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Why Should Dealers Care about Google's Panda 4.0 Update?

By DrivingSales News on May 29, 2014

Google provides the platform and we all play in their space. This was among the topics discussed in the article that we wrote about the Panda 4.0 update to the Google Search Algorithm. We provided a quick overview of the change, as well as winner and losers, however some of that information has changed. Let’s start with an update.

EBay, first seen as among the biggest losers to the latest Google update, was quite possibly unaffected by the change. An anonymous source, as reported by, has indicated that Ebay was rather levied with a manual penalty by Google. The online auction site faced what looked at first like an approximately 33% reduction in its organic traffic, seemingly overnight. The root cause was thought to be the Panda rollout, however, a source close to the situation says that it’s due to EBay having “category pages” created to bolster search results. This led to Google reportedly taking action against EBay.

Our last article also touched on that estimation that the Panda 4.0 Update should only have noticable impact for 7.5% of the english-speaking Google search results. Can a change on that scale have an impact on the organic traffic to dealership websites? This question was posed on the forum and not one person declared seeing a reduction in traffic, with one individual reporting an actual uptick.

If this update doesn’t impact dealers as far as those who have responded can tell, what about a future update with major implications? What if an update changes a lot of the standards by which your marketing campaigns are crafted? How will your dealership be ready? How do you stay current? A few industry insiders provided their thoughts. 

Grant Gooley, Director of Marketing at the Zanchin Automotive Group said that, “keeping up to date means constant research. I use tools as well like SEO MOZ. It's great for keeping on top of all Google changes. " Matthew Smith, Marketing Director at Darling's said that, "Unfortunately, there is no easy way to stay up to date on these changes. It’s a lot of work and it’s not always clear how potential changes might affect your sites. The best strategy is to read as much as possible from as many sources as possible. I also make a point to talk to people I know at various website providers, both automotive and otherwise, to get their thoughts. Information is power and it’s the only way to make smart decisions. Lastly, Robert Karbaum explained that, I feel operating solely on the latest digital media advancements can be problematic.  So often with Google big changes or new advancements are made, only to revert back weeks or months later.  The real skill is being aware of what is new and exciting and making long term, calculated decisions on how you will proceed.  Changing your entire marketing plan for every Google update will have you running around in circles; instead wait to see how the market reacts to new advancements before you jump on the bandwagon."

Other ideas include setting up Google email alerts on topics related to Google algorithm changes and following industry insiders on social media. Whatever your plan is, it’s simply important to have one. In order to stay ahead of the game, dealers need to know how changes at Google could impact their carefully crafted strategy. While with Google it seems that we never quite know what they will do next, staying on top of what they decide to do could be the difference between being ahead of, or behind the game. 



Well said

May 29, 2014

Most interesting that eBay got slapped. That's a big slap.

Jun 4, 2014

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