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Thu May 22 2014 19:47:37

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

By: Ina Steiner

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Julia Wilkinson is travelling, so I'm commandeering her blog today to talk about eBay's problems with search.

Search engine experts say eBay is showing up lower in Google's search engine results. One can just hear eBay sellers saying to themselves, "see how it feels?" after struggling to optimize their listings for eBay's Best Match search and algorithm changes.

But while there might be some feelings of schadenfreude, ultimately sellers are not happy with the news. If eBay traffic is down as a result (experts say it is down overall by at least 33%), then sellers are suffering too.

While search engine experts believe eBay is taking the search rankings hit because of Panda, we believe Google took manual action against eBay for practices Google believes violates its policies. (Read the accompanying story in Friday's Newsflash for more information on what's going on and what it means for sellers.)

This article from March, "eBay Uploads YouTube Buyer Guides to Grab Eyeballs," explains eBay's latest approach to SEO/SEM (search engine optimization and marketing). Rather than create its own content or continue to rely on user-generated content, eBay began outsourcing its buying guides - and it uploaded how-to guides to YouTube.

eBay users have complain about the quality of the guides. In the example from the article, a young man talks about his frustration in losing socks in the laundry and offering tips on buying socks on eBay.

Google, which also owns YouTube, hates content that pretends to be user generated but is actually paid for and clearly aimed at optimizing for search.

This blog talks about the more technical aspects of eBay's SEO strategies and suggests it violates Google policies.

Look for tomorrow's Newsflash for a breakdown and far greater details, and leave a comment below. Update: Here it is: Google Action Against eBay SEO Practices Hurts Traffic.




Comments (41) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu May 22 20:58:00 2014

Despite the negative effect eBay sellers are experiencing, it is nice to see eBay getting a dose of their own medicine for a change.  Sellers have been at the mercy of eBay's super secret algorithms for years, now it's eBay's turn in that frying pan.


Between the black eye eBay will receive from the data breach, and the squeeze on sales the Google algorithm change will have on eBay GMV, it appears that eBay will reap what they have sown....  eBay management will finally feel what it is like to sell on their platform as Google now does to eBay what eBay has been doing to sellers.

Google's algorithm change is long delayed poetic justice served to a management team that has it coming.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu May 22 21:29:02 2014

[Quote]Google, which also owns YouTube, hates content that pretends to be user generated but is actually paid for and clearly aimed at optimizing for search. [/Quote]

Busted eBay - Google found your practices disingenuous at best.

Thank you Google......

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 22 21:37:53 2014

I guess this is the BS test for sellers; if we sell more now without fluff and repeat keywords or honest delivery? We shall see what happens next in the ever changing landscape & who controls what. To thine self be true & see..if that works. Wouldn't that be amazing! Not to input religion just get rid of all the garbage email ads and all else. If I bought a phone last week, why send me 100s of ads for the same exact phone as a consumer it is nauseating.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu May 22 21:42:44 2014

As much as it's nice to see karma bite eBay in the butt, the ultimate loser, as is always the case with eBay, is the small and medium sellers. The "big boys" like Toys R Us won't be hurt because their web site will still show up high in Google searches.  

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: Belle This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 22 21:59:48 2014

I couldn't be happier for ebay!

Now google needs to go after the venues who once a prospective buyer arrives, they are whisked away to another site with the click of a button.  

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 22 23:47:07 2014

I have such naches for Google today I could just kvell.

Look it up.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri May 23 00:52:24 2014

Thank you Ina for the small example of what was being done by ebay. I'm not up on all the possible deceptive practices a person/company can do to try and raise their ranking with google. I'm too busy trying to go the honest route. the example gave me a better glimmer of what the main story was about.

After a slow beginning of the week though, today I had better sales so maybe with ebay down other sites will float up. I hope so for ecrater, which for several years it has felt like google has taken a vendetta against us for whatever reason.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri May 23 01:09:36 2014

So, the suggestion is that eBay has been (desperately) trying to game someone else's system to their advantage; why am I not surprized at such a suggestion?

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the criminal ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 03:33:35 2014

Bottom line is still EBAY DOESN'T CARE ABOUT SELLERS and prefers to coddle and burp the buyers.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri May 23 05:25:27 2014

I can't help but wonder if this could have been avoided if eBay had not taken such a confrontational position by banning Google's payment service.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 06:46:15 2014

Awwwwwe!
Now eBay is burdened with this.
Awwwww!
They haven't gotten over with the the drop in Auction style listings.
Awwwwwww!

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri May 23 07:59:15 2014

Well now. Don't we have a moral dilemma.

For all of us honest small/medium sellers who don't game the system with suspect SEO techniques and don't game eBay's set of somewhat asinine rules and procedures and still manage to maintain near-perfect customer satisfaction records (speaking for myself in this case - I'm not perfect), we now in our own self interest have to support eBay's continued success because our livelihood depends on it.

There will always be people who like to cut off their ears to spite their nose and while it is entertaining in this forum, it is pretty pointless and counterproductive to my endeavours on eBay.

I wish eBay success in the sense that this is my major platform, and, I suspect the majority of others who sell and who offer products which do not easily translate to another venue, especially a unique website or a poor alternative auction/sales venue.

So I have to root for eBay to maintain its success so I can continue to sell in the manner that I'm accustomed to.

This makes me really angry and I would like heads to roll, but it seems the culture at eBay is "whatever the cost" and not at all morally based when you factor in the sellers (your paycheck/profit) you as a company affect.

eBay is morally corrupt and needs guidance desperately.

Maybe Ina, you should put out a poll of which moralist/ethicist would we like to see take up residence at eBay to protect "the little people".

And I repeat, this SEO stunt angers me more than all of the really stupid "defect" DSR etc issues previously foisted upon us.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 08:42:57 2014

"Rather than create its own content or continue to rely on user-generated content, eBay began outsourcing its buying guides - and it uploaded how-to guides to YouTube. "


In eBayland - wouldnt that be a VERO violation? Stealing someone elses content (pics, video, text?)

eBay AGAIN does something illegal, all while telling YOU that YOU are doinf something wrong - even when you arent.

Typical eBay lies and criminal behavior - but then again ... why am I suprised?

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 09:09:08 2014

I am sure that this is not the first time that eBay and Google have had an issue. eBay has been tanking for years and hard for just about a year. I have seen my ebay store drop down in search while Etsy is always near the top, many times.

I have a website and sell on several platforms with 11 Main coming soon.  I have listed the same item on several sites just to test google search. eBay is never at the top like it used to be years ago.
Even pinterest boards come up above eBay.

Will be interesting to see how 11 Main plays into it all. I do not know how good they are at SEO, but Alibaba seems to do a great job so I am hopeful. And the bonus, 11 Main staff is so nice to sellers! It is refreshing to say the least. Gotta go, need to remove more items to eBay and move them to better platforms.  

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 09:10:18 2014

I meant move more items from ebay to better sites. Hard to concentrate with kids talking to you.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: kec This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 09:26:54 2014

What goes around comes around Ebay! Couldn't happen to a more deserving company!

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: Reds This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri May 23 09:37:06 2014

E-bay sucks, period. Between Google and E-bay you can't count on either one to remain consistent with results from search to amount to sales. I for one am getting worn out on keeping up with stupid changes from both companies. I have 7 years invested in both and really disappointed in both. If I have to pay for my E-bay store without any sales again this month I believe I am going to fold up the tent. My web sites on Google can't be found and I have blogged, google +, facebooked and authored my butt off. No help, ebay a joke. If you want to sell 2000 widgets a month and make a dollar on each one you are good to go. Us part timers are getting kicked to the curb by the Walmarts and big chain stores.

Big get Big and small get smaller. It is becoming the American way Faster, better, cheaper with FREE shipping that is not free. One scam to the next scam.

Bout time E-bay felt it if you ask me. Can't design listings to work on E-bay and Google. Stupid Amazon worse. China is winning at all the games, they steal everything reverse engineer and send us boat loads of cheap fall apart widgets and the american consumer sucks them up!
What does made in the USA mean today? Overpriced? Too high a quality? Try and find products made here and sold here, and then sell them! Good luck!

My Rant for the day!

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: Reds This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri May 23 09:39:44 2014

PS. I am sick of changing 600 listings on my web sites and changing 100 listings on E-Bay to get Best matched into oblivion or Googled out of search LOL
End of rant!

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: sparky This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 10:27:43 2014

I depend on selling to live.  I usually have a high percentage sell through rate.  Now 4 bids in 8 days.  I am scared.

Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search   Now eBay Knows How Sellers Feel about Search

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 23 10:34:03 2014

LinneyPinney, in your research of placing a product on each site and seeing which sells first (EBay, Etsy, Amazon, Bonanza, etc.), what have you found to be the site that has the most traffic and quickest sales?  Always, for many years now, when I look for something to buy, EBay always has the most to choose from and the best prices. I have occasionally successfully found good things on Amazon, but usually that is only because I was given a gift card to use, but even then found something better on EBay. Especially with Antiques and Collectibles, there is no better market than Ebay that is for sure.  Amazon doesn't even come close.

With every large company in this country ruthlessly chasing the bottom line is the norm, so I sometimes don't understand why everyone hates on one company and not another. All big companies are the same and have the same type of corruption. Our business schools teach ruthlessness.  Ruthlessness is a big part of the curriculum in business school.  They teach you how to sell ice to Eskimos and how to always increase your bottom line at all cost.  So why is everyone always so surprised about these things?  

Our leaders in our government are the motivators and creators of this big mess because they too are bought and paid for. Our entire country is about money and success, and the bottom line.  Our Congress has had how many shutdowns because they cannot agree?  The ONLY reason for that is because each member of Congress receives money (funding) from their contributors for their campaign. If they don't vote according to how their biggest contributor wants them to vote about a certain issue/subject, they will lose their funding, and they will lose the next election, and they will lose their jobs, which are cushy overpaid jobs.  It all starts at the top, and the top is as dirty as it gets.

I have heard and seen the same types of complaints about every other large corporation out there and to think that there is a big company in this world that isn't dirty and corrupt is totally and completely unrealistic.  There is never ever going to be an ethical company that is large because our entire system is designed so that ruthlessness is the basis of success.

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