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eBay UK goes back to basics with SEO link building campaign

By Dan Wilson June 19, 2014 - 12:18 am

About a month ago, we reported that eBay had been the victim of a manual downgrade by Google. The result of this action meant that eBay’s prominence in the world’s most vital search engine results was significantly diminished.

It’s difficult to know exactly what that means and how severely eBay has been affected by what search engine gurus might term “black hat” SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques.

What we can say unequivocally is that Google’s actions were “a bad thing” for the marketplace and sellers. eBay pages have since not been as visible in Goggle search results.

In the past few days we have received information that eBay is trying to claw back its Google rankings with some very basic SEO tactics. Not least link building from blogs and other webpages seems to be their focus. No bad thing.

One blogger, who has been asked to update links on posts dating back to 2008, has been in touch. The email reads:

“I’m writing from the agency rankingCHECK from Cologne, Germany, where we are helping eBay with the quality assurance of eBay.co.uk.

We detected that your website XXX links to the eBay website.

eBay have changed their website structure in the meantime since the links were created, so the page you linked to do no longer exist. As this means the visitors to your website will be directed to an error page, it is advisable to update this links.

If you can correct the links and let me know I‘d be most grateful. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

Now, I’ve removed the information regarding the exact links on the exact website but must note 3 concerns. The XXX is mine.

These queries do spring to mind:

– Why hasn’t eBay been cleverer with redirects on pages? If pages move, why not redirect as standard? It’s easy.
– Why is the written English so poor in the communication from an eBay engaged agency?
– Is this really the depth of the crisis? If eBay is wanting links from 2008 changed on blogs and websites, the problem may well be bigger than we imagine.

Let us know if you hear anything more.

  • roger browne
    3 years ago

    The damage for me on EBay has been massive since the Google search changes. I average 70 current listings. With 14 years business trading on EBay my average weekly sales have gone from £400 down to (last week) less than £100. It is unlikely that, unless there is a profound recovery very soon, I will be able to afford to continue on EBay.

  • John Doe
    3 years ago

    Well, I think this is excellent news. Many clients are seeing their listings get into decent organic positions at last as ebay don’t snap up all the listings which point to pointless, unrelated pages.

    Best thing to happen on organic in years. Let’s hope it continues.

  • admiralhardinge
    3 years ago

    Support Roger’s experience. A real drop in sales, but not as much as he has experienced. In the region of 40%.

    As for the English grammar – it happens all the time with ebay. One of the growth programmes I participated in used an eastern European agency to manage it, and it was a woeful experience for communications, particularly on the phone. The recent Webinterpret/Ebay International Growth Programme has been little better.

    The Lingo24 comment about language on todays post should be noted by Ebay and Webinterpret. Some of the title translations were pathetic. There appeared to be no quality assurance or checking on what the machine translation had done and just leaves a bad impression.

    I will say what I have said before, and what is continually evidenced by Ebay performance. Ebay do not seem to have the quality of staff to either manage the system professionally or to predict even the simplest problems in a new process. I used to work for a big multinational in a European management role, and what happens with ebay simply would not have been accepted in that or any other professional organisation I had contact with. I believe ebay have created a behemoth they can’t control, and without the talent to do anything about it.

  • admiralhardinge
    3 years ago

    Observe the history of business. Businesses that become too arrogant and don’t pay attention to a significant part of their customer base eventually have significant problems. These range from anti-competitive practices punished by regulatory bodies, to evaporating market share, to the killing of the golden goose.

    I’m not suggesting ebay are there yet, but it is clear they have fallen foul of the most important global search engine, have messed up big time on security and therefore image, and roundly ignore the views of their seller customers.

  • Dug
    3 years ago

    “If pages move, why not redirect as standard? It’s easy.”

    Redirects on enterprise sites are never easy.

    With millions of pages in need of redirecting, making every URL-request pass through evaluation to check against a list this large, adds huge amounts of time to the page-load speed, let alone the server-resource it consumes. It can be simplified with regular-expression, but there’s only so much you can do.

    It you end-up making multi-hop redirects, you need to pass the request through the same evaluation process multiple times; it’s a killer.

    Also, every time you add a URL, you run the risk of redirect loops. Each new addition requires that every anticipated URL is retested to make sure it ends-up on a real page. Again, you can mitigate this with loop-trapping scripts that break the redirect cycle, but you are then faced with a decision about what to do with the request.

    There’s a reason that really large sites don’t redirect everything they should.

    I migrated a small enterprise site a few years ago and we had to set up two dedicated servers just to handle the redirects. I dread to think how many a site like ebay would need.

    On the subject of grammar – from a German company, and an employee whose first language is almost certainly not English, it’s not bad. It is quite formally structured but it follows the rules of grammar a lot more closely than many native English speakers. There’s one superfluous (but not incorrect) clause, a singular where there should be a plural and a couple debatable missing commas (don’t get me started on comma ambiguity), but otherwise it is fine (if slightly stiff).

  • 3 years ago

    Oh gawd Dan, Do you think they’ll find Tamebay and want us to update all the out of date links we have in the archives? :D

  • Sandy
    3 years ago

    Something seems to have changed. My ebay.co.uk items used to be on 1st page on google UK. Now, instead of my items that are located in the UK, what’s now shown are listed on ebay.com. The search engine shows the link of ebay.co.uk but when you click the link you can see there is a currency conversion and the seller is in the US. This applies to quite a long of my products and I lost a lot of visibility to the non-UK sellers. The search results ghastly become less relevant to the customers. Has anyone experience something similar as well?

  • jo
    3 years ago

    Quite often I am searching for a particular item on google and it comes up with ebay results. However when I click the links it tells me the item is no longer in existance and sends me to a page of supposedly ‘related’ items on ebay. This is happening increasingly so. It’s almost like ebay have cached the titles of listings that have ended literally years ago in order to trick google searchers into thinking they have the product theyre looking for when, in fact, ebay have not had it for a significant amount of time….. waste of everyones time and really tries patience!!!

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