crobb305 - 11:01 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)
Well, since my penalty hit on March 10, I have been taking recovery steps on the Panda trail. However, I am starting to think that my penalty may be more of an OOP (over optimization).
In analyzing my WMT data, one thing jumped out at me. On the day of my penalty, my ranking for my main 2-word phrase fell 300 positions. As a result, all longtail phrases that incorporate this 2-word phrase fell 20 to 40 positions. Back in January, I added an H1 tag to my homepage, which has that 2-word phrase in it. How it can go two months before a penalty hits is beyond me. I have seen two deep crawls since that change was implemented. For the life of me, I can't understand why G would penalize for a legitimate use of an H1 tag, but maybe the fact that a 6-year-old site never used a header tag suddenly starts to use one raised a red flag. Furthermore, the rapid increase in traffic that I saw in mid to late February (30 to 40 percent) may have caused the algorithm to take a closer look at the new H1. So, at this point, I have no idea which road to take, but I think I have done all I can do. I have taken out the H1, I have added new content, I have cleaned up spelling errors, etc. All bases seem to be covered.
I'm still baffled by the fact that my penalty hit A) 2 months after I added an H1 and B) 2 weeks after Panda was unleashed on Feb 24.
My traffic has dropped 50%, so I suppose it could have been worse. It could have been 100%. I still have 8 sitelinks for my website name (which I think is a good sign).
I'll keep you posted.
I'm curious to know if you guys who have been hit by penalty are seeing any phrase-specific drops like I have, or are the declines in position fairly evenly distributed?