Using eBay as a keyword research tool

Ian Lurie

Quick post tonight:
I’ve been using eBay’s keyword research tool for a while now. It may just beat the more established toolsets when it comes to commercial keyword research.
Here’s how you use it:
First, go to
Type in your query:
The eBay keyword tool
When you click ‘submit’ you’ll get a report like this:
ebay keyword tool results
The ‘Popularity’ column shows searches performed by eBay users. You can’t define the time frame – eBay does that for you.
The ‘Availability’ column shows the number of items returned, on average, when you search on eBay.
And the ‘Bay Estimate’ column shows how many folks have successfully sold stuff. The bigger the green circle, the more searchers bought, and the higher the commercial intent of the searchers.
You can then click on each word to drill deeper into the data.

Some big gotchas

A few major gotchas with the eBay Labs BayEstimator:

  1. The data is up to eighteen months old. If you have a new product, you can’t rely on it. If this was current data, I’d burn my copy of The Web Marketing for Dummies All In One Desk Reference and quit writing out of embarrassment.
  2. The Estimator picks and changes the date range each time you do a search. So you can’t do any trending.
  3. It’s an experimental tool. So sometimes, it just don’t work at all.

A good starting point

Still, it’s a great starting point for popular products. The eBay keyword tool gets you a quick idea of whether a product phrase is viable or not, and if so, the overall commercial intent of searchers.
If you want to dig even deeper, check out the eBaysaurus tool. With that, you can find potentially related queries and get basic interest data:
Regardless, don’t ignore eBay. It’s a data gold mine if you sell stuff on the web.

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  1. Ebay’s keyword tool is more sophisticated than I expected.
    Why don’t they use current data? Are they selling that for too high of a price to somebody else?

  2. Hi Ian,
    I think you can safely say that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this post, however i suppose it does make you wonder how accurate all the keyword research tools are?
    Great post thanks….Ed.

  3. Hi there,
    It was an accident that I landed on this page. However, a great accident. I haven’t even thought about doing keyword research through eBay.
    Looks like it really is worth the time to have a look at it.
    I just opened the eBaysaurus on a new tap.
    Thanks Ian…

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