Lenny2 - 6:16 am on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)
We were hit on the first Panda... lost about 75% of our traffic... we were on the original top 300 list of losers. Have not really been affected since in any iteration of Panda. I really feel for those that recovered only to lose again... We let go of 7 employees... I know how tough it is to deal with. Anyway about panda here is what we have done:
1. Sped up the site (still too slow... but relatively faster than we were before)
2. Got rid of paid links
3. Google No followed all content on the site that did not represent the products with enough information... (improved quality of content)
4. Google no followed about 1,000 additional niche category pages with low quality/duplicate content.
5. Added features like: reviews; comments
6. Created blogs with high quality niche information linking back to our site.
7. Added Facebook and Google +1 (BY THE WAY GOOGLE + HAS RECEIVED ZERO RESPONSE FROM OUR USERS... Facebook has received minimal response. IT'S COMPLETELY A WASTE OF TIME. AND I'D HAVE TO COME UP WITH A VERY CHEESY GIMMICK TO GET TRACTION WITH IT IN MY NICHE...I THINK THAT UNLESS YOU ARE IN A NERDY VERTICAL YOU WILL FIND IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO NATURALLY BUILD THESE METRICS.)
8. Updating the site with new/revised content on a daily basis.
It's probably a good thing that I didn't recover... because if I had and then lost my traffic in this latest iteration I'd probably have given my 29 year old heart an attack... making my 8 month old boy fatherless.... (I'm obviously not going to sue Google for any future health problems I may come up with for dealing with their search engine :)
Overall our key terms (thousands of them) are IN GENERAL improving VERY VERY VERY VERY small bits at a time... our webmaster tools show a net positive in POSITIVES versus NEGATIVE... I do believe the POSITIVE has to do with the enhanced content on the site... and the slow recognition of some of the UGC (in conjunction with quality content) initiatives I mentioned above.
Personally I'm resolved to just doing as all respectable webmasters have bowed down to before me: Creating a site/content etc. that user want to see/use and screw looking at GAnaltyics. If the site is meaningfully better than the next best thing, it will be found. At least my heart will be beating to the sound of my own drum... rather than worrying about what the new CEO of Google may or may not do.
Having said that... if anybody has unlocked the secret code to the Panda, may you survive the next one!