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A comparison of a Pandalized site to a non-Pandalized
dickbaker




msg:4312576
 2:53 am on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I couldn't find another thread where this would be appropriate, so I thought I'd start a new one.

People have been questioning why some sites get Pandalized and others don't. I think an example of mine may provide some insights, although I'm not sure what they'll be.

There's a site I created for a small retail store back in 2001. At that time, using just Brett's steps to getting ranked on Google, it was possible to get on the first page in a matter of months or even weeks.

I got this site on the first page for several phrases, and the most desirable phrases got ranked #2 or #3, right behind the manufacturer.

In 2004 I started my own site, which was in the same niche, and which featured the same brands and models of widgets as the retail store. Since I was the writer, the content is similar. Not exact, but similar. It's also very thin.

The retail store's site has two versions of each page; one has no Flash (page_nameA.html), the other has enough to warrant having two separate pages (page_nameB.html). Both versions are no-indexed. The page_name.html page is all HTML, with no images, graphics or anything. It has the same text and links, but it serves as a redirect page, sending those with higher speed connections to the Flash version of the page_nameB.html page, and slower connections to the page_nameA.html page.

So, the site employs redirects for every page. It's never been penalized for the redirects. Maybe Google sees that they're for giving users Flash or no Flash, or maybe Google somehow just missed it. Maybe Google sees the page_name.html page as THE page, and pays strict attention to the noindex tags on page_nameA.html and page_nameB.html.

The retail store's site has held these #3 to #5 positions for nearly ten years, despite the fact that the site hasn't been touched at all in probably six or seven years. It has very, very few backlinks.

My own site was on page one for these same phrases, but I was never able to get my site to rank higher than the retail store's site.

When Panda came along, I got dropped to anywhere from #50 to #110 for these phrases. The retail store's site is still in the same place.

Here's the differences between the two sites:

1. The retail store's site is small; a few dozen pages if you count the three versions of each page as one page. My own site is over 3,000 pages.

2. The retail store's site has almost no backlinks (maybe even none). My site has about 15,000 or so, according to Yahoo. (Webmastertools says 200,000+, but that's impossible).

3. My site has advertising. The retail store's site does not, as it's advertising the store.

4. The retail store's site is clearly designed for the store. My site is a mix of information, ecommerce, and advertising for other retail stores in the same niche.

5. Both sites have similar content that is similarly thin. The widget pages use the same spec's from the manufacturer. Actually, I've done more work on writing original content for those widgets on my site than I did for the retail store's site.

6. I've used all of the usual ways to get backlinks for my site: articles, press releases, forum posts, blog posts, paid advertising, etc. I did none of the sort for the retail store's site. There was no promotion at all.

Tedster has said that he thinks Google is taking into account graphics, typography, etc. However, the page_name.html pages have no font tags or css styles. It's just plain, plain text. Google just sees text and links to the other pages on the site.

There's no good or bad backlink profile. There's no profile at all.

The retail store isn't just beating out my site, it's always beat some heavy hitters in my niche.

How's that for an example to ponder?

 

Shatner




msg:4312605
 6:08 am on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

<<<<4. The retail store's site is clearly designed for the store. My site is a mix of information, ecommerce, and advertising for other retail stores in the same niche.

To me that's one of the most interesting. I really think Google is trying to structure the web this way.

1. Broad sites which cover a large number of topics must be big, BRAND sites. Yahoo, NY Times, etc. Big corporations.

2. The only way for independent sites to rank will be for them to cover one, specific niche.

I've believed that's their goal for awhile.

tangor




msg:4312612
 7:30 am on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google set out to "index the web" and belatedly realized that wasn't a good idea. Google now wants to index the "unique" web, regardless of whether it is the original creator or a scraper...

Whatever Panda set out to do, it screwed the pooch, but the wonks at the Chocolate Factory always find another way to diminish the web with another tweak to the algo...

Don't get me wrong! I'm not trying to be ugly or show animus, merely stating the obvious: Google bit off more than it could chew (despite all their raw computing power and nifty programming). Panda was meant to REDUCE their serps. And probably did by the 10-12% sought... only problem is that reduction merely moved the scrapers UP by removing, by accident, creators of content.

Won't be long before Google finally rolls out what we all know is coming: Pay for SERP---"Your Web Site at #X for $x..."

The Tin Foil Hat part of me thinks some of that has been going on for a bit...

Planet13




msg:4312661
 2:03 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@dickbaker

Thanks for the example.

Was there a BIG turnover in the top SERPs for that niche / keywords due to Panda? Or was it just your site and maybe one or two others that got hit?

Can you describe the sites that took over the place in the SERPs where your site previously ranked?

When Panda came along, I got dropped to anywhere from #50 to #110 for these phrases. The retail store's site is still in the same place.


Was there any consistency in the number of places dropped? Were some of them exactly 50, and some of them exactly 100, etc? Or are the new positions all over the map (between 50 and 110)?

(Basically, I wonder if your site had been just at the borderline for getting a penalty pre-Panda, and maybe something like your backlinks had kept it immune to that penalty. Then after Panda, the backlinks that had kept you out of the penalty box were devalued, so you became vulnerable to a penalty that already was in existence before Panda, but whose effects you were "immune" to, until you "lost your immunity" due to Panda.)

Actually, I've done more work on writing original content for those widgets on my site than I did for the retail store's site.


I don't know what others think of this, but...

Whenever I see a post from a google employee saying that we need "unique content," I now read that as saying "unique subject matter."

I don't think we can get away with writing on the same subjects that appear on 1,000 other sites if we just re-word it - no matter how well we have rewritten it.

I think to be on the safe side, we will have to write on entirely new subjects - or have entirely new data or entirely new interpretations of that data.

I know this will be difficult, but my humble opinion is that instead of asking ourselves, "Is my content unique?" We need to ask, "Are the subjects, opinions, and conclusions unique?"

dickbaker




msg:4312663
 2:11 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shatner, when I lost some rankings last year during one of the updates, I got to thinking that the mix of the type of content on my site might be confusing Google where it hadn't before. I suspect you may be right about what's going on now, although I'd have an extremely hard time splitting my site up.

As for Google charging for ranking, I'm certain that would be the end of Google, as the results would be skewed to the big companies that can afford to pay.

suggy




msg:4312676
 3:12 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Easy: pandalized site is on panda's radar due to number of pages; unpandalized site is too small for panda profile and therefore not subject to same rigor

Don't forget, panda was about content farming. Content farms are generally larger rather than compact affairs

Reno




msg:4312692
 3:55 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

4. The retail store's site is clearly designed for the store. My site is a mix of information, ecommerce, and advertising for other retail stores in the same niche.

I agree with Shatner ~ in this example, the issue may be about the difference in FOCUS. I think the size of the site is only relevant in the sense that your much larger site breaks up the focus, whereas their smaller site stays consistently on target. Bigger is not always better.

So for example, a site with a "few dozen pages" (which is enough for Google to take seriously) is 95% about copper widgets and 5% misc; and a 3000+ page site is 55% about copper widgets and 45% about a bunch of misc other stuff which may or may not be directly related to the core focus of "COPPER widgets": 95 trumps 55.

If I owned the 3000+ site, I'd deep-six all pages that were out of core focus and/or did not justify their inclusion with adequate traffic. Even if it went down to less than 300 pages, as long as it was almost entirely on-focus, it would in all likelihood do better (IMO).

..................................

wheel




msg:4312693
 4:01 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

How's that for an example to ponder?

I'm no expert, but I'd suggest that you're confirming what others are also suggesting; that the recent update had a lot to do with onpage factors, overriding/in spite of strong backlink profiles.

Which makes sense if Google wanted to take down some big players with strong backlink profiles.

No idea past there. I'm generally tapped out on onpage factors once I've got my title tag done.

dickbaker




msg:4312706
 4:52 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Planet13, I must have missed your post when I was posting my reply.

To answer your question, here are the ranking results from last August for the phrase "Acme widgets" (I was studying changes in daily ranking):

1. The manufacturer's home page
2. The manufacturer's widget category page
3. The retail store's site that I did
4. A large ecommerce site ("Bill's Widgets") that sells Acme widgets. This is one of the largest ecommerce sites in my niche.
5. A site for radio-controlled cars that had a page that showed MSRP for Acme widgets (this one disappeared after a few weeks). I don't know why it was there.
6. My site
7. The home page of Acmewidgets.com, a site that sells Acme widgets. The owners have several sites for different brands of widgets, each using anchor text URL's.
8. Another ecommerce site ("Ed's Widgets") that sells Acme widgets
9. Another ecommerce site ("John Widgets") that sells Acme widgets
10. A smaller ecommerce site ("e-widgets") that sells Acme widgets. It disappeared from the first page after a couple of weeks.

Today's results:

1. The manufacturer's home page
2. The manufacturer's widgets page
3. The manufacturer's page for Model XYZ widgets (why this one model and not the other 40 models, I don't know)
4. The manufacturer's page for Model 123 widgets (ditto for "why this model")
5. The large ecommerce site ("Bill's Widgets") that sells Acme widgets.
6. Another large ecommerce site ("Al's widgets") that's quickly become very popular due to low prices
7. The retail store's site that I did (they dropped four spots recently)
8. The Acme widgets page of a large, established widget classifieds site
9. The home page of th site, Acmewidgets.com, a site that sells Acme widgets. This is the site for which owners have several sites for different brands of widgets, each using anchor text URL's.
10. The Acme widgets page of a large, established widget auction site

So, the manufacturer's site stayed and added two more pages. Bill's widgets, the retail store's site, and Acmewidgets.com stayed. The radio-controlled toy site disappeared. The three ecommerce sites that disappeared were all established sites around for 10 to 12 years. The smallest of these three had 5,670 pages as of last August. The other two had 37,655 pages and 42,153 pages.

My Acme widgets page had 4,190 links to it, according to Yahoo last August; today Yahoo shows 4,730 links. Bill's Widgets, the very large ecommerce site, had one link to its Acme widgets page as of last August; today, Yahoo shows 2 links. Acmewidgets.com had 111 links last August to its entire site, at least according to Yahoo. Yahoo now shows 57 links to the entire site.

The retail store's site I created has zero links to its Acme widgets page.

One interesting thing about Bill's Widgets, the very large ecommerce site, is the URL to the Acme Widgets page. It's this: BillsWidgets.com/Acme-widgets-Acme-doodads-sale-online-from-Acme-gizmos-models-XYZ-ABC-DEF-GHI-more-c-9935_13105_14338.html (where "XYZ", "ABC", "DEF" and "GHI" are all different models of Acme widgets).

I'm interested in Bill's widgets because they've retained or increased rankings on all sorts of phrases during Panda. Their site is a disaster visually, requires a lot of scrolling to view thumbnails of the different models, and is probably over 500K per page.

The retail store's site is very nice visually (although I don't know that Google can "see" anything but the plain html page), and the plain html page loads instantly. Even the redirected pages load quickly.

The retail store's site is very outdated, especially for Acme widgets, as Acme has dropped many of the models shown on the site, and added many new models not shown on the site.

As for where my pages wound up, there wasn't any set ranking number. It's #11 and #37 and #114, etc. The page for these widgets is now #115 or so.

It may well be that Google can't put my site into a neat classification. I have informational pages that are much like those on the ecommerce sites (but with more content) that serve much like ecommerce site pages, in that they pre-sell the widgets for the retail stores that advertise on my site. Maybe Google can't figure it out now, although they didn't have a problem before.

dickbaker




msg:4312711
 5:18 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Reno, if I "deep six" pages on my site that aren't 100% focused on one thing, I lose my rankings from Yahoo, Bing, and other sources, with no guarantee that Google is going to give any new replacement site(s) good rankings.

You've given me an idea as to how I might tie it all together, though.

Broadway




msg:4312733
 6:17 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

My large pandalized site covers a broad spectrum of subjects. All of them fit very validly within the overlying topic, but it is quite a range of subjects.

Some subjects that ranked well for weren't really the topics you would first associated with the overlying topic (in fact I was always complaining that I was revising and creating more content on these subjects (so to maintain traffic) but I wasn't all that interested in them).

After Panda it seems that most of this site's Google traffic is for the "core" subjects (the one's you would, at first thought, expect to find on this site). It's like Google has decided what topics I have a right to be be an authority on.

Of course, the subjects with the highest traffic, had the greatest amount of traffic to loose, so maybe this is just a side-effect and not the cause. Also, the "core" subjects I now get traffic on are relatively less competative, so maybe, once again, that's what I notice but it's not related to cause.

dickbaker




msg:4312740
 6:36 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

The idea that the focus of a site is important has merit. However, that doesn't explain the retail store's site that I created. Its focus is on the store. Its focus isn't on Acme widgets, or Brand A widgets or Brand B widgets. But it's ranked page one for those phrases and others for several years.

If site focus is a major factor, this site should have been Pandalized quickly.

If I do a search for Brand B widgets, Google's first page has the first three links being to pages on the manufacturer's site, the next being a link to the Brand B page of a large widget classifieds site, then a link to the retail store's site, then a link to a widget ecommerce site, then a link to a forum about widgets, then a link to a page on a widget parts site for a certain part for Brand B widgets, and finally a link to a forum thread about Brand B widgets.

The two forums and the widget parts site aren't very focused, and neither is the retail store's site.

My site has Brand B widget pages, and then a drop-down menu to find retail stores that advertise on my site that mention Brand B as one of the brands they carry. That seems as focused or more focused than the forums or the parts site.

Broadway




msg:4312746
 6:45 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I got to thinking about this again. As far as Panda-theory goes, there are no conclusions.

All of these have been suggested as the reason for a Panda hit:
content-to-ads ratio
thin content
duplicate/scraped content
content reading level

I'm sure there are a ton more.

The thing is, thousands of webmasters have been working for one or two months now making changes. And compared to these thousands of people, only the very smallest percentage, if any, have reported success in their efforts.

That can only suggest, as I mentioned some time ago, that Panda has some sort of time element associated with it (either as a true penalty, or so to continue to get people to clean up the web on their own, or by design, or because google has some sort of problem at their end).

But there is no way that out of thousands of people, taking 100's of different fix-it approaches, that no one has made changes that can satisfy this algo. The "figure out this algo" approach can't work if no testing can be performed.

That means the thing to do now is simply make your site the best it can be. Surely, all of us know where the deficiencies of our websites lie.

tedster




msg:4312747
 6:46 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

After Panda it seems that most of this site's Google traffic is for the "core" subjects (the one's you would, at first thought, expect to find on this site). It's like Google has decided what topics I have a right to be be an authority on.

There's a sharp observation, I'd say. If we want "the right" to be an authority on something else, we need to work very hard to demonstrate that these days.

Something about this is being coded into the algorithm, maybe explicitly but definitely implicitly. There will be no high rankings given on the happenstance of some text matching, which is what we used to see and also learned to leverage.

scooterdude




msg:4312748
 6:52 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for this post

I agree with suggy's post.

Perhaps really small sites do not get profiled or there is no Panda profile to affect really small sites.

dickbaker




msg:4312753
 7:00 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

When I was tracking sites in various niches for various phrases last year, I noticed that focus seemed to be a factor, as did the size of the site. A small site could compete if it was 100% focused on the topic of the phrase.

Site size, though, was a major factor. Everything else being equal, a large site almost always beat a small site. That's obviously changed, but for how long? Is Google going to get around to Pandalizing small sites and, if so, will my retail store's site be a victim?

zoltan




msg:4312757
 7:05 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Duplicate content filter should only apply to article websites. What about classified websites? It is obvious that somebody who is selling his car or property will post the same text and images to many websites. It is totally stupid from google to penalize a classified site just because the same text and photos are posted to other sites as well. Google should simply ignore that page and simply show the page from the first site where the ad was posted. But penalizing the classified site's "city cars for sale" rankings just because the cars are also added to many other sites is non-sense.

Reno




msg:4312759
 7:16 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

There will be no high rankings given on the happenstance of some text matching, which is what we used to see and also learned to leverage.

And that's a sharp observation too. It's looking more & more to me that Panda/Google decides what each site is about; determines where in a ranking hierarchy that site belongs (vis-a-vis other contenders in the same niche); then in a complicated query match-to-SERP analysis, assigns the position, with only slight variation up or down. Those variations are impacted by local availability vs online only; surfing history profile; what Google "thinks" we want (as opposed to what we request), etc.

And thus, almost no amount of "tweaking" will change anything. In fact, it may very well be true that only a major overhaul will shake off Panda's preconceived catagorized judgement, and even then it may take a very long time before it shows up in the SERPs. And the overhaul is itself a risky move ~ it may do NOTHING! So it's a last resort.

Again, we're just thinking out loud here, since no one (as articulated by Broadway) has come up with any credible evidence one way or the other.

.........................

dickbaker




msg:4312766
 7:35 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

And that's a sharp observation too. It's looking more & more to me that Panda/Google decides what each site is about; determines where in a ranking hierarchy that site belongs (vis-a-vis other contenders in the same niche); then in a complicated query match-to-SERP analysis, assigns the position, with only slight variation up or down. Those variations are impacted by local availability vs online only; surfing history profile; what Google "thinks" we want (as opposed to what we request), etc.


I think that's a very valid idea. Is it all of it? Who knows?

Example. The original (and unique) purpose of my site was and is to give visitors a way to search for widget stores by brands of widgets they sell, as well as other factors. The visitors then get full-page ads for the widget stores.

I've lost my rankings for "Acme widgets", as there's thin content, or maybe some other factor. Maybe Google doesn't think my pages are authorities on Acme widgets.

However, if I do a search for "Acme dealers", I find myself in the #5-#7 spot for several brands. Those brands are the ones I ranked best for pre-Panda when searching for "Acme widgets".

So, Google seems to still be regarding my site as something of an authority on the dealers that sell certain brands of widgets, and to degrees of authority that vary by some other factors. However, Google isn't regarding my site as an authority on the widgets themselves, at least not yet. Or maybe never.

I'm frustrated in these searches for Acme dealers to find a site that's been trying to copy me outranking me at times. In terms of focus, the site is more far less focused than mine. It's a hodge-podge of forums, dealer directory, classifieds, and other things. It's 2500 pages, though, so it's big enough to have been Pandalized. So why wasn't it? By every measure I've seen mentioned so far, it should have been.

Robert Charlton




msg:4312770
 7:46 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a hodge-podge of forums, dealer directory, classifieds, and other things.

These suggest user engagement with the site, which is something that Google likes. Again, no single factor wins, but some combinations may outweigh other combinations. Here, user-engagement (to the degree it's happening), may be more important to Google than organization.

dickbaker




msg:4312799
 9:53 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

These suggest user engagement with the site, which is something that Google likes. Again, no single factor wins, but some combinations may outweigh other combinations. Here, user-engagement (to the degree it's happening), may be more important to Google than organization.


It would be interesting to see how many sites with multiple purposes have been hit versus not hit.

In the case of this particular site, there's literally just a handful of posts in the forum (meaning almost no user engagement), almost nothing in the classifieds, and little in other areas where the user would be engaged.

I see successful forums that rank well with online stores, advertising, articles and other content that make them more than a single-focus site. That's just one area where I think your user engagement theory rings true.

Robert Charlton




msg:4312830
 11:47 pm on May 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

In the case of this particular site, there's literally just a handful of posts in the forum (meaning almost no user engagement)...

Just playing devil's advocate...

...it may be that in a particular niche, a site with "just a handful of posts in the forum... and almost nothing in the classifieds" may beat a site with no evidence of social engagement at all.

I'm not proselytizing the idea of social engagement, btw, and I'm not certain that by itself it's a ranking factor. In some niches I've worked in, social currently doesn't seem to make sense. It may be, though, that absent other signals Google might be looking for, even small evidence of social engagement could beat no evidence if all other things were more or less equal.

Shatner




msg:4312855
 2:21 am on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I apply the idea that Google looks at your site, determines what it believes it should be, and then re-ranks it or applies a penalty accordingly... that could very easily explain why my site was hit.

My site primarily covers one topic, but it also covers several other different (yet still somewhat related topics).

My site has a much higher reading level than other sites which cover my topic.

So Google looks at my site, says this site is type X and should therefore follow this checklist of things. It sees that it isn't following everything on that checklist, that it's a little different from the others, and automatically penalized it.

That really fits. It's a HORRIBLE idea for an algorithm if that's what Google is actually doing, but it does fit.

dickbaker




msg:4312865
 2:55 am on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Robert Charleton, your user engagement theory may be right. I wish there was a way to tell.

Shatner, the idea of pigeonholing sites makes sense in your situation. It also makes sense with the ecommerce section of my site.

Prior to Panda, I ranked first-page for several phrases related to the items I sell in my small online store. Now I'm anywhere from #53 out to #114 or even worse for those.

The content on those pages isn't necessarily thin, and there's a fair amount of original content I wrote, much more original than any other online retailer of those items that I've seen. The "punishment" those pages received was the most confusing part of Panda, as I couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong with those pages.

If Google is pigeonholing sites, though, then demoting the online store pages makes perfect sense, as they have the least to do with what Google apparently sees as the primary focus of my site.

If that's what's happening, though, then it is a lousy algorithm. The site is about widgets: who sells them, information about them, and buying accessories for them.

I'm just thinking out loud now. The focus may be a factor, but there's obviously still more. A page doesn't go from #5 to #114 because the site isn't focused on ecommerce. There's too many other sites in between that have absolutely nothing to do with the widgets in question.

Focus is just another item to add to Tedster's list.

Shatner




msg:4312947
 7:34 am on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

The thing is, if Google really is handling things this way it seems very very shady. You'd think there could be consequences if word of what they're doing got out. It's extremely anti-small business and very much Monopoly style behavior.

Maybe I'm just naive and don't want to believe they're evil, and I'm now paying the price.

Tallon




msg:4312992
 10:05 am on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

dickbaker do you have any way of knowing how your site's overall traffic count compared to the retail site? I'm crunching on a theory right now that Panda isn't being applied to every site and it isn't dependent on site size at all but on traffic counts. Here's a theory I popped in another thread here:

In my niche there are so many anomalies that I'm now wondering if only a portion of the web is being rated by Panda, this could explain why we see so many scrapers outranking "real" sites.

What I'm seeing ranking fine:

--a site with 90% (at least) thin content (image and one or two sentences per page). Site has thousands of pages.
--sites with 10+ ads per page
--sites with only the title above the fold (the rest are ads and theme elements)
--scrapers (no original content)

My main, biggest site was hit by Panda 2.0, my other smaller sites (most super thin, even thin affiliate sites) have either risen or remained flat throughout the pandas. This doesn't make sense (my main site has the primo backlinks, completely organic, social activity, yada yada).

What I'm wondering is if it's possible that once a site reaches a certain threshold, panda is applied, otherwise a site stays under the radar? I don't think site size has anything to do with it, it's more about traffic amount. Something along the lines of:

--Once google sends a specific amount of traffic to a site, panda evaluation occurs.

--Or, if a site's overall traffic has more than x% from Google, panda evaluation occurs.

--If a % of a site's content is ranking for high volume keywords, panda evaluation occurs.

Thoughts?


My site was hit by panda 2.0 (so far it's looking to be about a 25% loss) and it covers a handful of related topics (info site) with about 1,500 articles. I have a smaller site (traffic wise) with higher page count (about 2,500 articles) and it hasn't been touched by Panda...the differences between the two:

--Pandalized site covers a handful of subjects (related) while the other is focused on only one.
--Pandalized site ranks high (or did) for several high traffic queries, non-pandalized site doesn't and never has
--Pandalized site has 1 to 3 ads per page depending on content amount, non-pandalized site has none.
--Pandalized site has some overlap and some thin pages, non-Pandalized site is LOADED with them
--Pandalized site is active and thriving with regular readers, 50,000+ subscribers, inbounds, social activity, non-pandalized site has been quiet and effectively abandoned for close to a year.

The theory about loose focus on a site is interesting and rings some bells for me UNTIL I look at a competitor of mine who has done everything to make their site as similar to mine as possible (I write about XYZ one day, the next week they slap up the same thing). Categories, content ideas, you name it, this competitor slips on you-know-what to mimic it as fast as possible.

In fact, the competitor's site is much looser and less focused (overall) than mine is. They're still ranking as before for the queries I've been tracking, don't appear to be hit or touched by Panda at all that I can see (using competitor analysis tools), site size (pages) is about the same between our sites.

What's the difference between our two sites? Serps traffic and overall traffic (from subscribers and regular visitors), I'm estimating that I'm about 4 * the size trafficwise (domains are about a year apart in age, I'm older).

It's looking more and more to me that the more successful a site is in the serps, the more scrutiny it gets from Google and at some point Panda comes into play. But that's not all, I'm wondering if I've only been knocked down one peg atm because the site is only at a certain traffic level...if I pursue and achieve more serps traffic (on new content), I could at some point trigger say a second slap down (then experience a loss of 50% instead of 25% for example). I guess you could say this could be a way of throttling traffic for non-brands (meaning Fortune 500 entities).

This is all theory of course, but it does explain (to me) why there are so many contrary results in the serps. If this proves true, then caution comes into play when trying to build and maintain a site. You'll want as much traffic as possible without poking the Panda, and at some point you'll want to stop creating content that will draw search traffic (pulling the plug and starting on a new domain).

Craz-EE I know, but this is what I've been mulling over.

Reno




msg:4313066
 1:52 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's the difference between our two sites?

You theory may enter into the equation, on the basis that the hammer hits the nails sticking up the highest. But just to be clear, have you analyzed some of the other differences? You say the content is similar but presumably you are using different hosting services? Dedicated or shared? What about page speed download times? Backlink profiles? etc etc. We know there are hundreds of factors, so there's more to the picture than just content. And even though that may be the primary, all the other stuff will add up so will inevitably make a difference in the outcome.

.......................

dickbaker




msg:4313108
 2:44 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tallon, from 1/25 to 2/23 (30 days), the site had 465,782 visits, with 926,670 page views. Of those page views, 40,803 were for pages for the online store (not counting the cart pages). My stats program doesn't provide visits when filtering for pages or groups of pages.

For the 30 day period of 4/16 to 5/15, the site had 453,844 page views, and 260,792 visits, with 24,966 of the page views being for the online store pages.

There was an increased number of page views for the store pages because of Adwords ads I've been running.

Don't know if that helps or not. Also, my stats program and Google Analytics show similar numbers of page views, but the stats program always shows two or more times the number of visits than GA does.

I hope this helps.

dickbaker




msg:4313153
 4:11 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I should clarify my statement that there was an increased number of page views because of Adwords ads. I've been running Adwords in April and May, so the number of page views skewed somewhat, since I wasn't running Adwords in January or February.

dickbaker




msg:4313239
 6:28 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

You theory may enter into the equation, on the basis that the hammer hits the nails sticking up the highest. But just to be clear, have you analyzed some of the other differences? You say the content is similar but presumably you are using different hosting services? Dedicated or shared? What about page speed download times? Backlink profiles? etc etc. We know there are hundreds of factors, so there's more to the picture than just content. And even though that may be the primary, all the other stuff will add up so will inevitably make a difference in the outcome.


I've analyzed just about every difference I can think of. Different hosting services. Mine is VPS, the retail store's is shared. My site beats the retail store's site hands down for download times (although, if Google is only taking into account the first page--the redirect page--that is almost instant download at 2K or so). As I said before, the retail store's site has almost no backlinks; my site has tens of thousands.

I think I've accounted for every factor. The retail store's site is small and doesn't have ads. I can't think of any other reasons why it might still be page one. Actually, I've never been able to figure out how it's stayed on page one for all these years.

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