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Online auction listings drop way down in Google SERPs

     
8:57 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I run a large Internet retail site that has been around for about 12 years. Over the past 3 months we've been getting hammered by auction listings pushing us down in the SERPs.

On Monday June 25th, we started to notice a very significant increase in traffic and sales. Review of the Google SERPs showed that many of the online auction listings (not all) had vanished and our listings had moved up again.

Is anyone else experiencing this?

1:08 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That sounds like good news -- much better search results for the end-user, who was often getting expired auction pages. I do see some action like this -- not universal, but still a good tweak.
2:49 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I know it is disappointing to those who own ecommerce/auction websites, but when a user gets a million hits from ebay or shopzilla, it isn't a great user experience.
2:59 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I agree. Those sites have their own marketing plans which shouldn't involve natural search results.

The user doesn't benefit by seeing something that was sold a month ago.

8:35 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In most cases the auction listings that were beating us out were not expired. I had heard that this auction site had recently put quite a bit of effort into SEO for their listings. This seemed to be working for them, because up to this point, we were getting crushed in the SERPs by auction listings.

There may be no correlation, but I found it interesting that a few weeks ago, this big auction site pulled all of their advertising from Google (possibly) in retaliation for an incident that took place at the auction sites annual convention in Boston.

See: MediaPost Article [publications.mediapost.com]

Several different articles mentioned that the pulling of the ads seems to have had little affect on traffic to the auction site. Considering that this auction site spends about $170 million annually on Google ads, this is a big deal.

Just about the time that those articles came out is when I saw this tweak in the SERPs for the auction listings. If I were Google and $170 million in annual ad revenue from this auction site was at stake, I'd probably take a long hard look at how much free traffic I was sending them from the SERPs.

[edited by: tedster at 9:32 pm (utc) on June 28, 2007]
[edit reason] fix link [/edit]

9:22 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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erthlng... seems like a reasonable explanation but do you think that google would react so quickly to the ebay problems?
9:47 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, they can move very quickly when properly motivated. $170 million would probably do the trick..... :-)
10:39 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Dropping someones pos. in serps to increase their adwords spend, not a particularly new theory but...
11:34 pm on June 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Nope, it's not a new theory and frankly it's probably just a coincidence, but the timing sure makes it interesting....
 

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