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Recovery From Penguin / Panda By URL Change - Possible?
Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 9:39 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey there, Everyone:

have you been able to recover a page from panda or penguin by a simple URL change on the same domain?

Example: Changing the following page from:

mydomain.com/blue-widgets.html

to:

mydomain.com/blue_widgets.html

or would the following be better:

mydomain.com/bluewidgets.html

Please Note: This page used to rank on page 1 of the SERPs for "blue widgets" but then dropped out and was replaced by the home page.

I should also mention that I have done a reconsideration request and I got a message back saying there was no manual penalty, and I suspect that it might be an inbound link or two from an external site that might be causing the pandalization / penguinization.

thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 9:44 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I heard of several Panda recoveries that followed on URL changes - but the recoveries were short lived and they disappeared after the next Panda Update. I haven't heard of any verified Penguin recoveries at all. Some rumors and stories, yes, but nothing I could verify.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 10:20 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

have you been able to recover a page from panda or penguin by a simple URL change on the same domain?


No.

In our case, we tried 301-ing the old url > new url on a few pages, and also tried letting the old url 404, then after it was gone from Google (1-2 weeks, using the site:domain.tld command) we recreated a new page with the same content.

Neither method worked for recovering a page from the effects of our own "April 24th" loss.

Also as a result, we lost search traffic from engines other than Google to those pages as well.

Do the old-pages still rank well in alternate search engines that use Google results? (Like FoxStart)

MH

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 10:41 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tedster:

"I heard of several Panda recoveries that followed on URL changes - but the recoveries were short lived and they disappeared after the next Panda Update."


Thank you.

I guess even a short term recovery is better than no recovery...

@ mhansen:

Thank you for the feedback:

"Do the old-pages still rank well in alternate search engines that use Google results? (Like FoxStart) "

Nope, not anymore.

For a long time (several months) the home page ranked for the keyword blue widgets in place of the blue-widgets.html page (both in the google results as well as in aol or other search engines that made use of select sets of google results).

One reason I believed that the home page was ranking for the term blue widgets in lieu of the blue-widgets,html page was because the home page had the words "Blue Widgets" as the first words in the title element (of the home page).

I have removed the word "blue widgets" from the title element of the home page a few weeks ago and, having just checked search results yesterday, it appears to have dropped from Page 1 of the SERPs to nowhere in the SERPs for that keyword.

Thanks again, and thanks in advance for any other thoughts. I am pretty much at wit's end on how to get this page back onto page 1 of the SERPs, aside from changing the page URL.

asusplay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 11:34 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I tried moving one site to another domain that was decimated by the April 24th update and it had no effect.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 11:46 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ asusplay:

Thanks for the note.

"I tried moving one site to another domain that was decimated by the April 24th update and it had no effect."

I think my situation MIGHT be a bit different from yours - maybe you can let me know if not though.

My page still seemed to rank for long-tail variations on "blue widgets", and the home page replaced the blue-widgets.html page in the serps for the term "blue widgets"

In fact, there is another page on my site that ranks #1 in organics for "blue widgets construction materials"

so I would say it is not so much of a site-wide panda / penguin issue... more just like an individual page issue.

Thanks again.

neildt



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 9:37 am on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I tried this with a couple of URLs with no success.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 4:40 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ neildt:

Thanks for the note.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 5:14 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ P13 -

On our effected site, we have tried quite a bit to recover from the April 24th penalty. We continue to see an odd set of results in custom search engines (Engines that use a Google custom search box) which is why I asked.

Original URL - ranked 2nd for its intended visitor. The resulting page on our site is/was very detailed about the topic, and is often copied on other sites who temporarily rank for the phrase.

Changed URL - ranked for a few weeks as Ted mentions, then it just dropped to a -950, end of results type filter, where it resides with many other pages from our site.

Changed URL on custom search engines - Ranks top 10 as we would expect to find in Google main index. Same content, very few changes.

At one point, the URL we tested had dropped out of the top 10 in custom search as we continued to flatten out our onsite optimization. (reduced keywords, heading deoptimization, related phrases, reduced onsite links, reduced factors within our own control) When we started losing referrals from engines "Other Than Google" as well as dropping off the custom search pages, we decided to turn the focus back to our own visitors and what the other search engines liked. We put most of our original content optimization back into place. The page rose back to top 3 in custom search (search engines that use Google results, in some kind of unfiltered fashion), and we started gaining positions back in OTG engines.

MH

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 5:26 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sometimes people use the word "URL" and the word "domain name" to mean the same thing. They are not the same, and for this discussion in particular it's important to keep things clear.

You can move pages to a new URL on the same domain (just the filepath changes) and you can move pages to a completely new domain. So when you share your accounts, please clarify which you did - thanks.

For my reply above, the pages were moved to a different URL on the same domain in most cases. For one of them, the pages were moved to a new domain name.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 5:42 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sometimes people use the word "URL" and the word "domain name" to mean the same thing.


In our case, I am referring to a "single specific page url" on the same domain.

Original URL - domain.tld/filename.htm
Changed URL - domain.tld/new-filename.htm (same content as original url)

MH

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 7:35 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

to be clear, in my instance, I am thinking of taking a page and changing the file name only, the same as mhansen did above.

I think my situation might be different / have more potential because after that page dropped out of the google SERPs:

1) the home page started ranking instead of the "optimized" page at the exact same spot, and

2) That optimized page continued to rank for several variations of the keyword "blue widgets", such as "Albanian blue widgets" or "blue widgets construction materials", just not the keyword "blue widgets"

At this point, I don't know what I have to lose...

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 9:22 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's very often the case that a deep page will rank for a core phrase with modifiers, while a home page will rank for the core phrase. Possibly...

a) you mention the core phrase on your home page too many times...
b) your deeper page doesn't lead users to pages they're happy with...
c) your deeper page isn't getting the confirmation (or engagement) that Google needs, either via trusted external inbound links or other types of user attention, for Google to rank it over your home page.

It may be that you've too obviously targeted your deep page and Google is aware of the manipulation, so Google is pushing the page down.

Often in ecommerce situations, it turns out that the phrases with modifiers, while searched less, have higher conversion rates... and the short trophy phrase, while it might bring in more traffic, doesn't convert because it's too general.

PS: Changing the name on the page would only confuse Google for a while by providing a temporary diversion. Eventually, results would revert to results appropriate to the actual situation, which apparently you're not planning on changing.

blend27

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 9:55 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

To throw a monkey wrench into conversation, does any one have GA installed on these domains?

Reason I ask, is that we did what Planet13 describes and were able to recover with slightly de-SEO-ing the pages in question as well. Just a bit.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 10:52 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

does any one have GA installed on these domains?


Yes. I know we do.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 10:54 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ blend27


"To throw a monkey wrench into conversation, does any one have GA installed on these domains?"


I do, as well.

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 11:02 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

PPS: I should add to my post above that it's in fact to be expected that, on a short general phrase, if both the home page and the deeper page include the core phrase, and the home page has inbound links favoring the phrase, then it's to be expected that the home page will outrank the deeper page... particularly in the situations I described.

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 7:08 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

It may be that you've too obviously targeted your deep page and Google is aware of the manipulation, so Google is pushing the page down.


Robert,

I read this and think that this is something that I might be facing. I want my home page to rank for a two-word phrase and for some time it did rank for the phrase, then an inner-page started to rank for it (the inner page I believe has the phrase mentioned on it more than the home page), and now the home page is ranking for it, but the rankings are not very high.

The home page has a couple of links with the phrase pointing to it, but they are from article directories so I don't think that this is what is causing the home page to rank for the phrase. I think that the inner page might be over optimized for the phrase and maybe this is why the home page is ranking for it.

When the inner page ranked for the phrase, it was ranking higher than where the home page is now ranking.

Could over optimization be the reason for what I am seeing?

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 12:23 am on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Robert Charlton:

I had written a reply to your post above, but unfortunately I of course deleted it before hitting the submit button. So here is just kind of a brief response regarding your points:

A) I have lessened the amount of times that it was mentioned on the home page - which is probably why the home page is not ranking anymore in the spot that the optimized page HAD been ranking.

B) The deeper page is a category level ecomm page, and links directly to the product level ecomm pages, plus a few informational pages which, IMHO, are related to the products on the category level page.

C)I think it is a link issue, and to be more specific, I think that a former poster on webmasterworld was trying to do me a favor by linking to my site. Unfortunately, he seems to have been penalized around middle of last year. So while I have some good natural links from places like huffington post and PBS, maybe his links killed me?

you also mentioned:

"Eventually, results would revert to results appropriate to the actual situation, which apparently you're not planning on changing."

I am not sure that is entirely accurate. I have, indeed, tried to make the page more concise, which has resulted in less mentions of the keyword phrase. I have moved about half the content to other pages, which I then linked out to from the category level optimized page.

It would, however, be difficult to change much more on the page. It is, after all, a category-level ecommerce page and it's main purpose is similar to that of most every other category-level ecommerce page on the web: show thumbnails and have links directly to the products in that category.

Indeed, the MAJORITY of other ecommerce sites ranking for this keyword have the exact same structure. The exceptions are the amazons and ebays where google has decided to list a search results page (instead of a category page) from one of those sites (despite the collective thought being that we should noindex search results).

lewis1



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 11:35 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just to throw in my 2 cents...

I tried what Planet13 was asking on a Panda and Penguin hit site. The new pages didn't rank at all after changing some file names.

I then moved the site to another domain, jiggled a few things about and rankings for the site were returned and held strong through the last Panda update. Just waiting to see when Penguin hits again to see if it's going to survive that one too. My theory is that it will as I haven't used a normal domain redirect.

asusplay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 1:07 am on Dec 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Planet13, I think changing domains had no effect as I did 301 redirects from every page in the old domain to the new one, so I guess I was transferring whatever issues there were in the old one, but how can you change domains otherwise?
Changing URLs within the same domain I think would have the same effect if you 301 the old page to new. If you don't and you have the same content then the new page wouldn't be considered and you'd lose all the link juice to it anyway if you had any external links...
Thats partly the reason I decided to take the more drastic measure of changing domains but, it didnt work from me. Actually I did it under the recommendation of some SEO guys who assured me it would work though, maybe my site was an exception? Who knows...

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4528753 posted 10:08 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thank you, lewis1 and asusplay;

My situation might be a little different;

After the optimized page (blue-widgets.html) was dropped from the results, the home page ranked in its place for the term blue widgets.

Also, this page USED to be on a different domain, and had some links pointing to it. I have 301 redirected the old links to the blue-widgets.html on the current domain.

So if I were to change the blue-widgets.html to bluewidgets.html I would go back to the OLD domain (where it used to reside) and change the 301 redirects there to the new bluewidgets.html page on the current domain.

But I would NOT do 301 redirects from the current blue-widgets.html on the current domain to the new bluewidgets.html (again, on the current domain).

So it would get SOME link juice (from the old domain) but not from the new domain.

a little confusing... hope it makes sense.

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