How To Craft Quality Titles For Your Online Auctions

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Often times I’m going through eBay, like many collectors, looking for a deal or just trying to see some of the new cards on the market. For the most part, many sellers do a good job at providing an accurate title and descriptions for their online auctions.

However, sometimes I see big mistakes that actually work into a deal hunters favor because less people are going to find an auction when you don’t craft a quality title that users will be able to find via the eBay search engine.

First thing you need to understand is how users/buyers use the search box on eBay. You can type things in the eBay search box and it starts to auto-fill suggestions below. You can bet these are based on popular queries that users are typing into eBay … and you’ll want to take note of this when you do searches.

Tip #1

Autograph cards sell well on eBay because they are very collectible and often are the best way to obtain a legit copy of an athletes signature. Most people within the hobby know that ‘auto’ is short for ‘autograph’ … however on eBay, “auto” could refer to the transmission of the 1995 BMW 3 series (or even the car itself), let alone some guys rookie auto. I’ve sometimes seen the eBay search system be able to return the results for both ‘auto’ and ‘autograph’ cards, but it seems to not work in all situations. Most of the time I see collectors only put Auto or Autograph … but not both despite usually having the room in the title. Some collectors (especially new ones) might not know auto means autograph on eBay, so it’s probably a good idea to include both if you can.

So when you list an autograph it should look something like this:

2010 Topps Chrome Stephen Strasburg Auto Autograph RC Rookie #212

As a side note, if you are a collector – to make sure you pick up every possible auction you could do a search like this: ‘Jordan Crawford (auto, autograph)’

Tip #2

Formatting the years for Basketball and Hockey cards is sometimes tricky for some collectors.

For any particular year you have these combinations:

  • 2011-12
  • 11-12
  • 2011/12
  • 11/12

At the current time, you need to put both a long version (2011-12) and a short version (11-12) to get on all possible searches. eBay’s search system is able to convert 2011-12 to 2011/12 and 11-12 to 11/12 so you only need one of each. I tested this by searching for ‘Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011-12’ … I got about 250 results. Searching ‘Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11-12’ I get about 255 results. Searching ‘Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011-12, 11-12)’ gets 505 results.

This means your title should be something like:
2011-12 11-12 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Donruss Elite Rookie RC Stars #1

Again with parenthesis, if you are a buyer – you can find all cards from a given year buy doing a search like this:
‘Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011-12, 11-12, 2011/12, 11/12)’ or simply ‘Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011-12, 11-12)’

Tip #3

Similar to the above example, for rookie cards, you need to put Rookie and RC in your title if you want to be picked up on both searches. Just putting one, (especially RC) limits you to the number of people that will find your auction.

Using the same example as above, we fit both year variations and RC card variations and have 14 characters left: 2011-12 11-12 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Donruss Elite Rookie RC Stars #1

Tip #4

Use of CAPS is acceptable in most cases, but you want to avoid a few things.


All Lowercase looks lazy: 1993-94 topps finest #200 charles barkley refractor rare

– Just keep it simple, as people are scanning titles anyway.

Good: 1993-94 1993-94 Topps Finest #200 Charles Barkley Refractor Rare

Some CAPS: 1993-94 Topps Finest #200 CHARLES BARKLEY Refractor RARE

Some CAPS: 1993-94 Topps FINEST #200 Charles Barkley REFRACTOR Rare

Tip #5

Get your information right. Make sure you spell the guys name right and you put what set/year the card comes from. If it’s a jersey or autograph, clearly have that in the title. Put the card number, serial number, team name and other information if you have room. eBay gives you 80 characters, so you might as well use them all. Remember that not everyone searching eBay will be up on all the collector lingo, so you’ll want to act as if someone who doesn’t know cards well is going to search for your auction.

Take your time, a couple of extra seconds to perfect your title each time can add up to more bids … and that means more money for your cards when you decide to sell.


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