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Many Weeks since the Panda Update - Any Improvements? [part 3]
tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 12:18 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

I'm not at all convinced that it's any kind of penalty

After some discussion, I think I should explain this a little more. There is one way we might say Panda is APPLIED like a penalty. You basically have two kinds of affected pages - the primary pages that Panda assessed as low quality, and then the rest of the site that received some kind a site-wide demotion.

IDEA ONE
The site-wide demotion is applied like a penalty in that a negative factor is consistently applied to rankings across a lot of pages. However, I'm not assuming that rankings will return after a set "time put" period in the penalty box. If Google feels they identified pages that give their users a poor experience, then they would not let those pages rank again just because a certain amount have time has passed.

IDEA TWO
The site-wide demotion seems to flow backwards through the site's internal linking. This I'm still not totally certain of, but there does seem to be a pattern that says "the negative site-wide factor is strongest for pages that are just one click away from the really bad page and not as strong for pages that are more distant."

Does "idea two" line up with what others see on affected sites?

[edited by: tedster at 3:01 am (utc) on Apr 8, 2011]

 

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:55 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just dont get it:
1) 14 year old site.
2) Totally white hat, always have been.
3) Ecommerce, not a content adsense farm.
4)Asked for reinclusion and posted on their forum of those that thought they were falsely impacted by panda.

And and nothing ... no change... no messages, no nothing.

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 5:16 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Another idea I have been pondering and working with for a few weeks is site complexity.

I think I was foolish to build my site for the user, with very simple navigation, no template (for fast load time), very few images, and two or three useful links at the end of the articles (normally in a "sources" list). My articles were easy to scan/read, and all too easy to either hit the back button or click a resource link to leave the site.

After discussing with another member, I am becoming more and more convinced that using trickery to keep your visitors on your site and going in circles improves your "time spent on site" metric and may be a factor with Panda. I am adding widgets, and adding more linkage between my articles. Some of my worst-performing pages in the SERPS seem to be the easiest to leave. It seems we need to ditch the concerns about optimal load time, and do what it takes to keep your visitors going in circles, clicking through your site. E-how and Wikihow do this. Google loves them.

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 6:07 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

So do people really believe that "time spent" and "bounce rate" are a factor with Panda?

If so then I agree with the above, people should stop building for the user and start building to trap users. Most of the sites I know of with the highest time spent and the lowest bounce rate employ those kinds of tactics.

But if Google is using that as a metric in Panda, doesn't that mean they're using Analytics data? I thought they weren't allowed to do that?

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 6:09 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Latest update, my traffic continues it's steady nose dive towards sending me and 5 talented, hardworking employees to the unemployment line.

Holding on for dear life so far, but very close to crossing the "out of business" line and closer every day.

Yesterday was our worst day of traffic from Google since Panda started. Probably impacted in part by the worldwide rollout, and also by the fact that Panda just continues to de-rank our content, even new content which initially hits and ranks well and then just keeps slowly being de-ranked.

rlange



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 6:15 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shatner wrote:
But if Google is using that as a metric in Panda, doesn't that mean they're using Analytics data? I thought they weren't allowed to do that?

Even if they were allowed, I'm sure people would abandon GA if they even suspected that they might be shooting themselves in the foot by using it. It's an immensely useful tool, but if the information it's gathering is being used against you, that's a bit of a betrayal. That wouldn't go over too well, I would think.

--
Ryan

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 6:28 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Even if they were allowed, I'm sure people would abandon GA if they even suspected that they might be shooting themselves in the foot by using it.


I know that Matt Cutts has stated explicitly that Google Analytics data are not used in rankings. He even made a video last year that discussed this (don't think I can link to it, but it's called "Is Google Analytics data a factor in a page's ranking?" and you can find it on Youtube). However, it wouldn't be difficult at all for Google to track the time it takes a user to travel from a search query, to a page, and back to the search results.

If I run a query, click a site, and within one second I am back on the Google search page and searching deeper, Google DOES know about it. After all, they must know about your return to the search results in order to serve up the "Block all example.com results". It would be one of the simplest performance metrics for them to calculate/use without GA, even if they don't track page views per se. Anything under 5 seconds is not long enough to read a page or find it useful, IMO.

ScubaAddict

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 10:33 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

After a month and a half nobody seems to have noticed any difference (except that some were hit again with the loss of their international traffic). Nobody has found anything to "fix" what Panda has done to their ranking.

Doesn't that seem strange?

I mean people have tried: removing thin content, removing ads, raising content closer to the top of the page, trying to interpret the few words google employees have said. And not much has happened - almost nothing... Correct?

What if changes now take "time"? People used to play google because you could make a change, and the effects could be seen the next day for some sites... In this manner you could find what worked and what didn't very easily. So what if there is now a 'massive' delay between changes and changes to your ranking? Instead of days it is now months? Wouldn't that explain why nobody has seen any real change?

Maybe I missed some sites' claim to have overcome Panda, but I initially dropped several positions to several pages and I am only bumping around 1 spot up or down on any given day - changes made or not, and this is likely just 'noise' to confuse.

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 12:45 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have increased content on low content pages and saw no improvement. I still have top 3 spots for many keywords though, but have lost traffic too after Panda. My new theory is that its not my content at all and it could be low quality incoming links from directories we use to submit too. I bet in the past I submitted manual links to over 10,000 directories.


Remember when an authority link to a 950'd site brought it out of the penalty?

I know the Panda update is supposedly not a penalty, but let's not forget quality links are the core of Google's algo. We could tinker with site content but it might do nothing; whereas one hot link could solve the problem--perhaps even quickly.

Let's not forget, too, that a lot of sites which may have been linking to us, could have revised their pages and removed the links. Fewer links usually lowers rankings. Even if they kept the links, it is possible that Google has devalued links from sites it has recently deemed low quality. How could it not?

Indeed if the primary issue is the deadening of link value, no amount of tinkering and page pruning can be expected to restore a site's rankings.

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 12:54 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

What if changes now take "time"? People used to play google because you could make a change, and the effects could be seen the next day for some sites... In this manner you could find what worked and what didn't very easily. So what if there is now a 'massive' delay between changes and changes to your ranking? Instead of days it is now months? Wouldn't that explain why nobody has seen any real change?


Well, trying to play the devil's advocate, Google must clearly think the sites we consider legitimate are pigs. And no matter how much lipstick we put on them, they'll still be pigs.

Think about it this way. They think they are low-quality sites possibly built with stolen content, and basically believe we're crooks at worst or wasting other people's time at best. We're in a pretty big hole, and what exactly could we do that would change their mind?

Is changing the spelling or grammar going to do it? Filling out the page? Probably not, to be frank.

The root problem is trust. The only real trust currency with Google is quality links.

rlange



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 1:58 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

So... The international Panda rollout seems to have whacked another of my company's sites. The baffling thing is that it's U.S.-focused and international traffic accounts for about 15% of total traffic. However, I'm looking at what could possibly be a 50-75% drop in Google traffic.

I'm seeing drops in two or three more sites, too. One of those is intended to be international, but we've had a constant problem with the majority of traffic coming from the United States (aside: it can't target a specific country, it's an English language site, and deals with organization within the U.S., so I'm not too surprised by the traffic situation).

The other site(s) is(are) U.S.-focused.

What the hell...?

[Edit: From the thread on the international rollout, it seems Google also made additional changes to the United States. Figures...]

--
Ryan

[edited by: rlange at 2:30 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2011]

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 2:08 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

so I have no idea why I see full recovery on Panda international.


crobb305, "Panda international", as you call it, was released only now and where is the question of full recovery there? Are you trying to say that you are continuing to see the same pre-panda ranking for all your pages in all Google SERPS except U.S.?

If so, you should have had no impact to traffic due to the worldwide release and that is very good news.

But I do see big variations in results across google domains. It wasn't like this before Feb 24.

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 2:55 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

crobb305, "Panda international", as you call it, was released only now and where is the question of full recovery there? Are you trying to say that you are continuing to see the same pre-panda ranking for all your pages in all Google SERPS except U.S.?


Indyank, I'm sorry if it was confusing. What I am trying to say is that on the international Google sites that I have checked so far (Google.es, se, de, fr, etc), I see my site ranking back at pre-Panda levels. However, I am still Pandalized in the U.S. I also see a couple of Pandalized competitors who are still penalized on the international Google sites, so I am confident that I am seeing the Panda index, with my site returning.

My only guess is that if the Pandalized site was borderline to begin with and/or sufficient changes had been made by the time of international deployment, the algorithm may have scored the site with the changes. I did get a deep crawl late last week, and all my cached pages show April 6th or April 9th. Otherwise, I can't explain it. It makes sense that the algorithm would have scored a site as it was seen using the most recent data. After all, there was a 6-week time lag between U.S. and international deployment, so maybe it's a sign that changes can/will cause a re-ranking when the time comes here in the U.S.

There is a part of me that keeps thinking that I received a different kind of penalty (like a phrase-based 950 OOP) that coincided with the timing of Panda in the U.S. While this is possible, the symptoms have all the markings of Panda (hard-hit thin/ad pages dropping 200+ points, etc). At this point, all it is adding is more uncertainty with an element of hope. I still think it's Panda and I still think a site can recover. Just waiting for a re-ranking in the States.

[edited by: crobb305 at 3:16 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2011]

ScubaAddict

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 3:00 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The root problem is trust. The only real trust currency with Google is quality links.

Well then I have no idea what they consider quality links. We have thousands of incoming non-reciprocated links. Hundreds from .edu and .gov sites. Many from prominent .com's and established sites.

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 6:47 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda international was more than just international. I know of several sites who weren't hit in Panda 1.0 at all that suddenly lost all their domestic traffic yesterday.

I was hit again as well.

After Panda 1.0: Google.com traffic down 50%

After Panda International: Google.com traffic down 75%

So clearly they made adjustments overall. And clearly all the work I've been doing over the past month to try and figure out why Google thinks my site is a pig and get them to see that it's not, has been a completely and total waste of time.

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 7:30 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's my big question right now...

Since things got even worse for me in Panda 2.0 yesterday, does that mean all the improvements I made didn't work and that I should throw them out and start over again on a different tactic?

Dan01



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 8:22 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda international was more than just international.


It was galactic. :)

I am sorry, I just had to say it.

From what I have seen, it hasn't affect us. I think the first Panda did, but we have been moving back up ever so slightly in the SERPS. It could be just a fluke.

[edited by: Dan01 at 9:06 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2011]

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 8:27 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda International


Sounds like an airline lol.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 8:59 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda International

Sounds like an airline lol.

Yeah, one loaded with fuel that crashes in your building to help Amazon and the like brands.

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 10:52 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tedster, since Panda 2.0/Panda International has rolled out, any chance you can start a [part 4] to this thread?

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 11:04 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yesterday was our worst day of traffic from Google since Panda started. Probably impacted in part by the worldwide rollout, and also by the fact that Panda just continues to de-rank our content, even new content which initially hits and ranks well and then just keeps slowly being de-ranked.


That last bit in bold sounds like normal G behavior to me. They've always delivered a boost to new content - and then dropped it if no external links point to it.

There's definitely something to do with the ratio of internal to external links going on here. I might be generalizing, but lots of the people reporting drops have strong links to their home pages, but few deep links, and were relying on internal linking to prop up inner pages. If they've dialed down the value of internal links, that may be why pages are dropping.

What are your external links like? Do they point to your inner pages, and are they good quality (i.e. not from scrapers or sites that got dinged in this update)?

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 11:34 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>They've always delivered a boost to new content - and then dropped it if no external links point to it.

I thought that too, but then realized that one of the pages I was tracking had a large number of external links pointing to it from high quality sources.

So now I'm not so sure.


>>>What are your external links like? Do they point to your inner pages, and are they good quality (i.e. not from scrapers or sites that got dinged in this update)?

Yeah overall I have a lot of external links, and most of them point to deep inner pages, and they're almost all high quality from well ranked, well known sites, in many cases brand sites.

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 12:02 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, I can report some progress on a section of my site, the main page for one manufacturer and some of the sub-pages for the individual models.

On 12/27/10 I ranked #7 for "Acme", and page one for "Acme widgets", "Acme XYZ", etc.

Right after Panda, I ranked #37 for "Acme". I fleshed out the main Acme page with quite a bit of information, photos, and some performance charts. I also began (not done yet) adding more content to the individual model pages.

I now rank #14 for "Acme".

The sub-pages are a mixed bag, with some having risen and others fallen. If "Acme" stays at #14 or gets better over the next week or so, I'd say that's progress.

I've been adding customer reviews on some of the sub-pages. I'll be watching the pages with reviews to see which way they move.

What hurts, though, is that on 12/27/10, I was page one for 1,812 phrases, and I'm now page one for 212 phrases.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 12:50 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have increased content on low content pages and saw no improvement. I still have top 3 spots for many keywords though, but have lost traffic too after Panda. My new theory is that its not my content at all and it could be low quality incoming links from directories we use to submit too. I bet in the past I submitted manual links to over 10,000 directories.


I think the content is the key issue, but there are other factors playing into it, since I'm seeing sites that should have been dinged, surviving. However, they may be on the "edge" of the algorithmns tolerance. What I'm seeing is :

sitewide demotions
page specific demotions on surviving sites

What I can't work out is if new unique and/or fresh unique content will restore those sites , and if so , how much is required. There must be some sort of scoring in place which differentiates sites on the "edge" versus those that are demoted and maintained.

On one site i noticed a lot of authority links supporting a page which had mostly unique content, but of poor quality. The drop on those pages started to occur before the global Panda rollout - so it may not have been completely due to this update , unless Google was experimenting on some key verticals and terms.

One thing to keep an eye out for is if the pages and sites are optimised for highly competive terms in which content farms and affiliates abound. Potentially the meta tags & description may strengthen the algorithmic scrutiny where excess and relatively poor content exists on sites in popular segments.

My hunch is that Tedster is pointing us in the right direction, but i look forward to seeing more insight and hopefully good news remedies.

outland88

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:15 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

seems to have whacked another of my company's sites


Just to throw something out into the mix to kick around.

A week before the Panda roll out a Google employee suggested to me there would be an algo change but the major changes had to do with the spam filters. For some reason he was almost jubilant about this. He bluntly stated many would go out of business simply because the traffic was to light outside of the major keywords to be profitable. As we bantered back and fourth in email he shocked me a few times stating many areas were going to be virtually locked out to competition, whatever that meant to him at the time.

I didnít put much stock in what was said at the time and still donít but Google could be delving into how many web sites are being run by an entity.

bramley



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:45 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess the last key point is to devalue interlinks that share the same owner - is that your understanding ?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:46 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

because the traffic was to light outside of the major keywords to be profitable

Hmmmm... and Amit Singhal described Layer Two of Panda as going deeper into the "long tail" of sites than the initial release. Another tidbit that suggests there is a query term aspect to the workings of this new algorithm.

Shatner



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:48 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>A week before the Panda roll out a Google employee suggested to me there would be an algo change but the major changes had to do with the spam filters. For some reason he was almost jubilant about this. He bluntly stated many would go out of business simply because the traffic was to light outside of the major keywords to be profitable. As we bantered back and fourth in email he shocked me a few times stating many areas were going to be virtually locked out to competition, whatever that meant to him at the time.

This sounds like another hint at the idea of Google focusing on promoting major brands. Locking out smaller brands, giving search over to major companies and established names, regardless of actual content quality.

bramley



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:51 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I often think of the 'breakthrough' that mentioned by G, via Tedster I think. I suspect this is human r.t. machine and perhaps via the G toolbar, which could monitor user appreciation of sites.

When the talk is of machine learnng it is really just machine watching humans in the field ... It depends on humans for its feedback

[edited by: bramley at 4:58 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2011]

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:51 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my clients of eleven years is as small a brand as you can get - the owner plus me. The site is doing better since Panda, even though it competes against many bigger brands.

IMO Google is not trying to lock out anything except schlock content that gives them a black eye.

bramley



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 4:55 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

One is logged into Google if logged into WMT, GMail, YouTube etc. And one will notice AdSense Ads targeted to SEO because you have visited here... It is an all seeing eye

Dan01



 
Msg#: 4293977 posted 5:05 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Outland88:

As we bantered back and fourth in email he shocked me a few times stating many areas were going to be virtually locked out to competition, whatever that meant to him at the time.


I think that is their goal. Let me explain that. I think they all want to become "the" Internet. Yahoo was had people stuck on their site for years. Same with AOL. Both Google and Bing do it. For instance, I have seen Bing open Wikipedia up in a iFrame. Google is kinda doing that with image search now. Facebook would love to be "the" Internet. Why go anywhere else? Google has their own shopping now, why go to Pricewatch? It is the natural progression for these companies.

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