Broadway - 6:48 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)
Congratulations on your recovery. While I've been enjoying my recent surge in traffic, I've been hesitant to say much about because I don't know how lasting it will be.
However, in hopes that it helps someone...
What I've worked toward these last several months is to finally look at my site and pages and ask myself, what's it going to take to satisfy the visitor's questions? What's it going to take to get a person to want to click onto the next page? (I have an informational website.) I can't image why I hadn't asked myself this before.
For my situation, it was:
A) Vastly improving my inter-topic navigation (I ended up with page-top tab navigation). This is the biggest change I've made to my site in the last few months.
Doing this noticeably increased "time on site", "pages per visit," and lowered the bounce rate.
B) To a lesser degree, I've also been de-optimizing keyword use in titles, H tags and text. Improve overall readability. And improving on-page organization and linking from the page top.
Historically, since Panda 2.0, I had been focused on paring (near) duplicate topics and thin content. I'm sure I made some improvements there, but now (these last 4 month) I've concluded that "sticky" content must be the solution I need.
Right now I subscribing to the theory (as mentioned here on WebmasterWorld) that google simply wants to send SERP's traffic to sites that satisfy searchers (as in a "long" click to a site, and no bounce back to the SERP's to click the next one).
I'll also say this. I benefited nicely from Panda 1.0. I got devastated by Panda 2.0. 2.0 was the update that spread Panda tactics to "the long tail."
Before Panda 2.0 something like 1/3 of my search traffic was generated by 20 of my pages or so (these were my big-traffic short-tail pages). The bounce rate on these pages was noticeably lower than my website as a whole.
That to me explains why I passed Panda 1.0 (it only looked at my high volume short-tail traffic pages) and why I flunked Panda 2.0 (that looked at all of the search traffic going to my site, long and short). My higher bounce rate (lack of "stickiness") for lesser, internal pages tipped the scales against me.
Just my impression, don't know that it's right.
By the way, I've do very little social.
It's an adsense site, but not over done. I do however, use a single page-top left-side skyscraper above the fold.
Google categorizes me as a slooow website.
Never really done a link-building campaign.