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This 78 message thread spans 3 pages: 78 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Google, Panda: Results After Three months

 10:58 am on May 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my clients, bit on the thin side, was hit back in March by a Google change (pre-Panda, Panda?) and WTF they asked. Heck I don't know. What to do? Move on. Okay...

So we did...by ignoring what SEEMED to be indicators, just tightened nav, reduced some interstitial pages, removed breadcrumbs...

Managed to maintain 80% traffic. And 70% income (which is n.nnn over 1,200 pages daily, 72 of which truly pay). Traffic is about the same as before but NOT GROWING in CONVERSIONS as one would expect (though we have noticed that real money ads are not showing up), all things being equal. Almost looks like a dollar throttle, but that would be ... duh... counterproductive for G and me, right? That said:

Not a happy report, or a down in the dumps report, merely a report that even under panda sites can survive... for a time---at any rate.



 6:32 pm on May 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

we have noticed that real money ads are not showing up

Are you speaking about Adsense here?


 7:57 am on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah confused about what you're referring to. Are you saying that even though you have lost traffic from Panda you have somehow increased ad conversions and thus it hasn't really mattered that you have less traffic?

Not sure what this is about.

But a three month Panda anniversary thread seems like a good idea. Maybe get everyone to stop spamming Panda in other threads.

Where's everyone at after 3 months of Panda?

For my part, I was hit on Feb 24 with Panda 1.0 and have seen no change since then. On that day my Google traffic went away. I have made many, many tweaks and changes to improve my site. It has had no effect in any way.


 8:19 am on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

One site was hit by Panda 1 and 2. Another was hit by Panda 2 only. I blocked pages that, although useful for visitors, could be considered "thin" for searchers (there were quite a few). Robots.txt at first, it was too slow, so I switched to noindex tag. I also did some major redesign in terms of layout and ad placements. Those sites haven't improved one bit with Google. One nice thing, my redesign at least helped improve Adsense performance somewhat. But at this point, I might as well stop working on them and move to others projects. Years of work down the toilet makes me wonder if I should have gone black hat instead, but I don't think I could look at myself in the mirror. This Panda update has put the fear of Google in me.


 9:49 am on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Brave move and a common sense thing to do. But me just thinks changes won't restore pre Panda positions that easily - Google's looking for time and a few more factors ( who knows what ) to kick back in when they switch the manual update refresh button.

I'm seeing folks proposing this to restore rankings, but I'm sceptical until i hear of some trues success' coming through... and that could be many months away. I can't imagine a Google employee switching the manual Panda update to "go" at defined intervals. Rather they'll live with what they've done for a while - that's my hunch.


 10:39 am on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

My site lost 75% of it's business overnight. Nothing I have done, and I've done plenty, has made the slightest difference since then.

I am still in business because I had a number of smaller, more focussed sites which I had never put any great effort behind and these were unaffected by the panda. I've promoted them and they are slowly regaining some of the ground I lost. Then again perhaps they'll be slapped too, when they are big enough.

I launched new sites but as soon as I promoted them they dropped into Sandbox Hades where they still lie.


 10:56 am on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ superclown2 - what did you do to the affected sites ?


 2:11 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

We are still down about 45-50% traffic. Revenues down more since we removed ads as a quality change. Probably removed more than I should have. But I can always put those back if I need to.

But this stroke of bad luck has driven me to find new ways to survive both without organic traffic and with less dependency on traffic based revenue sources.

In the past few months I've been lucky enough to diversify my revenue streams to create more income with less traffic. Which is nice to see after months of watching traffic slowly decline.

Going to take a lot more work but I think in the end my business model will be much more stable.


 2:59 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here is where I'm at:
Just did a rank checker run for the first 100 page titles showing in the Site: search command. Avg position on Google is 21; on Yahoo 6; on Bing 4.

For many years my Google and Yahoo results matched closely. Too bad I only get 9% visitors from combined Yahoo and Bing, and 71% from G. Before being Pandalized my Google % was close to 90.

Conclusion: Panda has lowered my average position by around 15 slots. I've lost 19% of google visitors according to G Analytics. However my total visitors are down about 45% (so something doesn't add up there).


 7:26 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

After 3 months, I have an impression that Google doesn't send organic traffic at all to one of my pandalized sites. Instead, it looks like that my pages that should normally be on the 1st SERP page get served to searchers only once, like samples. So, my G. Analytics (Source Medium Detail: google / organic, English language) shows that almost all listed keywords referred only 1 visitor per day (per keyword).

Does anyone else experience the same?


 7:44 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ superclown2 - what did you do to the affected sites ?

I changed the position of affiliate links so that they were read at the end of the page by the spiders. "Poor" quality pages were taken out. More links were asked for and received to badly affected pages, which promptly fell further. Pages were re-written wholesale, and new pages added to make the whole site more relevant to the targeted search terms. At no stage did any page actually rise in the SERPs for the targetted terms and the sites as a whole continue to receive fewer and fewer clicks.

I've pretty well abandoned the pandalised sites now, to sink or swim as Google wills.


 10:08 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Pages were re-written wholesale, and new pages added to make the whole site more relevant to the targeted search terms

Many folks are also saying re written content is not helping them to bounce back.

@superclown2 - How big is your site and what is your TBPR of home and deep pages. Do you have any authority links into your site.

Although I wouldn't expect your site to bounce back, due to the manual process Google is declaring, I think it would be interesting to see if your site's size and authority came into into at all. Folks have long discounted the notion that this update was link related, but if the content had little authority and link juice it may have been more vulnerable. Just a hunch.


 4:51 am on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Total traffic 50-55% down. Total Google traffic is sometimes the same as Bing, yes it's that bad. Most of it is useless to boot. I removed even the pages that probably had traffic because they seemed 'thin' /shallow as per Google's advice. Dumb move if you ask me. Content, as an issue, is ruled for that site now since I have spent 3 sleepless months and lots of money on it.

I am still changing a thing or two in functionality but after a week I will pretty much put that site on the back-burner, it's a waste of time and more than 50% of my current income from 2 very simple sites. If it comes back it will come back on its own, the more I change and add, the lower it goes. Had Panda hit me 9 months from now I would have been perfectly fine and could have taken even a year to redo everything, now it's a bad time for a few reasons.

Do not hope too much for relief or a pull back: I don't think Google cares to be honest and they have already gotten a lot of bad press. If they figured out that they need a year or two to see if Panda works or how it works and 250,000 businesses go down as Google experiments, I don't think that they care. They are engineers working in a lab and they are totally out of touch, as far as I can tell, on the impact they make by playing god with people's livelihoods *.

(*Yes, I know, but not depending on Google is kinda like not counting on the main roads to your business because all of they sudden they might close them to you)


 5:43 am on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think Google cares to be honest and they have already gotten a lot of bad press.

In all honesty, I think Google lost control over things. They created a monster and can no longer handle things. It won't be long before the average user feels this.

To control things Google might hire even more people, but then shareholds get upset and the stock value goes down.

I submitted more than 40 DMCAs this weekend, including a lot of DMCAs for Blogspot (Google property). It takes between one week and one month (if you are lucky) before Blogspot takes an infringing page down.
I sent DMCAs to Facebook and Wordpress too. Infringing pages were taken down within less than 24 hours! A huge difference compared to Google!


 7:03 am on Jun 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry for late clarification (housemate had a heart attack... Not dead, but very ill and have been a bit busy with that, and coddling clients, too)

The last five years I've urged all my clients to DIVERSIFY, primarily to have DIRECT SALES (internal on-site ad rotation for product) as well as what might come from third parties... such as G and others like Bing. Did not mean to introduce confusion specifically to this forum re: "money ads" as that comment was regarding client's DIRECT adverts.

Yet, there is a three month hello regarding Panda...for all of us, whatever our income base might be: G has screwed the pooch in SERPS over niggling (look it up, that is NOT a politically incorrect word!) details such as breadcrumbs, interstitials, thin content, few words, too many ads, not enough ads, above fold, in text, frame or iframe (two different things)... and any other assorted BS they can think of (grasping straws). AND PANDA IS NOT EVEN ACTIVE! Remains a manual run each time.

Google just seems to have given out---got weary---and is now obviously reluctant to "index the whole web"... They must make it pay for their shareholders... and the way that happens is if they snow us into paying for their continued theft of our copyrighted work(s) to serve their advertising. Think about THAT... the snow job and what "we" give up to get so "little" these days. Were it really quid quo pro that would be a different song...

I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember how your GRANDPARENTS, GREAT GRANDPARENTS, and GREAT GREAT GRANDPARENTS made AT&T wealthy. Taste for free (while we have VC), then make some rich (to create demand), or indispensable (services, SERPS), provide a in-house "box" (adsense, adwords) that everyone can use... then nickle and dime them to death. Answer: A Telephone. That's the "invention" AT&T gave us. Google gave us "Page Rank" and then read AT&T's playbook (who read memorized the Railroad and Edison's BIZ PLANS) and executed it to the letter. I saw this "history repeat" some 9 years back and planned---even urged---starry-eyed clients to understand that if offered the service "free" you'll eventually get screwed---you have no control over "free" and once the charges for free start, you can't escape...

This three month Panda commentary was intended to express: Traffic dropped some 20%, income by 30%... site still active because G is not the reliance but is a very large factor...and would be missed. However... do the math. Make plans. Diversify, of course. And, like myself and clients, keep working at this Panda thing which, like real-life Pandas, can eat only one thing: websites and content... Whoops! Pandas, those funny looking bear-like relatives of racoons can only eat bamboo...

AT&T (not called that back then... was Bell) put a free phone in an Emporium, General Store, or the Post Office of every city in the USA. Then over the years got into the home, the gov, everywhere... and even after breakup continues TO THIS DAY in your cellphones, WiFI, 3-4G etc....hosting most companies over THEIR EQUIPMENT and SERVICES and taking a SIGNIFICANT CUT in the transaction. There's where G is headed, kiddies: Infrastructure. After a while you might make some cents here and there with such service, but diversification NOW is how to survive in the future.


 9:16 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>>Traffic dropped some 20%, income by 30%

Try 50 - 70%. But you make some interesting points in there. :)

I don't trust any of my feelings about Google since I've been Pandalized, I try to look it objectively, but can't be sure if I am.

That said the notion that Google has gotten "weary" and has "given out" rings true for me.


 9:20 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>>If they figured out that they need a year or two to see if Panda works or how it works and 250,000 businesses go down as Google experiments, I don't think that they care.

I'm not sure it isn't their intent.

The truth about the internet is that it really HAS become overcrowded. Part of the reason Google is having trouble returning decent search results is that there are so MANY sites now it's just a huge mess.

They are culling it. Ideally they should do that by pulling weeds, removing the sites which aren't of any use, but there is so much clutter at this point they aren't really capable of telling the good from the bad effectively anymore, so they're settling for an overall reduction by basically taking 10% of the internet and shutting it down, putting it out of business.

Imagine if they do this once a year, just put 10% of the internet out of business, things will eventually get more manageable for them.

And no one of consequence will complain because they've made sure they whitelist big companies and big brands which might have the power to do something about it.

Idunno, that just makes sense to me. It's what I'd do in their place.

What they haven't accounted for is the fact that people can increasingly survive without Google now. 5 years ago if my Google traffic had dropped 50% overnight I wouldn't have been able to survive. But now I can get so much from Facebook and other sources that, while it'll never make up for Google I can at least survive. So will a lot of the other sites they have tried to shut down.


 9:47 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

tangor (and other ranters)

I've been hearing all this Google's evil and finished nonsense since 2003. And, all throughout, I have made a lot of money out of Google's free service (totally white hat). I guess if you say the end is nigh enough times you'll eventually get it right. Meanwhile, those who can adapt will carry on making money...


 11:01 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

those who can adapt will carry on making money

Adapt to precisely what?

There are no clues, nothing, fantastic sites wiped out because of a cock-up, of which not only are they totally and utterly oblivious but also could not care less...in US military terms, we are collateral damage, friendly fire, call it what you like, possibly they knew this would happen and possibly they believe they can ride it out.

Just remember, it may be you next!


 11:21 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Erm... I lost 70% of my traffic AND income in this update. Am currently going bankrupt. Have laid staff off. It couldn't have happened at a worst time either for me personally either. But, "live by the sword, dies by the sword". Stop whinging because Google rained on your parade; Google made your parade in the first place. Besides which, all this conspiracy/ google hate rubbish NEVER HELPED ANY WEBMASTER MAKE A PENNY! And, isn't that kind of the point of this place?!


 11:27 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google made your parade in the first place.

Wrong, rubbish, total and utter fallacy!

We, the webmasters made Google, never, ever forget that...thousands of us worked tirelessly for free for months/years and this is how they've repaid us.

And that was my polite post!


 11:29 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

suggy, have you figured out what to adapt to as you seem to have great success in making money? Can you share the details and how it helped?


 11:43 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)


That's a chicken and egg argument. But, let's face it, you wouldn't be hanging out here if Google wasn't important to your business... and a website without traffic is nothing. So whether you got there first and then google muscled in or not, doesn't matter. They won and they've been running the parade (especially in the UK) since at least 2003. Time to move on...


 11:47 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)


Go back to your search results and analyse, I mean really analyse, what the sites that occupy the first ten results have in common and how they differ from yours. As, Matt Cutts said already, this algo (just like any) can be reverse engineered. Google's achilles heal is that they can't ever stop us from seeing the intricacies of what ranks and what doesn't. We can't look behind the curtain, but what they serve up infront is a great big 'show'.


 11:50 am on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

How do small local grocery stalls compete or adapt with the arrival of Walmart or equivalent ? They usually get used(adapt) to having poor business and eventually go bankrupt.

I say it's time for the making of new search engine, specially designed for the little people/ small business owners. No big brands are allowed. LOL...


 12:11 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)


But if everyone wants Walmart and doesn't want to pay for your overpriced groceries (just so you can make a living) then, that's life chap.

If, on the otherhand, you do things that Walmart doesn't, sell stuff that Walmart doesn't, then that's your niche. Niching is nothing new, but it does mean you have to create value.


 12:37 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

All of the panda favored big branded sites need to do from now onward is to open more niche(A-Z) categories with a few products in it. And they will easily overrun all the quality specialty/niche sites on SERP.

It's about time to polish my resume. :D


 2:10 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Go back to your search results and analyse, I mean really analyse, what the sites that occupy the first ten results have in common and how they differ from yours. As, Matt Cutts said already, this algo (just like any) can be reverse engineered. Google's achilles heal is that they can't ever stop us from seeing the intricacies of what ranks and what doesn't. We can't look behind the curtain, but what they serve up infront is a great big 'show'.

I do analyze, but sometimes it's too funny to focus. For one of the money phrases for which I was bumped from page one to page five or six, the first four results are the manufacturer (of course). Results six through ten are ecommerce stores, which makes sense.

Result #5 is a personal site with a last updated copyright of 2007. Part of it is devoted to the guy's interest in my niche, with stories about him using a widget on a trip. He also has stories about scuba diving and motorcycles, which are NOT related to my niche. It's the type of site people put up back when ISP's gave a free website.

That result is not an anomaly. It's all over my searches, in my niche and in others.


 2:15 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I survived every Google update since 2005 and always had steady traffic with mostly increasing revenue. I thought I had survived Panda as well. April 12th I was hit and lost 40% traffic and revenue. It's been steady at that level since.

I had already made many of the changes that are talked about here long before Panda. Luckily I never relied on Adsense revenue for anything other than a nice extra income!


 2:28 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been reading the Panda posts for months now and thought I'd share my plan with you guys. First some background on how panda impacted us...

Our site saw an increase in Google traffic after the April 11th panda roll out here in Canada - then on may 17th, when they released panda 2.0, we saw an equal % decrease.

I've been watching and reading the posts on others experiences, analyzing the stats and serps, as always, and have come to the conclusion that the panda series of updates is all about integrating real user data into the algo. G has access to user data that makes this possible. Unlike other SE's they have Analytics, Adwords, and of course data from their own search pages - combined this provides powerful data sets on what sites are "good" and what sites aren't.

So how do we game this new world? I believe it's a two step process. First create a world class site. This goes beyond slapping up some content on thin pages. It's about creating a site that's actually useful to users. This in turn decreases your bounce rates, increases time on site, increases conversions, all of which is tracked in your Analytics account and within Google's data on serps (ie. user performs a search, clicks on your site and doesn't return to perform another search).

The next step is one I haven't seen many people talking about - improving your back link profile. And I'm not talking about a light weight link campaign, I'm talking real growth of your back link profile, on a regular and ongoing basis. My rationale for this is that the site we saw growth on, after Panda 1.0, has major link authority, but because it's a relatively new site (8-10mths) it still has much growth to do in the back link area, hence the decrease after panda 2.0. You can create the best site in the world, that would provide a fantastic user experience, but if it's not in the top 10 Google's not going to be able to gather any meaningful (and positive) data on it. So in order to get vital and initial first page traction you need to greatly increase your back link count - this will drive your site to the top 10, then combine that with the positive user experience all your site improvements will provide, your rankings increase further and stick.

Yes this takes a ton of time and resources, but unless you're a world class brand already, with a TON of link authority that allows you to skate away with thin content, welcome to the new world. Search is evolving beyond simple static factors and that's not going to change anytime soon.

This is the direction I'm taking our bus anyways, hopefully I'm right. :-)

Feel free to share your thoughts!

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