U.S.-based information site with an international audience, at its current domain for nearly a dozen years and at a previous location for more than 16 years. Hit by Panda 1.0 in February, 2011 and currently down at least 60 percent from 2010 traffic levels despite content growth over the last 2-1/2 years.
One point that I find interesting. MikeNoLastName wrote:
Most of the changes WE have seen, are from 500-1000+ (i.e. nowhere) to the top 100. Which we all know are of minimal traffic use below pages 1-3. For example we have seen our top niche keywords which we have tracked for over 3 years, in the last 3 days, go from A: 1000+ -> 39 b: 22 -> 5 c: 612-> 55 d:1000+ -> 36 e:722 -> 9 f:225-> 25 along with a bunch that went from 30ish to 5-ish in the last 3 days. In addition we have seen a few which jumped up to 20-30 on the first day, continue to climb into the top 10 over the next couple of days.
Our site was never hit that badly: For us, the ranking declines for important keywords or kephrases were fairly modest--e.g., from 1 to 6, 3 to 9, 5 to 11, and so on. Still, that was enough to have an enormous impact on Google referrals, since users tend to click on the top three results.
Since it's mostly been business as usual for our site in the last week (despite an enormous crawl on July 11), I'm wondering if we were ever "hit" by Panda at all.
What if our slips from 1 to 6, 3 to 9, 5 to 11, or whatever had nothing to do an algorithmic "penalty" for our site?
What if those ranking drops were simply caused by a boost for ranking factors that favored corporate content farms, UGC megasites, and exact-match domains?
In other words, maybe we didn't have extra weight added to our saddle by the handicapper: The big-name and EMD horses had their lead bars removed.
That might help to explain why rankings on sites like MikeNoLastName's have jumped dramatically (e.g., from 1,000+ to 39 in one case) but still haven't bumped their way into the top positions where ranking factors seem to benefit megasites and EMDs (at least for the queries that I use).
I mentioned earlier that we had significant jumps for a couple of our major (and oldest) subtopics last Friday and Saturday, but those changes evaporated on Sunday and our daily stats have been almost exact replicas of our stats from mid- to late June since then. I wonder if Google might have been experimenting with the planned "authority" boost that Matt Cutts discussed in his Webmaster Video of May 13? I have quite a bit of of authority for those two topics (I've been writing professionally about one since 1996 and the other since 1981), so if Google were to use something like "AuthorRank" as a ranking factor, I'd expect those two subtopics to benefit.