Searching On Ebay, A Simple Guide

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Searching for items on Ebay should be quick, simple & easy & while Ebay try to make things as painless as possible if you are not aware of the tools, tricks & methods available to you it is easy to miss out or not find the item(s) you really want.

When listing items on Ebay sellers are restricted to just 55 characters so its easy to miss items you want by either putting in too many or too few search words.
The easiest way to search is to use the standard search box, found in the top right hand corner of every Ebay page.


As an example, if you are looking for a computer processor you may wish to search using the term Intel Pentium 4 2.4ghz Processor Socket 478 however because there are so many words this search is unlikely to return many results. Instead you could simply search using just the term 2.4ghz, this will return all the results you want without missing any out but will also return many excess results as well.

From there you can narrow your search using several methods such as limiting results to just one category. These can be chosen from the left hand side, in this case, choosing the category "Desktop PC Components" and then "CPUs" brings results down from about 500, to approx 35. You can even narrow the results down more by selecting further sub-categories (eg in this case Intel CPUs).

If you prefer not to use categories to minimize your search results you can also use the other useful search options found below the "Matching Categories" results (found on the left hand side). Here you can limit to search results to just Buy It Now items, items listed in the UK only (essential in most categories!), new/used items etc.


A largely overlooked section of Ebay are the Ebay Shops. Ebay shops are an easy way for sellers to list items quickly and cheaply and thus can pass the savings onto the customer. They are also an excellent place for buyers to get the items they want quickly, at the price they want but most importantly of all, from a trusted, experienced Ebay seller.
Due to a recent policy change by Ebay, search results for Ebay shops now only show up if the initial search returns 30 or less search results. This means if your search has 32 results you will  not be given the results from Ebay shops thus limiting your choice perhaps to just part-time sellers. To get Ebay Shop results displayed it is best to narrow your search (to 30 or less) using the methods described above. Ebay shops results always come at the bottom of a search, after the auction listings

By not reducing search results to 30 or less, you may missing out on the item your looking for, at the price you want, from a seller you are happy to buy from without having your options forcefully limited by this Ebay policy.


Search results can also be limited by using the same methods you can with most search engines. By adding minus signs (-), speech marks (") and using brackets you can use Ebay searches much more efficiently. Using the same example as above you could search using the term 2.4ghz -AMD -Xeon. This would give all results for 2.4ghz but eliminate any with the terms with a minus sign infront of them. Likewise you could limit search results by being very specific by using speech marks, eg. "Intel P4" would give results with only this term, in this order (i.e words next to each other).


Ebay are currently testing new search display results. The tests are being carried out on random Ebay accounts (including my own) and there are eight slightly different versions of these search results pages. These trials started on October 18th and are expected to run to approximately the end of January 2007. At this point after monitoring buyers habits (i.e has buying, watched items, item prices etc increased) Ebay will then decide what action to take (if any) with regards the new display formats. At this point search results display methods for those ids currently involved in the trial may return to the existing normal search results display format or Ebay are more likely to implement a new look for all Ebay users.

The Ebay forums are a useful source of information which can be contributed to by any Ebay member (goto Community at the top of any Ebay page, then discussion boards and choose a board from there). The boards are monitored by a company called Liveworld and also occasionally contributed to by a hand full of Ebay staff. Posts on threads within the forums by Ebay staff appear in pink so such staff are often referred to as "pinks".

Upon the recent changes an outcry of disgust appeared on the boards with about 90% of users vocally raisings their dislike for these trials an the tested display results but since Ebay have already set in motion new display settings, come about February 2007 I think every Ebay member can expect a new look format each time they search for anything Ebay, whether they like the new display or not.

Details of this trial can be found using the links below:


All of the above methods can be used in combination with each to give the fastest, most accurate search results available from the widest field of sellers while still allowing you to eliminate the results from countries etc you do not wish to purchase from.


This guide has been written and created by Peter Shaw. My Ebay User ID is SFFPCS & my listings can be accessed as nromal through eBay or directly through the domain name (which  redirects to eBay) www.  Thank you for reading this guide. If this guide was helpful please select YES on the bar below asking Was this guide helpful?. Thank you for your time

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