eBay Hit Hard By Google Panda Update, Takes Major Search Losses

Wordstream Founder Larry Kim estimates eBay lost 80% of its organic traffic and ranking after Google's rollout of Panda 4.0 and the Payday Loan 2.0 update.

"What I’m seeing in my own research is that they're not even ranking competitively on 80% of their 'long tail keyword searches' (millions of more specific keyword searches) anymore," Kim wrote in a blog.

Kim calculated losses by searching for common terms that once produced positive search results for eBay pages. He believes knocking eBay's product listings pages out of the organic rankings will force site users to rely on product ads to stay in front of those searchers seeking information about specific types of products.

Similar to Kim, Pete Meyers, marketing scientist at Moz, also identified a decline in ranking for eBay after noticing spikes in Google's algorithm earlier in the week.

"A few keywords seemed to show losses for eBay, and the main eBay sub-domain fell completely out of the " Big 10" (our metric of the ten domains with the most "real estate" in the top 10)," Meyers wrote in a blog post. "Sites shift and nothing on the level of a keyword means much, so I took a look at the historical eBay data. This is eBay's share of top 10 rankings for the past week across the MozCast 10K (approximately 94,000 URLs, since not all page-1 SERPs have ten results)."

Meyers ran through some of the phrases affected. He explains that the majority of losses were where eBay had one top 10 ranking and then fell out of the top 10. In three cases, eBay lost two top 10 rankings for a single keyword phrase. They appeared in the 10 ten during the first phase of the rollout, but went missing as of May 20.

Searchmetrics on its site lists gains and losses in ranking since the last rollout. Sites like Ask.com lost 50%; eBay 33%; Biography.com, 33%; and retailmenot.com, 33%. Some sites like Spoonful.com and songkick.com lost 75%, per the data.

David Harry, SEO consultant at Verve Developments, has seen eBay get hit before by Panda, but it just wasn't as drastic. He believes it's related to the design of their content management system, which creates a ton of duplicate content that some might view as "doorway pages."

Harry suggests that eBay should look into duplicate content issues, considering what he has seen in the past related to similar issues in the past. "I'd imagine they'll need to start looking at the duplication of content and potentially block some of it from Google with Robots.txt or some other type of code," he said. "I still need to dig deeper, but if it's a strict Panda hit, then a lot will have to do with duplication and advertising in contextual areas."

Harry said he hasn't seen a lot of advertising in contextual areas on eBay, but it has been an issue for other sites that got dinged.

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