eBay Titles 102 – What Not To Do & Avoiding Search Manipulation

EBay Titles 102 – What Not to Do and Avoiding Search Manipulation

In my previous article I spoke about what you should do with your eBay titles to raise your eBay traffic and thus your eBay sales.

Today I’d like to point out some ‘worst practices’ to avoid when writing your titles, warn you about the eBay Search and Browse Manipulation Rules, and share some Good/Bad title examples with you.

First, let’s talk about:

What Not To Do In Your eBay Listing Titles:

  • Forget to state the nature of the item.
  • Include any false or misleading information.
  • Include website addresses, email addresses or your phone number.
  • Include profane or obscene language.
  • Use any of these words: Prohibited, Banned, Illegal or Outlawed.
  • Use any other descriptive word that may bring into question the legality of an item by either governmental or eBay standards.
  • Include a brand name that is not the specific brand name used by the company that manufactured or produced the item you’re listing (this is called keyword spamming and can get your listing ended and a policy compliance violation placed on your account).
  • Use ‘silly’ words such as ‘L@@K’ ‘W*W’ ‘AMAZING’ or even ‘RARE’ except in, well, rare instances J Trust me, there are no buyers on eBay putting ‘L@@K’ into the search box except authors like me writing articles about bad titles.


EBay is very serious about Search and Browse Manipulation. You can click on those words to read the actual policy. However, I’ve called out a few specific things to be wary of:

EBay Search and Browse Manipulation Warnings:

  • Don’t make a comparison or reference a brand that isn’t the same brand you’re selling.
  • Describe only the item you’re actually selling.
  • Avoid giving false details just to attract people to your listing
  • Avoid calling out similarities—for example, when selling a DVD, don’t talk about Blu-ray discs
  • Comparisons between products aren’t allowed. For example, you can’t say things like “shirt not pants” or “video not Nano.”
  • Words with question marks (such as “carved wood dresser – antique?”). If you’re not sure about a detail, don’t call it out at all because doing so can be misleading.

Now for some examples:

“Pair of bike tires”
Problem: There is nothing here! No condition, no size, no idea what they are even for.

“New 26” mountain bikes Tires Bicycle Size 26 x 2.125 Parts Black”
Solution: Now we’re talking; we’ve got the condition and the size in the title. We are using both Bicycle and Bike to get both searchers and also the MTB which is a common abbreviation for bikers. (Didn’t know that? Search the category to get familiar with acronyms used in that niche.)

“Extended phone battery for iPhones”
Problem: Okay, sounds nice but WHAT models specifically of iPhones? And exactly what does ‘extended’ mean? Who makes it? Is it an aftermarket battery?

“Extended battery for Iphone series 4 4s Maxboost Extra Power White”
Solution: Much better. Now the buyer knows if it will fit their phone, what color, brand and size it is. Now it’s clear that the part is an aftermarket one.

Got more examples? We’d love to hear them!

This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a respected as a trusted eCommerce speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is a Certified eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, Buy.com, and iOffer. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast eCom Connections with Karen Locker of Luna Jardin and Mommysbazaar.

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