How eBay’s Best Match Search Algorithm Works (How To Beat It)

Ever wonder about how eBay’s sorts and filters it’s millions upon millions of results? Ever wonder why your listings seem to move up or down in the search results?

Well, we have done some research and analyzed our findings from over a million+ of eBay search results.

This is a bulleted list of how we believe the algorithm operates and what you can do to get more traffic to your listings.

How eBay’s Best Match Works (Step by Step)

To understand how eBay serves and ranks listings, let’s go on a journey through the eBay search form.

  1. Buyer Intent: A buyer visits eBay wanting to buy a “26 Inch Blue Widget”
  2. The Search Bar: The buyer goes to the eBay search bar and types “Widget”. This is a pretty generic term. eBay isn’t quite sure what kind of widget you want so it has to make a wild guess.
  3. Best Match: This is when BestMatch starts to kick in and serves the user a list of potential items.
  4. Probability: The listings shown are not random. There is a probability to what shows and when. It is your goal as a seller to understand how to increase your probability of showing up for the “Widget” keyword. Since you had “Widget” in your title, your listing is shown in the results. It could be ranked 32,585th but it will be shown.
  5. New Listings: If your listing is new, it will have a hire probability of showing up at the top. Your listing will be “tested” against other top selling listings temporarily to see if your listing can compete. If it can’t and the buyer doesn’t click your listing, your listing will then be moved down the rankings until it reaches a more suitable area of competition.
  6. Keyword Stuffing for Views: The buyer sees too many listings searching for just “Widget” and decides to change their keyword to “Blue Widget”. Now their results are getting a bit closer to what they want. To increase your probability of showing up you could stuff your title, categories, description, and item specifics with relative keywords that you know your buyer is looking for. This will increase the number of views you get initially. However, there are more important statistics than the view count.
  7. Engagement: eBay is tracking what listings buyers are clicking on, how long they are staying on the listing, and whether people are buying items from the listing. This is known as engagement. Engagement is far more important than views. You could keyword stuff all your listings and increase your views 10X but this is a very bad strategy. If someone is searching for an item and your item shows up but is not relevant, the buyer will not engage with your listing. They will leave and go look for a more relevant listing. This hurts your ranking because your delaying the buyer from locating what it is that they want. You have a high view count but a low engagement rate (or a low click through rate or a low view to purchase ratio).
  8. Relevancy: Your attempts at keyword stuffing need to be relevant. Do not add keywords just to fill the 80 character limit in your title. Only add keywords that would attract a buyer to the correct product. In many cases a shorter relevant exact keyword match will create much more engagement than a title stuffed with generic category keywords. And by doing this you will be ranked higher for those keyword matches. You may be getting less views overall but your be ranked higher on eBay for more relevant keywords that lead to more sales.
  9. Keyword Location: So you figured out the golden keyword phrase? Where do you place it? eBay is searching the Title, Store Category, Item Specifics, and Description. If possible make sure your golden keyword is in all or most of these.
  10. Store Category: eBay allows each user to have up to 300 custom store categories. Take advantage of this. Many sellers do take the time to put highly relevant keywords in their store categories. This is a huge bump in “keyword juice” to your listings. Use them. You can add an item to two custom categories.
  11. Item Specifics: When a user searches for “Widget”, they may be presented with filters on the left to narrow down their results. They may see color options and size options. If your listing does not specify these optons in your “item Specifics” then you will only show up under “Other” or “Not specified”. Buyers typically do not look in these sections. You will lose out on sales so add as many item specifics as you can and make sure they are relevant and accurate to increase engagement.
  12. Variations: If you sell blue, white, red, and green widgets, do NOT post 4 different listings. You will get higher rankings if you post one listing that has a select box for the 4 variations.
  13. Photos: If you only have one photo, add more photos. You will get higher rankings AND more sales with more photos. Take a look at what your competition is using for photos. Is it a photo outside in action or is it a photo with a whitebackground. Each category is different and will require a different type of photo. The photo helps get you higher engagement and it will cause users to click through to your listing more often. Use AMAZING photos!
  14. Price: Price is not as important as you think. If all the items above are top notch and your listing is getting clicks and sales, price is the last thing eBay is looking at. Many buyers might be looking at price but many buyers would rather pay 10 more dollars buying from a beautiful listing than buying from a sketchy looking listing thats cheaper.
  15. Design: eBay doesn’t care what your template looks like but a great looking template will increase engagement and sales. A great looking template builds trust and trust leads to sales.
  16. Video: If you can create or find a video of your product to show in your listing this will increase the time the buyer spends on your listing. This increases engagement. It also informs the buyer of the product details which can increase overall sales.

Summary of the eBay Search Algorithm

If you take anything out of this article, remember that “engagement” is 100x more important than page views. In order to compete and increase your listing rankings in the eBay algorithm, you need to increase your click through rates, increase the time spent on your listing pages, reduce your bounce rates (buyer leaving your page), and increase your view to purchase ratio (less generic views + more purchases). More page views was the game 5-10 years ago. The game now is “engagement” and “relevancy”.

Know the rules. Beat the rules.

You can read more about eBay search algorithm on eBay’s website.

Even More Information

Watch this video about eBay’s search algorithm. It’s very informative. We covered many of the tips above but it’s always best to hear it straight from the horses mouth.

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  1. BILL YAN left a comment on March 22, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    This is the best article about ebay best match i have ever read so far! Thanks heaps for your great job!

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