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Panda Score - not Panda Penalty?

 10:07 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Having witnessed some sites "recover" from Panda, I see that they do not always fully recover, and some times even get worse.
This has lead me to believe that Panda is not a penalty of any sort, i.e. in Panda or not in Panda, but so much as it is an arbitrary score, that is added, or subtracted, from your total ranking score.

So the more Panda friendly your site, the better your Panda score.
It affects your overall ranking like Pagerank. Pagerank is also a weighting factor, it's not like you have Pagerank or don't have Pagerank, you are given a score. I think the same is true for Panda.

Or was this already obvious?



 3:48 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would say you're pretty accurate in your summary and whether it's 'obvious' to some or not, I think it's definitely good info to be shared, because it seems like there's quite a bit of 'confusion' (for lack of a better word) around here these days, so good job on the clarification/summary and I'm personally glad you shared it.

A couple things I would point out, just for clarification and attempting to avoid more confusion since PageRank is mentioned, is:

Panda does not (afaik) 'cascade' from one site (external page) to another like PageRank (or not exactly, see below), but I do definitely agree with a page/site being given a 'score' rather than an in/out situation being created directly and 'low scoring' pages, as determined by Panda, can effect an entire site, so there is some type of 'cascading' or 'averaging' or 'overall impact' intra-site (within a domain) with Panda, but it's not inter-site (domains linking to you do not 'pass you' a portion of their Panda score and you do not pass your score to them via linking to their site), but for the sake of 'complete discussion' I do on occasion wonder if pages linked to from your site (pages) may 'reverse cascade' their Panda score to your site/pages*.

* IOW: We know with a relatively high degree of certainty you cannot pass your Panda Score to another site or page, but I have wondered on occasion if the score attributed to a page (or site) you link to could impact your overall score that's determined by the Panda portion of the ranking system. (I really don't know on this, it's just a thought I've toyed with on occasion.)

And, there may be an in/out 'threshold' of some type, but I think you're definitely right on an 'overall score' being determined by the Panda scoring system and then some other type of mechanism, an 'arbitrary value' or 'a relative to the whole' or something along those lines, determines the effect the score given has on indexing of a site/pages.


 5:38 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, I think you are obviously correct about the threshold, i.e. being a good Panda site, can only benefit you so much.

I believe the Panda algorithm is determined from:
-bounce rate
-average time on site
-exit rate
-returning visitors
all relative to the other SERPs or search terms.


 6:29 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Something else to keep in mind: content on page A can have a negative effect on the rankings of content on page B with Panda.

I've personally seen this happen to a site with affiliate pages. The owner had been well ranked for close to 8 years and had sailed through Panda and Penguin without any noticeable effect, until he added a new category to his site containing several affiliate reviews with offers.

The new pages didn't rank well and brought little traffic but the other pages, most of which were five or more years old, began to tumble in serps. Shocked he removed the content and asked for reconsideration but was told there was no penalty and roughly 90 days later his older content began rising in the serps again.

note: he didn't use robots.txt or add a redirect/meta tag to the pages, he simply ripped them out of the site and allowed them to return 404 errors.

My best guess: A site can support x amount of negative factors and remain boyant but x+1 and the site begins to suffer as a whole, not just on the pages with negative factors(eg aff links, thin content, unrelated content etc). All things in moderation!


 1:39 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

content on page A can have a negative effect on the rankings of content on page B with Panda

I noticed the same thing right at Panda 1.0. The negative effect seems to be related to "click distance" in some way. I really can't pin the "decay rate" down so far - and after all it's more important to fix the most hurting pages and regain some traffic.

However, I also agree with this thread - Panda is a "score" or an algorithm factor, and not a penalty. Using the word penalty to describe any ranking loss can lead into confused thinking.


 2:35 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Here is the deal, Panda is just a part of the algo as we know when you have a good Panda score, then you dont need that many links. If you have a bad Panda score you need more links, thats how it works.


 2:35 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm fairly certain now that an average is calculated for every site which is then compared to the average for your niche and/or type of site, which produces your Panda score (which is then used to adjust rankings produced by the main algo).

I think the negative effect on Page A of linking to Page B can be due to how the link text affects the content on Page A. If it introduces words that result in Page A gaining new badly targeted traffic then that harms the metrics of Page A and can result in a drop in rankings in between Panda's (i.e. it's nothing to do with Panda). I don't think it's connected to the quality of Page B. If Page A is a high traffic page however, the negative effect on metrics could impact the whole site (meaning less traffic at the next Panda).

I went through a process of removing non-selling products from categories and saw rankings improve within 1-2 weeks which, at the time, I thought was because we'd reduced the amount of low quality pages accessible from that category page, but now I realise it's because it produced a more focused page which removed some badly targeted traffic that was producing bad metrics for that page. Basically, bounce rate improved because it left us with more tightly targeted traffic, so rankings improved.

We've gained 40% traffic since the last Panda, focusing on improving metrics on our highest traffic pages. A few things are telling me this is a much less ominous issue than I first thought.

Martin Ice Web

 5:20 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

claaarky, in converse argument this means that if we have more accurate/targeted sub-categories this would should improve rankings?


 4:31 am on Nov 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was hit by Panda in April 2011 - did tons of improvements, no recovery at all, then hit again by Panda 20 in September 2012.

If whatson is right about this:

I believe the Panda algorithm is determined from:
-bounce rate
-average time on site
-exit rate
-returning visitors
all relative to the other SERPs or search terms.

Then my site should have recovered.
On a side note - my site ranked very well for 10+ years for it's niche before being hit by Panda.

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