eBay Hit Hard by Google Panda


In the latest update to Google’s Panda search engine revision, eBay’s web traffic took a significant nosedive after being hit hard by the change. The online sales machine depends on search engine views in order to match up sellers and buyers. A change to the Google search algorithm can help or hurt eBay’s bottom line depending on whether the change pushes eBay up or down in search ranking. The latest version of the Panda update appears to have knocked down the search traffic for the ecommerce sales giant by a substantial margin.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to all companies and content providers with a presence on the internet. Google was criticized a few years ago for websites with little content being featured too prominently in Google searches. The search algorithm used by Google “bots” to crawl a given site decides the ranking to give the site in an internet search. The search algorithm is a complex decision making mechanism for page ranking. Google desires to give its search customers quality alternatives whenever they do a search. The search algorithm ranks pages based on website reputation, keywords on the sites found in the search that match the search terms, and links to a given website from other sites. SEO experts remain on the prowl to work the system to achieve higher page rankings. The criticism of Google in the past related to sites with little content receiving favorable search rankings.

Googles’ answer to user criticism was to rollout Panda and Penguin. Panda is a change to the search algorithm which punishes sites with thin content. Some sites have no real content, but are loaded with ads and pop ups, or even redirects to other sites. Panda pushes these sites further down in web searches. Penguin deals with websites which otherwise achieve favorable rankings with the use of purchased site links or links traded back and forth with other sites. Panda and Penguin were first adopted in 2011 and many storefront sites with little content saw their web traffic diminish immediately. Panda and Penguin are tweaked periodically without any notice or announcement, but Google took the unusual step of announcing the Panda update on May 20.

The latest update to Panda is designed to impact 7.5 percent of Google search results. Many websites have seen a reduction of web traffic from the Google Panda update, with eBay being a high profile example of sites hit the hardest. eBay has found its organic search engine results knocked down significantly by the latest version of Panda. eBay’s share of top 10 search rankings overall fell from one percent to just over .2 percent almost overnight. eBay’s use of “doorway” pages and thin content appears to have been its Panda downfall.

SEO professionals keep close tabs on changes to search engine results based on Panda and Penguin. Sites with rich content benefit from the changes. Those with thinner content saw their search rankings drop. In the latest evolution of Google’s search algorithm, eBay is among the hardest hit by the Panda update.

By William Costolo

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