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Optimizing For eBay Best Match Results

Competition between eBay users is apparent in the online auction formatting of the site, where the bidder with the highest bid within the allotted time frame receives the item. However, competition between sellers for the top listing of relevant search queries is more embedded in eBay’s Best Match algorithm. With scores for each listing determined based on various factors, including title relevance, recent sales, seller ratings, and shipping costs, this brings into consideration efforts on behalf of the seller to optimize Best Match results. Higher ranking for results increases likelihood of a buyer clicking on that link in preference to other related items open for sale.

Similar to competition by webpages for earlier listings on widely used search engines such as Google, page rank on eBay is important to increase frequency of views. With a title convoluted by details on condition, shipping costs, and other specifics that distract from the main description of the item, Best Match scores remain lower. Items with free shipping receive preferential treatment. Sellers with high ratings appear at the top of search results. Items with variable options such as color and size rank higher than similar single-option items. All of these factors provide a basis for strategically listing items on behalf of the seller, rather than leaving price determination completely to the valuations of buyers. With multiple items of similar quality, those listed earlier will receive more views and are more likely to therefore be matched with a higher price.

The exact ranking of items for each search query is determined by simple ordering of the Best Match score, where all factors mentioned are directly related to this score. In this way, a perfect match is determined between listing rank and item for sale, similar to a matching for a market of equal numbers of buyers and sellers. Though a spot will exist for each item for sale, those with the lowest scores will be matched with the spots of lowest value.


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October 2015