koan - 8:10 pm on Oct 17, 2011 (gmt 0)
So what did you do, and what did you not do that you felt that you should do. The analysis would provide helpful insight.
- redesign of web site, the look & resolution were getting oldish. Old images based menu was changed to text links.
- changed ads to lesser performing but more user friendly positions in layout after redesign. I was always conservative in that area however and I'm often told I'm missing out but I respect my users.
- worked on improving load time as much as I could
- improved navigation structure (especially in homepage) for better PR focus to important areas
- noindexed tons of pages that may be useful for users but are mostly duplicate / thin content (lists of content links organized in different ways, user profiles, etc).
- sent a lot of copyright complaints to people stealing our content
- deoptimized inpage SEO for our main keywords in the layout, adding variety all around
- Fixed any problems found in Google Webmaster Tools (like duplicate titles and meta descriptions).
- removed site wide affiliate links
- decrease of interlinking between my sites
- favoring longer articles with more content
I may have forgotten a few but you can see the spirit of all those changes, fix the site as much as possible, removing anything that may be pushing it in terms of SEO and commercialization, defend it against plagiarists, improve it as much as possible for users, etc.
Note also that I didn't see much improvements for almost half a year while doing these changes but I just never stopped, whenever I thought of possible improvements, I did it, even if the site wasn't generating much income anymore. I won't lie, I was often feeling hopeless and bitter, and I'm still very cautious, Panda seems so chaotic and arbitrary, it made me paranoid. I have also applied those fixes on other sites caught by Panda and they have not recovered one bit yet.