Optimize Your
Listings

Boost visibility and sales by understanding the listing process and how buyers find your items.

Optimize your listings

Writing effective listings

An effective listing doesn't just affect your search ranking—it can also make buyers more likely to complete a purchase. A well-written item description, along with product identifiers and attractive photos, helps buyers shop with confidence, and can increase the likelihood that they will buy. Read our tips below for creating two of the most important aspects of a listing—the title and item description.

Crafting a title

Writing a good listing starts with crafting an effective title. Titles can have a powerful effect on how your item looks in search results, so use the 80 characters you have wisely. Keywords such as brand name, size, or colour are good additions. Keep in mind the type of keywords a buyer might search for if they were looking for your item—words like "Wow" or "Look" aren’t likely to be something a user would search for, and waste valuable space.

Some types of listing allow you to add a subtitle for an additional fee. Subtitles can increase buyer interest by providing more descriptive information about an item, but keep in mind that they aren’t searchable unless the buyer uses Advanced Search.

You can learn more about crafting an effective title on our help page.

Writing item descriptions

The item description is where buyers go to find most of the information about your item. It helps them to decide what to buy as well as what to expect when purchasing an item, so it’s important to write an accurate description that includes as much relevant information as possible.

In the description, you’ll want to focus only on the item you’re selling, providing complete and accurate details about the item, including its condition and any defects or flaws. A good rule of thumb is to write a description detailed enough to paint an accurate picture of the item for the buyer, even without photos.

There are some guidelines regarding what is and isn’t allowed to be included in your item description. Generally, content that is offensive, inappropriate, or unrelated to the item you’re selling isn’t allowed. You can learn more about item description policies on our help page.

You’ll also want to avoid the use of active content in your item description. Active content is any content that provides interactivity, animation, or video via JavaScript, Flash, plugins, or form actions. It can negatively impact the user experience by creating longer load times and increasing security vulnerabilities. As a result, active content will no longer be allowed on item description pages after June 2017.

Taking great photos

Every item listing on eBay must include at least one photo. You can add up to 12 photos on every listing for free, so you’re encouraged to add as many photos of your item as you can, showcasing it from different angles where possible, and being sure to document any defects or issues with the item’s condition.

If you use the eBay mobile app, you can take photos from within the app, and they’ll be added to your listing automatically. You can even complete the listing using another device, such as a desktop computer; your photos will still be available in the listing’s draft.

Photos should be of good quality and measure a minimum of 500 pixels in length on the longest side. Avoid using photos that are too dark, too light, or that are blurry. Borders, text, and artwork is not allowed on photos, but a small watermark, comprising no more than 5% of the picture’s total area, is allowed. eBay’s watermark creation service is free, and can add a watermark to your photos as part of the listing process. You can learn more about adding a watermark to your photos on our help page.

You must own the copyright to any of the photos you add to a listing. If you’re not able to take a photo of the item (for example, if the item is a vacation package), you must find a copyright-free image to use instead. Stock photos are not allowed on listings, unless they are from the eBay product catalogue.

High-quality photos showcase your item in the best light, and can help you sell more items. To ensure that you’re taking the best photos possible, follow these tips:

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  • Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop

    Using a backdrop that isn't distracting puts the focus on your item. Backgrounds in white or light neutral colours usually work best—try using a large, plain sheet of paper or fabric.

  • Avoid flash

    Use natural sunlight whenever possible—move your item to a sunny location outside or near a window. If that isn't possible, use soft, diffused artificial lighting. Light the item from multiple angles to avoid casting dark shadows.

  • Use a tripod

    In lower lighting conditions, it's easy to inadvertently create blur in photos. To avoid this, use a tripod or other sturdy surface to steady the camera as you take a photo.

  • Capture high-resolution photos

    Adjust your camera's settings to capture the largest, highest-quality photos possible. This not only results in a more attractive picture, but also gives you a better result if you enable the zoom feature in your listings.

  • Fill the frame with the item

    Avoid taking photos from far away. Get close to the item and fill the frame—this maximizes the area you have to work with and shows details that might otherwise have been lost.

  • Capture every angle

    Take photos from a variety of angles to show all aspects of your item. Doing so can help answer buyer questions before they are asked—for example, a photo of the bottom of a pair of shoes gives the buyer a good idea of how often they've been worn.

  • Show the scale

    Without context, it can be difficult for buyers to visualize the size of your item. In addition to including measurements in your item description, it's also helpful to include at least one photo with an additional object included to show the scale of your item—such as a ruler or coin.

  • Keep photos clear

    Avoid the use of artistic filters, and take your photos in light that's as close to full-spectrum as you can—some artificial lighting can add an unwanted cast to your photo. If you find that this is the case, consider using a photo editing tool to adjust your photo's colouring to present the most realistic colours.

  • Capture detailed close-ups

    Highlight any special details—such as buckles, buttons, or fabric weave—by taking close-ups. Make buyers aware of the extent of any flaws in the item by taking detailed photos of the flaws and including them in your listing.

  • Avoid using props

    It can be tempting to include props to "style" your item, but this can be confusing for buyers. Photography your item alone so that buyers are sure what is and isn't included in your listing.

  • Enable the zoom feature

    The Gallery Plus upgrade—which is free in certain categories—allows buyers to see a larger, more detailed version of your photo when they mouseover the image. You can enable this feature when you list your item.

    Learn more about photo guidelines on our help page.

Item specifics and product identifiers

Item specifics are the details about the item that you’re selling. This can include the brand, size, colour, style, or country of manufacture. You have the opportunity to enter item specifics whenever you create a listing. Since buyers often filter their searches using item specifics to narrow down their results, it’s always a good idea to fill in as many of the item specifics fields as possible.

Another way to accurately identify your item for buyers is to provide product identifiers in your listing. Product identifiers are numbers that are commonly found on the product’s packaging, and can include Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPN), Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), Universal Product Codes (UPC), or International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN). Adding product identifiers to your listing helps search engines capture eBay sellers’ merchandise and display it for relevant searches, which can result in more buyers being exposed to your item. It can also help boost your listing visibility within eBay in the following ways:

  • More robust listing information and item specifics, which are included automatically by matching your item with a product from the eBay catalogue
  • More accurate pricing guidance when you list your items
  • Trending price alerts when your items are priced lower than the trending price and include product identifiers
  • Increased visibility in eBay Deals and other promotions

Adding item specifics is a requirement for items listed as new or manufacturer refurbished in certain categories. The selling form will tell you if it is a requirement for your listing.

eBay Motors parts compatibility

Parts compatibility, sometimes called fitment, is a special set of product identifiers unique to listings in most vehicle Parts & Accessories categories. Parts compatibility makes it easy for buyers to find parts for a specific vehicle make and model, and for sellers to add a single listing for parts that fit multiple vehicles.

With parts compatibility, you can create one auction-style or fixed price listing describing a single part, and for no extra cost, add a complete list of compatible vehicles. Parts compatibility eliminates the need to list one part multiple times for each compatible vehicle, which means savings on insertion fees and time spent managing and creating listings. If you're listing a single part that fits multiple vehicles, using parts compatibility will help you avoid using multiple listings for a single item. See our duplicate listing policy.

Listing with parts compatibility also helps get relevant items in front of buyers in search results. Since both the compatibility information in your listing and your title are used to match the buyer’s search, you can now use all the characters in your title for popular search elements like brand name and part number. That means you’ll show up in more—and more relevant—buyer searches.

The parts compatibility item specifics will automatically appear in the listing form when you list in a category in which it’s available. Learn more about parts compatibility.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

When you’re building a listing, it’s good to remember that eBay’s search engine isn’t the only way that buyers find items. With the right keywords, your listing can also be included in relevant search results by search engines such as Google or Bing. Find our tips for optimizing your listings below, or read our section for optimizing eBay Stores.

What to include

If you’ve already created a listing with a strong, effective title and description that include keywords and product identifiers as we’ve suggested above, chances are your listing is already optimized for search engines. Here are a few tips and best practices:

  • Choose 3-5 keywords that are relevant to your item, and be sure to include them in both the title and the item description. For example, if you’re selling a pair of men’s Nike Zoom sneakers, your keywords could be "men’s", "sneakers", "Nike", and "Zoom".
  • Don’t add too much or too little content to your item description. Ideally, you’ll include about 200 words in your description, 10-15 of which would be your most important keywords or phrases.
  • Include links to related products you’re selling, if any, and a link to your eBay Store. Use descriptive words for these links, such as "Visit my Store" or "See related items", rather than "click here".
  • If you use HTML to create your listings, be sure to include alt tags for any images in the item description. Alt tags are keywords or phrases associated with the photos in your listing that tell search engines in plain language what’s in your photos.
  • Use product identifiers and item specifics whenever possible, even if it’s not required for the item you’re listing.
What to avoid

Avoid tired SEO "tricks" like the ones below. Modern search engines are smart, and don’t take this kind of content into account when determining search rankings. Many of them are also against eBay policy—you can learn more about our search and browse manipulation policy on our help page. Here are some of the tactics to avoid:

  • Don't use duplicated content in hopes of increasing your ranking—search engines will quickly learn to ignore it.
  • Don't hide text on a page, or embed it into graphics or photos.
  • Don't mislead by including keywords in your meta tags that aren't present in your content.
  • Avoid "spamming", or using the same keywords again and again in your content in an unnatural way. An item description that appears poorly-written can discourage buyers.
  • Don't use the same title tags across all pages.
  • Don't use inline frames, JavaScript, Flash, or other active content—put your most valuable information and keywords in the text of your description.

Optimizing for mobile

As more and more shoppers buy on mobile devices, you’ll need to make sure that you’re creating effective listings for any platform. If you build your listings using the eBay listing form, your listings are probably already mobile-friendly, but here are some tips to help make sure:

  • Use item specifics and listing fields properly. Using these fields as intended helps eBay easily reformat your listing for different devices. It also ensures that buyers can easily search and filter your listings, regardless of the device they’re using.
  • Use the eBay photo uploader rather than hosting your own photos and embedding them in the item description. This makes sure that photos are properly reformatted and will display properly on smaller screens.
  • If you use custom CSS in your item description, make sure that elements are set to scale across a variety of device sizes. When specifying element size, use percentages rather than a set amount of pixels.
  • Don't include active content. It can effect load times and was phased out beginning in 2017.

The item description summary feature

The item description summary feature is a feature that was introduced in 2016 to allow sellers to customize the way their item description appears for mobile users.

On mobile, eBay displays a 250-character, text-only summary from your full item description. We do this by determining what’s relevant in your description using keywords that shoppers use to search for items like the one you’re selling.

If your full item description uses only basic HTML, CSS, or text-only descriptions, and is less than 800 characters in length, we’ll display your item description in full to mobile users. However, if the item you’re selling is complex, and a longer item description is warranted, you can customize the content that appears in the item description on mobile devices by using special HTML <div> and <span> tag attributes. Here’s an example:

<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Product">
<span property="description">
This paragraph contains almost 800 characters of text to be displayed in the mobile item description. And the text in this paragraph through this sentence contains 250 characters, which is the amount we will display without any actions on your part. When you tag a paragraph with these HTML breaks, the content will be displayed to shoppers looking at your item. This will allow the shopper to see the key information you want to display, without them having to click through to the complete description. If your complete description is 800 characters or less and uses basic HTML we will display the entire description without any action on your behalf—so the best practice is to keep it within 800 characters. If you have a long description, make it easy for your buyers by using this option.
</span></div>

All of the text seen above between the <span> tags will become the item description on mobile devices.

You can use eBay’s Mobile Friendly Test page or the i-ways Mobile-Friendly Checker to preview how your listings will look on mobile.

You can also create free mobile-friendly templates for your listings with the i-ways eBay Template Creator.

Active Content

Active content is any form of non-standard text used in listing descriptions to provide additional functionality, such as videos, animations, or sound. Examples of active content include Javascript, Flash, and plug-ins. Active content can cause listings to load and display slowly or even incorrectly. In order to improve the shopping experience for everyone on eBay, we began to phase out active content starting in 2017.

Finding and removing active content

To help sellers identify active content for removal, eBay introduced a tool that will automatically generate a list of your listings that contain active content.

If you use a listing template provided by a third-party, we recommend that you contact your template provider for help in replacing active content in third-party listing templates. You can also use the i-ways eBay Template Creator to generate free, mobile-compliant listing templates that don't use active content.

Alternatives to active content

We'll cover the most common use cases for active content in listings and provide recommended best practices for replacing it. By using these recommended replacements, you'll benefit by creating listings that load faster and are optimized for use on mobile devices.

Best practice for cross-merchandising
To cross-promote related items, sellers will often use active content to display thumbnails of related products with links to live eBay listings.

You can continue to use hard-coded versions of these widgets, as long as they are hard-coded in HTML and/or CSS, and don't require JavaScript, Flash, or other plug-ins. You can code these yourself, or use one provided by a third-party.

In the future, eBay will also provide a merchandising widget that will allow sellers to cross-sell related items without tying them to a discount.

Best practice for implementing newsletters
Some sellers embed company or Store newsletters, product coupons, discounts, or sales events in their listings. eBay recommends that sellers mention that a newsletter is available in their eBay Store, and include a link to the Store.

Best practice for implementing eBay Store search
Sellers will often include a search box in their listings so that buyers can search their Store. eBay recommends that sellers enable a Store search box within the Item Description section of the listing by enabling the Listing Frame feature. Alternatively, sellers can suggest in the listing that buyers browse or search their Store, and provide a link to the Store where searches can be performed.

Best practice for creating tabbed panes
Some sellers use active content to create custom tabbed panes within the item description in order to allow buyers to toggle between shipping details, acceptable payment methods, return policy, and so on.

eBay recommends that sellers use the standard listing fields to create the most complete and optimal listings across all devices, as using the designated item description fields properly can help items surface more readily in search. However, for those who still have reason to create their own tabbed panes, eBay recommends using only HTML and CSS. Below is an example of HTML and CSS being used to create a four-tab pane. This code is input into the item description.

  • Expand to view code
    
    <main>
      <input id="tab1" type="radio" name="tabs" checked>
      <label for="tab1">Tab 1</label>
      <input id="tab2" type="radio" name="tabs">
      <label for="tab2">Tab 2</label>
      <input id="tab3" type="radio" name="tabs">
      <label for="tab3">Tab 3</label>
      <input id="tab4" type="radio" name="tabs">
      <label for="tab4">Tab 4</label>
      <section id="content1">
    	Tab 1 Content
      </section>
      <section id="content2">
    	Tab 2 Content
      </section>
      <section id="content3">
    	Tab 3 Content
      </section>
      <section id="content4">
    	Tab 4 Content
      </section>
    </main>
    
    
    <! -- CSS code -->
    
    main {
      min-width: 320px;
      max-width: 400px;
      padding: 50px;
      margin: 0 auto;
      background: #fff;
    }
    section {
      display: none;
      padding: 20px 0 0;
      border-top: 1px solid #ddd;
    }
    input {
      display: none;
    }
    
    label {
      display: inline-block;
      margin: 0 0 -1px;
      padding: 15px 25px;
      font-weight: 600;
      text-align: center;
      color: #bbb;
      border: 1px solid transparent;
    }
    
    label:hover {
      color: #888;
      cursor: pointer;
    }
    
    input:checked + label {
      color: #555;
      border: 1px solid #ddd;
      border-top: 2px solid orange;
      border-bottom: 1px solid #fff;
    }
    
    #tab1:checked ~ #content1,
    #tab2:checked ~ #content2,
    #tab3:checked ~ #content3,
    #tab4:checked ~ #content4 {
      display: block;
    }
    
    @media screen and (max-width: 650px) {
      label {
    	font-size: 0;
      }
      label:before {
    	margin: 0;
    	font-size: 18px;
      }
    }
    
    @media screen and (max-width: 400px) {
      label {
    	padding: 15px;
      }
    }
    


The result of this HTML and CSS is the tabbed pane shown below. The name of each tab label can be configured by editing the text between the <label> tags. So, instead of <label for="tab1">Tab 1</label>, you might have <label for="tab1">Description</label>. The content under each tab is input between the <section> tags. The tab dimensions, text font size, colours, behaviour, and other look-and-feel elements are controlled through the CSS.

Best practice for creating image galleries
Some sellers create their own custom image galleries or carousels in the listing for their product. eBay recommends that sellers use eBay's built-in picture and gallery features, in which they can include up to 12 photos at no additional charge.

For sellers who still want to create their own image carousel for a listing, it's possible to do so using HTML and CSS. Below is one example of how HTML and CSS can be used to acheieve this by placing the code in the item description. Please note that including a custom image carousel in the listing is not recommended.

  • Expand to view code
    <header>
    <div><img src="imagepath.gif" alt></div>
    <div><img src="imagepath.gif" alt></div>
    <div><img src="imagepath.gif" alt></div>
    <div><img src="imagepath.gif" alt></div>
    <div><img src="imagepath.gif" alt></div>
    </header>
    
    <!-- CSS -->
    
    body { margin: 0; background: #333; }
    header {
      padding: .5rem;
      font-size: 0;
      display: -ms-flexbox;
      -ms-flex-wrap: wrap;
      -ms-flex-direction: column;
      -webkit-flex-flow: row wrap;
      flex-flow: row wrap;
      display: -webkit-box;
      display: flex;
    }
    header div {
      -webkit-box-flex: auto;
      -ms-flex: auto;
      flex: auto;
      margin: .5rem;
    }
    header div img {
      width: 100%;
      height: auto;
      border: 1px solid #fff;
    }
    @media screen and (max-width: 400px) {
      header div { margin: 0; }
      header { padding: 0; }
    
    }
    


To complete the image gallery code above, replace the sample image paths with the actual paths to your image files.

Best practice for including a product video
Some sellers embed product videos in their listings. eBay recommends that sellers use an HTML5 <video> tag to play a video in their listing. An example of the code for video is shown below:

<video width="320" height="240" autoplay>
<source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4">
<p>Here is a video of the product<p>
</video>

Please note that not all video hosting sites will support the HTML5 video tag. eBay is working on providing compatibility for popular video hosting sites.

It's a good idea for sellers to read eBay's Links policy for more information on restrictions and requirements for videos in listings.

Best practice for specifying freight shipping rates
The seller shouldn't need to embed any information regarding freight charges through third-parties—such as FreightQuote—since FreightQuote will automatically calculate these charges after the seller inputs the logistics of the pickup.

Best practice for implementing responsive design
eBay recommends using HTML and CSS to detect browser and device type in order to customize design and layout. Below is one example of how HTML and CSS can be used to control column width and behaviour based on the browser and device type. This code is placed in the item description.

  • Expand to view code
    <div id="pagewrap">
    
      <header>
    	<h1>3 Column Responsive Layout</h1>
      </header>
    
      <section id="content">
    	<h2>Column 1</h2>
      </section>
    
      <section id="middle">
    	<h2>Column 2</h2>
    
      </section>
    
      <aside id="sidebar">
    	<h2>Column 3</h2>
    
      </aside>
    
      <footer>
    	<h4>Footer</h4>
    	<p>Footer text</p>
      </footer>
    
    </div>
    
    
    <!-- CSS -->
    
    #pagewrap {
      padding: 5px;
      width: 960px;
      margin: 20px auto;
    }
    
    header {
      height: 100px;
      padding: 0 15px;
    }
    
    #content {
      width: 290px;
      float: left;
      padding: 5px 15px;
    }
    
    #middle {
      width: 294px;
      float: left;
      padding: 5px 15px;
      margin: 0px 5px 5px 5px;
    }
    
    #sidebar {
      width: 270px;
      padding: 5px 15px;
      float: left;
    }
    
    footer {
      clear: both;
      padding: 0 15px;
    }
    
    
    /************************************************************************************
    MEDIA QUERIES
    *************************************************************************************/
    
    
    /* for 980px or less */
    
    @media screen and (max-width: 980px) {
      #pagewrap {
    	width: 94%;
      }
      #content {
    	width: 41%;
    	padding: 1% 4%;
      }
      #middle {
    	width: 41%;
    	padding: 1% 4%;
    	margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;
    	float: right;
      }
      #sidebar {
    	clear: both;
    	padding: 1% 4%;
    	width: auto;
    	float: none;
      }
      header,
      footer {
    	padding: 1% 4%;
      }
    }
    
    
    /* for 700px or less */
    
    @media screen and (max-width: 600px) {
      #content {
    	width: auto;
    	float: none;
      }
      #middle {
    	width: auto;
    	float: none;
    	margin-left: 0px;
      }
      #sidebar {
    	width: auto;
    	float: none;
      }
    }
    
    
    /* for 480px or less */
    
    @media screen and (max-width: 480px) {
      header {
    	height: auto;
      }
      h1 {
    	font-size: 2em;
      }
      #sidebar {
    	display: none;
      }
    }
    
    #content {
      background: #f8f8f8;
    }
    
    #sidebar {
      background: #f0efef;
    }
    
    header,
    #content,
    #middle,
    #sidebar {
      margin-bottom: 5px;
    }
    
    #pagewrap,
    header,
    #content,
    #middle,
    #sidebar,
    footer {
      border: solid 1px #ccc;
    }
    


The result of this code is a responsive 3-column layout. As you can see in the Media Queries section, column width, font size, and other variable page attributes are adjusted based on the size of the screen that is rendering the page.

For more information on best practices for responsive web design, you might find the following sites helpful:

Features and elements that shouldn't be embedded in listing descriptions
The item description of a listing is designed to provide the buyer with information about the item listed that will help them complete the transaction. eBay recommends that sellers discontinue the use of active content in item descriptions to implement the following features or elements in listings:

  • Page visit counters: eBay recommends that sellers rely on the page views count that's shown in the seller view of the view item page under Listing Info.
  • Embedded buyer feedback: Embedding feedback in the listing is not necessary, as seller feedback is already easily accessible from the Seller Information box of the listing. Buyers need only select the seller's feedback score to load their Feedback Profile page.
  • Currency conversion widgets: eBay will always perform currency conversion for buyers and sellers when necessary, making embedding such widgets unnecessary.
  • Social sharing icons: Including links in your listing to social media sites is not allowed on eBay. Instead, eBay provides Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest sharing icons at the top of all eBay listings.
  • iFrames: As per eBay's HTML and JavaScript policy, iFrames in any form are not allowed in eBay listings.

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