EBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) sellers could see fewer hits to their online stores after Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) latest update to its search engine ranking algorithm, called Panda 4.0. SEO experts have found that reportedly up to 80% of eBay's best search results could be affected under the new search algorithm.
Previously, eBay had high organic search ranking. This means that searching for an item on Google usually resulted in an eBay listing on the first page of search results, considered prime real estate for online retailers.
News of the search rankings comes from Larry Kim, CEO of search marketing company Wordstream, who made the discovery by searching for common terms that formerly produced good search results for eBay pages. He found that 80 percent of the time eBay's pages no longer made the first Google results page. A similar result was found by marketing scientist Peter Meyers, who writes for the Moz Blog, and noted that eBay's share of top 10 Google rankings across a range of search results had dramatically decreased.
So why did Google make this change? Analysts suggest that by bumping eBay's product listing pages out of the organic rankings, eBay will now be forced to pay for product ads in order to appear on the first page of Google search results.
For retailers on eBay, it's too soon to tell how large of an impact, if any, Panda 4.0 will have on Web sales. A simple Google search for "iPhone case" did not bring up a single eBay search result on page one, which could significantly impact online sales in the days and weeks to come.
If eBay does take a traffic hit, it will be the second upset for the online giant this week. EBay on Wednesday disclosed a data breach, urging 112 million users to change their passwords. The breach compromised data containing a list of encrypted passwords that could potentially be decrypted through publicly available tools. No payment data was reportedly affected.
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