eBay Boolean search

Over the years I am sure we have all had times where we needed a little more oomph with our eBay searches?
Perhaps you were searching for a new phone, but were getting bombarded with listings for phone cases or cables?
Maybe you needed new floor mats for your Austin Metro and didn’t want to see options relating to its’ Rover counterpart?

Whatever your requirements, a Boolean eBay search would have helped to narrow down the options and ensure that you are presented with a more accurate array of products in your search results.

What is a Boolean eBay search?

Essentially a Boolean search allows you to add rules to your search query, to include any additional words/phrases which may be applicable to the item, and ignore any words which may be giving you any unwanted results.
So for example, if you were searching for an iPhone, you could choose for the search to ignore any listings which also included the phrases Case, Cover, Cable or Charger etc.

The three main options are:

Below we will outline how the different options work, along with some examples of how the search string can be built, and the results you would get from each of them:

Search Term: teapot cups saucers

If you type these three words into the eBay search box, you will only see results that include all three of the phrases in their title (listings that are selling teapots and cups and saucers at the same time). You will not see any listings in the results which just feature one of the phrases.


Search Term: (teapot,cups,saucers)

By listing the terms in brackets and separating them by a comma, you can get eBay to list items that use any of the terms in their item title. You’ll see listings for teapots and/or listings for cups and/or listings for saucers in your results.


Search Term: (teapot,cups,saucers) (dutch,china)

As you can see, you can also use multiple sets of terms in brackets. A search like this one will find item listings that contain one or more of the first group of terms and also one or more of the second group of terms.

The search box allows you to string together as many terms inside a set of brackets and as many sets of terms enclosed by brackets as you please.
This example would give you results with titles matching the following terms:

  • teapot dutch
  • teapot china
  • cups dutch
  • cups china
  • saucers dutch
  • saucers china


Sometimes you don’t just want more results or more flexible results – you also want more specific results. Usually this means that some things are displayed in your search results that you don’t want to see. When this happens, you can cause eBay to exclude those items by adding the phrase to your search with a hyphen (-) in front of it. Consider the following exclusions:

Search Term: (teapot,cups,saucers) (dutch,china) -vintage

This will give you the exact same results as the previous example, but it will exclude any results that contain the word “vintage.”


Search Term: (teapot,cups,saucers) (dutch,china) -vintage -antique -turquoise -jade -handmade

This one is identical to the previous except that it also excludes any listings for items that are “antique,” made out of “turquoise” or “jade,” or that are “handmade.”


As you can see, by using brackets and hyphens, you can create fairly complex searches for eBay to carry out on your behalf – and you can save yourself a lot of time you’d otherwise spend filtering through results that you didn’t want.

This type of search is equally valuable to customers and sellers alike. From a seller point of view, being able to direct your customers to the exact item that they are looking for while browsing your store/listings is essential. With a custom eBay listing template design you have the ability to target specific items to showcase, ensure correct fitment/compatibility, increase eBay sales, and reduce the number of post-sale issues/returns.

Speak with one of our eBay integration experts today to see how we can help optimize your eBay products.

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