Making eBay’s Best Match Work For You

Through the years, eBay has added many things to their website that assist buyers when they shop for an item.  One of the more interesting systems eBay developed is called, “Best Match.” The concept behind Best Match is relatively simple. When a buyer uses the Search function to look for an item, an algorithm is deployed that locates a group of items that most closely meet the description. It then further sorts them by the following criteria:


  • Relevance to the buyer’s search
  • Item popularity with buyers
  • Value to buyers
  • Listing completeness & quality
  • The listing’s terms of service (such as return policy and handling time)
  • The seller’s track record on eBay

By using this method, eBay gives each item a score that determines how the items are displayed to the seller. At least, that is what eBay tells its sellers when you search for information about Best Match on their website. In reality, it’s actually a way to sort out the eBay sellers that are considered “good” (those who play by and follow all of eBay’s rules) and the other eBay sellers that are “bad” and don’t follow the rules or meet the buyer’s expectation.

Unfortunately, this still doesn’t give you the entire picture about Best Match because a lot of Sellers have found that the “search” function on the eBay site doesn’t  always seem to work. Sometimes it finds all the items within the given criteria and sometimes — well, let’s just say that it appears that the search feature is broken. In other words, sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter whether a seller obeys all of eBay’s rule or not because no matter what you do, your item just isn’t going to rank that high or show up in the search. With this being said, however, there are still some things you can do to increase your chances of having your item appear in Best Match.

Shipping Charges -  Face it, if eBay has their way they want you to ship your items for free. To encourage you to do this if you put “Free Shipping” in your listing it gives you a little nudge in the search feature. If you just can’t justify paying all those eBay fees and having to eat the shipping costs too, you should at least try to keep your shipping and handling charges down and more in line with other sellers who have similar items listed.

Categories – Although eBay upgrades usually give you a little boost in Best Match, keep in mind it also increases your fees. If you are interested in the upgrades eBay suggests and use Multiple Category Listings to have your item show up in two categories instead of one, then remember that all these fees are doubled. If you don’t want the extra fees, choose the category that has the most listings of the same or similar item as the one you are listing.

Listing Performance – Subscribe to eBay’s Listing Analytics to keep an eye on how your item is doing. Although you have to subscribe to this service, it is free once you sign up. This feature analyzes your listing and lets you know how it has performed in searches, as well as where the item ranks in Best Match. It can be used on current listings or even listings that have ended.

Titles – Take advantage of the 80 character spaces eBay offers you to list your item.  Use multiple synonyms to describe your item. If you are listing a toy bicycle, remember that some people may look for “toy bike” instead. If it is an unusual or discontinued item, you may wish to put “Rare” or “Discontinued” in your listing, but avoid using “Nice!“ or “Wow.“ Think about how a buyer would search for your item and use as many descriptive words as you can come up with.

Descriptions – When writing item descriptions, state what the item actually is at the top of the description. If you want to include an amusing story about the item, place this under the item description. Avoid using too many fonts or colors and take advantage of eBay’s seller catalog to fill in some of the features of your item. Remember, the more complete the listing is, the better the chances of it ranking higher in Best Match.

On a final note, although these tips should help advance your items in Best Match, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes it just doesn’t seem to help. Because of this, you should also consider designing your listings where they will appeal to Google’s Spyders. This means that your listings will have more visibility because they will appear on Google searches too. We will have more on this topic.

This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast FBARadio.





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