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eBay 1 Year After Dropping AdWords

Pay up or get booted.

   
11:43 am on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



I was just at an eBay sellers conference. The hot topic was the recent organic rankings hit Google leveled upon eBay.

[fool.com...]

It was just 1 year ago when eBay stopped purchasing AdWords when they announced to the world that AdWords was a complete failure and doesn't work:

[slate.com...]


what the eBay team found—overall, there was no appreciable decline in sales of eBay listings in the part of the country where Google ad purchases were shut off.


I have not seen a more egregious case of Googles complete duplicity and lack of transparency in it's search methods. I think it clearly sends a signal to others that if you want organic results, you have to "pay up" or you will be booted.
12:10 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think it clearly sends a signal to others that if you want organic results, you have to "pay up" or you will be booted

I think it clearly sends a signal that if you are big enough to pay up, they will look the other way to your shady tactics. When you stop paying up, they stop looking the other way. The too big to fail (to pay us) of the internet world.

Let's face it, what eBay got nailed on they have been doing for years.

It is a subtle difference, but a difference. And also a difference that would not affect 99% of most websites.

Still wrong though...
1:54 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A year ago, and Google decides to punish eBay now? Talk about slow reflexes!
7:44 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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individual ebay listings seldom have a lot of content or inbound links.


so why should they be high in serps?
8:09 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Individual ebay listings seldom have a lot of content or inbound links.


so why should they be high in serps?
Because they are what people are searching for when they use search engines? Long tail results?

Regards...jmcc
8:22 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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> A year ago, and Google decides to punish eBay now?

Yes. They needed ye Old plausible deniability after ebay has been running AdWords for almost 14 years. I've heard it is well over a billion that they spent.
8:47 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've heard it is well over a billion that they spent.

Well if that spending bought them higher rankings for all those years, then it might have been worth it. They got the clicks from the ads plus the clicks from the higher rankings.
9:01 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They needed ye Old plausible deniability after ebay has been running AdWords for almost 14 years. I've heard it is well over a billion that they spent.


Or maybe they just decided to improve the SERPs. (I know quite a few sites, including mine, that have gained significantly with Panda 4.0--and not one has bought AdWords.)

There are a few interesting technical observations about the apparent eBay downranking/penalty in the comments at:

[seroundtable.com...]

(You'll have to dig for the useful comments amid the usual SEORoundtable garbage.)
9:49 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately , for all it's good intentions, a company is run by humans.
And humans as we all know are prone to bias, greed, illusions of grandeur, revenge, anger, jealousy and corruption.
This should be considered by those who readily dismiss the adsense ban claims.
4:05 am on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)



I'm not quite sure what connection there may be between one person's traffic gain due to Panda 4.0 and the Google/eBay issue.

The eBay thing is reported to be a manual penalty.
Panda 4.0 is an algorithm change.

The timing is close together so I'd say there is some correlation.
But, the causation appears to be totally different.

Perhaps the connection can be clarified for those of use who can't see that connection?
4:16 am on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm in Clay_More's camp, ie. eBay was nicked for bad coding practices initially. I can't see that the recent panda would add to the hurt.

Also, eBay pages are NOT thin... (been there recently?). Though I will say that some parts of those pages are duplicative... and if so then every eCommerce website out there is in deep puppy bowel evacuation.
11:22 am on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Personally i like it sehnig ebay doorway Pages are gone. they were annoying and had only links to Auctions or direct Sales on it. so very thin. A manuell Penalty because cutting off adwords? I don't think so, nevertheless they buy google Shopping ads. Amazon does Not buy GSA. So they should get a Penalty too.
11:44 am on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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eBay is a destination, and it probably doesn't need google in the same way it used to.

As an eBay user, I don't bother searching other than on eBay's site. In any case, when I had user Google, I quite often found out-of-date SERPs: The auction was over and the product was sold. That made it a pointless entry in the SERPs. I did end up going to search on eBay.

As a seller, I want the maximum opportunity for sales, so not being in Google is probably reducing the sales a little. As i said, eBay is a destination, and i'm sure it probably doesn't need the same kind of referrals it did when it started. It needs a corporate message.

I'm all for cleaned up SERPs, however, it does concern me that such clean-ups are either to force payment for AdWords, or is an anti-competitive move. It wouldn't be such a great a concern if Google didn't wield such weight in the industry.
11:51 am on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It wouldn't be such a great a concern if Google didn't wield such weight in the industry.


Me, too "damn straight" posts are pretty pointless and undesired, but this time around, ... damn straight!
1:32 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)



Ebay has the ability to have contacts at Google to at least get a clue as what the issue is. The vast majority of us don't have this luxury. I however think there may be other ways Google is allowing position influence to be bought other than Adwords.
2:46 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps the connection can be clarified for those of use who can't see that connection?


As I said, maybe they (Google) simply decided to improve the SERPs.

Google has certainly been busy lately on the cleanup front, with the Payday Loans update and Panda 4.0 within a few days of each other, plus a slew of penalties against link networks, guest-posting networks, etc. in the recent past. Purging eBay doorway pages makes sense in that context.
4:56 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think they were collateral damage myself.

eBay's site isn't unlike some of the bigger scraper mashup sites I've seen and some of the people posting on eBay post in other places which would make it appear they were scraping.

I could give you a real world example of why I think this is possible because I recently got dinged and knocked out of the index temporarily (quickly reinstated) for a site running pure member submitted UGC with a "pure spam" penalty which I'd never heard of before.

Mind you, eBay is also pure member submitted UGC so it would seem to me that someone has cranked up the dials a bit to the extreme and they think any site with duplicate content of other sites is a problem.

Perhaps they'll drop eBay into the whitelist of 'good sites' and the algo will skip them in the future as well.
8:16 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I'm different to most people, but if I'm out buying something?

I always go direct to eBay. I only then Google my search if nothing turns up on eBay, or simply for comparison shopping purposes.

For me, it is an extremely rare event for eBay to ever be beaten. Yes, I am a well satisfied long term eBay user - with every good reason.
8:32 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There where a article in a US magazine, on the day google bought nest, the biggest competition to that company droped out of google rankings, they where gone for 6 month, im not sure if they are still gone.

About adsense, I have also used it several times, but I also think its a waist of money. Bing advertising brings me more and to 1/4 the price.
9:03 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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> possible because I recently got dinged

you are actually going to set there and try to make an analogy between your site and eBay. Seriously? Bill?

eBays template is the same today as it was 2 years ago.

> outdated listings

Google has not been showing outdated/expired/over listings for 4 years. There was clearly a specific tweak with the word "ebay" put into the Google algo.

> but if I'm out buying something?

Me too, but funny how Amazons listings are still high in the serps eh? Exact same products, same sale terms, and same ease of use. The ebay site is often faster than amazon and has more indepth descriptions than Amazon. (still on page one - but below the google spam)


> nest

Ya, do a search and google for Nest. eBay used to be #2 behind nest.com. Now there is an above the fold full-blown serp-spam-a-thon by Google. And guess where Amazon is at? lol
9:41 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Conspiracy hypotheses--I won't dignify them with the term "conspiracy theories--begin with a predetermined premise and don't even try to provide supporting evidence. They aren't driven by facts, they're driven by wishful thinking.

This one is a perfect example:

"eBay dropped AdWords a year ago, and now Google is punishing eBay in the SERPs after waiting a year in the interests of 'plausible deniability.'"

In the words of Wendy's and Walter Mondale, "Where's the beef?"
10:41 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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pattern=beef

A pattern is emerging...

This has been going on with google for a few years now. It's now becoming more mainstream and more occurrences are seeing the light of day.

At the end of the day though, it is only business. There's nothing altruistic about business. Anyone who is expecting google to behave in a manner not consistent with a profit driven business is living a dream.
11:46 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A pattern is emerging...


Again, no evidence. Just glittering generalities.

Anyone who is expecting google to behave in a manner not consistent with a profit driven business is living a dream.


All businesses want to earn profits, whether they're creating cures for cancer or fencing goods for burglars, so the fact that Google is a "profit-driven business" is beside the point.

It might be helpful to read an objective analysis:

[moz.com...]
12:26 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just looking at some of the phrases on that Moz link and they look very familiar. They resemble the text from Link Injection Hacks. (Need more data but, if it is not an eBay targeted hit, it could be a collateral damage on a massive scale.)

Regards...jmcc
7:00 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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As I said, maybe they (Google) simply decided to improve the SERPs.

Somehow, I'm sure that will be their story and they'll stick to it.
-- It doesn't mean it's true; it only has to be believable.
7:37 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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EBay Adwords were terrible: and I have seen the same problems with other big advertisers:

1) lack of geo-targeting: I live in a country they do not operate in. I may buy something and pay for shipping, but I am a poor prospect compared to, for example, someone in the US.

2) What look like auto-generated ads: "buy + [search phrase]" for everything, even information searches unrelated to a product.
8:42 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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ebay is partially back in germany with ebay.de/sch/ subfolder. But they routing the sch/pages to auctions now.
There has someone done some work in the last days.... War is on.
8:56 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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EBay Adwords were terrible

Yes, they were so bad they were in fact common subjects for jokes.

They also almost never led to useful pages, and I found myself backing out of them a lot before I quit using them. It's no wonder that eBay didn't do well with them.
10:29 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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so the fact that Google is a "profit-driven business" is beside the point.


and there is where you have trouble grasping the simplicity of what is going on, it's just business is the only point. You're the only one muddying the water with glistering generalities.
10:41 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google has not been showing outdated/expired/over listings for 4 years.


That's not been my experience. Perhaps that was their aim, but it often didn't work for me.

When a site reaches a certain size and "authority" users will go to the site directly. It's only the smaller, less known sites that need a search service, such as Google.

Besides the security embarrassment of late, I doubt eBay needs Google in the same was as it did in the past.
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