According to a recent article in Search Engine Land, eBay is paying a high price for practices that prompted Google to penalize the merchandising giant. According to Danny Sullivan, “The loss of traffic resulting from that has been noticeable enough that eBay acknowledged it in a financial call this week, suggesting it may have cost up to $200 million in revenue.” Interestingly, it has been reported that eBay wasn’t hit by a Panda update based on automatic algorithms but, rather, by a manual penalty imposed by Google. I don’t know whether this “human intervention” should frighten us more or less than an automatic penalty, but it certainly caught my attention.
It serves to remind us marketers that one-trick ponies don’t perform long. We must access and wisely use all the marketing tools available to us and not over-rely on long time favorites. So, in particular: don’t plan on your organic numbers to be evergreen. Free traffic is great and worth working for on an ongoing basis, but, as eBay and millions of other websites have found out, there are no guarantees of the number of visitors you can expect coming from organic search. Diversify your marketing portfolio of tools, if you haven’t done so already.