Today, there are very few people that have not heard of the auction site eBay. It was one of the earliest and largest online sites. Even so, eBay made a crucial mistake in terms of Internet marketing . They failed to pay attention to emerging trends and changes to search engine algorithms. In particular, they failed to pay attention to how those changes could impact their site and traffic. When Google rolled out the Payday Loan 2.0 and Panda 4.0 updates, eBay was hit and hit hard. In fact, some reports indicate that the auction site lost as much as 80 percent of their organic traffic. That is a hit that no company, regardless of size, can afford to take.

What happened and how did eBay , one of the big online giants, get hit so hard by a single update? The purpose of Panda, originally released in 2011, was to weed out online sites that were low on quality. Specifically, Panda focused on those sites that were thin on content. Google has been working diligently to improve user search engine experience and direct users to sites that contain information that is truly relevant to their search queries. When Panda was first released, more than 10 percent of all search queries were affected. Over the next several months, Google continued to tweak Panda more than two dozen times. Since then, Google has indicated that Panda would become a continuously updated algorithm with chances implemented on a monthly basis. Just a few weeks ago, Google announced that they would be rolling out Panda 4.1.

The problem that eBay encountered is that their site was largely built on precisely what Google was trying to eliminate with the implementation of Panda—thin content. This is a problem that can easily occur when you have a large ecommerce site with dozens of product listings. eBay was certainly not alone in being impacted by Panda. Other sites taking hard hits included PRNewswire and PRWeb.

What can you do to fix the problem when it is clear that Panda is around to stay? Begin by revising thin content and deleting duplicate content. Before the release of Panda, it was easy for website to get away with this strategy, but no longer. If you are not sure where your site may have thin content, consider performing a site audit to determine which pages on your site may have fallen in search engine rankings lately. While it will take some work, there are some things you can do to boost the quality of thin content pages, including adding images and multimedia, adding outbound links to quality sites, and providing a more comprehensive analysis of the subject covered on that page. Also, try focusing on the features that Google seems to consider in evaluating the quality of content:

  • Longer, meatier content that covers all aspects of a topic.
  • Include on-page proof of credentials and references for higher quality.
  • Include both internal and external links to authoritative pages.
  • Offer social media share buttons and counters
  • Promote your content on a variety of social media platforms

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