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Large site affected by Panda

5:07 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ok, I have went over my site for the last few months changing things to be inline with what google has asked for. My site only ranks in the top 10 for 1 term now, when pre Panda I was in the top 10 for quite a few in my niche. Google seems to love slurping up all my blog images and displaying them in Images, but my web search positions are failing big time. The site still ranks well on bing and yahoo, but the volume is so low from those two that it does not make a difference.

Should I focus on building a new site instead of trying to get this one to recover? I saw a post here that said If you fell into the panda blackhole, you will never get out. Im beginning to believe this.

I also read that google has not re-ran the initial panda algo smack down to see if sites are 'more' inline with what the want to see. Is this true?

6:32 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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What Matt Cutts said is that the Panda algorithm is not updated daily [webmasterworld.com]. No doubt that is is run periodically. In fact, some stepwise improvements have been reported even in the early weeks following Panda 1.

Depending on the factors Panda is looking at, any on-page and on-site improvement might not immediately make a big difference. For example, if Google is using significant amounts of user-metrics, the users make take a while to notice the differences to a degree that it moves the user-data needle to any significant degree.

I've mentioned several times that I don't think of Panda like a penalty that is just applied and can then be lifted. So I don't expect to see dramatic "recovery" - only stepwise signs that Google's new overall algorithm gives an improved score. And that's what Panda is: one component in the complete Google algorithm.

Should you focus on building a new site? Since we still have very little history to go on for Panda relief, it's hard to say which is faster - promoting a new site and getting it to rank well or working for a stepwise improvement on the existing site.


You say it is a large site, but you are discussing it as if you are running a one man business. Do you actually have many employees, or is this your own solitary project?
7:58 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Roaming Gnome, that's a tough one. The site might come back but then even if it does, it may come back partially when you're broke.

I disagree with Tedster a bit: people have chopped down the sites, added more content, improved navigation etc etc and still lost more rankings and traffic. Whatever user metric Google is using it's hard to believe that they got worse for the people that improved their sites, while less pages and more content should generally mean higher rank, or at least not lower. Google doesn't need all the data to make an update for your site, you can get credit for what improved or slammed for what got worse. It can be a long time before Google sends, say 20 people to each of your pages to gauge user interaction, or whatever.

So something sadistic is going on at Google.
9:37 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Gnome - I wish I had the answers. I've spent almost 3 months now making so many improvements, from technical issues, to usability, and even improving quality on older pages.

Results? Referrals from G have got worse and worse, til almost nil now. So who knows?
6:08 am on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the answers.

You say it is a large site, but you are discussing it as if you are running a one man business. Do you actually have many employees, or is this your own solitary project?

Yes, I am a one man operation. I have continuously improved the site in every way since its launch in 1998. From content (all written by me) to site design (hired designers). I have always ranked well regardless of any updates. This one hit me hard and I have been scrambling to get back with no luck.

Some of the sites ranking above me are train wrecks when it comes to navigation and content. Ads on top, sides and bottom of the content pages and pop ups. I see domains with positions 2,3 & 4 for a term. Its just so frustrating without any real guide to go by. (Yes, I read the google blog but that was as clear as a bucket of mud.)

So the new algo wants to see:

People "hanging out" on my site?
Twitter links to my site to get the "social community" radar working.
Digg and other sharing sites to mention me and users sharing my content.
Random links to my pages from all over the world.
Not one page that is straight to the point, but instead pages that run on like a 8th grade student's book report.

I have put in countless hours reading, working and thinking, but this one is not making much sense.

@walkman - I hope this does not drag out much longer because (you are right) I can't afford that.

@synthese - Trust me, I'm there.
1:40 pm on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 21, 2004
votes: 277

Hi Roaming Gnome,

Please be careful when reading people's opinions online. Unfortunately too few webmasters take the time to do real research and this results in not the best information being spread.

The good news is that I know several websites that were hit by Panda and were able to make changes and have seen traffic greatly improve. What is the magical cure that fixed these sites? I don't know and I don't know anyone that is 100% sure either.

I can tell you that much of the changes for the sites that have rebounded involved poor quality pages containing few words, broken links, duplicate content etc. Why did this help - I am not 100% sure. Maybe Google has a content quality score or maybe Google saw lower bounce rate or maybe Google wants a high percentage of deep pages to have external backlinks or maybe its something else.

I would suggest you focus on the basics. Have a good amount of quality content. Develop legitimate backlinks with real anchor text to your home page and deep pages. Go after social markets not because it might be a Google quality signal but because its a way to diverse your traffic and make you less reliant on Google rankings.

I also suggest you read up on Google and Facebook. They do not like each other much and I doubt Google is using much of Facebook data. Microsoft on the other hand has a much different relationship with Facebook and has talked about using its data.

While you are at you should read Google's statements directly from Google. Google engineer Matt Cutts' statement is
Short version is that it's not data that's updated daily right now. More like when we re-run the algorithms to regen the data.
He said that on May 10th. Maybe Panda data is now daily or maybe back then they were running it every 48 hours. Matt did not say how many times it has been run and how often. He left a big area for interpretation.
3:46 pm on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Appreciate the response. I will keep plugging away and looking at ways to bring in traffic outside of Google. Hopefully my satellite sites keep me afloat until I get my cash cow back. :)

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