The one thing I always stress throughout my home study courses is the importance of keywords when advertising your products.

Never underestimate the importance of keywords…

Your choice is absolutely crucial to whether your listings make a fabulous profit for you or don’t even get noticed.

That’s because keywords play a hugely important role in your eBay selling, yet I am truly astounded and dismayed by the staggering number of people who ignore this fact, and willingly throw their sales away – not to mention their listing fees – on a regular basis.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that there really is very little point in advertising your products for sale on eBay unless potential buyers are going to view your listings and buy your items. Unless you really are doing it all for a bet or you think somehow you’ll get your reward later!

The listing title is the part that you complete on the Sell Your Item form before you get to the main description, so I can see why it might be rushed or passed over. But the reality is this: if your keywords in your title and description are not effective, it doesn’t matter how amazing your listing looks because your products are unlikely to be noticed on eBay.

That’s because, when someone keys words or phrases into the search box on eBay to find goods they want to buy, eBay will match those words with listings containing those exact same words in their titles, sometimes descriptions also if searchers choose to search title and description. And that means, if words used in your listing do not match words used by people most likely to buy your product, your listing will never be seen.

Imagine, for example, you are listing a face cream designed to minimise wrinkles, and you already know that words at the left side of eBay UK’s Pulse page represent keywords used by people to find products like you are selling. Let’s say those keywords suggest most potential customers key in “cure wrinkles”, “get rid of wrinkles”, and “look younger longer”. So how many sales do you think you’ll make for a listing entitled “smooth out facial lines”. Let me answer that for you, it’s probably “Zilch”. But if you use as your title “New Cream to Cure Wrinkles” or “Now You Can Look Younger Longer”, the answer comes closer to “as many as you can stock”.

Someone who isn’t going to make money online will write his own titles and descriptions from scratch, using words he would personally use to find a cream to cure wrinkles, and which he imagines other people will also use in eBay’s search engine. Wrong! What you have to do is find out exactly what words other people will use to find your product, not words you think they will use. Once you find those words, on the Pulse Page or by studying other people’s successful listings for similar products, you create one or preferably several listings with different titles for the same product, in a way that means at least one of your listings responds to every popular search.

So don’t ever lose sight of the fact that keywords are the main way in which potential buyers will actually find your listing in the first place, and they are probably the most important part of the Sell Your Item form! Keywords sell products – this is an undisputed fact of life on eBay.

Then there is your actual description – the part where you advertise your product, add images and sell the benefits and features. What you need to remember is that there is a significant difference between searching for a product on eBay, and searching for the same item using a general search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Why? Well, because eBay buyers can search eBay by both the title and description for an item. But not all users actually do this, most just use the search box at the top of the page. Nonetheless, it is worth making sure your description also includes your relevant keywords to catch the percentage that do use advanced search.

So, if you make sure your eBay title and description include keywords that are searched for and relevant to your product you will dramatically improve the search standing of your listing and most importantly – the visibility of your product. If you don’t include the search terms then your listing won’t be found in search results. What use is that to you?

How you can increase your page views and make more sales

First, you must decide what keywords to use, which you do by thinking like a buyer and deciding what words you would use to search for your product.

Write down all the words you can think of that are relevant and then narrow down to the strongest ones. These are the keywords you will use in your title. It doesn’t matter if your title doesn’t read like a sentence. For example, the proper English way of writing might be:

Lovely Brand New Apple iPod In The Colour Black With An 8GB Memory And A Black Leather Case Also Included.

This is far too long and doesn’t include enough keywords. Plus there are characters wasted by the inclusion of the words Lovely, Brand, In, The, Colour, And, Black Leather, A, Also, Included and With. People rarely if ever use those words when searching on eBay.

It would be far more effective if it simply read:

NEW 8GB Apple iPod/MP3 Portable Player Black + Case

All the necessary details are there (colour, brand, condition, accessories, etc.) and importantly they are all keywords that are likely to be searched for. When have you ever heard of anyone searching for the word “lovely” or “and”?

You can also look at other sellers’ listings for ideas for hot keywords. Look at listings that have lots of bids or lots of sales history and use the same keywords in your own title. Obviously you must not copy someone else’s listing word for word – that is wrong!

Just make sure the words in your title convey exactly what the item is that you are selling because that is what is required of a powerful listing title.

Now here’s a secret…

Here’s a big secret that you may not know about, simply because eBay have made it quite hard to find! This secret reveals the top keywords being used on eBay’s search engines today, and that makes the site useful for locating terms for whatever you’re currently selling, as well as sourcing new products with high sales potential.

Go to: and you’ll be able to view the top overall searched for keywords on eBay.

Even better…

Go here: category.html and you can break it down by categories and even sub-categories – how brilliant is that?

So you have no excuse for using poor keywords any more! Just as an aside, I hope it goes without saying that you must not use irrelevant keywords when advertising your products, just because you’re trying to attract people looking for other items who might also want to buy yours – this is keyword spamming and it can result in your listings being removed – then no one will find them anyway!

As an example of how keyword spamming works, let’s say your wrinkle cream is unbranded and you’ve already discovered the top-selling wrinkle cream on eBay is “Wrinkle No More”. I hope that is fictitious, it’s certainly intended to be. So you know that more people are searching eBay for “Wrinkle No More” than can ever search for your product by name, mainly because your product doesn’t have a name. So you are relying on your listings being returned when people key something generic into the search box. Something like “wrinkle cream” or “wrinkle cure” should find you easily enough.

But you fancy some of that traffic going to listings for “Winkle No More” and you reckon, with a little persuasion, you can convert some of thousands of satisfied buyers for “Wrinkle No More” to at least try your product and possibly favour your product in future.

So you give your listing the title:

Removes More Wrinkles than “Wrinkle No More”

Is that okay? Is it the truth?

Well it might be the truth, but it’s certainly not okay to use a rival product’s name in your title, especially as you are being derogatory about that other product, and you may also be breaching trademark rules. More than that, your sole reason for including “Wrinkle No More” in your title is to confuse buyers and steal customers from other eBay sellers, and that is wrong, wrong, wrong! You deserve to have your listing removed!


Here’s a quick recap to ensure you get the most out of your eBay listings:

• Include your product’s brand name if it is branded. Including name brands in your title that are not relevant to what you are selling is prohibited by eBay.

• Use relevant, descriptive keywords that state exactly what you are selling.

• Use variations of words to describe your product. For example, an iPod could also be described as MP3, a jumper could also be described as a sweater, and so on.

• Avoid using pointless words such as L@@k, WOW, the, a, and, with, etc. Buyers don’t search for these words so you are wasting vital space in your title.

• Always check your spelling. And if you discover a high frequency keyword is commonly misspelled, consider using that word, with the correct version in your title.

• Every relevant keyword that you include in your title will increase the chance that your listing will be found, so use as many of your 80 characters as you can.

• Don’t waste characters on commas – your title doesn’t have to be a complete sentence.

• Include words like ‘New’ or abbreviations like ‘BNIB’ (brand new in box) or ‘NWT’ (new with tags) if they apply. Competent eBay users will search for these terms.

So there you are. Get your keywords right and you will reap the benefits.

Get it wrong and your listing might just as well be invisible!