When Google’s Panda algorithm rolled out, its aim was to target spam and sites that were deemed to have thin low quality content. One of the biggest names to be hit by the algorithm seemed to be online auction site eBay, although it has been revealed that the loss of traffic to the site was caused by a Google search penalty earlier this year.
The penalty was thought to be manual, so it was a human being at Google, not an algorithm that believed eBay’s search tactics were pure spam.
This penalty and the subsequent loss of traffic has impacted financially on eBay, with suggestions that it has cost the company up to $200 million in revenue. Teamed with a well-publicised cyberattack, in which the company advised users to change their passwords, this has made the second quarter a challenging one for eBay.
EBay’s chief financial officer Bob Swan said that Google was not driving as much search engine optimization (SEO) to the site, which has negatively impacted on its growth in the second quarter:
“The combination of the cyberattack and the Google SEO had an immediate and dramatic impact on GMV growth. June GMV growth was 7% driven by slower active buyer growth and lower conversion, In light of these events, we have made significant investments to get eBay users reengaged, including couponing, seller incentives and increased marketing spend…” he said.
EBay expects to earn $200 million less than was initially forecast. It is not clear why Google slapped eBay with the penalty, but it will be interesting to see how this mammoth of a company improves and reenergises its search policies to bring new customers in.