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At what point should I roll back my Panda changes?
Shatner




msg:4300122
 11:20 pm on Apr 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

My site was heavily penalized by Panda, immediately, on February 24th.

Right away I sprang into action and started making changes. A few of the things I did:

1. Disallowed, no-indexed, and used 301 redirects on pages which could have been misinterpreted as "thin content" (most of these pages weren't bring in much search traffic anyway, but some did bring in a little)
2. Reduced the number of ads on my site overall
3. Removed tags.
4. Tweaked coding to use Canonicals, which weren't being used before.
5. Reduced the number of internal links per page, which were up around 80 to around 20.

I completed those changes mostly by week 1, but have made a few little tweaks now and then since. I guess you could say they were 100% complete two weeks ago.

I have seen no improvement. On the contrary, when Panda 2.0 hit last week, things got even more drastically worse, my domestic Google traffic dropped another 10% and overall the few keywords which I still was ranking somewhat well for lost all their rankings.

So my question is... should I start rolling some of these changes back? At the very least the disallowed pages seems like a drastic step which has born no fruit. Obviously it isn't helping. How long do I (and everyone else here who's been Pandalized) wait before giving up and trying something else?

Any thoughts?

 

crobb305




msg:4300145
 12:28 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Honestly I would give it 3 months at least. I am just speaking from experience from former penalties. For instance, when I had a -50 on one of my sites, it lasted exactly 3 months. This was consistent with what others had experienced and were sharing with me during that time. I was getting impatient, but it's best to wait a bit before undoing everything.

My feeling is that they are going to go through a couple of deep-crawl cycles to ensure site changes are permanent. It might not hurt to rollback some of your changes if you feel you did too much at once. I felt that way a week or two ago when I saw a drop in rankings on Y and Bing. I undid some things, but they weren't major. I'm certainly not deleting or noindexing a lot of pages just for Google, especially if they are getting traffic from other sources.

Shatner




msg:4300148
 12:34 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

3 months was my original plan, but the fact that things got even worse for me after Panda 2.0 has me wondering if I'm completely on the wrong track. If it had just stayed the same I probably wouldn't be questioning the 3 month plan.

Strongly considering removing some of the disallows in robots.txt at the least.

walkman




msg:4300154
 12:41 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Join the gang, Google screwed me too for following their stupid advice on tags. Apparently this is a set time penalty, because they are sure of their algo, and they are white-listing popular sites that got caught in.

Here's the catch 22: undo your changes and if Google recalculates it again you're screwed for another 3 months or whatever the penalty time is. You need to design for Google these days.

Looks like those that followed Google's advice on adding blocks of Adsense on top were penalized for that too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we get penalized for doing what Google suggested: remove 'thin' content. The Google gods love playing with the lives of mere mortals

dibbern2




msg:4300156
 12:50 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is an old question that's been discussed and answered many times in past algo changes.

The consensus from the best minds here has always been: sit tight for 3-6 months. Making changes and then flip flopping back will only worsen your situation.

Go fishing!

Pjman




msg:4300157
 12:53 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Shatner

Definitely some kind of timed penalty, is my guess. Just enough for them to dodge the bad PR they were getting. I'm thinking 90 days.

I would get rid of those disallows in robot.txt and instead add the "noindex" meta tag to pages in that directory as per what G engineers were quoted as say in the Melissa Fox write up. That's what I did. One thing about G, they are usually pretty honest with the fixes. Although maybe this new CEO has them drinking different Kool-aid these days.

They are definitely playing favorites. If you can get yourself some PR on how your site was affected, bam; they bump your SERP back up.

walkman




msg:4300167
 1:26 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just read on G forums that Danniweb has been trashed completely after Panda international, from 350k visitors to about 70k. So Panda is essentially killing everyone originally hit, taking even those few referrals they left. Google has indexed my changes several times now and there's absolutely nothing wrong with my site (relatively speaking), not even a 404 link but ...

Shatner




msg:4300168
 1:27 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

@walkman Yeah what happened to Daniweb is definitely happening to me.

Panda 2.0 took away whatever I had left after Panda 1.0.

synthese




msg:4300179
 1:50 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've applied essentially the same pages. In hindsight I was probably a bit rash and have removed content - that while "thin", was still actually useful.

However I'm going to hold tight for a while yet. I'm digging further into syndication issues now. Trying to figure out while an article of mine will appear in the SERPS as a Google News item, but not in regular search -- instead its just the scrapers.

Sit tight I reckon - it's painful I know -- I've only come out lurker-mode here on WebmasterWorld cause I feel like need a freakin support group. Laying off half your staff is not good fun.

Shatner




msg:4300201
 3:03 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

@synthese My understanding is that Google News has no connection to the Search Team so one probably has nothing to do with the other.

And I totally feel you about the support group thing.

This is literally the only place on the internet where anyone is even talking about this.

[edited by: Shatner at 3:04 am (utc) on Apr 19, 2011]

maximillianos




msg:4300202
 3:04 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

We rolled back a few minor changes after seeing a drop post-panda 2.0. It hasn't helped but they were not big changes. We also jumped guns and went a little overboard.

We are planning on leaving our biggest changes. They were for the better regardless of any short term drops. So if you can afford it, leave the changes that were improvements. If you can't, well that is a tough call.

wyweb




msg:4300203
 3:11 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Frankly I don't know what to do right now.

I'm still stunned. I have to get passed that before I can even see straight.

Shatner, it sounds like you're making some good moves and I'm watching these Panda threads like a hawk. I can't add anything to them except my own frustration, but there's plenty of that.

This is the one thing I never had any contingency plan for. I have ideas to counter every other threat except for this one.

I mean how do you plan for losing 75% of your traffic?

walkman




msg:4300210
 4:04 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bottom line: plan to get a job or move to a cheaper, much cheaper country. Things are going to get rough and by the time they settle it may be too late, even if some sites come back.

The mainstream press has bashed Google and Google has responded

potentialgeek




msg:4300215
 4:26 am on Apr 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

What year is Google going to stop these crazy algo updates? I think I'll go on a vacation until then!

I pity the webmaster who has to explain the rankings tanking to clients.

maximillianos




msg:4300980
 2:51 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the best advice is to not do anything rash. Take it your time reviewing your data before making decisions. Use your data.

onepointone




msg:4301025
 4:01 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

This update seems to have more of a 'punish and show who's boss' vibe to it than others did. IMO. So who knows if there's really any way a site can adjust to it?

But if you have multiple sites that got hit, at least you can try different tactics on each site. Good to be diversified, etc.

Planet13




msg:4301046
 4:26 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

But if you have multiple sites that got hit, at least you can try different tactics on each site. Good to be diversified, etc.


If you only have one or two sites, you can, of course, try changing different pages (or sections) of the same site different ways and looking at how the results compare.

rico_suarez




msg:4301163
 9:43 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

to be honest, I seriously doubt that changes you made will have any impact on your ranking. one of the mistakes webmasters made is that they started to make changes on day 1 after Panda struck following "I guess" advices from "SEO experts". there is no proof from any site as far as I know that removing "thin" content or internal links or tags improved their position after Panda. Those are all guesses and it can easily happen that you don't see any change after 3 months.

Pjman




msg:4301225
 12:11 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is literally the only place on the internet where anyone is even talking about this.


The only intelligent place, that is for sure! After Panda, this is the only forum I go on daily. Rusty Brick over at SEORT is given great coverage on our concerns too.


This update seems to have more of a 'punish and show who's boss' vibe to it than others did. IMO.


I concur. This was a rushed out crap algorithm change. Why? Google was getting beaten up by the Press for crappy results; their bread and butter.

What do we do? Call them out on their currently crappier results! We'll be running pieces in two weeks comparing all the results of the top 5 engines + Blekko by traffic in our niche. So far G's results are averaging about 3rd best, according to our focus groups. I'm considering opening another thread to get your input on our experiment.

walkman




msg:4301337
 4:05 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Expect an update every soon. How do I know /guess? My site:example.com are a mess, I see heavy spidering (all my pages taken each day yesterday and today) and some old style google referrals.

crobb305




msg:4301353
 4:26 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Expect an update every soon. How do I know /guess? My site:example.com are a mess, I see heavy spidering (all my pages taken each day yesterday and today) and some old style google referrals


My spidering is increasing also. Plus, all my redirected affiliate links that have been indexed under my site: search for years have suddenly disappeared. Just my content pages are showing up. I did previously have the redirect file blocked to Googlebot, so I removed the deny and the dead redirects disappeared (a few weeks ago); but as of yesterday, even the valid ones are now gone. My site: search looks clean for the first time in a long time. Also, I am noticing that the preview for my homepage is getting updated almost daily now (whereas it was 3 to 4 weeks old about a month ago).

Pjman




msg:4301357
 4:44 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Expect an update every soon. How do I know /guess?


Now we just have to wait for the data to go crazy in one area of G's WMT to be the clear give away. Lots of people reported it just prior to Panda 1 and 2.

Panda 1- Almost 0 referral data in WMT 4 days prior to Panda 1.

Panda 2- Almost 1/2 referral data in WMT 4 days prior to Panda 1.

AlyssaS




msg:4301363
 4:50 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would hold fire - G's massive machine seems to be on go-slow at the moment.

I tweaked the meta description on one of my sites two weeks ago, and the SERPs is still showing the old description. Usually they update within 7 days of the change.

Andem




msg:4301366
 4:55 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

>> This is literally the only place on the internet where anyone is even talking about this.

IMO, WebmasterWorld is really the only webmaster forum for professional whitehats. It seems to me that it's only a topic here because so many honest web sites have been negatively affected.

walkman




msg:4301377
 5:07 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

IMO, WebmasterWorld is really the only webmaster forum for professional whitehats. It seems to me that it's only a topic here because so many honest web sites have been negatively affected.

Yp, dump your 15 year old domain name and get a new one, followed by a gazillion blog comment link is not advice I can follow :)

synthese




msg:4301501
 9:03 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

The reality is: something triggered the algo "penalty" on your/my site. What hasn't been answered anywhere is whether this "penalty" can be undone. I've followed all channels:

  • Reconsideration request (took 5 weeks to get a canned response that meant nothing)
  • Adding a comment on the official google forum thread that asked if you felt you'd bee unfairly hit. Disappointingly G didn't even respond properly to this thread.
  • Tried going thru our Adsense rep. That's a joke though. They just want you to put up more ads, and keep asking why ad revenue is down.


The only two sites that I know of that came out of this BOTH had inside loops going in with Matt Cutts...

Roaming Gnome




msg:4301543
 10:57 pm on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would wait and see if the changes you have made does anything good or bad. Changing it back may keep you from climbing out from where you are now.

I have made changes to my main site and logged what I did. Now I'll give it a month or until the next update to scrap my changes and try something else. G-bot has been slurping my site HARD lately so I think an update will be coming in the next couple weeks.

My main site SERPs were smacked for a lot of my bread and butter terms, but I still rank well for low traffic terms. Saying that to say: I dont think Panda was a penalty, it seems like it was just an algo change.

Hopefully my satellite sites keep me afloat until I figure this damn thing out. :/

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