Content_ed - 3:37 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
It's now been over four weeks since I started the 301 experiment which has two parts. I'll review a little since these posts are so infrequent, but full details can be read in my previous posts in this thread.
In experiment #1 I 301'd a dozen pages (in two phases) from a site that lost 80% of it's Google traffic to Panda 1.0 and 1.1, to my hobby site that was hurt in 1.1 but then recovered on its own and then saw it's Google traffic jump to 3X pre-Panda on October 14th.
Nine out of 12 pages recovered to pre-Panda levels within a day or two of the move, and are still there. Three pages improved without recovering fully. One recovered fully after I reworded it from top to bottom, the other two are doing much better but are still down from pre-Panda, around 30% for one and 50% for the other. They were previously the strongest pages on the Pandalized site, drawing in the 700 - 800 visitor a day range, so a year out of the spotlight might have cost them rank since they lost organic link building momentum. The twelve pages added around 2,500 visitors a day to the hobby site.
Bing and Yahoo stopped sending any visitors to the pages as soon as they figured out they'd been moved, so this would be a bad experiment for anybody who counts on Microsoft for a big chunk of their traffic. In terms of Google, moving the pages clearly got them out from under Panda, it's now just a question of whether Google will slam the whole site when they get around to the next Panda update.
In experiment #2, which I started exactly four weeks ago, I moved a collection of around 30 pages from my main site, which was hit in Panda 1.0 and 1.1 (though not quite as badly as the site above) to a site I've owned for three years but never used beyond installing WordPress. The collection of pages are currently drawing around 800 visitors a day, half of that to the most popular page.
All of the pages moved to that site jumped appreciably after the move, but not back to pre-Panda levels. I would say they were down about two thirds when they original site got Pandalized, and now they're down around one third. Hard to say with the seasonal traffic. I attribute the lack of a full recovery for any of the pages to the fact that this site is Panda neutral, neither loved nor hated.
I'm less sanguine about the pages that didn't immediately recover on being moved pointing to specific problems after looking back at a full month of Analytics. In one case, the rewritten page went from 16 Google visitors the first week to over 300/week after the rewrite was indexed, and those 16 the first week are within Analytics margin of error for zero. Those differences, by the way, were about what it did pre-Panda and post-Panda on the Pandalized site. It was actually the least popular page in the collection for some time before Panda as well.
But on the other two pages, looking at a full month's data I can't really see the affect of the rewrites, and I hate to hang a theory on a single page. For what it's worth, I am highly confident that rewording pages on Pandalized sites has no immediate effect, but I decided to do it anyway for the pages that were the most attractive to content thieves in case it helps when Panda does update.
I'll report in again after the next Panda update, it will be interesting to see whether the destination sites or the source sites have their status changed.