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On many retail sites, the default sorting algorithm is based on popularity, which ranks the best-selling products at the highest spot. eBay also works in a similar, although much more sophisticated, manner. eBay’s search algorithm identifies the listings that the buyer will most likely buy and ranks them higher.

In this article, we explain how the characteristics of eBay listings influences your rank in eBay’s search results.


Developing and Maintaining Listing History

A listing's sales and buyer interaction history influence its rank in search results. As sellers are competing against each other for position, developing and maintaining a strong performance history can make a significant difference in sales.

Many sellers use Multivariant Listings and the Good 'Til Cancelled listing duration to aggregate and maintain their sales histories.

1. Multivariant Listings

Multivariant listing with 3 colours across 10 sizes.

Multivariant listing with 3 colours across 10 sizes.

Multivariant listings are those with multiple variations of the product that are included in one listing for buyers to choose from. Each eBay listing can have 5 variations and up to 60 values per variation, all of which can be priced separately. A total of 250 variations in a single listing is allowed.

For example, in a shoe listing, there can be 5 variation types such as colours, sizes, widths, materials, and styles. Each of those variations can include 60 values, like 60 colours, 60 sizes, and others.

With this type of listing, the sales and buyer interaction history of each variation is summed together. Thus, product listings with several variants may have more sales than those that only come in one model, making it rank higher in search results. 

More information on multivariant listings.

To see how top ranking sellers have used the multivariant feature in their listings, run ShelfTrend's Live Listings (Top 500) report in any of the women's clothing categories.  You will see great examples there. 

2. Good 'Til Cancelled Listings

Of the 6 types of Fixed Price listing durations available on eBay, only the Good 'Til Cancelled option retains its sales and buyer interaction history. Listings of other types have their history reset to zero at the end of the duration period, even if they are re-listed.

Another important feature of the Good 'Til Cancelled listings, which is not available on any other listing type, is its out-of-stock feature. Activating this feature saves the listing’s history if it runs out of stock, instead of the listing being automatically ended as is the case with the other listing durations. Once the inventory has been added, the listing will then be included in the search results with its sales and buyer history intact.

An added benefit of the Good ‘Til Cancelled option is it retains its unique URL, which increases the listing’s visibility to buyers who search through Google. This may further boost sales. As eBay invests millions in Google paid search, sellers can benefit from this.

For more information, read eBay’s Listing Durations and Timings.


The Importance of Recency

For ranking purposes, recency of sales proves that your product is in demand to the buyer today and has a lot more weight in search rank than sales history from months to years ago.

In the case of listings that haven't generated any sales for some time, sellers run the risk of the poor history impacting rank. In these cases, it may be best to end the poor performing listing, make changes to it to improve its desirability to buyers, and then relist it. This way, you can start fresh with an improved listing, rather than starting from behind.

Some sellers prefer to end a listing and use the “Sell Similar” feature as the new listing is recognised by eBay as a new listing and gets a boost in visibility with buyers. The disadvantage of doing this is that any sales history you have is reset to zero. If your product is struggling to get sales this might be a strategy to try and kick start your sales.



On the eBay marketplace, sellers are not only competing for the buyers’ attention, but they are also competing against each other for visibility. Knowing how to leverage the features of listings can make a big difference.

About ShelfTrend

ShelfTrend is a real-time eBay marketplace intelligence tool with ready-made reports that helps professional online sellers to research competitors and visualise eBay’s merchandising and sales activity. 

Users can search by product, category, or competitor across more than 20 eBay countries on 3 different data reports: Live Listings, New Listings, and Supply Demand.  

Try it for free and upgrade for US$14.99 per month when you need more. No commitments or annual contracts.