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|Instant Panda Recovery by moving pages to a different site|
I'd heard quite a bit about getting out from under Panda just by moving sub-domains or pages so I finally gave it a try. I moved a half dozen pages that were drawing a few hundred visitors a day from Google on my Pandalized (down 80%) site to my Panda pleased (up over 300%) site this weekend.
It took a little over 24 hours for Google to start indexing the pages on the new site so I'm not sure if Monday results represent a full day. Of the half dozen pages, three were slightly above their pre-Panda level (year-over-year) on Monday, and three were around 20% under. The average Google traffic for the six pages Monday was around 250 visitors each.
So now the waiting begins for the next Panda cycle. I'm expeciting one of three things to happen, so it will probably be the fourth.
First: Panda could say, "I recognize these pages" and crush the entire site.
Second: Panda could smirk and say, "Took him nine months to figure that out, may as well have made a baby," and do nothing.
Third: Panda could look in awe at this great new content and triple its visitor count, like it did for everything else on the site a couple months ago.
Anybody want to fill in the fourth possibility for me?
Amazing information! Thanks content_ed and donna!
< moved from another location >
I don't know if I'm stating the obvious, or there's some obvious flaw to the argument and I'm just missing it, but after reading the threads on Panda 'recovery' by moving the old site, or copying the old site to a new domain, I'm thinking "well of course, since Panda is a periodic process".
What I mean is, if these sites had the content, on-page optimization, etc. to gain top rankings, and with the exception of backlinks and domain name have otherwise duplicate characteristics, it seems to me they would get ranked similarly by the same algorithm.
Granted backlinking is the most significant factor, but almost every new site enjoys a 'backlink neutral' period, meaning a swift rise - often to the top - based on on-page ranking score. In some respects, that's the whole "Google dance" notion, a swift rise, followed at some point thereafter by a 'deeper' ranking analysis which puts the site in a more holistically-appropriate position, meaning the on-page scoring -plus- off-page (without much off-page - backlinks - the ranking reflects a 'truer' position). Subsequent link building would, at least theoretically, bring it back to where it got to, are close).
Since these sites mentioned dropped as a result of a Panda iteration, won't these moved or copied sites, which have many of the characteristics, see a similar drop during a subsequent iteration, or at least when some of the site metrics hit similar levels?
Just a thought, sorry if I'm just missing something...
[edited by: tedster at 12:17 am (utc) on Jan 8, 2012]
Something is happening this week, even though it's not a Panda update. Both of the destination sites for the 301'd pages have been rising since Monday. The larger site, the pre-existing one I started the experiment with by moving a dozen pages there, is now at record levels.
But more interesting is the collection of 30 or so pages I 301'd to the site that wasn't used pre-Panda. Those pages had only recovered to around 2/3 of pre-Panda levels, as of yesterday their Google traffic was at 100% pre-Panda, following two days of double digit gains. Their overall traffic is still a little short of pre-Panda because they are getting zero visitors from Bing/Yahoo.
Yes, you are both stating the obvious and missing something, but it looks like your post was moved here so maybe you haven't read the thread. The point of the experiment is to see whether Panda will penalize the 301'd pages when it updates. That's why I moved individual pages rather than the whole domain. Rather than theorizing what Google may or may not do, I'm running a test to find out.
For all I know the promotion this week may be a feint before slamming the sites. And there's no reason to assume that you would see the same results if you were moving a bunch of crummy content with lousy SEO links. The pages in this experiment, and the sites they were moved from, show none of the characteristics Google claimed to be targeting in Panda.
Hey Content: The week before my site was Panda'd we had record visitor-ship. Keep on keeping on man... I for one appreciate your commentary here!
Bing and Yahoo! traffic returned a couple days ago, currently at 66% of the level it was before they dropped the 301'd content, still rising. Looks like it was basically a four week penalty for moving.
And the funny Google story for the week is that they quadrupled the traffic to one of the original pages on my hobby site, from around 200 visitors a day to 800. What makes it funny is the page is a longish (around 6,000 words) first person account of some medical problems I had a few years ago, something I had put out there after failing to find anything useful (to me) on the subject. It's more questions than answers, doesn't have any authoritative incoming links I'm aware of, just some forum mentions and scrapers.
All I can think is it may have benefitted from an overall rise of site authority, given the fact that the 301'd pages came with thousands of organic links stretching back 16 years, and some of that might be passing to the medical page via the home page. It's not even remotely related to the rest of the site, I can't think of any words that it would even share, other than "the" and "I".
It's just so ironic that Google kept using the medical example when talking about quality, would you trust this site to give you medical advice and all that. I suppose people do trust the site because they e-mail me questions all the time and there's no advertising, but I start off by telling them I'm not a doctor.
Thought I'd share my experience with this.
-Registered keywordsexactmatch.net in May 2011.
-Put up the site with 50 750-1000 word articles. The articles were well researched and written, but I made the mistake with overdoing with the wordpress tags system. Instead of just 50-60 indexed pages, I had like 400.
-By early August the site was up to 1,000 uniques per day and pulling in $60-$100 in adsense per day.
-The site lost about 70% of its traffic on October 14th (Panda update). Revenue dropped to $10-$30 per day.
-The main keywords didn't move much. I had lost all long tail traffic.
-After waiting until December 25th, I registered keywordexactmatchblog.com, then did change of address in WMT and 301'd the old site to the new one.
-The new pages quickly got indexed, while the old ones were de-indexed.
-I significantly cleaned up the site. It's same articles, but now there's just 58 pages indexed.
-150% Recovery of traffic and revenue started January 2nd.
Now I'm just working on getting the old backlinks updated to point to the new site, and waiting on the next panda update.
OK, as I commented on the January Serp thread, there's something new going on. The native pages on my Panda beloved hobby site saw big traffic boosts over the last week. Looking at the Alexa data for week over week, the top 5 native pages are up:
1 - 150%
2 - 62%
3 - 26%
4 - 40%
5 - 26%
while the top 5 301'd pages are up (down):
1 - (-1%)
2 - 7%
3 - 2%
4 - 7%
5 - 8%
A human being visiting the site would see no difference between these pages except the subject, visual elements are identical. Yet Google clearly treated the native pages better than the transplants, so I took another look and came up with one difference. The 301'd pages each had a nofollowed link to an order page I'd brought over, since we are in the widgets business.
Maybe Google has decided to hate nofollow's, maybe they've decided to hate simple order pages. In any case, I decided to move another small batch of pages over from our other Pandalized site today and add a simple shopping cart, maybe Google likes those more:-)
I'm embarassed to be adding another couple factors to the experiment at this late date, but after a month and a half, I'm tired of waiting on Panda to revisit. Besides, I've heard that some of the people who did subdomain moves didn't get hammered down again in the next Panda update, but months later.
I'm leaving the other domain in the experiment alone since I don't really have any more pages that fit with the theme anyway.
Looks like I ran out of patience too quickly. The Panda beloved site I added another group of around two dozen pages to a little over a week ago started to slip the next day. While the pages I added immediately doubled their visitor count (they needed to quadruple to get back to pre-Panda), all the other pages on the site started slipping, both the native pages and the December transplants. It's not an avalanche, about a 10% drop on average, but the thing that has me kicking myself is...
The site I 301'd around 30 pages to and then left alone jumped over 50% on the 23rd. The top page is back to around a thousand visitors a day, and all of the other pages are now running well above their pre-Panda levels, more than double in some cases.
Oh, and no significant changes to the Pandalized sites the pages were 301'd from. For what it's worth, the pages that got 301'd last week were formerly the top draw on my main site, best and most high quality links, etc.
Update Jan 28 : All high traffic keywords have jumped 25-40% up the ranks in one day and for the day. Never been in these positions even before Oct/2011 Panda demotion. Morale of the story less is more .
I ran a comparison of our Google traffic on Monday vs. a year ago Monday (pre-Panda), and we're actually up around 10% and back over 10K Google visitors. Well over half of that traffic is coming from a few dozen formerly authoritative pages I 301'd to my hobby site and to a brand new site.
From a business standpoint, we aren't back to "normal" because a good 25% or 30% of the visitors today are for my hobby pages that are drawing as 5X as many visitors as they did before getting Pandalized, recovering, and then getting Panda love in two different updates.
I can't get excited about the fact that it's over ten weeks since I started with the "abandon ship" experiment, Google could still slap the sites down next week or next year. I no longer consider Internet search to be one of the legs our business stands on, so I don't worry about it.
On the positive side, the Google traffic to the existing hobby pages on my hobby site has been falling off a bit as the business related content ramps up. That could just be an effect of the balance of subject matter on the site shifting away from the hobby to the business. The organic links were shifted to the business content in the first transfer, since those pages had an order of magnitude more (and better) links than any of the hobby pages.
I'm also no closer to "knowing" why any of the sites were Pandalized in the first place. I suspect offsite duplicate content (infringements) that we were particularly susceptible to, some of which pre-dated Google on the worst Pandalized site. Even though I did an extensive DMCA clean-up, I left the worst infringed pages on the Pandalized sites, and reworded some of the pages I did move for safety's sake. All four sites now have identical layout, HTML, aesthetics, etc, so it's none of those issues unless Panda has a many month time-out before rechecking.
Regarding the reason for the pandalisation and recovery, is it plausible that spreading the content across more domains has been the key?
Panda seems to dislike too much too closer related content within a site - like the notorious 5 ways to pick your nose example. I have found that killing of sub sections for different types of widgets, actually improves my rankings across the board.
I think google maybe uses external link or link juice generally to decide how many widget pages you can have. Too few links trying to prop up too much closely related content (though not actually duplicate) sets off the Panda bomb.
Would this fit with your experiment? Because it occurs to me that you are carving up content from one site and spreading it across domains? Of course, as you build more and more up in those recipient domains, eventually you may find yourself tripping the "too much too closely related content not adequately supported by links or domain trust filter" (ie Panda!)
Does this fit?
If anything, we had the opposite problem. The pandalized sites that didn't recover were 16 and 11 years old respectively and each included a number of major subject areas that were entirely unrelated to one another.
The 5 ways to pick your nose is typical of article farms. In our case, we have small numbers of deep pages that cover everything we have to say about a subject and have always been cited by people and media as authoritative. Of the current four sites, only one has more than a hundred pages. Prior to breaking them up, the main business site had around a thousand pages, but most of those were my personal blog.
So no, doesn't fit my experiment, exactly the opposite. You might want to read through from the start of the thread for the full description, these are just my bi-weekly follow-ups, I'm not trying to describe the whole thing in each update.
You may have missed that the numbers of pages involved here are tiny by the standards WW users. And, as I commented in the last post, they are some of our most authoritative pages. Many of the pages 301'd had each attracted links from hundreds of different domains. Given the subject area, it doesn't get any better.
Ahh... the flip side of being too crowded on one subject (ie writing for too many specific long tail searches in a niche) is trying to cover too much ground. Google figures you cannot be an expert on diverse subjects and, again, it makes you look like a content farm (many unrelated topics)!
Your good stuff will have almost certainly been ruined by the meanderings of your blog. That's why moving them away (to a new domain) helps.
I did try to read all your updates but, frankly, some only leave me confused (and me a native and educated English speaker!) as to what you are saying, exactly!
Kill your blog and your good stuff might well return. Move your good stuff to tighter, dedicated domains and it will do much better. That's my experience anyhow.
ps: I am noticing movement today that suggests my site-wide Panda score has been recalculated (on the basis it is effecting pages broadly and ones unchanged since last update). You seeing it?
Donna, when you say you "noindexed" 2800 pages from your website, did you really just add a noindex tag, or you deleted those pages and 301'd them?
I have been reading this post over the last few months and would like to know if moving content from a pandalized site to another really works at the end.
My site (a press release platform) has been hit by Panda with minus 50 percent traffic and over the last months I tried to change all the negative factors stated by Google with no effect. Even 100% unique content didn't work because it is still a content farm in a way. I also tried to split up to subdomains with (almost) noch effect.
So now I will try to move the more important (unique) articles over to several others sites. Any hints for that? THX
Could try splitting it into separate sites, each more tightly focused on an industry or topic. Could help you shake off the content farm label. Refocus back to core has been our route out of the panda abyss (and several other webmasters' here, I believe).
@suggy: Any success with subdomains on the pandalized site? Or will different domains be better? How long did it take for Google to accept the changes? THX
One year anniversary tomorrow and I've been contemplating a considerable change. It's been a really depressing twelve months. Yes I've made changes, but quite frankly nearly all the old timers (hands on folks that know what they write about) in my industry (home improvement) have been pummeled as well. It's like the resourceful sites of the past (going back into the late 90's) are on page two and three now.
Anyone have a gizmo that takes you directly to page 2 of the Google SERPS? It seems page one is e commerce and the rest the good stuff.
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