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Starting over from scratch to help recover from Panda
brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 8:38 am on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am posting this because I know a lot of people are frustrated by panda. What we dont see being discussed a lot is starting from scratch. I know it is hard to think of, you put so much into your site, you dont want to start over.

I purchased a site 2 months ago that was hit by panda. I got a great price on it because the guy was desperate to sell as he lost more and more traffic with each panda iteration. I figured it still makes money and if it can recover, I am sitting on a gold mine (it made 6 figures a month in its hay day).

Anyway, the script was a disaster, I decided to scrap the entire script, keep the articles and import the articles into a modified version of wordpress.

Just now as I type this the website just received a 600% increase in traffic. Now, I have yet to put any ads back on it yet and I dont know if that will cause it to fall back into panda and this just did recover so it might be a temporary thing but it has a bunch of new rankings and its a very exciting feeling.

My point is, why arent more people starting over, or making drastic changes? Forget changing bits and pieces and redo your core script and try to make it better? Has anyone tried this?

Being that this site has a loyal readership, I am only going to show ads to logged in members to avoid panda for now. If this recovery is for real, I will start deploying a few ads throughout the site slowly and cautiously.

 

goodroi

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 2:34 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is not fun to see hard working people face hard business situations but nobody ever said life was easy. The Panda update raised the water level in the webmaster pool. Some webmasters are very talented and have been able to keep swimming amongst this higher water level. Some other webmasters were not as talented and used outdated strategies so they were unable to keep afloat and sank beneath the water.

I do think that with enough time, money and creativity a site impacted by panda can be rescued. Though it might not be profitable to rescue certain sites and that might be hard to hear for some webmasters who are emotionally tied to their sites.

As for starting a new site, I would tell panda webmasters to take a step back and really think why a new site would have any different result than their current site. If your SEO knowledge is not strong enough to rescue your site from Panda, why would you expect a new site built using your current SEO knowledge to do any better?

santapaws

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 2:35 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

define disaster.

Marshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 2:49 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

For what it is worth, I have been managing one of my customers e-commerce sites since 1999. before Panda, 80% of it ranked in the top 5 search results with the remaining pages in the top 10. Since, Panda, it has fallen to page 2, 3 or further.

Shortly after Panda, a parallel site to the one above was launched, same design and content. It's pages rank as the old (existing) site did, for the most part. Despite some SEO changes to the original site, it has improved slightly, but still has not recovered fully. This has also happened to several customers of mine who have e-commerce sites, so I know it's not just me or my imagination.

My conclusion: Google was looking for fresh content and that a site's age, no matter how relevant the content, had little bearing on SERPs. One exception: large companies, e.g. that one site named after ancient warrior women, or a certain big box store.

I must emphasize, this is only in reference to an e-commerce site as several other non e-commerce sites I manage have not been affected at all.

falsepositive



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 3:29 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am no longer thinking about SEO but usability. I've tossed SEO out since February. We'll see what happens (as a a Panda 1.0 "victim", I've seen partial improvement). I'll think about SEO after I rework my entire site (radically).

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 4:20 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is not fun to see hard working people face hard business situations but nobody ever said life was easy. The Panda update raised the water level in the webmaster pool. Some webmasters are very talented and have been able to keep swimming amongst this higher water level. Some other webmasters were not as talented and used outdated strategies so they were unable to keep afloat and sank beneath the water.

I do think that with enough time, money and creativity a site impacted by panda can be rescued. Though it might not be profitable to rescue certain sites and that might be hard to hear for some webmasters who are emotionally tied to their sites.

As for starting a new site, I would tell panda webmasters to take a step back and really think why a new site would have any different result than their current site. If your SEO knowledge is not strong enough to rescue your site from Panda, why would you expect a new site built using your current SEO knowledge to do any better?


You know all this is baloney, right?

Unless you have an inside connection - there is no way you can prepare yourself for upcoming algo changes. And if your website survived Panda, it doesn't mean you are knowledgeable SEO, it simply means that you were not affected by the algo changes. I have one set of websites that was killed by Panda and another that benefited greatly. How is this any reflection of my "talent"?!?

I am yet to hear about a website hit hard by Panda that has made a full recovery. I'm not saying it won't happen, it will happen and will happen exactly the next time Google decides to shake things a bit with a major algo change. And when that happens - the set of websites that benefited from Panda will drop and the set that was killed by Panda will rise again. It has been like this ever since I can remember...

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 4:57 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)


Unless you have an inside connection - there is no way you can prepare yourself for upcoming algo changes.

That's the baloney.

If I have a brick house, no source of flames and a sprinler system I'm prepared against my house burning down. It's not a guarantee, but it's a mile different from smoking cigars in my house built of straw.

. I have one set of websites that was killed by Panda and another that benefited greatly. How is this any reflection of my "talent"?!?

It's a reflection of your talent because you didn't do any work prior to panda to ensure that you're not getting hit by algo changes. The fact that some didn't get hit is a matter of blind luck. The sites that didn't get hammered are likely vulnerable to the next algo update.

Just because people aren't building their sites with an eye to staying away from algo changes doesn't mean it can't be done. There's no 100% guarantee but one can certainly take some obvious steps to ensure that you're not getting hit.

And the baseline for that is little more than strong authority backlinks, a well designed site, and expert level content. And two out of three won't do.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:47 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

The fact that some didn't get hit is a matter of blind luck


Precisely! You can believe all you want that you've built a brick house, but as you pointed out - there is no 100% guarantee and your own website could be the victim next time around.

If I have a brick house, no source of flames and a sprinler system I'm prepared against my house burning down.


And here comes Panda/Lion/Bobcat in the form of lightning strike and you will be the next one to join the bunch of surprised homeowners who were prepared against home-fires...

Lenny2



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 6:06 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

@wheel: the analogy is awesome... "no source of flames and a sprinkler system" is a bit much... but, the visualization is awesome.

Also a "fat cigar in a staw hut" reminds of many "SEO companies" I've entertained working with in the past...

Basically, what we all have to remember is this:

Build amazing applications that people WANT and Google will find you... it's also what Matt Cutts has been saying for years now.

When someone comes to your site... through the search engines... they are exploring. And even if they landed on the wrong page, the desired reaction should be: "Wow, this wasn't what I was looking for... but, man this is awesome."

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 6:59 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

And here comes Panda/Lion/Bobcat in the form of lightning strike and you will be the next one to join the bunch of surprised homeowners who were prepared against home-fires...

You've completely missed the point that algo changes aren't random. I won't be the next surprised website owner, because it's *against* Google's best interests to demote me. I quite simply have the best website in my niche. I didn't fake it through backlinks.

falsepositive



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 7:20 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

As a Panda victim, I buy into what lenny2 and wheel are saying. User standards and expectations are increasing while search technology continues to evolve. When search technology begins to completely emulate what the universe of users are looking for (and the closer it gets to that), the bottom line will be what you have to offer, and not how many links you have.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 8:55 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

You've completely missed the point that algo changes aren't random. I won't be the next surprised website owner, because it's *against* Google's best interests to demote me. I quite simply have the best website in my niche. I didn't fake it through backlinks.


You are completely wrong in your statement, but I now know why - you simply have one niche website, hence you can't really gauge the impact these Google SE changes bring.

As a matter of fact I have a few niche websites which have been ranking on content only for many years, not a single link; from back in the days when you could submit your website to Google for crawling :) Of course, those are niche sites for keywords returning <1 mill. results.

I own over 100 websites and I can guarantee you two things:

1. - Yes, algo changes are not only random, their implementations are random, as well.
2. There is no such thing as brick house. Your time will come :)

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 9:00 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

algo changes aren't random


I don't think the intention is to be random, but the effect is random

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 9:20 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I own over 100 websites and I can guarantee you two things:

Do you guarantee that like you just guaranteed that I only have one websites?

I've got more websites than you, in probably more niches. I do that because if Google jumps into my niche I need to be able to move. I was ready for this years ago.

All my income is online. 1/2 of it comes from non-google sources. Do you have that diversity?

The fact that you set up a site that wasn't over the top, and got algo'ed out as a result does not mean that others don't have the forethought to put preventative measures in place and to have contingency plans in place should it happen. I've got results going back further than many people have been doing SEO to back that claim up.

What you are probably missing is that if Matt Cutts looked at your site, he's going to say 'whatever, that's no better or worse than 1000 other sites, I don't care if it's on the front page or not'. My main site, Matt Cutts wouldn't say that. And THAT'S what the algo is implementing - not pagerank or backlinks or expert content. Google makes more money if they serve better results. My primary website qualifies as 'better results', in every measure. Content. Layout. Backlinks. Authority. Bounce rate. Whatever.

Frankly, if we're passing judgement, and you've got 100 'core' websites, then you deserved to be panda'd. Because there's no way any of those sites are decent quality. You probably resorted to automating backlinks and content in some fashion. I have never resorted to either other than for testing purposes.

Generally, if you got hit by panda, it's not Google's fault, and it's not my fault. It's your fault.

boirun03

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 9:25 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

good to hear, I'm on the starting from scratch mentality now too. I'm done making small tweaks to my site since there has been nothing to show for it.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:49 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Generally, if you got hit by panda, it's not Google's fault, and it's not my fault. It's your fault.

@wheel + @atlrus
I respect everything you both are sharing.
However, to my best knowledge and I have couple of sites, the algorithm has never been that smart in recognizing good/superior content.

I have many examples of shallow content outranking top content.
Unfortunately, with all the social tools, online sensors and whatever, Google (and Bing) do not know to define quality sites - Not before Panda and it gets even worse after Panda.

That is why I think that it is random..

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 6:29 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am surprised some are trying to have us believe Google algo updates are some sort of lottery draws?

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 6:23 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am surprised some are trying to have us believe Google algo updates are some sort of lottery draws?


They absolutely are, I have seen no evidence to the contrary and I beg someone to prove me wrong.
1. There is no scheduled update of the algo, ever. Much like lottery it could hit at any time.
2. No one knows what would be/has been changed and how it would affect a website. Not even Google itself. Never. Even now no one knows what Panda is all about.

What you are probably missing is that if Matt Cutts looked at your site, he's going to say 'whatever, that's no better or worse than 1000 other sites, I don't care if it's on the front page or not'. My main site, Matt Cutts wouldn't say that. And THAT'S what the algo is implementing - not pagerank or backlinks or expert content. Google makes more money if they serve better results. My primary website qualifies as 'better results', in every measure. Content. Layout. Backlinks. Authority. Bounce rate. Whatever.


Yeah, you keep telling yourself that. I know I will see you again when Google algos your website, which I know it will. Then you would be one of the people with great websites crying here because they can't believe they did everything right, Matt Cutts thought their website was first page quality, yet somehow they got the boot.

And since you already mentioned you are preparing yourself for that day with backup websites, then why are you arguing?!? Obviously you already know there is no such thing as "great website ranking #1 for ever"...

All my income is online. 1/2 of it comes from non-google sources. Do you have that diversity?


Yes, I do. I've been earning my living exclusively online for the past 13 years, I think I have a lot of experience. Once I used to have a website, a great website, just like yours - perfect as far as Google guidelines were concerned. But after one big algo update it was pushed back by a bunch of spammers. That was my first real eye opener about algo changes and I am sorry to say, but you will have your moment, too, eventually.

You want a very recent example of how full of "S" Google is? Do a search for "women's clothing" and see which website is ranked #1. Yeah, keep drinking Matt Cutts koolaid...

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 2:12 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

bunch of spammers

You seem to refer to anyone who outrank you as a spammer.

I very rarely see sites on the first page that I would refer to as spammers.

For some reason, I am glad I don't see this issue the way you do.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:36 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

You seem to refer to anyone who outrank you as a spammer.


Not really. When the websites that pushed me did so based on thousands of links from Russian blogs, I call that spammers, you call them whatever you want :)

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:40 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just because you use Russia+blog+link in the same sentence, that doesn't make them spammers.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:59 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just because you use Russia+blog+link in the same sentence, that doesn't make them spammers.


Like I said - you call them whatever you want. I'm done beating a dead donkey.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 5:25 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am surprised some are trying to have us believe Google algo updates are some sort of lottery draws?

If the algo so smart why do they hired thousands of raters?
To make it more biased and inaccurate.
Cheers

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4393326 posted 6:19 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the algo so smart why do they hired thousands of raters?

No - the purpose is to do effective QA on the automated changes they make to the algo and see what the overall effects are. Any major project that doesn't have built-in QA is very foolish.

-----------

It seems like this discussion is finished and wandering far afield from the original topic, so I'm locking the thread. If anyone has a new and on-topic comment to make (the topic is starting from scratch to recover from Panda) drop me a note.

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