Traffic chaos! Google & Facebook changes wreak havoc on business

| May 28, 2014
Ebay's share of top 10 rankings

Blogging and content marketing are key areas that First 5000 members can tap into. Darren Moffatt, director of strategy & content marketing at WebBuzz explains how Google’s change in ranking websites may have affected you. 

The earth shook for your business this week. Did you feel it?

There was a huge seismic shift on the internet that is laying waste to some truly global brands, and delivering unexpected bounty to bloggers and some business websites. Who to curse – or thank – for this upheaval?

Blame it on the ‘Panda’ .Yes, on May 20 the 2014 Google Panda update was let out of his cage by Matt Cutts and boy is this baby vicious!

In addition, some changes to the Facebook algorithm made back in February are now also hitting websites hard. It’s Traffic Chaos! as Google & Facebook Changes Wreak Havoc On Business. What does it mean for you and your business website?

Let’s start with Google.

The objective of the “Panda 4.0″ update is to reduce spammy content and low quality sites so that Google users enjoy a better search experience. Google has always said that it’s main goal is to point search users to the highest quality web pages possible, and to bury results for low quality sites. The update appears to punish some huge sites.

There are reports that eBay has been absolutely smashed, with a 33 per cent reduction in site visibility on Google searches.!

Google Panda 2014 smashes eBay

Other big names affected include: and On the flip side, there are big winners with content sites such as climbing 25 per cent in Google page visibility & traffic. No data is currently available for the impact on local Australian sites but any aggregators of news or second hand content look set for a rough ride.


In a world where Buzzfeed is rewarded over eBay the message for your business is clear: to succeed online your site needs high quality, original content.

Content marketing has long been a big opportunity for small and medium size businesses (if only because so few do it well), but with this latest Panda 4.0 update it is now officially HOT. When you’ve got Google showering sites with torrents of free traffic as a reward for useful content, it’s only a matter of time before word gets out. I’m calling it now: the demand for content marketing services will increase substantially as businesses wake up to the opportunity.

And now to Facebook…

Back in December Facebook amended how their newsfeed works.The algorithm change was designed to increase the quality of content that appears in users feeds, with less prominence given to meme photos and junk posts. Several months later and the results are in, with devastating effects for hot viral sharing sites such as Upworthy. There are reports that Upworthy and others like it have been hit with a 25 per cent reduction in traffic from Facebook.

Upworthy hit by Facebook algorithm change

What does this mean for your website and your business internet marketing?
Before we draw a conclusion it’s important to note that just as with the Google algorithm, Buzzfeed was again the winner from the Facebook algorithm changes. The recent Facebook update appears to favour Fan page posts with useful news or informational content via links that are popular and highly shareable. Facebook is undeniably a highly visual platform, but it seems that simple image or photo posts no longer cut it for businesses seeking a social bump off their fan page.

The other point to note is that Buzzfeed themselves spend major dollars on Facebook advertising, & there is speculation this helped them avoid loss of traffic.


If you run small to medium size enterprise and you don’t have an in-house digital marketing team, you might find this all a bit overwhelming. Never fear, here’s a handy list of tips and conclusions any business owner can implement:

  1. Develop a content marketing strategy NOW. If that’s too hard, then…
  2. Just Start blogging ASAP. Write posts about your niche that are useful to someone, somewhere
  3. Review your site for spammy or poor content to avoid penalty.
  4. Develop a social media marketing strategy. Improve the quality & virality of your Facebook posts
  5. Consider Facebook advertising to boost the reach of your posts

Hope this helps. Do you have any other suggestions for winning in this new online landscape?
Darren Moffatt is an award-winning entrepreneur and recognised thought leader, with a proven track-record of online success. He began his career with corporate roles in Westpac, Challenger and Royal & Sun Alliance before launching his first business, Seniors First, in 2006. In 2012 Darren identified an opportunity for a new ‘Facebook for Neighbours’ site to connect locals. With co-founder Ben Carew, Darren built and launched a second business Housenet has since grown to become a buzzing social networking site for neighbours with thousands of members across the country and was awarded as one of the top 100 Innovations in Australia in the Smart 100 Index in 2013. Darren is now sharing this hard-won mix of corporate nous, start-up experience, and online expertise with small and medium businesses through WebBuzz.


This article was first published on WebBuzz and is republished on First 5000 with the kind permission of the author.