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To 301 or not (Panda'd and desperate)

     
11:33 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have an industry specific web directory website with company listings and news. It also has spidered info from other websites in the industry on gear for sale and jobs. We got royally caned in the panda update and our traffic dropped 40%. We do have other websites that work the same way in different industries / regions and they didn't seem to drop at all - the only difference is this particular one had much more scraped information than the others.

So we've done all we can think of to fix the problem in the way of removing duplication etc without success and the only thing we see left is to spin off the spidered info into a new domain (we don't want to bin it because ironically it's very useful for the users and accounts for 20% of our traffic).

Question is will that likely fix the panda penalty and most importantly if we 301 the current pages to their new location will we somehow still keep whatever Panda penalty we're suffering even though the offending spidered data is on a different domain (that we'll invariably link to).

As an aside, the Panda update really does seem to have been a backwards move for Google. They appear to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in that they've penalised plenty of decent sites but without actually overly improving their results.
4:54 pm on June 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It also has spidered info from other websites in the industry on gear for sale and jobs.
Hmm if this is correct why should you be ranking at all. Shouldn't the sites you ripped their content from be the ones in the serps? So now you moved the ripped content from one domain to another. How do you suppose this is going to help the site that got hit?

How many pages are in this directory? How many pages are content you built and not meshed up with a spider?
5:51 pm on June 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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According to the latest interview by Danny Sullivan with Matt Cutts (see the thread in this forum) google is trying to work on reducing the ranking of scrapers (apparently the Panda algorithm was allowing some scrapers to outrank the originals).

So if you site has a lot of scraped content, I would expect it to rank WORSE after the upcoming updates - not better.

I understand your orther sites haven't been hit by Panda as hard as this site has. I am not sure that you will find any reason why one site gets hit and another doesn't. It might be that certain factors are more significant depending on the popularity (and competition) for various keywords.

So in short, if you want the site to rank organically, then you are going to have to minimize the scraped content and get as much original content as possible.
7:18 pm on June 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We do have other websites that work the same way in different industries / regions and they didn't seem to drop at all - the only difference is this particular one had much more scraped information than the others.


What about traffic? Was the Panda-affected site bringing in significantly more traffic than your other sites before it got hit?
9:41 am on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hmm if this is correct why should you be ranking at all. Shouldn't the sites you ripped their content from be the ones in the serps? So now you moved the ripped content from one domain to another. How do you suppose this is going to help the site that got hit?


We have loads of unique content and don't actually rank well for the scraped stuff which doesn't really matter as our unique stuff did rank fine. Trouble is the Panda penalty has dropped all our ranks across the site, not just the spidered stuff.

What about traffic? Was the Panda-affected site bringing in significantly more traffic than your other sites before it got hit?

Oddly no, this website is one of the lower traffic ones.

So now you moved the ripped content from one domain to another. How do you suppose this is going to help the site that got hit?

The thinking is that if it is the scraped content that is causing us to be penalised then we need to get rid of it. However, the users really rely on it as a useful aggregate so we can't afford to bin it. We were hoping if we moved it to a new domain then it might take the penalty with it. Question is, if we 301 to preserve the little rank it has, will that somehow cause the Panda penalty to not be lifted...



What we have noticed is it has a high ratio of scraped to unique content so we've significantly dropped the volume of spidered stuff to see if that was the problem.
1:08 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It isn't a penality but a ranking change. Sounds like the thin content % was much larger than the unique content and this might be the cause of the ranking change.
How many pages did you move over?
1:14 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It isn't a penality but a ranking change. Sounds like the thin content % was much larger than the unique content and this might be the cause of the ranking change.
How many pages did you move over?


This is what I'm thinking. We had 85k pages of scraped stuff and 53k pages of unique content. I've reduced the scraped content to 43k. It's a shame as it impacts the users but at this point we don't have much choice.

Big question now is how long might it take for results and how long to wait if nothing is happening.
1:28 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Did you set up a 301 or have the page moved throw a 404?
1:40 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Did you set up a 301 or have the page moved throw a 404?


I didn't move any pages. I just removed a load and 410'd them. I'm hoping that the 43k that are left wont be enough to trip the Panda penalty.
1:54 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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the only thing we see left is to spin off the spidered info into a new domain (we don't want to bin it because ironically it's very useful for the users and accounts for 20% of our traffic).
I assumed you moved it but what your saying is all the new spidered stuff you moved to another domain.

410 is best yes sorry. Nothing you do (not saying impossible) will pop you out of this ranking drop. It has been discussed in great length. Since you have done the above I would really work very hard on good inbound links. Messing with the site and not generating quality links won't do much to get you out, but with a good incoming new link profile this just might be the ticket.
3:12 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I assumed you moved it but what your saying is all the new spidered stuff you moved to another domain.

410 is best yes sorry. Nothing you do (not saying impossible) will pop you out of this ranking drop. It has been discussed in great length. Since you have done the above I would really work very hard on good inbound links. Messing with the site and not generating quality links won't do much to get you out, but with a good incoming new link profile this just might be the ticket.


I may still move it to a new domain but it's definitely a last resort thing.

From what I heard from Matt Cutts the Panda issue is purely algorithmic and therefore if you change whatever the algo didn't like about your site then it should pop back to normal? I call it a penalty but I didn't think that's what it actually was, more like a reranking based on a flag. Is this not the case?
3:30 pm on June 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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From what I heard from Matt Cutts the Panda issue is purely algorithmic and therefore if you change whatever the algo didn't like about your site then it should pop back to normal? I call it a penalty but I didn't think that's what it actually was, more like a reranking based on a flag. Is this not the case?

[webmasterworld.com...] This thread might help ya with a timeline.