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Sitting on the edge of Panda... am I a borderline case?

 8:00 am on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had a site which dropped by an average of 6 positions for its main search terms around Panda 2.1. I didnt notice any effect at all in the fist wave (or second wave I should say as it's a UK focussed site and I monitor the .co.uk SERPS - I believe the first wave was US only but may be wrong).

Having repeated a process a couple of times I've now successfully restored original rankings twice, after the first time reversing the on page change and rankings dropped back an average of 6 positions again. By repeating the change, once again the site's original rankings returned.

Each time the change took between 3 and 5 days to be reflected in the SERPS, even though we get crawled each day. Could this back up the Matt Cutts quote that Panda calculations don't run daily, but perhaps it do run every other day or perhaps third day?

The change I made was simply to move an Adsense block from the middle of content, between paragraphs to a floating, right-aligned div at the top of the article. Ironically its actually more in view in the new position as the page loads.

I can think of two possible intentions for this triggering a reranking, firstly that users perhaps see an ad with text wrapped as less intrusive than breaking up an article, or perhaps the problem is ads which are partially above the fold.

I fully accept that Panda will be more complex than just this variable, however I'm certainly looking at this as a tipping factor in my case that invokes the Panda rerank.



 2:51 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

looking at this as a tipping factor in my case that invokes the Panda rerank

I like the phrase "tipping factor" - and if indeed this is a Panda-related re-ranking, that's probably a very accurate way to conceive of it.

I also think that a 3-5 day cycle (currently) is much more likely than the kind of extended periods that many are thinking of. If you have any more related observations, please keep us updated. And it would be good to hear from anyone else who finds their rankings to be in a sensitive "edge case" situation right now.


 3:57 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess I would also describe my situation as the same as this, and I also only really monitor the .co.uk rankings and have .co.uk domains.

My rankings fell only a few spaces on the key worldwide panda dates, but the traffic differences from #1 to #3 (and similar position drops) can mean a big slump in traffic.

I have made a near total site redesign for one of my main sites and I am now seeing a positive effect in rankings.


 4:35 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster, I have to say I also find it hard to believe to takes weeks or months for Google to rerun the calculation of whatever Panda is looking for. It seems to me that their core intention to return the best results is the same with or without Panda, so surely they would want to reinstate the visibility of any site affected by Panda at the earliest opportunity once the quality issue that has been flagged is resolved.


 4:37 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Jinxed, I had been considering a re-design for a couple of Panda hit sites. Thanks for that info, it might just spur me on to action!


 4:43 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

The way I see it currently, there is difference between making tweaks or changes to the Panda algorithm (as in 2.0 or 2.1) and just "running it" as-is, with no changes.


 6:27 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi jinxed

If you don't mind my asking, what wrongs/ issues did you target with your redesign?




 6:28 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

And the way I see this is that regardless of whether they are ‘making tweaks’ or ‘re-running’ the algo – it’s irrelevant anyway.

If you can see a way to improve your website, then implement the changes, regardless.


 7:26 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

By no means has this particular site made a full recovery! but I am seeing some traffic improvements. Here are some of the changes made

Also, bear in mind that this website was *long* overdue a makeover...

Firstly, there were the adverts. It was overkill. Although there were only (on average) 2 Ad units and one small ad block on each page – it looked too much. If I visit another site like that then it’s the 1st thing I notice - so that had to change. I therefore put one leader board ad unit at the end of the written content (below the fold).

I changed the layout so that the sidebar navigation was now just on the right hand side of the page – therefore putting more emphasis on the content.

I improved the navigation of the site by adding prominent breadcrumbs just above the page title.

All images were reduced in size to make them as efficient as possible including using sprites which I had never bothered with before.

All the meta titles/descriptions were looked over – not just to make them as unique as possible but to really try and improve the relevancy.

All spelling mistakes removed! (I couldn’t believe a few that I found)

All HTML/CSS validation errors were corrected.

Pages that were of shallow content – removed.

I created a commenting feature for certain pages.

Adding social buttons (which is the most annoying part of this as the page speed improvements are now not half as effective – but what can you do).

Another big part of the redesign was to really think about my main user audience for this website – which would predominantly be visited by females between the ages 18-30 on average. I basically really tried to concentrate on making the image of the site more suited to this audience.

And as well this, there were improvements that were made to the written content i.e. the addition of certain information that I felt would be of benefit to the user.

There is nothing ground breaking in the above list – just improvements that should have been made a long time ago. Sorry to disappoint!


 7:31 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

chrism, maybe its got nothing to do with the actual design of the page. if you've moved the ad code to the top of the HTML then perhaps google is just getting more data from that page now.

people might have been bailing out before the adsense code fired (maybe because of some other slow loading stuff that you had above the ad code), but now its near the top of the HTML its firing a lot more. so google is getting more data from that page... and they think that the page is more popular. hence it rises a few places in the SERPs.

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