How to Write Great eBay Listing Titles and Descriptions

Writing a great listing title and description is a keystone to selling on eBay. While other aspects to selling remain ever important (shipping, returns and so on), no sales can happen without an effective listing. Providing the very first impression of your item, listing titles are even more essential to get right. Before creating your next listing, read these seven essential tips first.

Research the competition first

Before even creating a listing, start by researching the other sellers with the same or similar products. Doing so provides an insightful look into the competition and established sales techniques. eBay sellers with access to Terapeak should also check sell through rates and other statistics.

Besides other sellers, it is also a good idea to check other online marketplaces, major retailers and even the manufacturers website, if applicable. The professional marketing teams for the latter two examples spend plenty of time and money to write and perfect item descriptions. Look carefully at what kind of information is included in each description.

Create informative yet enticing listing titles

The listing title is perhaps the most important part of any eBay listing. It provides the first impression of the item and is the gateway to the listing description and a potential sale.

A successful listing title ranks well in search engine results and gets buyers to click through for more information. This can be best achieved by evoking interest while accurately and succinctly describing the item.

  • First, describe the product in basic terms. Think about what you would search for when looking for an item on eBay e.g. “men’s pants 32 waist”. These are the most important keywords and will form the start of the title.
  • Next, add the most important features of the item such as the brand, condition or color.
  • Finally, mention a benefit to purchasing with you, such as free shipping or extended warranty.

Read more about creating successful listing titles here

Be comprehensive, accurate and helpful

The aim of the listing description is to inform the buyer about the item and also encourage them to buy it. It is also crucial to remember, however, that accuracy should be prioritized. Sales are important but if the buyer has inaccurate expectations about the item, a return is more likely.

Create effective listings by:

  • Writing as if there are no pictures. Include as much information as possible about the item, including features, benefits, measurements, compatibility, color and more.
  • Being accurate and honest about the condition of the item. Detail any damage, defects or flaws with measurements and location.
  • Clearly stating what is included in the listing, regarding packaging, parts and accessories
  • Including as much information as possible, but keep relevancy in mind. It is not necessary to include details about shipping, returns and payment requirements

Understand what Cassini is looking for

eBay’s current search engine is called Cassini and uses a complex (and continually updated) algorithm to deliver the listings most relevant to buyer searches.

While the criteria of the algorithm is not understood, we do know that Cassini prioritizes:

  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Trust
  • Convenience

Simply put, Cassini wants to match buyers with the item they are looking to purchase. This results in more sales for eBay.

When writing a listing, keep in mind what Cassini is looking for. Read more about working with Cassini here.

Write for humans as well as search engines

Cassini may feel all powerful at times but it is important to remember that all sales are made by humans. Listing descriptions should read fluidly and naturally, with sentences that make sense.

Not only is this better for actual humans reading the listing, but search engine algorithm are becoming increasingly intelligent and can detect so-called keyword stuffing.

There is a balance to be found when writing for both humans and search engines and it is not as difficult to find as you may think. Write as if you are speaking to another person, offering all of the relevant information and anticipating any questions they may ask.

Consider mobile users

With smartphones being so ubiquitous, the percentage of eBay purchases made on mobile devices is ever increasing. When creating a listing, keep in mind that many potential buyers will be reading the description on a small screen.

Make things easier for mobile users by:

  • Keeping paragraphs short, no more than three sentences long
  • Using bullet points
  • Separating paragraphs with headings or sub titles
  • Favoring short sentences

Writing descriptions in this way not only helps mobile users but also those in a hurry or with a short attention span. As well as being easier to read, shorter sentences and paragraphs are more enticing.

Read more about optimizing listings for mobile shoppers on eBay here

Double check grammar and spelling

Before completing the item description, it is so important to proofread your work for correct spelling and grammar. While it is true that the average buyer may not have perfect grammar or spelling in their own writing, it is easier to notice the mistakes of other people.

Bad grammar and spelling can indicate sloppiness, which may cause some buyers to wonder if the seller is sloppy when selling items too. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can also cause havoc with correct search engine placement.

Proofread each and every listing with an online grammar and spelling checking tool, or better still, use an inbuilt one while writing.

Some quick listing title and description do’s and don’ts

  • When writing a listing title, don’t use adjectives such as ‘durable,’ ‘amazing,’ or ‘awesome.’ Neither search engines or buyers are looking for these terms.
  • Do include the condition of the item in the listing title as it can be a make or break feature for many buyers
  • Don’t worry about punctuation (such as full stops and commas) in listing titles, but do be sure to use capital letters where appropriate
  • Do be careful not to include any other brand names but the correct one for each item. Making comparisons and mentioning other brand names is both inaccurate and against eBay’s VeRO rules
  • Don’t use multiple synonyms to describe the same item (e.g. coat, jacket, parka etc) – it is confusing to potential buyers and search engines are smart enough to realize this as keyword stuffing
  • Do consider including a FAQs section in the item description
  • Don’t forget that writing titles and descriptions is not a one time thing. Keep an eye on listing performance and be prepared to update and adjust as necessary

Veteran eBay sellers, what is your tried and tested formula for successful listing titles and descriptions? 

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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