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Writing eBay Auction Titles That Sell

January 27th, 2007 by Skip McGrath

You cannot sell successfully on eBay if you cannot write a great auction title.

If you want to make money selling on eBay you have to attracte bidders to read your eBay auction descriptions. The two most important factors in attracting bidders to your auctions and closing the sale are your title and your item description.

The title, often referred to as the headline, is what potential bidders see when they perform a search or browse through the categories.  Let’s look at what constitutes a good headline, how to use keywords to win search results, and what "hot-button" words can trigger clicks to your eBay listing.

An arresting, keyword rich headline has the power to “get the eyeballs” (this is eBay slang for getting people to click on your listing). Your title should immediately attract potential buyers to your listing. If you get someone to click on your title your odds of getting a bid –and making a sale, go up about 200 percent.

When an eBay buyer performs a search or clicks on a category, he or she is presented with a page listing about thirty auction titles. A potential buyer scans the list looking for something that catches their attention. Making your headline stand out in this list is critical to getting bids on your auction.

Think of it this way: A headline is nothing more than a collection of words designed to stop your potential buyer’s eyes from scanning the page, and linger long enough for him to click on your listing. To accomplish this, the headline must first contain a key word that describes the item the buyer is looking for. It should also be compelling, to the point, and state or imply a benefit to the buyer.

Keyword Rich eBay Titles

The single most important criteria for headlines is the use of relevant keywords. According to eBay, over 70 percent of bidders now find items on eBay by using the search feature. Therefore, you want your headline to be as exact as possible –yet also contain specific keywords that will make it come up in the greatest number of searches. Look at this headline:


This is an excellent headline for several reasons. It describes exactly what is being offered. It is also very rich with keywords. This headline would come up in a search for the following terms:

• Jerry Rice
• Football
• Football jersey
• Jerry Rice signed

eBay allows fifty-five characters (including spaces) in an auction title. This one uses fifty-four. Here is another example of a keyword-rich headline:


A woman searching for designer blue jeans might type in several combinations of key words such as: blue jeans, designer blue jeans, True Religion (a popular brand name), blue jeans medium, blue jeans 30, True Religion jeans, etc. Any of those keyword combinations would bring this auction up in a search. This headline also uses all fifty-five characters.

Sometimes you need to describe the condition of an item:


The word mint tells the buyer this book is in perfect, like-new condition. This is something every book collector searches for. So look at the keywords in this headline that someone may search for: John Grisham, Grisham, signed, signed first edition, a time to kill, mint.

Notice that I use all caps in these headlines. My experience has shown that all-caps headlines will generally stand out better in a list of auctions than will those with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters.
Because people are searching for products by keywords, it is extremely important that you use correct spelling. If you are selling a John Steinbeck book and spell it Stinebeck, your auction will not come up when bidders use the eBay search feature to find books written by him.

Hot Button Words

Years of research in the direct marketing community have proven that certain words have the power to make people act. If you have room in your title after including all the relevant key words, you should try to include hot button words in your title. These are words that motivate people and increase interest. 

Some of the hot button words that motivate people are new, sexy, unique, rare, best, one of a kind, best seller, top selling, best value, rich, love, hot, and so on.  If your product provides a very distinct benefit such as weight loss, improving beauty, making money, saving time and so on, then you may want to include those words in your headline if you have room after the keywords.

Symbols and Gimmicks

Try and avoid silly symbols and gimmicks in your headline.  These would include smily faces ;-), L@@K, SAVE $$$$$, FIVE ***** and others.  You must also be careful putting a symbol next to a word.  The eBay search engine will ignore legitimate punctuation such as commas, colons, semi-colons and periods next to a word.  But if you wrote a headline that said ***Handmade Wood Burning Firepit***, the words handmade and firepit would not come up in the eBay search engine because it would see the three stars *** as part of the word. So if you use any symbols such as *, ~, – and &, be sure and put a space between the symbol and the word.

Experiment and Test For Success

You may just write the perfect headline the first time you try, or if you are like me, it takes a couple whacks at it.  If you list an item with a headline that doesn’t get any hits (always put a hit counter in your auctions), then you should revise your headline before relisting an item.  If you are getting lots of hits, but no bids, then there is probably something wrong with your description or photos.  But that is another article for a later time.  If you would like to learn more about writing great headlines, taking eBay photos and writing auction descriptions that sell, check out The Complete eBay Marketing System. you can buy it on eBay by clicking on the image near the top of this post or from my website by clicking on the link below.

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