Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again. PhpBay Pro RULES! If you haven't already, check out my post where I talk about the great free PhpBay Mod I use for keyword tracking, “MUST Have PhpBay Pro Mod (FREE)“. And, if you are still trying to create eBay niche stores with something besides PhpBay Pro then stop right now. Forget BANS or any free eBay plugins that you might have found. They are junk. Go, check out PhpBay Pro now.
So, assuming you have PhpBay Pro now, let's talk about doing searches. PhpBay Pro let's you narrow your search by many different ways. One of the helpful ways (that many of the free eBay niche store plugins dont' do) is that it allows you to search on categories. However, what if you need to search across multiple categories, but you want to return very specific items?
Here's an example, let's say there is an eBay category of 99999 (Random->Random Parts, let's say) under that are two other categories, 99111 (Random->Random Parts->Widgets) and 99222 (Random->Random Parts->Sprockets) and let's say you want to return both Widgets and Sprockets that are in Fine condition. Well, you can't have multiple categories in PhpBay. Well.. not exactly, but you can set 99999 as your category to search in and it will search through the child directories 99111 and 99222. But, what do you put in your keyword field in the phpbay bbcode tag? Well, this is where you get tricky with parentheses and pipe symbols. Check this one out:
[phpbay] (widget|sprocket) (fine), , "99999"[/phpbay]
That will find listings that have the words widget or sprocket AND the word fine, in any order.
However what if you want to also display listings of multiple sprockets and widgets? Well, you could do something like:
but I think wildcards should be used sparingly. They can slow down your search or cause it to break outright. Why not just do:
Anyway, if you do have PhpBay Pro, then check out this great PhpBay Forum post that talks about keyword tricks.