gadget26 - 6:29 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
@panthro: I'd be interested to know what changes to your site you've made in the meantime, though.
After the first panda I fixed a lot of technical issues. I removed duplicate content. I spell-checked everything. I wrote new descriptions and took new pictures. I used rel=canonical and noindex to prune the site to a fraction of it's former size, removing similar and lower quality pages from google's index. Then I focused on user engagement statistics, testing and implementing dozens of changes. The last of these major changes were completed over 6 months ago. Every change seemed to result in reduced traffic.
Then I finally relented and split the informational pages out of my main ecommerce website into a sub-domain. (I hated to do this because it was worse for my users, but I wondered if google was confused about whether I was an ecomm or info site.) This was completed about 3 months ago.
The only thing I did in the last three months is reindex a bunch of the pages that I had noindexed earlier. Looking at the top pages in the SERPs, it's clear that many of them would not be there if there was a duplicate content penalty and they seemed to actually thrive with many similar pages. (Similar products, remember we're ecomm.)
Keep in mind that I am positive that I am still heavily Pandalized. Google organic referrals are still roughly 30% of what they were before Feb 2011. And google organic conversions are about normal for this season. It's just that they are consistent, with no zombie periods. In the long run, that makes a BIG difference.
And if the throttling is also lifted, I will now be "allowed" to increase traffic as I improve further.
Why? I dunno. Guesses?
1) Splitting my info pages to a sub-domain caused my main site to be more targeted and google was no longer confused about whether I was an ecomm or info site. (Were my zombies just info referrals to an ecomm site? In idea I put forth earlier.)
2) Restarting adwords brought many highly targeted visitors to my site, which changed the overall user metrics considerably. Could this cause the lifting of a hypothetical zombie/throttling "penalty"?