Your Listing Title: It's How Buyers Find You!

By Amy Kendall, Research Education Specialist

Your listing title is how you should be grabbing the attention of your buyers!

You only get 55 characters of space and it’s vital that you use the best keywords. Including words like L@@K and WOW! or not using all of those 55 characters are signs of a casual seller. Consistently successful sellers use their listing titles to effectively grab the attention of the highest number of eBay buyers possible by including winning keywords.

How Buyers Use eBay

Before I show you how you can find those winning keywords for your products, there´re a few things you should know.

Most buyers come to eBay already knowing what they´re looking for. This makes the search bar their primary target, where they simply type in the product they’re looking for.

Once they click that "Search" button, only those listings titles that contain the combination of keywords the buyer used will be displayed. This means that if your title doesn´t have the keywords buyers searching for, they will never find you.

The closer your listing title matches the search phrase buyers are using, the more attention your listing receives. It´s how buyers find you!

Have you noticed that I have only used the word "buyers" and not "shoppers"? Same thing, right? Wrong—there IS a difference, but what is it?

Shoppers go to the mall and don´t know what they want. They go from store to store looking for things that look appealing. On eBay, shoppers browse through categories as if they were at the Gap or Williams Sonoma—stores my husband sure doesn’t like me browsing through!

On the other hand, buyers go to the mall knowing exactly what they want. My dad is king of this technique. He always does his research beforehand, and then by the time he gets to the store (when he actually goes to a store and doesn’t just buy it online), he just walks in and says, “I want that one.” I’m pretty sure he’s surprised, and probably disappointed, more than one salesman that way.

So, in the end, it´s the buyers you want coming to your auctions. They already know what they want, and if your auction is the one in their search results, they´ll walk in and say, "I want it!"

What Keywords to Use

Unfortunately, if you’re selling a product for the first time, there´s no way of guessing the correct combination of keywords that will direct potential buyers to your listings.

And even if you´re selling a product for the hundredth time, it´s still hard to know which keywords buyers are using in their search terms.

Are they searching by the exact product name? Are they using a model number? What about specific sizes, styles or colors?

You could spend countless hours and lose a lot of money figuring out the most profitable combination of keywords through trial and error.

But today we´re going to take the easy route, which happens to also be the most profitable. Today we´re going to use the HammerTap market research tool.

Using Keyword Analysis

A while back, a friend of mine was selling a product for the first time. He wanted to know how to build an effective title, so we looked at the research in HammerTap for the car rack he wanted to sell. After we’d filtered out the auctions that didn´t apply, we opened up the What Title Keywords Should I Use? report. This is where you should go to find the words buyers are using in their searches.

The figure below shows you this report, although it only includes a few of the keywords.

Figure 1: Keywords, Sorted by Number of Listings

In this example, the Average Sales Price is $76.14 and the Listing Success Rate (or % Sold) is 82.85%. You’ll notice that the first three keywords (ROOF, RACK, and YAKIMA) were the keywords we used in our product search, so they are included in every listing title and, hence, have an average sales price and listing success rate that are equal to the overall averages for our product.

We need to find keywords that increase both our success rate and our sales price. You can see that this report makes it really easy for you to see exactly what each keyword does to both your average price and your listing success rate (increases are in green, decreases in red). An increase in these numbers indicates that more buyers are using this keyword in their search criteria. The more buyers that use the keyword, the more buyers that will find your listing and the greater your success rate and profits will be.

Reading the Numbers

Now that we know what to look for, we can build our title with the keywords buyers are using. In Figure 2, I’ve sorted the report by the average price so that we can easily see the words that add the most value to our listing title.

Figure 2: Keywords, Sorted by Average Price

Let´s look at our Average Price column first. This is where we start. Because this list is sorted the way it is, all of the words we see in Figure 2 result in an average sales price above the average $76, which means we are attracting more buyers (or, more accurately, we’re attracting the buyers willing to pay extra money when they find exactly what they´re searching for).

The real show stoppers in this case are the words "Q" (which is a type of roof rack tower), "System" and "Locks." All three of these words increase our average price by about $40!

Once we know which words increase our profits, we also need to see if they increase our success rate. (In the example above, only SYSTEM, LOCKS, W, and KAYAK have listing success rates above average.) Keep in mind, however, that a lower success rate may not be as important as an increase in profit. Depending on your goal (a higher turnover or a higher price) it´s worth taking a hit on success rate for a large jump in your bottom line (and vice versa).

Finally, I want to point out an interesting observation. Should my friend use "with" in his listing title or simply abbreviate it with a "w"? And should he type out the word “bicycle” or just use “bike”? Your title real estate is limited, and you may not think it´s worth typing out "with" or “bicycle.” But the real question is, what are the buyers using when they search for your product?

Figure 3: Comparing Similar Words

In our case, the shorter versions of the words prevailed in both instances. Using "w" has both a higher success rate than "with" (about 90% compared to 82%) and a higher selling price ($105.77 compared to $92.63). The same is true with bike as it has a listing success rate of 86.36% and an average price of $77.47.

Keep in mind however, that these results are specific to this product. The buyers looking for your product may type out the word “with” or search for longer versions of common product names. You’d want to check the research for every individual product.

Creating the Perfect Combination

Now that we know which words to use, we just need to plug them together. When my friend sold his rack system, he used the title "Yakima Q Towers 48" Roof Rack/Bike System w Locks."

His final sale price of more than $170 proved that our keyword analysis was accurate. Using winning keywords transformed my friend from being a casual seller trying to guess which keywords to sell, into a seller who knew which keywords to include for a very profitable sale. This title found the buyers who knew exactly what they were looking for and who were willing to pay for it once they found it!

Now that you’ve learned how to be a consistently successful seller by building great listing titles, look forward to our next article on how you can pick the best start price to ensure that those buyers you pulled in with your title can’t pass up your listing!

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