| 2:45 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Something happened yesterday that's never happened before, and it follows a large crawl of my site on Friday.
I have a page that's always, every day, been by far the top performer on my site, drawing far more page views than any other. It's the main page for dozens of sub-pages of widget models. The directory for those sub-pages has also been far at the top of visits by directory. The main page was #2-#3 for years for several different phrases, and the sub-pages obviously ranked very well, too.
Yesterday that page dropped to #3 in my stats, and the directory of sub-pages dropped to #2. That's the first time that's happened since I started this site in 2004.
It's also right after a week in which I added content to that page. I added sections about the various features found on the different models, explaining them in further detail than is done on the individual model pages. I also added some other information.
I re-wrote the text for the individual model pages (although I'm 80% finished doing so), doubling the amount of text, and I think giving a bit more useful information. I did things such as adding small detail photos showing differences in features, and comparing a replica model to an original widget from the 1940's, and writing about the similarities.
I also added a comments section to each page, and was able to get some friends who own a couple of the models to write short reviews. I'll have to seek out more people to write reviews for those pages where there are none.
So, that's it. I thought I was doing right, but if yesterday's pattern continues, it's very possible that I did wrong.
This update is fubar.
| 3:47 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I'm mentioned in another thread, I see no point in rewriting or redoing content as nobody has nailed down what Panda is about exactly.
The algo doesn't seem to be working too well anyway with reports of scrapers outranking original content.
Might not be a bad idea to launch thousands of spam sites right now, right Google?
If eHow is still ranking, it may be be a good business model to explore.
Throw as much cheap spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, don't even picking up the stuff on the floor.
And btw, I see zero reports of anyone beefing up their content and regaining rankings.
| 3:53 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Talk about not working well, it's not just that scrapers are outranking our original content, it's that MFA sites with nothing but title tags and YouTube scrapes are dominating.
I tried searching for a pretty common automotive emissions issue this morning, and the #1 result in Google was a site that framed a YouTube video with the text from YouTube and the title of the video as the title. That's the whole page. Why not just send searchers to YouTube instead?
BTW, the last time I had this problem with the car, I made a little YouTube video about it. Yes, it was my video coming up #1 in the results on a MFA site:-)
| 4:00 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
If I was going to implement a new system, especially one involving machine learning, I might consider 'rolling through' results for a specific, preset, and of course, variable (likely based on 'essentially the same query frequency') number of queries before I allowed the rotation of 'evaluated as lesser quality' through the top returned results to be stopped for a given query (or set of closely related queries), but it's possible that's just me ... To know what's 'better' for a given query you'd have to have a 'variety' for a while, wouldn't you?
| 4:07 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|To know what's 'good' you have to mix in some 'not as good' for a while, don't you? |
Exactly. Even before Panda, members here regularly commented on "spam floating to the top" before it got skimmed off.
| 4:10 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I was editing to try and give a better example, but thanks for reading the fine print tedster ... I think often people look at the results Google provides with a short-term, narrow view, rather than trying to figure out what their long-term sustainable plan might be, and imo you really have to have differences present for an algo to 'learn' what is 'better' or 'worse', especially on a query dependent basis.
| 4:27 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|I was editing to try and give a better example, but thanks for reading the fine print tedster ... I think often people look at the results Google provides with a short-term, narrow view, rather than trying to figure out what their long-term sustainable plan might be, and imo you really have to have differences present for an algo to 'learn' what is 'better' or 'worse', especially on a query dependent basis. |
I didn't expect my changes to propel my pages back to Google's page one. I wasn't expecting them to be demoted further, though, which is what seems to have happened, at least for yesterday. Tomorrow? Who knows?
| 4:35 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
There is something quite "non-standard" in this period that follows the update - our old expectations are being dramatically disappointed. I'm thinking this reflects how radically different this new algorithm is, as well as how new it is.
The quality scoring assigned by Panda seems to be extremely sticky and for now, at least, almost impossible to change in a dramatic way. Panda is not acting like a traditional "penalty" at all, and it may be a mistake to think of it in those terms.
| 4:44 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Same thing happened to me. I changed my site and went to little extreme. Actually I removed all ads,analytics, blocked all thin pages. Improved content pages.
But, I had another 10-20% drop. I saw that G has been crawling everyday. Hope to see the improvement.
| 4:51 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Very interesting, thanks for the report.
I haven't changed anything, and have not regained or lost rankings since Kung Fu Panda executed his Karate chop.
I wonder what would happen if you reversed those changes.
| 4:52 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I completely redesigned a website removing all Adsense (high 5 figures year so it was a sacrifice for me) and have dropped further in the SERP's.
| 4:53 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
G seem to be crawling the panda affected sites almost daily and several times during the day.How many others notice this?
| 4:56 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Is G studying webmaster behavior with this panda? On how they react when something like this happens.
| 4:59 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Well...Kung Fu Panda does not really know Kung Fu/ Karate. Panda is still in training mode, but they released and it is destroying everything including his master 'G' :)
| 5:13 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I'd say Google is studying USER behavior most of all - much more than webmaster behavior or response.
| 5:15 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Hasn't there been a post somewhere by a Googler about the recovery process ... |
And answering my own question.... it was John MU in a Panda related Webmaster Central thread [google.com]
|... As a website is updated, recrawled, reindexed, and with that, the site's signals reassessed, our algorithms will take those changes into account and treat the website accordingly. |
|That process is usually not something that takes place overnight ... it takes time for us to recrawl the pages, the bigger the site, the longer it will take. .... Sometimes, even after recrawling parts of a site, our algorithms will need a bit of time to confirm that the site has really changed for good. |
All of this can and will take time. Personally, I'd recommend not waiting to see if a single, small change will make a difference, our algorithms rarely have a "one-track-mind," they take many factors into account. ...
I always thought it best to make one change at a time, but maybe not.
| 5:19 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|... our algorithms rarely have a "one-track-mind," they take many factors into account. |
I wonder if one of those 'tracks' is 'are you a webmaster making one small change at a time so you can more easily manipulate our results in the future?' ... I think if I had any say in the matter it would be, say if there was a pattern of behavior suggestive of SEO rather than VISO [visitor optimization] I might be inclined to decrease rankings for a period of time, likely until the pattern of behavior subsided.
| 5:25 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
You may be onto something by saying Google is studying user behavior. Would explain why piracy sites are suddenly ranking so highly.
| 5:52 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
So 3 reports so far today from webmasters saying they've made changes and seen a drop in rankings.
Seems a bit funny nobody knows what Gooble means exactly by "improve it", or "best resource of its kind".
| 5:55 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|The quality scoring assigned by Panda seems to be extremely sticky and for now, at least, almost impossible to change in a dramatic way. Panda is not acting like a traditional "penalty" at all, and it may be a mistake to think of it in those terms. |
But the return of traffic to those who did some changes and succeeded -- they seemed like a penalty was lifted? It seems very binary.
Also, I'm seeing the same things as with all of you making drastic changes. The changes are, in my mind, for the better, but at the same time, saw a 10% to 20% drop right after any crawls. Very odd indeed! If I keep at it, I'll have ZERO google visits, and by that point, I won't have anything to lose... (snark).
| 5:56 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|.. As a website is updated, recrawled, reindexed, and with that, the site's signals reassessed, our algorithms will take those changes into account and treat the website accordingly |
The problem is, all sites are crawled with different frequency/regularity. I believe these penalties are applied/lifted in response to a particular crawler, and you can see its frequency in your WMT (spikes). I don't think the daily crawler is going to be responsible for any changes in ranking. If your site is deep-crawled every 3 months, that might be how long you have to wait. Just based on my observations, of penalties coinciding with the deep crawl. Others may have a different experience, but I don't expect to see any changes in my penalty until my site gets another deep crawl (3 to 4 weeks from now, unless it comes around sooner, off the normal pattern).
| 6:04 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|I'd say Google is studying USER behavior most of all |
Something else that I have observed... On *some* results, when I hit the back button to leave a site, I see the suggestion, "block all results from this website" (the new Chrome feature). I have not seen it for every page I leave, but only on some. Perhaps it is triggered after you leave a site a certain number of times, or on sites that Google considers to be of borderline quality and wants the user to provide feedback?
| 6:12 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I have also made changes such as improving main pages and making pages that had lists of information into complete paragraphs. Also made changes to tags so my most important title of the page is h1 and then so on.
So far I have seen no improvements in Google or Bing and this past weekend has been the worst traffic wise in a long while. The weekdays are decent but for some reason im taking hits on the weekend.
Very frustrating and puzzling.
P.S. Trying one tactic today that may help. I had a paragraph tag on all my pages at the top of the page before a H1 tag. I removed it. Ill let you know if I see any difference on any changes for both google and bing. I certainly dont wanna make it any worse.
One more thing, I mention Bing because I dont wanna sacrifice my traffic from them by making crazy changes for Google traffic.
| 6:18 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@dickbaker: I own sites that have suffered, and sites that have been untouched. I have a site which survived Panda, but then within 24 hours of making some substantial content changes on March 11, it was hit with a drop in ranking. May be unrelated, may be that it was already on the borderline, and the changes triggered an adjustment on its quality score. Dunno. I know you have posted a lot since Panda hit... forgive me if I ask you something you already posted in another thread. I have learned the most in this period by comparing sites affected to sites unaffected, especially those under my control as I know exactly what has gone into each, both onsite and offsite. Some of this insight flies in the face of much of the speculation abounding, notwithstanding the fact that every site is different, and different sectors may be scored differently. Anyway, dickbaker, forgive me, but I am to curious to know:
- how many pages are there on your site?
- how many pages did you change?
- have you evaluated the amount of duplicate content on your site? And by that I mean, a serious sentence by sentence, "sentence" search in google.com, giving you a page by page score of scraped:non-scraped content ratio. The question is, how much of the content on your site did you scrape, or has been scraped by others? (The origin of the duplicate content is no longer unimportant, like it or not, it is potentially moot who originated the content. The question now is simply, do you have content on your site that exists elsewhere?)
(I am operating under the MO that thin content and ads are a red herring, a secondary signal at best, or a primary signal affecting a different part of the algo, perhaps the initial part. I think this algo change was the mother of all algo changes, with a number of different goals. Fine-tuning this algo change with all its moving parts is reputedly going to be a year-long task for google. I think you are collateral damage (which means recovery is inevitable), and not an intended target, but the question is, why, and in knowing the why, can you help speed your recovery?)
I ask with the best of intentions. Your experience mirrors one of mine. Perhaps we can find common effect in a common cause. My 3 questions may not apply to you, and you may be affected in another way I am unfamiliar with... I am certain this algo change was multi-faceted, and each affected site may be affected for different reasons.
| 6:22 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@snickles121: this weekend is the tail end of March Break, and a big news week/weekend. As hard is it is, breathe, talk a walk. It has been slow everywhere, both online and offline businesses. We're dead on most fronts too, even our offline real estate, and Sundays are supposed to be a huge Open House day. Totally dead. Just write this weekend off. Don't read anything into it.
| 6:24 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|but then within 24 hours of making some substantial content changes on March 11, it was hit with a drop in ranking |
There have been others who were hit on March 10/11, including myself, so I doubt it was due to your content changes, and it could be Panda spreading.
| 6:28 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@supercyberbob: We made changes March 11, and dropped, but they were general changes, not necessarily something meant to respond to Panda. We reverted the changes immediately, and rankings stayed down in the same spot. I don't think it was the changes were good or bad. I think the changes were the trigger for a re-scoring. I think the site was already a ticking time-bomb, and the first changes made were going to force a re-evaluation and knock it down. This was a decade-old site, site-links, authority, crawled every day, home page changes show up momentarily, etc. etc. We still have lots of #1 rankings, but google organic traffic is off 40%.
| 6:33 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|There is something quite "non-standard" in this period that follows the update - our old expectations are being dramatically disappointed. I'm thinking this reflects how radically different this new algorithm is, as well as how new it is. |
As well as how they think ... We've seen it before (how they think) and I've said it before, but I'll reiterate:
These guys think years into the future and they're willing (they have to be) to sacrifice a little bit now (even for a couple or few months, imo) to make gigantic leaps ahead in the quality they present in their results over the next decade.
The difference between Google and many of the site owners here? Site owners only think about today (it's obvious from the posts here), Google's programmers think about the next 10 years (it's obvious from the results we see immediately following major updates).
3 to 6 months even of 'ho hum' results, compared to what we've come to expect, is a small trade off for an increasingly high quality in their results over the next decade ... Sometimes you have to take what would seem to be 3 steps back to move way ahead.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 6:37 pm (utc) on Mar 20, 2011]
| 6:34 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@crobb305 - I agree. I don't think it had anything to do with the content change per se. It may have been a trigger, or may have been part of a subsequent wave - I am not too sure on this particular point, and, honestly, it is moot. My assumption now is, well, since it has now taken its hit, might as well fix the whole damn thing, it can't get any worse, no sense keeping the kid's gloves on now. It is site-wide too. Issues on the whole site have pulled down well-deserving pages. Again, the most revealing bit of info I have is the comparison between sites affected vs. sites unaffected, which are under my control, and I know exactly what has been done to them all. It is hard accurately researching other sites in the SERPs, as I don't know what I might find under their hood. The differences I see in my own different sites are undeniable.
| 7:01 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Google's programmers think about the next 10 years |
@TheMadScientist, really do you still see Google around after 10 years.
Just pulling your leg, take it easy :)
| 7:06 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Google's programmers think about the next 10 years |
I meant they're all trying to think of the biggest longest term projects they can now, regardless of results, so the can all be retired hapily by the time the system implodes and only links back to http://www.google.com/ for every result! lol