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Wed Sept 24 2008 22:48:05

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

By: Ina Steiner

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Late last week I noticed Google was not bringing back eBay items on the first page of search results for some of my searches. I did some testing and am publishing my results in the AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter on Thursday.

What I liked about this project was the transparency - anyone can go to Google and conduct the same searches and can expand on what I did. They can also test to see how their listings perform, and see exactly which websites are coming up in searches for various keywords.

Sellers with eBay Stores can check their traffic reports to monitor referrals, and see if there are swings in traffic coming from various sources. If anyone can plot the changes over time, please share what you're seeing.

I recommend sellers with their own websites be sure and optimize them for Google Base. As Google serves up listings through its Google Product Search feature, it may be deemphasizing marketplace listings. And if I learn anything more from Google, I'll post an update.

Here's the link to the Newsflash article, eBay Loses Mojo on Google Search.

Update 9/25/08: In the accompanying article, I mentioned a reader was going to share her eBay Store traffic data. This chart shows her September 2007 and September 2008 Search Engine referrals. One thing to note - she doubled her inventory and added variety in 2008.




Comments (39) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Beth

Thu Sep 25 00:15:42 2008

Hi Ina!

Interesting indeed.  
I think it might be a combination of factors, from so many sellers leaving eBay that they have lost some of the sheer numbers of items that might push some of those searches up a little higher in the results.

I would also have to wonder if eBay's own internal programming to manipulate "best matches" and other factors have affected the main search engine placements.  I have seen several sellers whose own websites outrank their eBay listings.  While that is good and even desireable, it has been a long time since eBay listings were not overshadowing the front page of any results!  

It might also be that as more sellers leave, they are taking the time needed to upload their own items into Google, and do what is needed to get themselves put into the search results, from site maps to key words and meta descriptions, all things that previously eBay-only sellers might have put on the back burner.

No matter what, definitely something to keep an eye on - thank you for finding that and bringing it to everyone's attention!  

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Gary

Thu Sep 25 00:23:32 2008

Ina, Outstanding work. I noticed the decline of ebay after the Boston Tea Party. We monitor our keywords on Google and Google products for several venues and it's always neat to see who wins and why. Google products would also be a great place to perform your keyword comparissions because base feeds many results in google, maps, shopping, images, one box and other mashups use the base API to pull info.

I noticed that after the Tea party ebay was not dis-advantaged but Amazon was advantaged, it wasn't punishment but their competitor was rewarded. ebay has reduced google adspend and sellers have paid for it since in declining traffic.

I have noticed that eBay's feeds to Google base are very low quality, lacking attributes and only meet the minimum requirements for submission. ebay listings submitted with googlebase store connector are ranking much better and have better attributes. ebay descriptions in base usually show up as garbage code that is not searchable.

Lastly, ebay attempts to spam google with some new scheme to create user content every quarter, google then re-writes the code to put ebay in check :-) The message to ebay is "pay to play" and play nicely with others.

There are 497 million listings in google products, including ebay's. Googlebase is a monster just waiting to jump up and biatch slap ebay. all it needs is a buy it now button on each listing.

http://www.google.com/base/s2?a_n0=products&a_y0=9&hl=
en&gl=us

Another
think you should take into account on your charts is the adspend position in paid search to the right side, because the adspend drives traffic to sellers items. So who is ranking better in paid search?







eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Gary

Thu Sep 25 00:38:24 2008

A quick search for my fav ebay keyword on base reveals:

Title
New GUESS GU-6096 GU6096 BRN-1 Brown Shade Sunglasses

URL
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-43310-8196-
0/2?loc=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2FNew-GUESS-GU-6096-GU6096-BRN-1-Brown-Shade-Sunglasses_W0QQitemZ190251830005QQcmdZViewItem

Description
(note this crap)

= MM_contentVersion; } else if (navigator.userAgent && navigator.userAgent.indexOf("MSIE")>=0 && (navigator.appVersion.indexOf("Win") != -1)) { document.write(' '); document.write('on error resume next '); document.write('MM_FlashCanPlay = ( ...

And poor attributes

Standard Attributes * :
AUTHOR :
CONDITION : New
PRODUCT_TYPE : Other
ID : 190251830005
AUTHOR : eBay
Custom Attributes :
PLUSBOX_EXTRA_QUERY : kw={keyword:}
ITEM_SITE_TEXT : US
EBAY_LABEL : Other
BIN_PRICE : 54.95

here is a listing that is highly ranked in base (note Googlebase store connector)

CHICAGO CUBS SUNGLASSES UV/UVB POLYCARBONATE MLB
http://cgi.ebay.com/CHICAGO-CUBS-SUNGLASSES-UV-UVB-POLYCARBONAT
E-MLB_W0QQitemZ180262220112QQihZ008QQcategoryZ25131QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem?refid=store
[..]
Features Shipping Policy Ebay Store Payment Service Millennium Sports Poll Who will win the 2008 World Series? New York Mets Detroit Tigers Boston Red Sox Chicago White Sox St. Louis Cardinals New York Yankees San Diego Padres Houston Astros ...
Additional Attributes:
Standard Attributes * :
AUTHOR :
SHIPPING :
GENDER : --
QUANTITY : 2
CONDITION : New
SIZE : --
PAYMENT_NOTES : If Your Not Completely Satisfied When You Receive the Item, Return It For a Full Refund.
Custom Attributes :
EMAIL : anon-mruva3y4sr06@base.google.com
DOMESTIC_HANDLING_TIME : Will usually ship within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment .
SHIPPING_COSTS_EACH_ADDITIONAL_ITEM : + $1.99  United States US Postal Service First Class Mail ® Estimated delivery 2-5 days* US $1.65 Optional + $2.99  N. and S. America, Europe, Australia, Japan USPS Priority Mail International TM 6 to 10 business days* US $1.65 Optional
SELLER_RETURN_POLICY : Item must be returned within: 7 Days Refund will be given as: Exchange
ITEM_LOCATION : FAST SHIPPING United States
COUNTRY : AU
SERVICE : USPS Priority Mail International TM 6 to 10
LISTED_IN_CATEGORY : Sports Mem, Cards & Fan Shop > Fan Apparel & Souvenirs > Baseball-MLB > Chicago Cubs > Other Items
APPLICATION : Google, Inc.-Google Base Store Connector-1.0.0.204
PAYMENT : Visa
ACCEPTED_PAYMENT_METHODS : PayPal (preferred),Personal check,Money order/Cashiers check,Other - See Payment Instructions for payment methods accepted,Visa/MasterCard,Discover
SPORT : Baseball-MLB
TEAM : Chicago Cubs
PRODUCT : Cubs Sunglasses
DELIVERY_NOTES : *Sellers are not responsible for service transit time. This information is provided by the carrier and excludes weekends and holidays. Note that transit times may vary, particularly during peak periods.
SHIPS_TO : N. AND S. AMERICA EUROPE via USPS Priority Mail International TM 6 to 10 for US $ 14.99


Why does ebay submit such crappy feeds? Incompetence?

Psssst.... ever wonder why plain Jane plain text listings work so well?

When my 70 year old dad say's "google it" son, that means that google is the center of the earth and nothing else is relevant. Optimizing for google products is a must, where is your choice.











eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Loops

Thu Sep 25 00:55:26 2008

OMG! Major change on Ebay listings showing up in search results on Google. Amazon listings have come to the top.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Loops

Thu Sep 25 01:12:45 2008

As a CEO of Ebay I would think my job was to generate the most amount of traffic to the Ebay Venue. Ebay has continued to discount the power of a search engine giant and how they can change code on the fly. Not only does the code seem to change, but it seems to now favor Amazon, Ebays fierce up and coming rival.

I learned along time ago, that you don't mess with the cook. Ebay is becoming too expensive to sell with horrible results. I get much better results from my ecommerce site without feeling like I have a loaded gun against my head.  

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: eBuyer Feedback

Thu Sep 25 04:00:31 2008

Quite often if you type in a user's eBay id you'll actually see their feedback profile on my website listed ahead of eBay's own pages.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Auction Alfie

Thu Sep 25 04:48:15 2008

Google Insights is a useful tool to compare search traffic to each of the sites:

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#cat=&q=ebay%2Camazon&geo=&date=
&clp=&cmpt=q


According to the graph, eBay has taken a small dip while Amazon a small increase, but eBay has far more traffic.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Bjorn

Thu Sep 25 07:31:59 2008

Our company have noticed that eBay's Google results have been deteriorating for quite some time. Whilst they used to have heavy indexing on the first page of Google, now they're lucky if they show up within the first five pages of results.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Sep 25 08:12:20 2008

Gary said, "I have noticed that eBay's feeds to Google base are very low quality, lacking attributes and only meet the minimum requirements for submission."

That's interesting.

When we looked at the metadata for eBay's categories, they were not optimized well. eBay needs someone to look at its search engine optimization?

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Thu Sep 25 08:36:58 2008

Ina, Google has been changing its search on Products for a week or so, as well as the results on the main Google search.  You may have noticed that often times the three products results are not showing at the very top anymore, but rather in 3rd position.  Same with YouTube videos, they are mostly appearing in 3rd position.  Also within the past couple of days, the results in the Product search have gone much more in the catalog format (ie. compare 14 stores from $25-85).

I've also noticed a glitch where if you click on the stores in the list at the bottom of the page in Products for any search, some are not returning any products (mine included, I currently have 40,000 showing in Froogle).  

A couple of months ago a similar thing happened where my products were not showing in Products search, despite having matching or even exact matching keyword searches.  They had it fixed in a short time.

Also, in my admin, I can see where my traffic comes from and what search term each online customer used to get into my stores.  For my one store (my largest) it is was not showing a referrer yesterday at all, and Google accounts for about 75%+ of all traffic to that site.

It's a bit frustrating when Google changes things, but so far, once they are finished, I end up having increased search rank.

As far as eBay & Amazon not showing up high in results goes....I noticed very few eBay results a few days ago when researching prices on Google.  There were a lot of "new" sites appearing on the first page and very few eBay results.  One of my sites sells vintage music, and I noticed that Musicstack and Gemm (multi-seller music sites) had greatly increased their presence on the first page of Google results.

Also, you need to keep in mind that unless you turn it off, Google search will give results based on your prior preferences and clicks.  So if you are doing searches with eBay results on the first page, but not clicking on them, it could lead to less eBay results over time.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Thu Sep 25 08:38:50 2008

I should add that none of my stores are on eBay or Prostores, and that I have no affiliation with eBay in any way.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Gary G.

Thu Sep 25 08:39:20 2008

Looking at my eBay traffic reports, Google has taken a 50% (or more) nosedive as a referrer over the past sevreal months. They used to make up over 25% of my store traffic, now they are just over 10%.

WHat's the point? I may as well just open up my own site to get that kind of lousy search placement...

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Angela

Thu Sep 25 08:43:46 2008

Looks like Ebay needs to work on their improving their DSR's  :)

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: stalking horses

Thu Sep 25 08:44:29 2008

All of the above just reminds me that if Google ever decides to open an auction or retail venue of their own it would likely bring eBay to their knees.   My guess is that between 50-75% of sellers still selling on eBay are ONLY there because they are waiting on something better to come along.  When it does I hope that Pierre, Meg and the Hoe are there to sweep up all of the broken glass.

Dare to dream.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: shipmodelsuperstore

Thu Sep 25 08:48:46 2008

My E-bay sales are down 75% and traffic to my stores (3) are down by 50%. My own web site is ranked higher than e-bay listings on most of my google natural searches. I am killing E-bay on PPC. I don't know what the problem is but I added 4 items from each store to the new fixed price GTC listing format. Maybe it will help.
I think they are too busy changing policy to focus on holiday sales LOL

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Peter Leeflang/CEO of Leeflang Archives Corporatio

Thu Sep 25 08:57:08 2008

I agree that this invisibility of Ebay items could be caused by poor feeds, but what about another scenario?

Coincidentally thsi invisibility is happening right at the introduction of the new listing format of 30 day Fixed Prioce listings. The idea behind it is that Ebay wants to encourage sellers to list in teh format which costs more than a regular 'store' listing.

Could it not be that Ebay stopped its Google feeds of Ebay store listings (and continues to feed 30FP listings, which now really do appear on Google) in order to incentivize sellers to move away from the 'store' listings altogether?

They surely are always working on milking existing sellers for more money, so this scheme would not be unthinkable.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: V

Thu Sep 25 09:57:23 2008

Oh, I noticed this a while back, in July when I started to add more inventory to our site and do searches on Google on every item I added to our own site.  It used to be the eBay listings would populate the 3 or 4 first spots, than moved down to 5 or 6. Now they don't even show up on the first page. We sell only unique items, antiques, collectibles, artisan one of a kind and I did searches to see what was comparable out there.

My take on it is that the new search disrupted the site too much. I am sure there is a lot of new code, Google doesn't like that very much. The code is not well written at times, as I was told by a programmer who I asked to take a look at my template. The words were ''The code on the item page is a mess! There are missing tags, open tags..'' and that was not about my template, it was about the code on the live item page on eBay.

I also thought that because so many Sellers were leaving and the number of similar items to mine had declined by a great deal, the overall number of similar listed on eBay had declined causing the fall in the Google results.

The code on many eBay pages is not very good and not optimized for SEO.  I stopped generating feeds for our eBay store a couple of weeks ago. The feeds are horrible and there is no way for a Seller to improve them. For items in the categories we sell there are almost no eBay listings in Google Base at this time.  There are plenty from other sites, though, including our own.

As for the new 30 day listing format, I am sad to report, the items just sit there in some limbo, not close enough to the start or end times to appear anywhere, at least for our categories. Best Match fairs a little better but I hear most don't use it. I never do.  One would have to search eBay with very specific strings to locate the items.  I thought that might be the case and I can report that after 10 days that is exactly what is happening, at least for us.  If you manage to make a sale the fees are exorbitant.  I don't think the listing format is to blame.  Poor planning and lack SEO optimization combined with major changes in code plus an overall decline of unique items is my take on the subject.

I also noticed a decline of Google referrals that started at about the same time (July).  It has declined to 30% of what it used to be, even before we stopped generating feeds. Also the items on Google Base appeared under eBay and not under the name of our eBay store as it used to be before.  

Another issue is when we moved an item from the store to core and Google didn't get the updated version, if a visitor clicked on the link in Google Base and the store item had ended (moved to core listing) the message on the top was one of these:

''The Seller ended the listing early.''
''The Seller ended this listing because the item is no longer available.'' (???)
''The Seller ended this listing because the item was lost or broken.''(?!?!?!!!!)

There is no way to select which message appears, the system picks a random one, instead of adding a link to the new item as when a core listing is relisted. Well, the visitor leaves, Seller looses a sale, eBay looses fees. DUH!

Long post, sorry.

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Loops

Thu Sep 25 10:10:51 2008

I believe Ebay told the world they would not allow Google Checkout on Ebay since it wasn't safe.

I think Google should send out a press release that states we do not allow Ebay in Google searches because it has proven itself corrupt.

Fair is fair. Ebay should have tried a different approach to the way they deal with sellers, third party vendors. Ebay would be a flourishing economy if they had everybodys benefit and success in mind.

I don't think this is a algorithm issue. I think it's PAYBACK!

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: K.P. in K.C.

Thu Sep 25 10:58:32 2008

Wow! You could have inserted my store reports there and it would have been almost identical. GOOGLE - WHERE ARE YOU?!?

eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?   eBay and Amazon.com Not Faring Well on Google?

by: Start-Selling-Online.com

Thu Sep 25 11:18:12 2008

Google uses the Google Toolbar to track behavior.  I'm sure when they see me NOT CLICKING the Ebay and Amazon search engine results it plays a factor in their rankings.  I'm sure other people are just like me.  

Altogether I am pleased to see less results for Ebay and Amazon in my search results because I think they aren't as relevant as other results.

If I want something from Ebay or Amazon I will log onto their sites and use their search engines.  I wish Ebay and Amazon were banned from Google completely.

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