How To Create a Perfect eBay Search String
Assume that you are a baseball fan and you want to search for a St Louis Cardinals baseball cap. Your first try at a search string might be:
This instructs eBay to return all items with all 5 of the keywords st, louis, cardinals, baseball and cap in the title. This returned 231 results.
Notice that because we have
In order to fashion an ideal search string,
it is important to consider whether there are any
common synonymns (words with identical or similar meanings)
for each keyword in the search string.
In our search string,
This new search string returns 460 results, which is much better than the previous search string!
Finally, examine the actual search results returned by eBay. Quickly browsing through the 460 items, we find that there are caps from a Cardinals team in Arizona that we are not interested in. There are also some winter beanies that we do not want. In order to eliminate these results, we can use a minus sign:
The minus sign tells eBay that what follows (either a single word or a parenthetical group of words) is to be excluded from the results if it appears in the title. The new search string returned 32 fewer results than our previous search because all the Arizona Cardinals caps and all the winter beanies were excluded.
The number of results returned for each search are only examples. You will most likely get a different number of results if you run the same searches.
Other Basic Search Rules:
DO Use categories to limit your search to specific types of items. This will often make your search string simpler.
DON'T Use non-descriptive words like "A" "The" "And" "Where" "With" "For" and so on. If these words do not appear in the title of an item, the item may not be returned in your search results.
DO Try out several different strings for each search and look at the actual results that eBay returns. When using Odd.com, click on the icon to test a search string. Use the eBay results to help you to fine-tune your search string.
A comma between keywords in parentheses matches either word.
Matches: Items with either the word "baseball" or the word "card" in the title.
Quoted keywords match an exact sequence.
Example: "baseball card"
Matches: Items with the exact phrase "baseball card" in the title.
A minus sign before a keyword prevents it from matching.
Example: -cap ball
Matches: Items that have the word "ball" but not the word "cap" in the title.
Combinations of the above rules.
Example: -(cap,bat) ball
Matches: Items that have the word "ball" but not the words "cap" or "bat" in the title.
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