Getting on Google’s bad side doesn’t just happen to small companies, even the big guys get their hands slapped if they misbehave and the cost can be big.

Earlier this year, eBay was hit with a search penalty by Google. eBay’s estimate of a loss of $200 million in revenue due to the loss of traffic was large enough to be acknowledged in a financial call.

eBay’s chief financial officer Bob Swan believed Google wasn’t driving as much search engine optimized traffic to their site which negatively impacted growth. Exactly what went wrong remains a bit of a mystery.

Initially, it was thought eBay was hurt by Google’s Panda algorithm. Panda filters out what Google considers to be low-quality, thin content from its top results. Others suggest they were hit by a manual penalty from someone at Google who felt eBay was guilty of spamming.

Whatever the cause, eBay like others who have been hit by a Google penalty, need to move quickly and fix what’s wrong. So what is eBay doing to improve their SEO and get back into Google’s good graces?

eBay plans to do a better job with its paid search campaigns by being more specific and targeting geographically. In addition, eBay plans to do more in terms of social, as a way of generating new traffic.

What this means is companies, both big and small need to follow Google’s rules. If you don’t all of your hard SEO work goes down the drain and you no longer appear on the first couple of pages of a search.

How do you know if you’re in trouble with Google? Try typing your site name into Google search engine. If it doesn’t show up at the number one spot, then it’s probably been penalized. Not good news.

Follow these recommendations to stay in Google’s good graces to make your search engine optimization efforts pay off:


Remove all links that even appear to be spam and build your links organically. Don’t build your links too fast and don’t over optimize anchor text. Check your comments and block any links to low quality pages. Try to mix it up your anchor text. Too much of the same is not a good thing.


Google really doesn’t like duplicate content so make sure you don’t have any. Keep your content relevant to your site and keep it original and fresh. Update often and don’t let it stagnate. Watch out for ‘ad heavy’ content above the fold and don’t over optimize your content. Finally, make sure you’ve submitted your site map to search engines.

Social media

Many businesses create social media accounts but then do little with it. Make sure you Include links to your social media accounts on your website and post regularly. A good sign you’re doing things right is when people on your social media networks share your posts.


If you’ve included hidden text, delete it. We all know Google is no fool. If you’re guilty of keyword stuffing, rewrite to correct it.


Your website should be responsive so it works on the computer and mobile devices. It should also load quickly and the search engines should be able to crawl your site with no problems.