March 11, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 43 Comments

How to Write PERFECT eBay Listing Titles!

ebay-listing-titlesYou hate writing, I know.

But there’s no way to build a successful eBay business without it –after all you need to write product titles and descriptions. Well, you can always outsource these tasks IF you’re comfortable spending the money required but even then – I strongly recommend learning how to write good listing titles and descriptions BEFORE you start outsourcing! Otherwise you won’t be able to give precise instructions to your writer and will end up with mediocre results.

In today’s blog post I want to talk specifically about how to write good titles for your eBay listings!

By good I mean a title that:

  • Gives you the highest possible position in search results;
  • Effectively pre-sells your product;
  • Makes your listing stand out from the crowd!

You may be thinking – what’s so special about listing titles, they’re simple and easy, right? Well, listing titles may seem easy but the question remains why the majority on eBay seem as if they’ve been written by a 3 year old?

bad-listing-titleAnd it’s not just the visual of these poorly written listing titles; they also affect search positions and click-through rates! So they don’t just look bad, listing titles directly affect your sales! In essence, the listing title and gallery image are the MOST important things in your listings as they determine whether or not a person will click through to read the rest of your description.

So let’s learn how to write a perfect eBay listing title for maximum click-through rates and the best position in search results!

Do’s & Don’ts When Writing eBay Listing Titles!

If you check out eBay’s Help section on writing good listing titles and descriptions, here’s what they suggest you SHOULD DO when writing listing titles:

  • Use descriptive keywords to clearly and accurately convey what you are selling. You can use up to 80 characters. You don’t have to use all 80 characters.
  • Include the item’s brand name, artist, or designer.
  • Include item-specifics. For example, include size, colour and condition.
  • State exactly what your item is, even if your title repeats the category name.
  • Don’t use multiple synonyms or plurals. It’s not needed for search and may make your title less attractive to buyers.
  • Omit punctuation marks and asterisks.
  • Don’t include ‘wow’ or ‘look’. Buyers don’t search for words like these.
  • Use correct spelling.
  • Don’t worry about creating a grammatically correct sentence.
  • Don’t overuse acronyms.
  • Don’t use all caps.

I agree with all of the above! If you follow these basic guidelines, your listing titles will be just fine! To make them exceptionally good, also follow these tips:

1. ALWAYS start your listing title with the MAIN KEYWORD or at least place it in the beginning part of your title. This plays a crucial role in search results. You want your product to be mentioned in the BEGINNING of your title if you want to rank high.

So for example, if you sell black covers for the iPhone 5, make sure the words “black”, “cover” and “iPhone 5” are in the beginning of your title, like this:

BLACK iPhone 5 Cover | PREMIUM Quality + FREE Screen Protector!

2. Capitalise the first letter on most words to make your listing title easy to read.

Take a look at these two titles:

brand new apple ipod for sale, free shipping within the uk

&

BRAND NEW Apple iPod for Sale! FREE Shipping within the UK!

I don’t have to say which of the two above titles looks better and is easier to read…

Don’t over-do capitalisation though. Only capitalise a few select words, otherwise it will look too cluttered.

3. Capitalise all letters in power words. Power words are usually key phrases that best describe the product for sale OR promote a feature/benefit.

If there’s something you want to emphasise, capitalise it. For example:

GENUINE Adobe Elements 11 – BOXED | FREE Shipping within the UK!

With a title like this you emphasise that the item for sale is a genuine product as many people are afraid of buying software on eBay due to the many copies being sold. Also, by capitalising the word FREE you draw extra attention to fact that shipping is free for this item.

4. Don’t SPAM! This is such an obvious rule but so many sellers still don’t follow it and end up with listing titles like this:

spam-titleSuch titles are very hard to read and will result in low click-through rates. Besides that, someone could report your listing which could result in it being cancelled due to a policy breach. Not something you want to happen when you have a long established GTC listing up and running with dozens or hundreds of sales achieved!

5. Don’t fill up the title with unrelated words just to make it 80 characters!

Sometimes less is better. And short titles can actually improve click-through rates. If there’s not a lot to say about the item you sell, don’t make stuff up or do keyword stuffing – it doesn’t do any good at all.

Usually though you can fill up un-used characters by just covering more features of the product or details about shipping or a free gift you include with each purchase.

These are all basic guidelines and very simple to follow. Make no excuses here and just stick to them!

eBay also tells us what we should NEVER do when writing product listing titles. Breaking these rules can result in the listing being cancelled and even account bans in severe circumstances:

  • Don’t include false or misleading information.
  • Don’t include website addresses, email addresses, or phone numbers. The exception is in the sale of domain names.
  • Don’t use profane or obscene language.
  • Don’t use the following words in an attempt to market or advertise your item:

o Prohibited
o Banned
o Illegal
o Outlawed

  • Don’t use any other descriptive word that may bring into question the legality of an item by either governmental or eBay standards.
  • Don’t include brand names other than the specific brand name used by the company that manufactured or produced the item you’re listing. This is called keyword spamming and isn’t allowed on eBay. These types of listings will be ended and the insertion fee for the listing automatically credited.

compatible-itemsAgain, this is all self-explanatory…

In the case of selling compatible items – i.e. items that can be used WITH branded products BUT themselves aren’t branded – make sure you read eBay’s policy on using brand names in cases like this.

The most important rule here is to always use the phrase “compatible with” before the actual brand name in your listing titles.

So for example, this ISN’T allowed:

Apple iPhone 5 Car Charger

You can’t use a title like this IF the charger is not made by Apple. What you should use instead is:

Car Charger compatible with Apple iPhone 5

See the difference? Good!

I know you’ll say – but my competitors do this and their listings are still live! Yes, I know that many sellers on eBay are breaching the rules BUT do you really want to take the risk of your listing being pulled down for policy breaches? Just report any competitors who’re using unethical practices and let eBay deal with them. Don’t put your business at risk, in the long term it’s simply not worth it.

So these are the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of creating good eBay listing titles. Next, let’s take a look at how best to structure your listing titles.

The Formula of a Perfect eBay Listing Title

I myself am a very creative person so for me coming up with listings titles is super easy. But if you struggle to come up with them yourself, a good method is to follow a set structure for your titles, so here’s a general formula you can stick to:

Product + Features + Benefits

3 parts to take up the allowed 80 characters:

1) Product – as discussed before, start your listing title with the product name, which is usually your main keyword.

2) Features – it can be the colour, size, storage capacity, model – anything that is important to your item and something that people search for. For example, if you sell memory cards, you definitely want to include it’s capacity and type directly into the listing title as most people will use these two parameters when searching, e.g.:

SanDisk Compact Flash card – 16GB | 100% GENUINE UK Stock!

3) Benefits – after the product name & main features, if you still have character space left unused, cover the benefits/extra features or even shipping terms. Anything that makes your offer more valuable works here, like:

  • FREE Next Day Delivery!
  • 100% GENUINE!
  • FREE Gift Included!
  • 2 Year Warranty!
  • 2 Spare Parts included!
  • 5 Star Reviews on Amazon!
  • More than 10 000 SOLD!
  • And so on…

It’s not that difficult, right? Product + Features + Benefits

Use this formula and follow my Dos and Don’ts and I guarantee you’ll be writing SUPERB eBay listing titles in no time! It’s not hard at all, once you’ve mastered the basic fundamentals behind the process.

If you’re running out of characters, you can always consider using sub-titles too. Sub-titles can be used to describe your item more extensively or say to list more technical data in cases where it’s very important for the product you sell (think laptops for example).

Sub-titles are not free though. For business sellers on eBay UK fees are:

  • For Auction-style and Buy it now – 3 to 10 day listings: £0.35
  • Buy it now 30 day listings: £1.05

There’s no right or wrong way of doing this – IF you really feel your listing needs a sub-title, use it! If you can barely fill up the 80 character space in your main title, you probably don’t need it.

If you ask me – I believe that sub-titles DO increase click-through rates in most cases, especially if you use that space wisely. At the end of the day your listing title + sub-title IS your sales copy! It’s like a small AD for your listing. If it’s good and enticing, more people will click on it.

And if you’re running a GTC listing which should result in at least 10+ sales per month, that £1.05 fee is not that bad, especially if you’re working with healthy margins.

Conclusions

Remember, this is a one-time job – once you’ve written a good listing title, it’s there for you to reuse over and over again. So take no short-cuts with this process as if you do, you’re simply leaving money on the table. How? Well here’s how:

Imagine you make a clear profit of 10 pounds per item sold and the conversion rate from your listing is a constant 10%.

Let’s say your listing is seen by 1000 people and the badly written listing title produces a 1% click-through rate (so for every 1000 people that see your listing in eBay’s search results, 10 click on it)… what affect would writing a great listing title that produces a 2% click-through rate have on your sales and profit? Let’s look at the figures:

  • Badly written listing title – 1000 views, 10 clicks (1% click-through rate) = 1 sale (10% conversion rate) = 10 pounds profit.
  • Good listing title – 1000 views, 20 clicks (2% click through rate) = 2 sales (10% conversion rate) = 20 pounds profit.

Therefore an improved listing title has doubled your profit!

This is a simplified example of course but I hope you see the DIFFERENCE a meagre 1% in your click-through rate can make. With the poorly written listing title you would end up making just one sale and be left with 10 quid in your pocket, while with the good listing title – 2 sales and 20 quid profit.

So no matter what you think or how lazy you are, you need to learn to write good eBay listing titles so you can reap the benefits of increased click-through rates, increased sales and ultimately – increased profit!

Thanks,
Andrew

43 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew,

    thanks for info;

    What are your thoughts on using pipe signs (I think that’s what they are called) e.g. Osmo 3060 DOOR OIL | CLEAR SATIN Wooden Door Real Wood | 1Litre

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jock,

      Vertical dividers, yes – I like them and use quite frequently.

      I think they nicely separate parts of a longer listing title.
      Andrew

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for this guide so straight and to the point, I’ve been listing on ebay usually items I have at home to declutter, but this time I decided to buy some jumpers wholesale and sell them on ebay, they were not easy too get found on ebay had to change my listing a number of times!

    You see auctions seem to be easy which is the path I’m used too but I tried buy it now, not so good, put in just plain title and got them found in the end!

    (Thanks again Andrew very informative)

    Regards
    Jan

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good to hear that Jan & you’re welcome! 🙂

      Andrew

  3. Vytautas Milius

    Hi, I am selling Xiaomi stuff and I am 15 years old .. I need help with one thing… They said that no one can use brand name in title if you are not authorized resealer. For example write tittle for smartphone Xiaomi Mi5 64gb 4g ram White

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Vytautas,

      It depends on whatever that particular brand is part of eBay’s VERO program or not.

      I don’t know about Xiaomi specifically but it would be that they protect their brand with the VERO and do not allow everyone to sell their stuff on eBay.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Your article is very helpful for someone like me who is new to this. I am planning to create a quick reference guide and I would like to ask if I can get content from your article. I would add a link to your article in the document so people would know the source.

    Thanks again and looking forward to hear from you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, sorry – you can’t use/copy content from my website.

      1. Thanks for the response.

  5. I have noticed in the last several months that some ebay seller are adding their ebay seller name or store name in the title box. Why some sellers are doing this? Does this help promote their store or their brand? Is this effective? Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks Noel

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Noel,

      I haven’t really noticed this, no…

      Can’t see any real benefit of doing this unless it’s a well known brand/shop?

      Maybe they just try to promote their brand to make listing/product look more unique.

      Andrew

  6. scott orenstein

    Very helpful but still not exactly sure based on the following. I sell t-shirts. I sell different bands that have different designs which usually have a name. So for example I have a Beatles T-shirt that has a graphic of Abbey Road that comes in 100% cotton in sizes S-2XL.

    Lots of ways for me to go right based on keywords : T Shirt, The Beatles, Abbey Road, 100% Cotton, Licensed, Black Sizes S-2XL.

    Love just to see one best practices example to follow – Thank You

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Scott,

      Basically you have already put a title together there – with items like these, where you have lots of keywords you need to use in it, simply use them!

      Just make it look/sound little bit better, like this:

      The Beatles T-Shirt | LICENSED | Black in Sizes S-2XL

  7. Hi, I’ve not long started selling on eBay, have sold a couple items over the weeks. A lot of my items though on ten day listings only seem to have around 6-10 views with 3 days to go!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rick,

      There could be many reasons for this, it’s hard for me to give you any specific advice…

      Andrew

  8. Thank u for helpful information and useful advise .

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  9. Hi Andrew,

    I make and sell pet ramps to allow dogs and cats easier access to the sofa or bed. I’ve previously had good ranking in eBay’s search results and good sales but recently I’ve dropped down the search rankings which has impacted my sales. Can you advise if the title I’m using could be improved and if so do you have any suggestions to increase visibility of my product in searches

    ‘Handmade Carpeted Pet Ramp Steps Stairs for Dogs or Cats’

    Best wishes,

    Gareth

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Gareth,

      Please check out this post first before you make any changes to your listing:

      https://andrewminalto.com/ebay-sales-going-down/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  10. […] How to Write PERFECT eBay Listing Titles! […]

  11. Thank you for the info!
    However it’s ironic you’re making a ”how to” about writing a good title so we don’t look like a 4 year old right? Yet before you even start with the lesson you wrote …
    (So let’s learn how to write a –> ”prefect” eBay listing title) REAL NICE! Lol

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      Mistakes can happen to anyone 🙂

  12. Hi Andrew,

    Can I use the brand name ‘ZARA’ when I am selling a ‘Mango’ branded item? For example: Mango (Zara Group) Shirt. Because both Mango and Zara are part of the Azadea Group.

    Thank you for your help in advance,

    Best Wishes,

    Zsolt

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hmm, probably no as in some way it would be classed as manipulation and keyword stuffing.

  13. Eydie Adams

    Hello, Andrew. I found your instructions very interesting, however, they work for reselling conventional items. I have my own brand of novelty and personalized signs. An example title for my novelty signs would be “I Came I Cast I Kicked Bass Fisherman’s Funny Sign with Green Fish” and for my personalized sign “Always Showing Custom Home Theater Sign with Film Reel, Stars & Popcorn”. I have about 500 different signs for sale on Ebay yet my sales are extremely low, maybe 1 or 2 at the most daily, if that.

    I would be forever in your debt if you could tell me if my titles are good and, if not, how to improve them. I’ve looked at a lot of sites that offer information on titles but nothing that fits in with what I sell.

    Thanks so much for your time.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Eydie,

      No, your titles are not that good at all…

      People DON’T search for those specific keywords/signs!!! You have to build your listing titles based around keywords people search for (signs, funny signs, wall signs etc.) and group your items in listings with variations (not individual listing for each item you sell).

      Tons of more to add of course. if you need more detailed guidance, check out my EAB course here:

      http://www.easyauctionbusiness.com/secret/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Eydie Adams

        Thanks for your reply Andrew but I’m still a bit confused. Would it be possible to do a title for me based on Always Showing Custom Home Theater Sign with Film Reel, Stars & Popcorn.

        I always thought it was important not to duplicate titles. This is what confuses me.

        Thanks,
        Eydie

        1. Andrew Minalto

          As I said, you need to GROUP your products in related themes.

          I don’t know all your inventory so I don’t know what groups you’ll come up with but the title for each group (ONE listing with variations) will be slightly different.

          So they won’ be duplicate titles.

          Andrew

  14. Hi Andrew – I messaged you last week about how i could get to the ‘top pages of ebay’. You mentioned that i should reduce my price. I did this however i was still getting very minimal views/sales, i was taking quite a bit of a hit on every item which was sold. Even then i was only selling 1 or 2 items every 2/3 days. My sales have gone quiet again and i am not getting any sales at all. I have had a look at ebay listing analytics and can see that the ‘impressions’ for 80% of my listings are significantly low. The same items are being sold on ebay by some competitors who are hitting over 10 sales a day just for that same item. Do you think this could be due to the listing titles? There are many sellers selling the same item at pretty much the same price. I have cut their prices and also used quality pictures. I have also put my pictures in the description box so it is a lot bigger and attractive. Just cant seem to win.

    One of my titles for womens clothing is: WOMENS Long Sleeve BOYFRIEND CARDIGAN Top Open Pocket Cardigan ALL Sizes.

    I have read your article and please correct me if i am wrong but i am thinking i should change the title to: Womens Cardigan – Long Sleeves – Top Open Pockets – Sizes S M L XL

    Not quite there but something in them lines? I have got rid of boyfriend because i doubt many people search for that.

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks!

  15. Hi Andrew,

    I have previously found your advice really helpful over the last few months. 
    I now have a question for you. I want to add more words in one of the fields in item specifics, it has the option “Enter your own”  but when I enter say, 10 words they don’t save when I go back into the listing. I can only get three words to save. I have seen other sellers with maybe 30 or more words in item specifics.

    How can I do this?

    Thanks in advance 

    Mark

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mark,

      Don’t know really what is going on there – it could be just a temp glitch or something?

      You should contact eBay and ask them how to get this fixed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Thanks Andrew,

        I now know why, but I don’t understand why eBay has done this by design.

        You can only enter multiple words in the “Enter your own” field when creating the listing.
        If you try to edit this field once the listing is published and live its not possible.

        Best regards

        Mark

  16. This is great info, thank you. I sell yarn in 100g, 200g and up. I have them listed without variations, so all separate listings so my descriptions are the same in many. Should I be using variations? It makes it look like I don’t have many listings if I do that. What is best to increase sales? I have noticed a massive drop in sales on my site which has me in a huge panic and I need all the help I can get. Am I getting penalised for not using variations? My titles are the same in most (apart from the colour). Your help will hopefully make me sleep at night, it has been terrible last few weeks.

    Thank you for your help in advance. This website has helped me so much, Andrew.
    Julie

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Julie,

      Yes, absolutely! If you sell same item in various sizes/lengths/colours/weights etc. you want to list them ALL under one listing using variations. Not only this will help you getting higher in search, listings with variations will also accumulate much higher sales history, achieve higher conversion rates which again helps getting your listing showed higher in search results.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  17. Jack Sandford

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the article and advice!

    I sell lot’s of products which are very similar. Is it okay to keep 95% of the title the same for each listing (150 ish GTC listings), or should I be making them quite different? My worry is that the almost duplicate listing titles will be hidden by eachother? As my limited experience in SEO work tells me Google will ignore duplicate writing, I thought maybe eBay worked the same.

    This also applies to the main body description – should I be writing individual text for each listing, rather than the exact same piece?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jack.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jack,

      What kind of products they are? If they’re so similar that titles are almost identical, wouldn’t it be better to list them in groups under one listing with variations?

      1. Jack Sandford

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for the reply.

        They are wall stickers. Different quotes and floral designs for inside peoples homes. We have four different sizes for each and twenty five different colour for each, making that 100 different variations in each listing already. So listing them all together is not an option.

        Here’s a link to our shop to give you a clearer picture of what I sell –

        http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Home-Of-Wall-Art?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

        Thanks a lot,
        Jack.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          ok, got ya!

          Yes, in cases like these, you’ll simply want to use product describing words to make listing titles as unique as possible. Still, you’ll want to use “wall sticker, vinyl” in all titles but just describe product (text/phrase/image) in remaining characters.

          This should be enough for eBay to treat your listings as unique, especially when each carries so many variations already.

          As for descriptions – just be natural and write what it is. Most info will be same for all listings but you can write a paragraph or two about each specific design, where it would look best in house, how it looks etc.

          But in general, with products like this, PICTURES sell the product on eBay!

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          1. Thanks a lot Andrew!

  18. Hi there Andrew, stumbled upon your website and started reading your posts. Really motivating and I see that you have great talent in teaching, haha!

    One question though, i refer to two of your examples “BLACK iphone 5 covers” and “BRAND NEW Apple iPod”. Wouldn’t it be better if they are worded as “iphone 5 case BLACK” and “Apple iPod – BRAND NEW”? On the basis that features should always come after the main keyword of the product.

    Thank you and keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Vince,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There’s no one way of doing this so yes, of course – you can change wording around.

      I started with BLACK & BRAND NEW as they are power words, capitalized and potentially could draw more attention. But of course, even your example is ok.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

    2. Hi Andrew. First of all congratulation to be very clear in your explaination. Please I have a question about titles of the ebay listing: In order to achieve a good position in the search results how is important the translation (in the main international languages) of the main keywords? As in my case I sell hosiery and my target is the entire wolrd ebay buyer. Thanks very much and excuses my english I’m Italian. Anna

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Anna,

        Your listing titles should be in the language your listing is targeted to. So for example if you list on eBay UK, you mostly target UK based customers and your listing should be in English. If you list on eBay DE – German, eBay FR – French and so on.

        If you just list on eBay UK or eBay USA, you want your listing to be in English so that majority of your potential customers can read it and understand.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

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