly. When you write:
- Elastc instead of Elastic
- FEE shipping instead of FREE shipping
- Back sweatshirt instead of Black sweatshirt
It seriously impinges on a buyer’s ability to find and purchase said item. When they search for these keywords and spell them correctly, your item will simply not appear in search results! Consider using a spell-check tool like:
Or copying and pasting title text into:
- A Microsoft Word document
- Or a free online tool like jspell, which I use on occasion
Not only do spelling and grammatical errors harm searchability, but they also decrease buyer trust, which is probably one of the most important resources in eCommerce today, and yes, trust is a finite resource!
Here is a prime example of two eBay sellers who either couldn’t care less, were extremely tired when posting their ‘sweaters’ or just can’t spell to save their lives. Notice the first one puts an ‘a’ before the ‘e’ and the second one is more of a typo with its double ‘ss’.
Pro tip – Why not use other people’s stupidity to your advantage!? Consider using a tool like missing-auction.com and find misspelled eBay listings in any category. These items are usually under market value for ‘buy now’ and sell for way less as ‘auctions’ as well. Scoop them up and resell at market price. Now that ‘s what I call free money!
#8 Spelling in eBay listing titles – Go straight to your eBay seller dashboard and copy and paste all your titles into one of the above tools and get those spelling kinks ironed out.
Don’t let capitalization get out of control!
This guy went to town on his capitalization. He literally capitalized every letter in this title. Please do not emulate him. Why is overcapitalization a problem?
- First off, it makes the listing look spammy
- Which leads to the next point of making you seem unreliable as a seller
- And thirdly, searchability. Nobody but my mom (who always forgets to turn off caps lock, searches for items in all caps on eBay
I would recommend capitalizing the first letter of each word in the title in order to make it easier to read, as in this example:
‘Women’s Clubwear Holiday Summer Mini Jumpsuit Playsuit Romper Beach Shorts Dress’
‘women’s clubwear holiday summer mini jumpsuit playsuit romper beach shorts dress’
The former is clearly more ‘readable’ and ‘user friendly’ than the latter.
Also, consider capitalizing words for emphasis when they add value to a potential buyer’s needs, for example:
#9 Capitalization in eBay listing titles – Now, go into your listing of choice and ensure that only the first letter of every word is capitalized.
The ultimate eBay title building formula
And finally, to finish you off, here is a super simple eBay title building formula which you can use to make your life that much easier:
Product + Features + Benefits
- Product – The first part of your eBay listing title should generally be the product itself which in most cases ends up being your featured keyword. For example: iPhone
- Features – This can be anything from size to the color, model or memory capacity. For example: iPhone red 7+ 200 GB.
- Benefits – This is really anything extra you provide. For example:
- With free genuine leather case
- 5-star reviews
- 100% customer satisfaction
- 3-year warranty
Summing it up
Now that I laid all of that information out for you, it must seem pretty straightforward, easy and intuitive. So, from now on whenever you are listing an item on eBay, follow these simple steps:
- Use the title building formula.
- Use 16 relevant keywords – make use of the keyword tool when in doubt.
- Use 4-7 item specifics like color, make or model.
- Get as close as you can to an 80-character title while maintaining relevance, logic, and syntax.
- Get rid of any and all acronyms.
- Erase the word “new.”
- Consider using subtitles when it makes sense economically.
- Delete all descriptive adjectives like “gorgeous.”
- Spell words properly.
- Do not capitalize every letter of every word! Do capitalize the first letter of every word.
Bonus tip: always check out your competition’s titles on eBay and see which ones have large sales quantities. Don’t be shy to borrow some lucrative ideas from your cyber competition.