eBay is one of the world’s most established eCommerce marketplaces, with over 180 million active users in the first quarter of 2019. The platform allows merchants of all sizes to increase market share by selling internationally, but the competition for customers is fierce. The first step to sell more on eBay is to make your listings more visible to customers in the ‘Best Match’ search rankings.

What is the ‘Best Match’ position on eBay?

When buyers search for an item on eBay, the default order of results is known as the ‘Best Match.’ It’s designed to show customers the most relevant listings first, based on their search terms and taking into account the things they find most important when deciding what to buy.

What is the eBay ‘Best Match’ algorithm?

eBay’s ‘Best Match’ algorithm determines which items rank higher in its listings. It uses several factors including:

  • How closely the listing matches the buyer’s search terms
  • The popularity of the item (based on impressions and sales)
  • How competitively the item is priced
  • The quality of the listing description
  • The quality and number of images accompanying the description
  • Whether the listing is complete or has omissions
  • The seller’s terms of service, including return policy and handling time
  • The level of customer service offered by the seller
  • The seller’s feedback score

How do I rank higher on eBay?

eBay claim that there is no secret formula to improving your position in the ‘Best Match’ sort order, insisting that “Sellers who follow best listing and selling practices will see their items appear higher in the search results.”

There are certain key areas, however, where sellers can certainly concentrate their efforts with the hope of consistently achieving higher ‘Best Match’ rankings. Below are six essential factors every eBay seller should be focusing on.

eBay Best MatchThere are several factors eBay sellers can optimize to improve their products’ visibility

1. Create accurate listings

The more eBay knows about your item, the better it can match it with buyer searches. Writing a clear, concise title with no more than 80 characters is a great start, as is ensuring that your item description is accurate, detailed and informative, with information drawn from the eBay product catalog if possible.

It’s also important to add item specifics like manufacturer’s name, model, size, color and style, to give buyers as much information as possible on which to make their decisions. Little details like punctuation and spelling also have an impact, so take the time to carefully check our listings before publishing.

2. Use high-quality, original images

eBay allows sellers to publish 12 free images with every item listing. Take advantage of these with good quality photos shot from every possible angle. If you’re selling an item with areas of damage or flaws, be sure to include close-up images of these, so buyers know what to expect before making a purchase. Using a unique image rather than eBay’s stock picture for your item is also preferable.

eBay Product imagesProduct images will affect the Best Match ranking of your products – so make sure they’re high quality!

3. Choose the right selling format

If you’re not sure of the value of the goods you’re listing, or if your item is unique and can’t be bought elsewhere, an auction format might be your best bet to achieve an optimal price.

A fixed price or ‘Buy it Now’ format is a better choice if you already know the price you’d like to achieve for an item, if you need to sell lots of identical items in a multi-quality listing, you have a lot of inventory and want to minimize your insertion fees, or if you want your items to be visible to buyers for more than 10 days.

4. Pick the most appropriate category

It’s also important to ensure that your item is listed in the most appropriate category so that it can be easily located both by eBay’s ‘Best Match’ algorithm and buyers browsing this way. If you’re not sure what category to use, search for similar products listed by other sellers to see which they’ve selected or get in touch with eBay who’ll be happy to help.

eBay categoriesMake life easy for eBay shoppers by ensuring your products are all featured in the most appropriate category

5. Be clear about your selling terms

Giving buyers comprehensive information about your selling terms and conditions will help you rise in eBay’s rankings. Include details about your postage and handling costs (bear in mind that eBay recommend free postage as ideal, though not obligatory) along with your accepted payment methods and return policy. You should also give details about how long it will take to handle and ship an order and whether customers will be able to track it through to arrival.

6. Maintain a positive selling history

As with so many eCommerce platforms, keeping a squeaky-clean reputation on eBay will help you outrank competitors in customer search functions. To do this, ensure that items arrive on time using tracked postage methods wherever possible and deal with customer queries and complaints quickly and decisively. It’s also important to provide honest and accurate product descriptions to avoid buyer disappointment and to keep a careful eye on your inventory to avoid disappointing customers when stock runs dry.

It’s worth noting that even if you’re already received negative customer feedback, you can get in touch with the buyer to request a retraction (after working with them to fix the original issue.) If this isn’t possible, it’s good practice to at least reply to negative comments to explain your side of the story, letting customers know that you’ value their honest feedback and are working to improve practices.

The best way to ensure your support team is able to manage a high volume of customer interactions quickly and effectively is with the use of dedicated eCommerce software, such as eDesk.

eDesk centralizes all customer interactions from every major marketplace you sell on, matching messages with order and shipping details so your team has everything they need to resolve tickets in one place, eliminating the need to login to multiple programs.