Understanding eBay Best Match Search

When buyers search on eBay, the default order of results is called Best Match. eBay says it is designed to show the most relevant listings, considering the things users find most important when they are deciding what to buy.  This includes:

  • How closely the listing matches the buyer’s search terms
  • Listing performance, e.g., sales, conversion rate
  • Item price
  • Listing quality, including description and photos,
  • Return policy
  • Handling time
  • Seller performance

We will look at each of these factors in turn

Listing performance

Best Match look at the recent sales performance of a listing.  Sales performance is influenced by the following factors, which also influence best match performance. This leads to a feedback cycle where high-quality listing with good sales get high placements.

  • Conversion rate.  The quality of your listing will influence how well it sells
  • Keywords optimisation.  Include the most relevant keywords that will improve your search performance and drive sales.
  • Price.  eBay is competitive, so reasonable prices will lead to more sales.
  • Delivery and return policy.

Keywords

To appear placed at all the listing will need to include the searcher’s query. Researching keywords and optimisting listings is covered in a separate section.

Price

With more competitive prices (including any shipping charges), items will almost certainly have higher sales and perform better as listings.  This, in turn, will give them a better position in Best Match search, leading to a positive feedback loop.

Furthermore, items with free shipping get promoted on eBay, either as an eBay premium listing or through search filters.

Listing quality

The quality of a listing influences best match performance.  This includes:

  • Number and quality of photos
  • Length of description
  • Items specifics

Return policy

eBay prefer sellers who offer a competitive returns policy, which is why you should consider offering a minimum of 30 day returns policy (something that is required for Top Rated Plus listings). If possible, it also helps to cover the cost of the return.

Handling time

eBay prefer sellers who offer a competitive returns policy, which is why you should consider offering a 30-day returns policy (something required for premium listings)

Seller performance

Best Match considers a seller’s performance when ranking products. The factors it will consider are:

  • Feedback score
  • Detailed seller ratings
  • Seller level (top, standard, below standard)
  • Policy compliance. 

As feedback, policy compliance and DSRs all feed into seller level, this is the most vital metric to consider.

Tips for improving best match performance

Performing well in best Match is vital for eBay sellers.  Much of what best Match promotes is best practice (e.g. create great listings, offer excellent customer service).  In summary, here are what sellers should be focusing on when trying to improve best match performance. 

  • Keywords. Research relevant keywords and include them in your title and description
  • Create great listings.  Add as much information as possible, including item specifics and high-quality images.
  • Offer attractive delivery and returns.
  • Keep price low.  To build listing history, consider selling your product at a lower price initially
  • Variations. Use variation listing to more sale through a single listing
  • Seller performance.  Maintain a high level of seller performance