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Panda 2.2 Update Part 2



1:57 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The following was continued from http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4326253.htm [webmasterworld.com]
According to Search Engine Land [searchengineland.com...]
Google has given us confirmation that they have ran an update to the Panda filter recently.

We have been expecting the Panda 2.2 update based on news coming out of the SMX Advanced conference. Matt Cutts told SMX attendees that Panda 2.2 has been approved, hasnít been rolled out yet, but that should happen soon.

The update hit sometime late last week. I believe Google manually pushed out the Panda 2.2 update around June 16th.

Bad news for all of us still Pandalized waiting to have the penalty lifted.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:34 pm (utc) on Jun 21, 2011]
[edit reason] split from previous thread last week [/edit]


5:36 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Has anybody recovered from this latest Panda update?

My panda hit site hasn't moved despite removing over 100k pages. We have added a huge amount of content, yet we still continue to fall. My 10 year old site is now sitting with scrappers and 3 word blog post at the bottom of the serps.


5:41 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My home page has continued to be pounded since May 4th 2010. My inner pages took a hit on one of the Panda updates and they recovered with this last update.

Don't ask me why the home page gets pounded with every Panda rollout and the inner pages come back because I don't know. I use the same SEO techniques on the home page as all the inner pages.

Makes no sense to me.


5:47 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My Panda 2.2 report:

On a site hit by Panda 1 and 2, I haven't seen any significant change in traffic. (Have not worked on the site much either.)

However, as mentioned in a previous post, have seen some pre-Panda keyword referrals from non US Gooble domains like .ph

Have not analyzed this in depth, will investigate. My speculation is some sort of dial back on the international Panda.


5:54 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

May be this is why my traffic has doubled, hmm!


5:57 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Bunch of folks still reporting scrapers still?

They said 2.2 was supposed to deal with this [searchengineland.com...]

Anybody seeing any improvements with the scraper situation?


6:04 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I haven't recovered at all either, after redesigning layout to feature content over ads and removing some cheesy SEO "tricks" like a script for auto-generating keyword variations for the titles of item pages - I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that! ;-)

However, I think I know what is wrong and how to fix it. I have a three-level taxonomy. Top-level categories list mid-level categories, with a unique description and a link. These were not hit very hard. Bottom level subcategories list individual items, with a caption, image and link. These, for the most part, were not hit that hard either.

Mid-level categories, on the other hand, were hammered pretty much across the board. On a mid-level category page, I list the first two items in each subcategory, with the same caption, image and link that appears for these items on the subcategory page. There is also a link to the subcategory.

The upshot of this is that the mid-level category pages look like "tag" pages (although strictly speaking they're not). That is, they have content that is duplicated from the subcategory pages, no unique content except, in some cases, some fairly obvious spider-food at the bottom of the page which I should probably just delete.

This is obviously a big mistake, I should have seen it sooner. Now that I'm rethinking it, I realize that it's confusing to users and search engines alike and creates pages of questionable value at best. I'm changing the architecture so that the mid-level categories don't link to individual items at all, but rather just link to the subcategory page with a unique image and caption. That way the mid-level categories have unique content and links, and no duplicated content/links scraped from their subpages as they do now.

I'm also planning to add/upgrade lots of content in existing subcategories.

I think I've got it pinned down, I think it'll work this time... we'll see in another 4-6 weeks, apparently.


6:19 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If it's definitely Panda 2.2, then my site that got taken out by Panda 2.1 has returned.

I thought they were still in testing mode (this site last came back 17th June - and had been back and forth since June 6th) . I think I'll wait a week before I relax though. FWIW, I re-wrote all content plus streamlined site structure.

I also had another small site that came back 6th June - it had tanked on May 9th (Panda 2.1) and the problem was that it got infected with spam, which I then cleaned up.


6:58 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pandalized feb 24. Just searched a snippet from my index page, a spammy pay for inclusion "PHP Link Directory" has the first two spots. At least I'm number 3 now, I would lol but no. (I didn't pay to be there by the way...)

On another search google lists 3 links to my sites facebook page, followed by seven universities linking to the site, some site trying to sell fake diamonds, two links to that php link directory again, then my site at number 14.


7:25 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

my site that got taken out by Panda 2.1 has returned

Congrats Alyssa. Good to hear.

I am also seeing an increase in traffic yesterday and today it is even more so, beyond prePanda levels and with 83% of my site de-indexed even. Longtail and conversions are up. I will not claim victory yet until a few days have gone by. Just keeping fingers crossed. If all goes well I will report my results.

I am wondering if Panda 2.2 is being rolled out in batches. The searchengine article claims June 16 but I didn't see anything major until yesterday June 20th. Perhaps that is why some people are not seeing changes yet? I know Thursdays are notorious for updates so maybe in two days...


7:29 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

@AlyssaS, what specifically did you do to streamline your site structure? I'm beginning to think it's my site structure (taxonomy) that is Pandalizing me (again). The site's second level, or tier, consists largely of pages that are really just directories of third-tier pages -- where the meaty content resides. So the second-tier pages are thin -- both in word count and in ad-to-content ratio. The alternatives:

(1) eliminate the second tier and link to all my third-tier pages from my home page, which will clutter up the home page with dozens more links

(2) add some gratuitous, albeit unique, content to my second-tier pages

All else equal, isn't it preferable to maintain a shallow link structure (meaning fewer clicks from the home page to get to the deepest links)?


7:42 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Three points i wanted to mention and forget about this whole mess!

1.We have NOT returned with 3 big sites while the SERPS shifted a bit bringing more MFAs back punished years ago. Scrapers are still there including fake Facebook pages with our content.

2.We made all the necessary changes including rewriting and shallow content removing, restricting index for tags etc.

3.I still can't understand why GWT report still shows perfect (Pre-Panda) positions for one of the sites but the reality is different.


7:53 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had four sites recover from oblivion on June 17th, now I don't know if it was because of improvements I made to them or because of this.


8:00 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

We are a US ecommerce site Pandalized Feb 24 and sliding down ever since. We gained a consistent 10 to 15% with this June 16 rollout. (First weekly gain since Feb 24.) We have cleaned up the site technically, added some new content, and gone after scrapers. We're still only at 38% of pre-Panda levels, but at least its an improvement.


8:08 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

(2) add some gratuitous, albeit unique, content to my second-tier pages

numnum, I'm thinking the same thing as I outlined above. I would go with (2) except don't think of it as "gratuitous" content, try to make it useful content that helps the users decide whether to click on a third-tier link and which one they should be going to. These pages are purely navigational, but I don't think that's a problem in and of itself provided they serve a useful navigational purpose -- i.e. helping the users to orient themselves within the site and decide where to go next.


8:44 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

numnum - it was things like tag pages that duplicated category pages - so say you had Brand X and a category named as such and listed across the top. Google is fine with that, but I had also tagged with Brand X, which practically reproduced the category page. I think they think that's an attempt to use internal pages to game their system. So I eliminated those tags.

Also don't go for a home page with loads and loads of links! I don't think they like that at all. I reduced the internal links each page had - you have to think of ways to interlink everything without overdoing it, and the only way is to customise it bit by bit.


8:47 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

We are in the UK and not seen any recovery, yet we continue to improve our content, based on Google guidelines.

Wondering whether each new version, is tried in the US first of all, before going international?


8:47 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Right, and it would be far quicker to add content to a handful of pages than to redesign the site structure, not to mention redesigning the home page. Also, I'd need to 301 those second-tier pages, which could hurt -- at least for a while. On the other hand, I've always been concerned that my link structure goes so deep to get to what most readers really want to access that it's a turn-off. It's a logical structure, and it made sense in 1996 (when I first designed and put of the site -- yes, you read that right: 1996). But a navigational structure that mimics a book's table of contents just isn't what users expect or want anymore from a site that is not clearly a "directory" or an academic work.

But I'd still like to know whether, all else equal, a deeper link will rank lower than one that's higher up in a site's link structure. My understanding is that the GA analyzes your taxonomy and assumes that your intention is for pages further up the tree to be assigned more importance that ones further down. If so, that would argue for a flatter directory structure where the real meat (as opposed to the thinner, second-tier) is currently a bit too deep.


8:51 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

P.S. I should have added, if you reduce the number of internal links pointing to each page, then you need to obtain fresh external links to make up for it, or your traffic will not recover entirely. You want to eliminate on-page irritations without losing support for each page in the process


9:02 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Again, from reading this, it sounds like recoveries are different depending upon which initial Panda devoured you. For those who got hit in the first round (2/24), some slight recovering was seen during this last round, but it's still just a matter of "creeping up a bit" or "some positive movement". For those who got hit in the 2.0 and later rounds, they've had the opportunity for a full recovery in this round. Let me know if this does not jive with your own experience.


9:03 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"Pandarank" - is this an actual ranking scale, or is it simply Panda'ed or not Panda'ed?


9:11 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for elucidating. Last week I tried designing a home page that incorporates links to all my third-tier pages. I quickly realized that I'd end up with a blue mess (blue, as in my alink color) that is essentially a site map. That said, I think Craigslist pulls it off quite nicely.

Also last week I eliminated my "Related Pages" block, which appeared at the end of each article. Those lists were my way of interlinking the site's pages, the idea being to drive traffic more uniformly across the site as opposed to just the half-dozen or so pages that rank especially high on the SERPs. I'm not sure that my interlinking method ever worked in terms of the GA. Now I'm thinking that I'm better off with contextual linking -- that is, incorporating internal links discreetly within my page's content. Am I on the right track?


9:17 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well that's it. I give up. That's three updates now where my site hasn't recovered, and I've done everything I can think of. If there was something else to try I'd try it, but there isn't.

So I will now no longer worry about Panda and just assume that 50% of my traffic is gone for good, and move forward accordingly with the mindset that Google will not be a part of bringing visitors to my site anymore.

That seems to be the only reasonable course left.


9:23 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Alyssa It's worth noting that everything you're describing is something I've been doing... and I haven't recovered.

But I'm a Panda 1 penalized... and it doesn't seem like Panda 1 penalty sites recover nearly as easily as Panda 2.


9:32 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'd still like to know whether, all else equal, a deeper link will rank lower than one that's higher up in a site's link structure

That's an interesting site architecture question, but probably not directly related to Panda.

tedster is particularly expert in this and perhaps he could comment -- my answer to the question as phrased would be "yes" but with the caveat that if you make your entire structure shallower, that's not "all else equal."

That is to say, if you simply move a single page up one rung in the hierarchy without changing anything else, normally you would expect that page to rank higher, simply because it gets more raw PR.

However, if you make the entire site shallower, in particular if you link to everything from the homepage, you're splitting your top-level PR among many more pages, which will decrease the ranking of the pages that were previously top-level.

It's a fine balancing act -- you want it flat enough that PR gets spread around nicely, but deep enough that the main topics get significantly more PR than the minor topics.

My advice, for what it's worth, is that if your basic architecture was working well for you pre-Panda, don't change it. Focus rather on beefing up the pages you have, that's what seems to have worked best for others.

Anyway, that's what I'm going with. I'm definitely not going to link to all of my bottom-level subcategories from the homepage, that would be a horrible mess.


9:34 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Shatner - I also re-wrote my content, and it wasn't simply re-wording. I added significant new substance, some of which wasn't available on G or Bing, and I got by emailing manufacturers with lists of questions. Also went through my analytics pre-Panda, and for all the long tails, checked whether my page actually answered the question the searcher asked or whether they landed there because G had nothing else to serve. Then did research to answer the questions and added the info in.

But I take your point about Panda 1. My observation is this: where the websites are controlled by a single webmaster who controls the content either by writing it or acting as a strict editor, sites have rebounded. But for sites with user-generated content, it's another story.

You are in the latter category, arn't you? In which our little anecdotes don't help because I am certain G is applying a different criteria to UGC sites, and only someone with that experience can help you.


9:41 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

When Google does these updates, I was under the impression that they were adding or adjusting filters and not "rerunning" the data. Are we certain that they are rerunning the data?


9:55 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

When Google does these updates, I was under the impression that they were adding or adjusting filters and not "rerunning" the data. Are we certain that they are rerunning the data?
We, the people, don't know. But on each Panda, new sites are caught so either G targeted different sites or they added new things in the algo. Then the next one some of the newly hit sites come back, either by fixing it or G removing that filter. We don't know.

But it would be interesting and revealing to know why a site escaped 1.0 and was caught in 2.1.


10:09 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've had several site owners hire me to do audits since Panda struck in February. Of all those clients, one appears to have fully recovered. [twitpic.com...]

They were the worst hit of all these clients, and the ones with the biggest problems.

Work that's been performed so far:

Resolve serious server speed problems
Remove 70% of the ads (header, sidebar, in-content)
Reorganize top level content
Refine topical focus on main categories

Only time will tell if this is a stable recovery, however I just cant believe that such a huge recovery is going to be short-lived...


10:09 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


Wow, you really did your homework. Yours is perhaps the most instructive Panda-recovery anecdote I've read to date. Tell us: did you revise you META descriptions as well, so that searchers are more likely to click through to your site based on the SERP squib?

With reworked content that more completely provides the information (or "answer") your long-tail searchers seek, what is the typical reader's next action? Is the reader less likely to bounce back to the G search results? Is the reader spending more time on the page and then browsing your site further. If Google Analytics knows as much, then I suppose it makes sense that your editorial labours have paid off. Is this what you speculate is going on? And if so, isn't running Analytics and implementing similar changes a really good idea for anyone seeking to recover from Panda?
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