Best Match - FAQs

What is Best Match?

Since 2008 Best Match is the default method with which we show listings on search result pages. Best Match allows eBay to arrange auction-style listings in a different way to Buy it now listings, as different factors are important for both formats. For example: time is very important for auctions, but less important for fixed price listings. The objective of Best Match is to show the most relevant, best value items from sellers that will create a fantastic experience for the buyer.

Why Best Match?

Initially, listings on eBay were dominated by the auction-style format. Buyers were early internet adopters looking for unique items to complete their collections. Sellers most often were buyers at the same time and few businesses were selling on eBay.

Today the inventory is dominated by Buy it now listings with many more businesses selling their products on the site. With the shift to fixed price listings; sorting by 'Time: ending soonest' became obsolete. We needed a way to sort Buy it now listings differently to auction-style listings.

What's the difference between the way Buy it now and auction-style items are sorted in search results?

For both formats the goal is to show the most relevant, best value items from sellers that will make the buyer experience great. Buy it now (or fixed price) items are sorted based on seller performance standards, recent search impressions (how often the listing was shown in search results) and recent sales (how many items have sold from a multi-quantity listing). Additionally we look at title, value and free P&P. Sellers reaching the Top-rated seller standards get an additional boost in Best Match sort order.

Auction-style listings are mainly sorted based on seller performance standards and 'Time: ending soonest'.

What can I do to get my listings to appear at the top of search results?

We calculate Best Match based on a number of factors. However, here are some tips on how to optimise visibility. The following is relevant for Buy it now listings:

  • Seller performance & detailed seller ratings: Try to reach the minimum seller standards, as listings from sellers not reaching the minimum seller standards will be demoted in search. If you reach the Top-rated seller thresholds your listings will get an additional boost in Best Match sort order.

  • Gain a recent sales history: The more sales you get from one listing, the better it will be displayed in search. Once you have gained some sales and the listing has ended, it would be best - in order to keep the history - to relist your item.

  • Title: The listing title needs to be relevant for the listing. It is important to not use keywords in the title which are not relevant for the listings. This keyword spamming will lead to more search impressions but no sales. Therefore the search impression over recent sales ratio will decrease.

  • Offer competitive prices: The better value a listing is, the more buyers it is likely to get, and therefore the higher its recent sales score. Sellers who price items low and try to make up for it with high P&P costs will score poorly in the P&P DSR, and will feature lower as a result.

  • Free Postage & Packaging: Try to offer free P&P, as listings offering free P&P will get a boost in search and appear higher.

How do my recent sales affect my listing's position in the search results?
If you list items using the multi-quantity format, and there are sales from your listing in recent days, you'll build up a popularity score that will help boost your listing’s position in the search results. The reverse is also true: if your listing has had poor sales performance compared to similar listings, it'll appear lower in the search results.
If I make changes when I relist, will I keep my popularity/recent sales score?

Your popularity/recent sales score will only revert to zero when you relist if you change the condition (e.g. from 'New with tags' to 'New without tags' or 'Used').

What happens if I make changes to an active multi-quantity listing after there's been a sale on it?

Your popularity/recent sales score will only revert to zero when you revise an active listing if you change the condition (e.g. from 'New with tags' to 'New without tags' or 'Used').

How do I use SMP automation rules while ensuring that I retain my popularity/recent sales score?

The optimal way to use SMP automation rules is to mirror the functionality of a multi-quantity Good 'Til Cancelled (GTC) listing as follows:

  • Create a product with the right quantity available to sell

  • Create a template with any quantity and duration except GTC.

  • Assign automation rule - 'Relist continuously whether it sells or doesn't sell'

  • As stock arrives or gets depleted (outside of eBay sales), modify the quantity available in the inventory product. eBay sales will update the quantity automatically.

This will retain your recent sales score and keep the listing alive until the quantity is sold out.

Will it still be possible to sort a mixture of auctions and BINs by 'Time: ending soonest'?

By default, search results on eBay are sorted by 'Best Match'. To change the sort order, hover your mouse over the text 'Best Match' that appears immediately above the search results, and then choose an alternative order from the list that appears

You can also customise search results so they'll always appear as you want them to.

Do item specifics matter in Best Match?

Best Match sorts the results after they've been returned for a search query - it doesn't determine which listings are returned. Your item is more likely to be returned in a query if

  • the item title is well written and has relevant keywords

  • you fill out the item specifics form when listing

  • you give a thorough description of your item

  • you list in the correct category

Filling out the item specifics form can make it more likely that your listing will be returned in the search results. But it won't be a factor we'll consider directly when we sort the search results that are returned.

Even so, bear in mind that describing your item fully and accurately will have a secondary positive effect on your listing's placing in the search results: you'll score well in the DSR for item description, which can help prevent your listing being demoted in Best Match.

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