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Panda - how low can you go?
whatson




msg:4338266
 3:52 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

(maybe we need a new sub-category for panda posts)

So anyway, we hear about people getting hit by panda 1, 2, 2.1 and 2.2, some sites getting worse with each update. So how low does it go?

All of my sites that got hit suffered from panda 2, were untouched in 1. Most of my sites have remained consistent since then, except one that was affected even worse by 2.2, as in went from 2500+ visitors/day to under 500.

However, I had one site "recover" from Panda 2, in the Panda 2.2 update. The traffic went from 2000/day down to 1300/day on Panda 2, but from Panda 2.2. it went back up to 2000/day, perhaps even slightly more visitors than Panda 2. So yes, I do have an official Panda recovery story, with evidence.

HOWEVER, I didn't touch this site, I didn't do anything to it since Panda, in fact I haven't done anything for over a year with the site. So I can't claim that I tweaked my site and did the right thing to get out of it.
On top of that my rankings are still not back in full, my main keyword that I had been #1 for years, is still down at 5, which is what Panda did to it. So it's not a complete recovery.

I believe that some people think they have got out of panda by tweaking their sites, but it was actually Panda that changed. Which just makes it harder to really know what the hell is going on.

 

JerryRB




msg:4338348
 5:54 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

in fact I haven't done anything for over a year with the site


In our very competitive vertical, that seems to be a common denominator with Panda. Sure there are usually big brands are sitting pretty in the top several results, which isn't surprising. What is surprising is that the sites that were hit years ago and completely neglected (no new links, content dated 2008,2009) are back in mix - and there are several commanding very high results for very competitive keywords.

One common denominator of these sites is doorway pages. I doubt Google is that dumb, but they're working like a charm for multiple sites. Yuck.

It's almost like Google is choosing the lesser of all the evils - if you just stayed on the sidelines for the past 2-3 years and did nothing you're being rewarded for it. If you played the SEO game you're dead meat unless you have a serious brand.

Bottom line is that the results are filled with so much junk - I have absolutely no doubt that MAJOR adjustments will be made in the organic results for our vertical. It's easy to get caught up in all the doomsday scenario's posted around the web, and if Panda improved the serps in your vertical then I'd be worried - but if not then in time it will have to be fixed.

koan




msg:4338350
 6:01 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bottom line is that the results are filled with so much junk


Sometimes I feel like Panda punished harshly sites that are guilty of littering but is leaving alone sites that are guilty of armed robbery.

Shatner




msg:4338363
 7:13 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the wisest course right now, if you've been Pandalized, is to assume it is permanent and move on.

There are examples of sites which have recovered, however they are few and seem to be in specific niches. If you haven't recovered by now, and you've made changes, there's probably no reason to think you ever will.

Assume your pandalization is permanent and move on.

whatson




msg:4338368
 7:38 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not sure I can give this up quite so easily. I am doing what I can to "improve" my sites, once all that is done, then I guess I will just leave them alone and move on.

Shatner




msg:4338405
 8:49 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

@whatson If you think there is more you can do, without negatively impacting your site usability then by all means.

At some point though you will reach a point where there's nothing left to do.

I reached that point a month ago and moved on. Just recognize when that point is, and be ready and prepared to move on.

maximillianos




msg:4338427
 10:51 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't give in so easy. Re-review your site. I have found problems after I thought I had fixed everything. And I continue to find potential issues to this day.

And even then you should stay on top of things. You never know when a bug might create a problem that sends you back into Panda world.

But I do agree that you need to not make this the sole focus of your life/time. You do need to move on at the same time. Accept it for what it is, look for improvements periodically, and keep growing your business... whatever model that may be.

Southerncentralrain




msg:4338466
 12:22 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have seen the same thing with a few websites that weren't touched for a couple of years and now are flying high. Before they stopped working with their sites, they were pretty much doing everything that our sites did because we were having a lot of success. We continued to grow while they continued to sink and they finally gave up (it appeared). Then comes Panda and they are now killing it.

almighty monkey




msg:4338467
 12:28 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

How old are we talking with these untouched sites?

Because that suggests to me that perhaps domain age has grown in prominance.

I know an ex-employer of mine didn't touch his website for years - his logic was 'It ain't broke, don't fix it' and it's still to this day ranking. I'm wondering if 'evergreen' content - old content that still gains links years later, is considered a positive ranking factor.

conroy




msg:4338468
 12:43 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

For all the sites I see none of these things matter, domain age etc., just don't seem to be factors. The only consistent thing I've seen is that all my google analytics sites were hit, while the ones that didn't have it weren't touched. They had no movement whatsoever. I'm not saying it's a factor...it's just the only thing in common I can see. Of the 3 that were not hit, 1 was super high quality, and 2 are what I would consider lower quality. The ones in google analytics that were hit, I would consider 4 very high quality and another 4 to be low quality. So who knows.

Reno




msg:4338470
 12:54 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had one site "recover" from Panda 2 ... HOWEVER, I didn't touch this site ~ whatson

If you haven't recovered by now, and you've made changes, there's probably no reason to think you ever will. ~ Shatner

If there is one thing I believe many of us have learned is that there's no rhyme or reason to Panda. Like an out of control cancer, it goes where it will to wreak its havoc. So as I've said here on multiple occasions, you cannot "fix" your site to rank better with Panda because you hve no idea what Panda considers to be "broken". I totally agree with Shatner's statement "If you think there is more you can do, without negatively impacting your site usability then by all means do it". But don't think you are "fixing" it for Panda, because you're not. You're not because you can't. You can't because Google has not provided guidelines. And they've not provided guidelines because this is a big game to their engineers who have to find something to do to justify their salaries.

THEY have the power, you don't and you won't, so for the sake of your sanity, and to once again quote Shatner, "Assume your pandalization is permanent and move on." Whatever you do from this point on, do it strictly to make things better for your visitors ~ that's reason enough. Do NOTHING for Google's benefit.

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

Southerncentralrain




msg:4338471
 12:57 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't believe it is just age of the sites because this guy had a few sites ranging in age from 3 to 10 years old (similar to me) but he stopped building links and adding products etc. about 2 years ago. Once Panda hit, all of his sites rose to the top and appeared untouched by Panda.

walkman




msg:4338479
 1:14 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

--Panda - how low can you go?

As low as Google wants.

Because that suggests to me that perhaps domain age has grown in prominance.
My pandalized name is old, very old.

I have seen many old looking sites get pandalized too though, and were told by the powers that be to get a new template, blah blah....old is out, new in...blah blah. Maybe it has more to do with the niche?

Don't give in so easy. Re-review your site. I have found problems after I thought I had fixed everything. And I continue to find potential issues to this day.
And the site will never be perfect. The thing whether to kill yourself wondering if Verdana instead of Arial is killing your site's traffic.

Do as many sites as you can and hope some make it, do not trust Google. They do not care about you, Panda is exhibit #1, and plenty of what we'd think are top 'brand' sites got hammered as well. Not talking 10% or 20% but as much as 70%, just like that. Add more content...no, no, less content is better....new ipod like template...old templates are better, change the site, old is better....all that crap and everything is controlled by Google. If they want, change all you want and you will starve, because of the technicality they added to the algo. The same algo that for years said that now penalized sites were top sites. maybe next month they'll change again.

I asked before, I'll ask it again: How many Google engineers are not having a good night's sleep worrying about false positives and people that may lose their homes, businesses, jobs etc due to that? It's month five now. I think we know the answer so look after yourself and see behind the corporate spin and lies.

Every "enhancement" makes them more money or they reverse it very quickly. Once it makes them more money they are reluctant to change it for fear of losing the money they gained. Who cares about you or your site? It's business and they are worth $170 BILLION, nothing is by chance.

^ This is not a rant, just an opinion on how things are.

MrSavage




msg:4338525
 2:59 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

The fact some site enjoy great rankings is an illusion. Ever consider there were many Panda site blasted into smithereens? I'm sure we all realize this fact. The fact is I have a site that has been sunk into oblivion for over a year. Perhaps year and a half and it did pop up to page 1 ranking. Nothing was done to the site in a year, no special link building etc. Essentially dormant for months and months. I have to assume Panda is related to this. It was deader than a door nail. It's not like it got better to get rankings.

maximillianos




msg:4338532
 3:11 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of these dormant sites are enjoying (perhaps) a niche that may have seen a number of top sites hit, leaving a gaping hole in SERPS that gets filled by the next set of results that may or may not be popular or current.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4338535
 3:20 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Whatson you may be feeling the effects of what Panda is doing to other sites, specifically the sites in your backlink profile. A quick look at GWT and at some popular backlink checking tools shows a declining trend in number of backlinks for ALL websites.

Panda seems to have made Google stingier on what is considered a qualified backlink. As the sites in your backlink profile go down, so do you.

indyank




msg:4338556
 4:35 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am not sure why people aren't understanding that panda is not an algo that has been run on all sites and all keywords.

If you have a dormant site targeting popular keywords (in terms of traffic) and doing well now as some of you claim, you are lucky to have escaped it so far.

if your dormant site doesn't target any popular keywords, panda may not have acted on it at all.

Panda is an algo run on more active sites (sites that publish fresh content on a regular basis) which get some decent traffic for some decent keywords.

[edited by: indyank at 4:39 pm (utc) on Jul 12, 2011]

indyank




msg:4338557
 4:38 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda has nothing to do with the regular algo factors like backlinks, age, etc.

It is something new that is run outside the normal algo (on top of it) to determine a quality score. More importantly, it isn't something that is run on all sites or pages on the web.

indyank




msg:4338561
 4:43 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Whatson,

since certain things are ascertained from the actual content, rewriting content to make it unique may not always help unless you know how to rewrite it. It is possible that the rewritten content, though unique, might not have contributed to positive quality metrics.

indyank




msg:4338580
 4:59 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

The bounce rate pdf actually solved a number of panda mysteries.On panda affected sites, many would have noticed that some pages are pushed down the SERPS for some primary traffic pulling keywords, but not much for the secondary keywords. This definitely is an indicator of how it is run.

aristotle




msg:4338630
 7:02 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

My impression is that Panda tries to measure the intrinsic value of a page. This should be fairly easy to do for pages of very high value, and also for pages of very low value. But that still leaves the middle ground, or what could be called medium value. But there probably isn't a strict cutoff point, such that everything below a certain level is thrown out. Instead there is probably some kind of "quality score", as others have mentioned, which can be factored in with relevance scores, authority and other factors.

MrSavage




msg:4338643
 7:50 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm going with a theory that the damage was done to the technology themed sites. An educated guess. I mean think about what content the "farms" were farming. Exactly. I'm going to make this assumption it was essentially tech targeted and as a result, I'm looking elsewhere where the CNET's don't tread.

koan




msg:4338678
 9:26 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm going to make this assumption it was essentially tech targeted


My 2 pandalyzed sites have nothing to do with tech. Of all the other pandalyzed sites I've seen (where people could complain about being wrongly penalized), very few were tech related. I'm not sure why you jump to this conclusion.

MrSavage




msg:4338687
 9:36 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a strong suspicion of this being the case. There isn't a coordinated approach, meeting place or poll on the subject unfortunately. Tech is the most competitive, has the most news stories, and I would put my money on the fact that the most content farms covered tech. Did the content farms cover the latest fashion trends? Doubt it. The leeches and scum, the target of Panda were content farms, which obviously made money and the money is in tech ads. I only suggest that because of the Panda effect, you're up against the biggest websites in the world. If I was to pick a subject that has the most scraping, it would be tech. Again, no proof. I just know what I see in search now regarding tech and what I see is not something that I or 2,3 or 4 other employees could possibly compete with.

whatson




msg:4338689
 9:40 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is nothing to do with tech themed sites or any other theme, but is general for all web sites.

I can admit that my content is weak/thin in some areas and I am working on building that. In all honesty I can see their point of view, that this should not have been doing as well as it was.

One of my sites was a 20 page site, about 10 years old, and the content was just as old. I added 500 pages to it last year. It hit Panda. I removed the 500 pages, and it got even more Panda'd.

There are so many of us here trying every permutation and combination, surely, eventually, some of us will get there, and report our success stories. Once we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, as in the possibility that you can get out of Panda jail/hell, then it will make it all easier.

Shatner




msg:4338691
 9:43 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>>There are so many of us here trying every permutation and combination, surely, eventually, some of us will get there, and report our success stories.

People have been doing that. Personally I've already tried all of the things they tried, and it made no difference.

The lesson there is that... what they did may or may not have had anything to do with why they were Pandalized and the truth is that there is no real recipe for recovery.

Just as many people have recovered from Panda while doing nothing as people who made changes.

It's random. Accept it and move on is the real answer!

whatson




msg:4338697
 9:49 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe we should all turn black hat, then it will destroy goog's serps, reputation and credibility, and provide us the income we "deserve" and turn users to Bing where we still rank.

MrSavage




msg:4338699
 9:53 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm going to do my best to stop posting. I don't know if as already suggested there needs to be a Panda sub forum or what. I just know that I'm better off not really saying anything on the subject at this point. I'm not throwing in the towel, but too much "ranting" accusations and the feeling of not being able to openly discuss Panda issues or opinions is about enough for me. There is certainly a portion, not sure if it's a majority, who are reading this saying why am I or others complaining so much. Well, wish I were you then. I have lots to say about Panda but I'll find another outlet for that discussion. It's almost like there needs to be a separate section where people who are dealing with Panda can speak openly rather than clutter up forums for those who are "sitting pretty". So for now, I'm going to do my best to keep my written words regarding Panda elsewhere. I'm sure some, if not a lot of people will appreciate that.

Reno




msg:4338702
 10:00 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is nothing to do with tech themed sites or any other theme, but is general for all web sites.

I agree with whatson. My sites are not even remotely tech oriented and they got hit. Shatner is correct in saying that there is no recipe for recovery. I think of Panda as a deadly virus that Google has inflicted upon the internet, and like any virus, it can kill even the healthiest lifeform, and as yet, there is no cure.

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

whatson




msg:4338703
 10:01 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyway, yes, there is a lot of people just complaining about how bad things are for them, but it's hard not to when your life is turned upside down for some people.

I think we have probably covered every theory and speculation possible on Panda by now. So really all we can do is improve our sites to where we think might be fit for Google's eyes, and just sit and wait until we hear some real success stories.

I am even too scared to improve my un-panda'd sites, so my content will suffer, and my users will not have as good an experience. But we only have Google to blame for that.

So early retirement I guess? Or get a job?

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