SocietyRoyalle - 10:37 am on Oct 1, 2011 (gmt 0)
Don't congratulate us just yet - we are all too aware of the DaniWeb rollercoster ride :)
The 300K pages removed represented ~40% of our pages, and around 15% of our incoming Google traffic. We believe we still have to remove another ~10% of pages in order to exceed Google's quality guidelines - as you can imagine, that last 10% is the most difficult.
Our efforts began soon after Panda 1.0 - but we messed them up. We know this because WMT was still reporting a large number of URLs that shouldn't have been there - we made some mistakes in the removal process initially that resulted in our CMS still serving up the old URLs we were trying to remove and redirect.
This problem was compounded by the fact that the Google bot was only indexing a small percentage of our pages every day - basically it appears their bot was smart enough to only occasionally download the long tail pages that didn't get much traffic on a per page basis - but which added up to a reasonable sum in our long tail.
Let me be clear - we have not tried to do any misleading 301 redirects - we simply made all the "+1" and "me too" posts we removed redirect to their parent posts (we have a lot of pages - we've been online since before Google).
The other thing to note is that the pages we deemed to be of poor quality according to Google's guidelines were primarily user generated - in fact we had a plan to deal with them before Panda, but we put the plan off because Google was rewarding these pages with long tail organic search traffic.
In other words - we knew these pages were of low quality before Panda hit.
In terms of timing - the effective date for the changes was in early July.