Demand Says Search Traffic To EHow Off 20 Percent Since Google Changes

For the first time, Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) is putting a number on how Google’s changes to its search algorithm have impacted its sites, saying during its earnings call today that search referral traffic to its flagship eHow site is down 20 percent since Google (NSDQ: GOOG) made the first of two major updates to its search algorithm this year.

The company is continuing to downplay the overall impact of Google’s changes, however, noting that page views to eHow were only off 12 percent during the same period because the site has seen traffic from other non-search sources increase.

During his remarks, CEO Richard Rosenblatt also noted that another one of the company’s sites, Livestrong, had seen a decline in search referral traffic after Google’s first update but has since seen a turnaround because of updates Demand Media has made. Rosenblatt said the company was now making similar changes to eHow, although he said the site was “larger and more complex.”

One other highlight of the call: Rosenblatt talked about the success of the company’s branded advertising sales, which he said had more than tripled over the last year. He said that to date the company had focused that effort “almost entirely” on eHow but was now extending it to some of its other properties, including, notably, humor site