Writing auction titles seems deceptively easy. But snaring bidders on eBay means carefully considering the keywords used in every title you write, and being eloquent isn't as important as you might think. Why? Because most eBay searches are conducted on the title field only, and that's how many bidders will find your auctions among thousands of others. Avoid listing title pitfalls and put yourself in the searcher's shoes with these helpful tips.
1. Focus on Key TermsTake advantage of all 55 characters you're allotted for your title to make sure you've covered all your bases when it comes to keywords. Include words that will appeal to both avid collectors and casual shoppers. Avoid listing titles that are too simplistic. A listing title like "Rhinestone Necklace Earrings" simply doesn't offer enough information about the listing. How old are the pieces? What color are they? Are they signed? Start with the basics and add as many relavent words as possible.
2. Eliminate Meaningless CharactersMany listing titles on eBay are swamped with meangless characters, like plus signs, tildes, exclamation points, and the like. While they're supposed to be eye-catching, these characters do absolutely nothing to educate potential buyers about the pieces you're attempting to sell and entice them into bidding. You'll be far better off using that space to add relevant keywords, thereby increasing the odds of potential buyers actually finding what you have to sell when they conduct a search.
3. Avoid Meaningless PhrasesUsing phrases like "very nice" in your listing title do nothing to maximize exposure. Few bidders will conduct a search for a "very nice pitcher," a "very nice necklace," or what have you. Leave out this type of language unless you've exhaused your keyword options and still have room in the title. Whether you're selling paintings, pens, or pottery, strive to make every word address search requirements of your potential bidders. After that, you can add "WOW!" if you have room.
4. Know What You're Selling
Make sure you're representing the item correctly. If it's a green Depression glass
pitcher you're listing, don't mistake it for a vaseline glass pitcher (even though the two types of glass do have some qualities in common). Bidders searching for true vaseline glass, which is more yellow in appearance (like petroleum jelly, hence the name) and older than Depression glass, probably won't be interested in your offering. And people really looking for Depression glass won't find your listing at all.
5. Don't Miss a Mark
I talk a lot about paying attention to marks when evaluating and pricing antiques. There's no exception here. Leaving the maker's mark
out of your title is never a good idea, no matter what you're listing on eBay. If your item is marked, make sure you say so in the title. Don't just say that the piece is "signed,"; go ahead and put the name of the maker or artist in the title. That way, bidders looking for a piece with particular signature will zero in on your listing through the search engine.
6. Watch Your SpellingBidders will find your auctions if keywords are spelled correctly, and you'll be demonstrating your professionalism as well. Many eBayers see sloppy titles as a reflection of how sellers generally handle their business, and avoid placing bids accordingly. If you have room, however, using a commonly misspelled word in a title can work for you - for example, including "Steiff" and "Stieff" or "brooch" and "broach." Just be sure you don't refer to a necklace as a "neckless." That just looks silly.
7. Put Yourself in the Searcher's Shoes
To determine which keywords you should use, ask yourself about words bidders who are looking for this type of item will type in the search field. Each item will have a unique set of keywords best suited to maximize the number of search hits your listing receives. Suppose you plan to list a pink Depression glass butter dish
in the Cube pattern, sometimes referred to as "Cubist" by collectors. A complete title like "Cube Cubist pink Depression glass butter dish" is necessary to reach your bidders.
8. Pay Attention to Details
What's the difference between R.S. Prussia
and RS Prussia? A couple of simple periods. But when searching on eBay, bidders might use one or the other and omitting the periods can keep a potential buyer from finding your listing. Using both in your auction title will net more positive search results. For instance, consider using a complete listing title like "RS R.S. Prussia Countess Potocka portrait plate" to cover all your bases.
Pamela Y. Wiggins is the author of "Buying & Selling Antiques and Collectibles on eBay" (Thomson Course Technology).