eBay’s Best Match is a concept introduced in 2008 and as eBay says: “The objective of Best Match is to show the most relevant, best value items from sellers that will create a fantastic experience for the buyer. For example: time is very important for Auctions, it is less important for Fixed Price listings.”
Whatever the definition, for sellers eBay’s Best Match represents a process whereby one person’s product gets returned top of eBay’s listings when a potential buyer searches for that product on eBay, compared to a similar product from another seller that features hundreds or even thousands of listings later.
What eBay’s Best Match means for you…
The upshot is, if you’re selling highly competitive products on eBay, you must get your products listed high in Best Match returns or you’re leaving serious cash on the table!
Explaining how Best Match works, eBay says: “ ... items are sorted based on seller standards, recent impressions (how often the listing was shown in search results) and recent sales (how many items have sold from a multi-quantity listing). Additionally, we look at title, value and free P&P. Sellers reaching the Top-Rated Seller standards get an additional boost in Best Match sort order. Auction-style listings are sorted based on Seller Standards and ‘Time: ending soonest.’...”
There’s a great deal to know about why one listing gets Best Match and others go unrecognised by potential buyers and providing that information today would just waste time you could better spend on improving your status in eBay’s Best Match returns.
So I’m cutting to the bone here and, rather than focus on the whys and wherefores, I’ve compiled a bundle of tips to help you top the listings whenever a potential buyer searches for items similar to those you are selling on eBay.
Read on and make money fast!
If you’re selling one-off and unique items on eBay... such as rare antiques and collectibles, your listings will always top the listings when people search using words similar to those in your eBay titles. So if you’re the only person selling a “Painting by Billy Bloggs” on eBay and someone keys “Painting by Billy Bloggs” into the search engine, your listing will appear top of the search engine returns, with no other sellers anywhere in sight. And being the sole seller for any product – as long as sufficient buyers exist for that product – is one very good reason to at least attempt selling unusual and unique items on eBay.
Here are two more ways to make your listings stand out from the crowd:
– If you have mainly Buy It Now listings and hundreds of others are selling similar items, you can still achieve top ranking in Best Match returns by using different keywords in your titles than used by other sellers for similar products, as long as those keywords are relevant and high frequency. So, for example, if you are one of several sellers having a “Painting by Billy Bloggs” listed, then every time that specific phrase is keyed into eBay’s search engine, your listing will be returned alongside all those other sellers in Best Match order. Now assume you don’t want to share your market for Billy Blogg’s paintings, instead you want yours to be the only listing that appears when someone searches online for one of Billy’s great paintings.
You achieve that goal by looking for other words and phrases used on eBay to find paintings by Billy Bloggs, especially high frequency words and phrases that are missing from other sellers’ listings.
So you go to Google, for instance, or other search engine, where you do a search for “Painting by Billy Bloggs” and variations of that particular phrase. In the process you find that Mr. Bloggs had a nickname, “Bobo”, and search engines tell you phrases like “Billy Bobo Bloggs” and “Bobo Bloggs” form at least fifty per cent of searches for the artist’s work.
So you go back to eBay and key “Billy Bobo Bloggs” into the search box where you discover zero listings for the phrase. Excellent.
Next you open your listing, add “Bobo” to the title and all of a sudden your listing is returned Best Match, actually the only match, every time someone keys “Bobo Bloggs” or “Billy Bobo Bloggs” into eBay!
– Another good way to dominate the Best Match listings is by marketing products with low competition but high demand, and then work harder than your rivals to locate search terms used by people for those products. You’re looking for keywords and phrases potential buyers use for those products, but which are missing from rival sellers’ titles. Then you introduce those terms to your eBay titles and descriptions and maximise visitors to your listing. Try researching those high demand, low competition products using eBay’s Pulse Pages for starters, also Google and other research methods shown in the free report accompanying this issue.
Two of the most important factors in determining Best Match are Seller Performance & DSRs – Detailed Seller Ratings
The greater your score on either or both factors the higher you’ll climb up the Best Match ladder.
So how do you score higher in Seller Performance and Detailed Seller Ratings? These ideas will help you get started:
– Offer competitive prices and value for money. That’s because the more attractive your products are to buyers, the more sales you’ll make and the closer you’ll get to Best Match. The best way to do this is to determine what others are charging for similar products and set your own price equal or slightly below, even if you make a loss, but only in the short term until your Best Match rating grows. But do not compensate for lower profits with an increase in postage and packaging or other delivery charges. eBay is wise to this ploy and will rank your listings even lower as a result. Where you can, a low price and free delivery will always work in your favour.
– Work at reaching and keeping, and better still exceeding eBay’s minimum Seller Standards. That’s because, if your standards slip so will your ranking in Best Match Returns. One of the best ways to achieve the highest Seller Standard is to keep a close eye on your Seller Dashboard where you’ll notice any shortfall in the four DSRs on which your eBay reputation depends. You’ll find your Seller Dashboard from the drop-down menu at “Account” inside your eBay account.
These Detailed Seller Ratings are part of eBay’s overall feedback system, where buyers rate you according to: how well you described your item, how good you are at communicating, how long items take to dispatch, how closely your charge for P&P reflects the price you actually paid.
Do this to keep Seller Performance and DSRs high:
(i) Provide good service and avoid negative feedback which has an adverse effect on Seller Performance.
(ii) List in the correct categories.
(iii) Write clear descriptions, do not exaggerate, do not make promises you can’t keep, always offer and abide by your guarantee.
(iv) State your terms clearly and concisely and do not confuse buyers or you’ll get negative feedback.
(v) Your titles should be well written and use relevant keywords. Using unrelated keywords is classed as “keyword spamming” and will earn you a low placement in search returns.
You can optimise keywords used in your titles and descriptions with help from BayEstimator.
The system works where you provide words to describe your product which are then analysed, and other words suggested to improve your chance of being featured in eBay search engine returns, and ultimately Best Match listings also. You can also check the impact specific words have on Best Match returns, and thereby weed out less important words and replace them with better.
Resolve buyer problems before they convert to negative feedback. Many buyers leave negative feedback out of frustration or temper and may regret it soon afterwards. But that’s usually too late because negative feedback is notoriously difficult to remove. So use something like this in all your listings to stave off all but the most badly aggrieved – or downright nasty – buyers:
“Your feedback is important to us and we work hard to keep all of our customers happy. So if you feel our performance is below par please contact us before leaving feedback. We aim to continuously maintain the highest standards of customer care and counter any disappointment you believe we have caused you.”
Study carefully and abide by all eBay selling rules and policies. Just one breach can affect your Best Match rating, two or more can get you suspended or even expelled. Study what you can and what you can not do on eBay.
Grow your Recent Sales History. The more sales you get from one multi-product listing, the higher your Best Match status will be. Think about it this way: the more items you sell, the more money you will make and, more important still, the more money eBay will also make!!! And that’s one very good reason for eBay to list you high in Best Match returns. Let me give you more good reasons:
– eBay calculates what’s called a “Listing Performance Score” for Fixed Price listings, and it’s based on the number of sales achieved divided by the number of times the listing has appeared in search engine returns. So, the greater the number of visitors who become buyers for any one listing, the greater eBay’s own profits will be, and the higher that listing will go in Best Match returns.
So we’re looking here to increase the percentage of people visiting our listings who go on to purchase our product, and that is done by:
(i) using relevant keywords in titles (because people who click on a listing only to discover the title does not match the product will definitely not buy)
(ii) providing low cost and speedy delivery (charge too much and take too long to send the goods and DSR number four will plummet and discourage later visitors from buying)
(iii) encouraging trust in the seller (offer satisfaction guarantee or a fast refund and you’ll increase your order rate)
(iv) provide accurate item specifics (and avoid disappointment when the product arrives and subsequently too many buyers return it and leave negative feedback)
(v) pre-sell your product outside of eBay and cut the number of people who enter and leave your listings without buying (try reviewing your products in articles and forum postings and make people keen to buy before they even see your eBay listings)
(vi) offer bonus gifts and discounts (to increase sales and grow the ratio of visitors turned buyers), and so on.
– Obviously, the more multi-products you include in individual Buy It Now listings, the more sales you’re likely to make. But bear in mind that longer listings will gather more history than shorter. That’s because sales history continues every time you replace a specific listing but not where you begin your product listing afresh. By far the best way to keep your history is to list goods “GTC” – Good ‘Til Cancelled – meaning your listing continues automatically until you end it manually. Learn more about listing and relisting and how they affect your status in Best Match at: http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/formats.html
– It can take days or weeks for a new listing to gain its own Recent Sales History and impact on Best Match listings. eBay says you can hasten the process by using Featured First to “help kick-start sales”. Well they would wouldn’t they, given Featured First costs up to £134.95 a throw for 30 days exposure? And you’ll pay that even for listings for new and untested products that subsequently attract no bidders at all, not now, not ever. So take eBay’s advice with a pinch of salt and give new product listings time to gather watchers and one or two buyers, before paying Featured First for listings that fail. Note that Featured First is only available to members of eBay’s PowerSeller programme.
However, once you’ve tested your product, and it makes money, using Featured First ensures you’ll always rank high in search engine returns. That’s what “Featured First” means, namely featured top of the list in search engine returns, regardless of how good, or bad, your product and service happen to be! Learn more about Featured First.
– Use these ideas to kick-start your sales without paying through the nose:
(i) Use auction format to promote new and untested products. With a low starting price an auction can achieve many more visitors and buyers than Buy It Now listings. Try a Dutch auction – it’s one where multiple products can be auctioned to the highest bidders – and continue your listing for a month or so to check its profitability and grow Sales History, then convert it to Buy It Now. Be sure to change format from inside the previous auction listing, do not create a fresh listing, or your Sales History will be lost.
(ii) For initial listings for new products, try adding “Best Offer” to the mix. Research suggests only a few extra sales will achieve a significant boost in Best Match ratings, and anything that encourages extra sales is worth trying. It can be worthwhile accepting offers below normal expectations to grow your ranking. Once you’re high in the Best Match listings, either continue with Best Offer or drop it, whatever best suits you and your profits.
(iii) Attempt numerous ways to attract visitors to your listings and grow your Best Match rank, such as by writing and placing articles about your product in online article directories, growing and emailing a buyers’ list about new products, have a sale using eBay’s MarkDown Manager (a great way to give a boost to listings that have fallen in Best Match ratings).
Become an eBay Top Rated Seller and you’ll get an automatic boost in Best Match returns. Additionally, the high profile icon accompanying Top-Rated Seller listings will generate trust and credibility, and attract more visitors to your listings than for similar products from non-Top-Rated Sellers.
You need to quality as a PowerSeller first to become a Top-Rated Seller. Achieving PowerSeller status depends on having at least 100 transactions and achieving minimum sales levels and Detailed Seller Ratings within a specific period. Learn more about becoming a PowerSeller and a Top-Rated Seller.
by Avril Harper
eBay Trading Expert
Avril Harper is the editor of eBay Confidential and helps new and expert eBay traders find ways to increase their eBay profits. You can sign up for her free weekly eletter here:
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