|Panda 4.0 – Mobile Redirects? / Time to recover from de-indexing?|
A new client of mine has a website that was devastated by Panda 4.0. Since the update the site’s traffic has decreased by over 60%, which has thrown my client into a panicked frenzy. The site itself allows users to upload pictures, in which each picture contains a unique URL. While ideally all of these picture pages as landing pages would generate traffic, even before the update, the main page and the category pages were responsible for the overwhelming majority of organic traffic. When using a site search I found a significant problem, that being that although the website contains approximately 25,000 pages, Google had over 60,000 in the index. Given that the picture pages likely fall under the heading of thin content (i.e., each picture page contained a random URL, no text description, pictures did not contain alt text, and only a handful of pages contained descriptive titles), I decided to de-index the entire site outside of the main and category pages. Remarkably, using these remove URL tool from Google Webmasters, the 60,000+ pages were de-indexed within hours. A difficult question to answer, but assuming that this was ultimately the problem, how long until the client’s traffic levels return to pre-Panda levels?
However, another potential issues exists that could be the true cause of the traffic decline. The client has been using a mobile direct from an advertising network. The redirect takes users away from the site to other websites in the advertising network. The mobile redirect generates a decent amount of revenue, but many of the mobile users that encounter the redirect ultimately do not get to the client’s site. What are your thoughts on these types of mobile redirects? Would they not be considered deceptive redirects and a violation of Google policies? Do these types of redirects fall under the Panda umbrella?
Note: There are no manual actions listed in the Webmaster tools.
Are you asking when the site will return to pre-panda levels after you deindexed 99% of the pre-panda pages? How could you expect the site to generate that traffic with so few urls remaining in the index? Hopefully I am misunderstanding something.
Goodroi, that in fact was one of my questions. As landing pages, the main page along with the category pages, were responsible for over 95% of the organic traffic. In fact the main page in of itself was responsible for 90% of the Google organic traffic based on looking at the Webmaster Tools. Given that each picture page contained a random URL, no text description, pictures did not contain alt text, and only a handful of pages contained descriptive titles, I believe they are viewed as thin content.
The second question I have pertains to the mobile redirect in which mobile users are taken away from the site to other websites in the advertising network. In your opinion would this type of redirect fall under the recent Panda update?
That mobile redirect is definitely a problem. It degrades the user experience and Google certainly could be filing that away as a policy violation since the user didn't explicitly ask to be immediately whisked away from the site. It may be adding revenue, but it could also be a major source of your Panda penalty pain.
Having 25k pages with no real content on them is Panda heaven. I'm surprised the site lasted this long. Noindexing them is definitely the right course of action. Since traffic seems to be landing predominately on the intermediary pages, this deindexing shouldn't hurt too much. How many pages are left though?
Per your original question. Panda refreshes seem to go in every 4 to 6 weeks so unlike Penguin you should see some results fairly soon if you've addressed all of the site's issues. I wouldn't expect it all to come back in one update though. Traffic should steadily improve over time with each new Panda refresh.
Thanks for the response Vandelayweb. After the de-indexing, the website is left with only ten landing pages (i.e., the main page and a handful of category pages). My client has added additional text to these pages on the bottom of the picture galleries as well. Hopefully the combination of these changes will return the website to former levels, but only time will tell.