[Update]: this article was amended to reflect that this breaking news is via a report from Re/code.
While it’s true that eBay was penalized by Google to the extent that they’re no longer showing up for thousands of different queries, there are now reports stating that Panda 4.0 may not be to blame.
Today, re/code reports that “according to a person familiar with the situation” that eBay was penalized by Google, but that the drop in rankings was caused by being hit with a manual action. It was just a coincidence that it happened at the same time as the Panda 4.0 rollout.
Google has yet to confirm that a manual action was taken against eBay, and eBay themselves have declined to comment.
The reason why it is believed to be a manual action against eBay is because only individual pages were penalized, whereas an algorithm update like Panda would affect the entire site.
This begs the question of what did eBay do to deserve a manual action? There’s no clear answer right now, but what is clear is what exactly Google penalized.
RefuGeeks took a closer look at this and found that the pages removed from Google search results were doorway pages.
Apparently these were category or sub-category pages that eBay may have been creating and optimizing with the intention to boost their search results rankings.
A commenter on the RefuGeeks article chimed in, adding this insight:
Looks like you are unto something there… as it appears to be a manual penalty.
A search for ‘site:ebay.com inurl:/bhp/’ has zero results with the /bhp/ directory.
Google seems ignoring the /bhp/ directory which was really host for doorway pages.
I’m curious to hear more about this as it develops. That is, if either party decides to comment on the issue.