eBay Slapped By Google: But Was It Algorithmic Or Manual?

May 27, 2014 • 8:46 am | comments (32) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Penalty CardsAs you know, Google released Panda 4.0 last week today and a bunch of sites dropped like rocks, including eBay.

In fact, here is an updated SearchMetrics chart of the drop, it is a 78% loss in search visibility!

SearchMetrics eBay

But now, the question is, was it Panda 4.0 that hit eBay or a manual action. Re/Code reports sources, that I have confirmed as well, that it was a manual action. Of course, Google won't comment but it is incredibly likely that eBay was hit with a manual action.

In fact, as refugeeks.com reported and the other tracking tools, the loss was specific to a single directory on eBay's site.

Doesn't Panda also impact parts of sites, like directories, not just whole sites. Yes, it is possible. So was this Panda or manual? Possibly both.

Does it matter if it was a manual action or algorithmic action? Yes! It changes how you go about fixing the issue and the timing of the recovery of the issue.

Forum discussion at Twitter and Google+.

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Harald Pfennig

05/27/2014 12:57 pm

Interesting drop. But sum of keywords increased by +26%? Less visibility with more keywords? Thats even more interesting! :P


05/27/2014 12:59 pm

EBay do have some dodgy SEO practices going on under the hood (as well as being generally a very disreputable/untrustworthy company). A month or two ago, an auction listing made the news - and was promptly removed. When I checked a week later - the page was redirecting to their Nike Air Max trainers landing page - clearly eBay trying to make the most of the links the page had received.


05/27/2014 01:07 pm

Traffic value 19 million... OK then...if you say so!!!!!

F1 Steve

05/27/2014 01:07 pm

Ebay have publicly slated adwords and no longer use it, then they gat a slap?! Oh dear!


05/27/2014 01:21 pm

I think implementation of proper canonicalization can be a reason, because Google was telling that thing since a year and half now to prevent duplicate content issue (same product accessed through multiple URLs). As I checked in eBay their dynamic URL structure is weird and I don't think so there is any steps taken to avoid such duplication like Amazon and craigslist.


05/27/2014 01:25 pm

Don't ever fuck with Google!

Marie Haynes

05/27/2014 01:58 pm

"Doesn't Panda also impact parts of sites, like directories, not just whole sites" - I have definitely seen Panda impact just one section of a site such as a news blog.

Rob Maas

05/27/2014 02:20 pm

"only " , 1.3 % drop in value ? Makes you wonder, Was it all worthless traffic they lost ? Did they perhaps do a major clean up themselves ?


05/27/2014 03:30 pm

Can I say it again? ... as well as being generally a very disreputable/untrustworthy company... specially the eBay Partner Network department.


05/27/2014 03:32 pm

according to the graph, the same thing happened to them in October 2012 and they rebounded nicely...

Michael Martinez

05/27/2014 04:01 pm

Search visibility reports are terrible metrics for identifying problems with Websites.


05/27/2014 04:29 pm

It's their doorway pages that got killed. I sell on ebay and watch the search rankings all the time for ebay entry. The doorway pages are gone - I mean gone. They used to be in the top 3 for doorway to their site for a search term. Now, there are none I can find. I've searched over 300 terms in the past 3 days and It's like a nuclear blast site - obliterated.

Junaid Jaffery

05/27/2014 04:59 pm

Very interesting. When such big brand are getting affected by Google updates then its difficult to sustain the small ecommerce brands rankings. But one thing is for sure that big brands recover faster than small brands, buts its Panda and let's see how Panda affected site regain rankings because till now we saw ranking improvements for big brands like halifax, expedia etc in terms of penguin. Very interesting to know that the total organic search increases but major drops in terms of visibility.

Yo Mamma

05/27/2014 05:35 pm

This is because Google is mad at eBay for being stingy with their adwords account. Only $315,659 per day says http://www.keywordspy.com/research/search.aspx?q=ebay.com&type=domains which is what most small businesses would pay. Amazon Daily Ad Budget: $918,988 No more free ride with mean olde Google. They don't even care about Memorial Day. probably because both founds give a C-r-a-p about American military or veterans or dead heroes


05/27/2014 06:57 pm

well... most small businesses don't pay $315K/day ... maybe per year if that is their primary means of getting leads.

James Savino

05/27/2014 07:06 pm

Just judging by the data available and the timing of the event, I think it's pretty safe to say that it's probably related to the new Panda algorithm. The criteria ("low quality" search-only pages with duplicate content and poor visibility in internal link structure) are consistent with the type of content targeted by Panda, although it looks like Ebay is already removing the pages. I'm sure they'll recovery nicely. Canonical URLs might've been able to help, but I don't think that was their intention. It seems they were trying to game the search engines.


05/27/2014 07:13 pm

Good news for the little guy that is doing things right!


05/27/2014 07:15 pm

Lost a lot of short-tailed and gained a lot of worthless long-tailed. Like to see an actual important metric...traffic and how it was affected.

Jan Dunlop

05/27/2014 08:13 pm

Can confirm this as well, have seen swings both up and down for particular directories with panda updates.

Yo Mamma

05/27/2014 08:43 pm

How do you make a hormone? Don't pay her Same with Google. The cheap ho!

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 02:37 am

Google being slapped by me! Google is to start building its own self-driving cars http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27587558

Soni Sharma

05/28/2014 05:05 am

Ebay punishment is manual detail story published here https://recode.net/2014/05/23/yes-google-punished-ebay-for-bad-seo-practices-but-it-wasnt-part-of-panda-update/


05/28/2014 05:07 am

@rustybrick:disqus can you please let me know how to tell Google if a website is playing very smart every 3 months they change the domain and placed at top ranking always even they copy paste content snippets?


05/28/2014 06:09 am

No need, just do better than them. Win because you're better, not because your competition gets disqualified.


05/28/2014 06:21 am

I'll wager it was algorithmic. What are the chances of Google manually penalizing a site as large as eBay at the exact same time they roll out one of the larger Panda (2nd largest?) updates ever? I need to brush up on my Google history, so if they have done this before my bad. Also, I couldn't get the Refugeeks report to load (site down) but I'm not seeing any real credible sources that say it was manual...other than some SEO dudes getting together and analyzing the penalty. So unless anyone actually from Google or eBay comments, my money is on algorithmic.

Arun Sharma

05/28/2014 11:30 am

Not only ebay, even big name in the Internet Industries got hurt by Google Panda 4.0!

Soni Sharma

05/28/2014 04:14 pm

I always follow your comments Yo Mamma.. after reading this news I think soon we will encounter... The Matrix Revolution ... LOL

Sound Of Music Mobile Disco

05/29/2014 06:37 pm

That's just how it goes on google seem to do what they want when they want, you can work years doing seo on your website the truth is google want everyone to use adwords to generate business www.soundofmusicmobiledisco.com


05/30/2014 05:24 pm

I don't think the size of a website really has any bearing on Google adjusting its own database to produce a modified search result. Google isn't the Internet so they don't need to change anything outside their database to achieve what looks like a different "Internet" because people mentally overlap the two. This is a matter of perception. The term "Penalize" could be somewhat of a misnomer because Google isn't pulling websites over and issuing tickets on the information superhighway. They're simply adjusting their own search results on their own website.


05/30/2014 05:27 pm

It looks like Google gets searched for products a lot more than eBay. I'm sure that search results in eBay weren't affected at all.


06/07/2014 02:22 am

everybody care about google in the future. maybe will more importment that "gov" ?


07/23/2014 10:31 pm

I love it. Level the playing field more. No need to pay ebay fees when there's etsy, bonanza, ecrater, you name it. No need to worry about defects.

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