Tips for Improving eBay Search Results - dummies

By Marsha Collier

You can refine an eBay advanced search even further by using more of the options offered in the Advanced Search area. Don’t be intimidated; you need to understand just a few more bells and whistles.

Here are some of the additional options you’ll find in the Advanced Search: Find Items area:

  • Words: You can choose to search

    • All words, any order

    • Any words, any order

    • Exact words, exact order

    • Exact words, any order

  • Exclude words from your search: If you’re looking for some silver flatware, for instance, and you want it to be solid, not plated, you could type plated. That search would exclude any item listings that contain the word plated.

  • Price: Here’s where you can narrow your search to a specific price range. You never know what you might miss when you use this option.

  • Buying formats: Since eBay has three main buying formats, you can search them individually:

    • Auctions: If you love the thrill of bidding, you can limit your search to auctions only. (But why? There may be a better deal in Buy It Now.)

    • Buy It Now: This option comes in handy when you simply must purchase something immediately. This would work well for the pair of tickets you’ve found to The Producers or when you’re about to run out of your favorite moisturizer and don’t have time to make it to the store within the next week to pick some up.

    • Classified Ads: In some categories, such as Real Estate, sellers put up classified ads that prompt you to contact the seller to find out more or complete the transaction.

  • Location: You can elect to see your results from all items on eBay or you can search by country.

    • On Search eBay, no matter which country. Other options are US Only, Worldwide, or North America.

    • Available To: Select a country from the drop-down list, and the search engine looks for items from sellers willing to ship to that country.

    • Located In: Use the drop-down box to find items from the country you specified.

  • Currency: If you have (so to speak) a yen to pay for your item with a foreign currency, you can search for sellers who accept the following:

    • Any currency

    • U. S. dollar

    • Australian dollar

    • Canadian dollar

    • Euro

    • Indian rupee

    • New Taiwan dollar

    • Pounds sterling

    • Swiss franc

  • Only Show Items from Specific Sellers: If you want to locate an item being sold by up to ten sellers, you can type their user IDs here, separating each user ID from the others by a comma or a space. If you want to find items excluding certain sellers, click the drop-down list and list the offending sellers in the text box.

Also, under Show Results, you can select options to display only particular items:

  • Items near you: If you’re selling or buying something big that you can’t (or don’t want to) ship or pick up, this option allows you to specify local pickup or select a mileage range of 10 to 2,000 miles of a ZIP code or popular city.

  • Items being sold for charitable organizations through eBay Giving Works: If you’re looking for items being sold only to benefit nonprofits, you may indicate that preference here.

Should you not want to go through this tedious, step-by-step check-mark thing every time you want to make a thorough search, you might want to memorize some shortuts. You can type these shortcuts in any simple search box on any eBay page to get a specialized search.

Symbol Effect on Search Example
No symbol, multiple words Returns auctions with all included words in the title. olympus mount might return an item for an Olympus camera
or an item from Greece. Remember: You can filter by category after
you run a search.
Term in quotes Searches items with the exact phrase within the quotes. “stuart little” is more likely than stuart
to return items about the mouse because the search
returns the words in the exact order you request.
Words enclosed in parentheses, separated by a comma and with no
Finds items related to either item before or after the
(kennedy,nixon) returns items with either of these
diverse President’s names in the title.
Minus sign Excludes results with the word after the minus sign. signed numbered finds limited
edition items that are signed but not numbered.
Minus symbol and parentheses Finds items with words before the parentheses but excludes
those within the parentheses.
Packard (hewlett,bell) finds those
rare Packard auto collectibles.
Parentheses Searches the main word plus both versions of the word in
political (pin,pins) searches for political
or political pins. Be sure not to put a space in
this search.