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Buying Tips
8 min read

How to Use eBay Search - A Beginners Guide 

Using the eBay search bar is easy. But in this Guide, you'll find out a few tips and tricks to step up your game and finding bargains here and there.
Written by
Published on
March 21, 2020

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What’s (always) the first thing you do when you want to buy an item on eBay? You use the search bar on the eBay Homepage, search your item of interest, select a seller who offers that item, you pay for the item and wait until it arrives. However, what most buyers don’t know, there are a couple of common mistakes and tips that you should be aware of to find bargains on eBay when using the eBay search engine.

  1. Search for keywords, not full sentences

The eBay search bar is NOT a human. It is a search engine that only matches keywords. Each keyword is a “command” and therefore you should not overload it. For example, here we have a comparison of a simple keyword and a sentence.

eBay Example Keyword Search

eBay Example Sentence Search

The general rule, the fewer keywords you use the more results you will see on the eBay search results page. This also means if you are using an additional keyword in your search that a particular seller did not mention in their eBay listing, the item will simply not show up.

  1. Adjust the category to expand your search 

When you do a search on eBay, and search for a specific keyword, eBay automatically places search to a category. Which is great, when you are looking at the right category. However, to further expand your search results, you can always adjust the category and see all search results for your term, by clicking “All Categories” on the top right next to the eBay search box.

eBay Search Example, Category Specific

eBay Search Example, “All Categories” Enabled

  1. Expand your eBay search by searching the description

eBay only searches the titles when you do a regular search. In order to expand your search results, you can check the  “Include Description” box. This grants you the advantage of activating one of the search bar’s features. The search bar will now search the descriptions as well because it is the only place, where Sellers can describe their product in more detail. 

Checking "Include description" on eBay

  1. Use the left side of eBay search results page specify your search

After your search, you will find on the left side multiple filters to tailor your search. You can choose in this case, the Brand, Delivery time, Condition, Price and so on. Those filters help you to narrow down your search and your preferences. 

Filters on eBay

  1. Use eBay’s results sorting feature 

For buyers searching for bargains, it is always recommended to sort for “Time: ending soonest”, allowing you to place a bid on items that are about to end. Or sorting for “Price + Shipping: lowest first”, this will rank all search results for the lowest combined price. This might also mean that some of the listings that you will see are still days away until they will end.

This option can be found in the top right corner of our results in the drop-down menu. eBay by default sorts for “Best Match”.

Sorting feature on eBay

  1. Use the “Add to Watchlist” feature, to place an item to your Watchlist

The “Add to Watchlist” button on auctions will place a particular item on your watchlist. eBay will continuously update you on any changes to the listing. Be it a price updated from the seller (if it’s a fixed-price listing) or notify you days and hours in advance before a listing ends. 

"Add to Watchlist" feature on eBay

  1. Using the eBay “Advanced Search” option

This tool is basically a mix between the item search and seller search and allows for a more granular search. You can find the eBay Advanced Search page on the right side of the search button.

Advanced Search on eBay

If you would like to learn about some of the more Advanced eBay Search tips and tricks, you might want to check out our recent article that dives deeper into the specific features of the eBay Advanced Search.

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