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Let's Post Our Panda Solutions - Things That Have Worked



11:13 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I, like probably many of you have looked through this forum for answers of what we can do to recover from this Panda 2.2 update.

The truth is I am seeing an awful lot of “we have lost this and lost that” and very little of “we did this and got better” results.

I thought it may be an idea to restrict one thread to “Things That Have Worked” whilst we all experiment with content, links and everything else.

Let’s leave all the other chat to other posts, and if you have found something that gave you some sort of return form Panda 2.2 then lets post it here.

I will start will some small gains.

My losses consisted of many pages losing 5 to 10 places for key terms. I.e. first to second page rankings, across the board leading to a 30% traffic reduction. But not huge rankings loses that have been reported from other members.

I noticed I had a big issue with existing “SUPPORTING” pages no longer being cached within Google’s index (or appeared not to be) around a third of my site. I got this message when clicking on the cached link per each page. (My key pages that had most rankings still were cached.)

Your search - cache: Mysitepage: Did not match any documents.

At first I thought Google had an issue with my SUPPORTING content, so I moved this section (around 2000 pages to a subdomain, all handwritten over a long period, but in honesty probably lacks real data).

These SUPPORTING pages also did not cache after 3 weeks (only a very small quality were cached).

What I Did
3 days ago, I went into webmaster tools and increased the crawl rate for these supporting pages and in 3 days have seen a dramatic increase in how many pages now show as cached.

As all these pages had important internal links throughout the site to my KEY pages, I believe I am now regaining these internal links to my KEY pages .(or as now on a subdomain these may now be classed as external links to my KEY pages ).

Sure enough this morning I saw not a full return, but saw several KEY pages return back to first page status. There are still around 50% of these supporting pages to be cached, so I keep finders crossed for further gains.

I had also added links from my home page deeper into key pages that had been linked from internal pages, but does not account for all the improvements just some.

This is not a full return but a big enough indicator, for me to understand maybe if it was the quality of content, moving it to another subdomain has helped.

But also there is still a lot of uncached information out there and I do not think we will see the full status until all pages within google are rechached under Panda.

Of course this is all just my opinion only, even if you disagree with my comments and have your own solutions please post them here.


1:38 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I've now heard three reports of traffic returning to some pandalyzed sites yesterday. Only one issue - one of those sites made absolutely no changes.


2:01 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

flanok, I don't understand what you mean by "SUPPORTING" pages? Can you clarify please?


2:43 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've now heard three reports of traffic returning to some pandalyzed sites yesterday. Only one issue - one of those sites made absolutely no changes.

UK site, made shed-loads of changes but no love from post-Panda Google. Yesterday, started getting some love and this has increased even more today.

Absolutely no idea if this has anything to do with changes made, or if it's just Google updating/changing/messing about.


2:50 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

At least you know your changes didn't hurt, right? What was the biggest change you made, sanjuu?


2:57 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have 2 sites that recovered a fair percentage of traffic yesterday - I did nothing to them at all.

I thought although it isn't of help regarding "things that worked" it might be evidence of some sort of update (either Panda or otherwise).


2:58 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Made a whole host of changes:

1. Removed lots of 'corridor' pages that had very little content but took users from a page through several other pages to a destination. A legacy of what the site had previously.

2. Noindexed lots of pages that were duplicates or close to duplicates of others.

3. Went through the errors in WBT and tried to clean the site up

4. Nofollowed a lot of links on paginated pages

5. Improved titles, descriptions, heading tags and other content on the page

6. Restructured the site significantly to make more sense to both users and Google. This was long overdue, but the client was more willing to do it post-Panda than previously.

I'd say 6 was the biggest change, but all were significant. These were all done quite a while ago (more than a month ago), and so whether they've helped or not we have no idea.


3:11 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seeing the same thing here. Heavily Pandalized site. Went from 2000 uniques to about 300 from google per day after the iterations of Panda. Did the following

1) cut back on posting (its a blog) from 6 per week to 3. Longer posts.
2) took a months worth of post panda data and found every page that google no longer sends traffic to
3) Noindex/nofollow all of those pages (300 out of maybe 1000).

Google is on track to send me 1000 visitors today. Not 100% but encouraging


3:36 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm not throwing a monkey wrench into this thread, but I want repeat that my site had a 5 day recovery which saw my traffic back to pre Panda levels. On the 6th day is dropped further than the first and sits there at that level for over a month. I'm just mentioning so that people can please mention the length of "recovery" because it is important. So for something to have worked, I'm hoping the recovery being mentioned has had some staying power. Otherwise you may be as discouraged as I was on that 6th day and until now. Thanks.


3:43 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Good point mrsavage.

I had one site go up 100% with Panda 2. 2 months later it dropped to 20% below pre panda levels. So google has placed the site in 3 different categories since the pandas started, normal traffic through panda 1, double traffic with panda 2, and down 60% with some later panda. I didn't touch the site the entire time. I even talked on here on how this site gained massively with panda, now it's no longer true.


3:50 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If possible pls post the date of pandalization.
Was it the first one, second...?
Do you guys see the SERPS as settled or are they changing?

The good news is that people share the successes as well. And congrats, . Hell, even 6 hours of normal traffic are a win these days, let alone a possible comeback for good.

[edited by: walkman at 3:52 pm (utc) on Jul 13, 2011]


3:52 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

MrSavage, I also wanted to agree with that - the reason I was suggesting the evidence of an update is that during all Panda updates there has been a surge for 5 days or so and then a fall back after that.

If there is recovery with no changes reported then it could lean towards (a) a new Panda update where we will see the same pattern (b) an update that doesn't follow the pattern and sticks.

Worth following over the next week.


3:53 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've been holding off because I wanted to be sure that my changes were having an impact and I'm happy to say they are - my traffic IS recovering after some changes. I've also been speculating since I know other people's sites have made similar changes without recovery. So here's what I did:

1) Unrelated to Panda but fortunate we did it - back in January we did some relinking between our sites - we have about 100 sites and we changed the linking structure between them. Where 2 or 3 linked to each other we increased to 7 or 8. This was a blanket change - Footer links on every page were javascripted prior to this now became direct links. I mention this because the effect of these "new" links wasn't felt until many weeks after panda but I believe has provided some of the boost.

2) Rewriting pages. This is where my speculation begins because after weeks of testing I found a "formula" which appears specific to sites like ours - I rewrote the pages to be between 300 and 400 words (up from 100-200 words). Every site that I've done so far has recovered to about 60% of pre-panda 2.2 traffic (panda 2.2 was the only one to hit us) and continues to climb. Interestingly, after panda1 our traffic began a dramatic climb - up 30-40% - every panda change up to 2.2 brought us more traffic. So essentially we are back to pre-panda1 levels.

3) External link building - we began external link building on a group of sites and HAVEN'T rewritten the pages on them - there has been a small bump in traffic but not as extensive as those with re-written content. WMT is slowly picking up on the new links so I expect we'll see larger increases as time goes on.

So my speculation is this - Panda definitely IS a site-specific algo which is why it is only periodically run. Can you imagine the power required to run such a sophisticated algo on a more regular basis?

Because it is site-specific the "rules" are different for each site, which is why I think 300-400 words is appropriate for us, but may not work for everyone. Shorter definitely does not work as it used to for us(because sites I haven't rewritten have not recovered as quickly as sites I did). And longer doesn't work as well - pages seem to drop further with longer pages.

Also, sites which used to have higher authority pre-panda, but also haven't had descriptions re-written seem to be continuing to slide. For example, in WMT I'm seeing the links back from these sites to others dropping over the weeks. My feeling is that since they were authority sites pre-panda, the links were worth more. Post panda their authority has dropped therefore their link value is less and fewer of their pages are getting indexed and ranking.

So the combination of "new" links and longer descriptions is having a positive impace, however the descriptions are having greater impact than the links at this point.

One other thing I noticed - our average bounce rate was 25% pre panda1 the jumped to 80%. after Panda2 it dropped to 15%. Once we started change descriptions it dropped even further - to average 10%. Somehow it is related, but not sure why. All I know is these are the numbers pre, during and post Panda.


3:59 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have very incremental gains for my long standing, high ranking site that lost 70% of it's traffic on April 11th.

I did many things as well - but I honestly feel there is some kinda of "timed" penalty. And nothing I do until that designated time is up is going to change anything.

1. Redesigned site entirely. Long over due. Moved it from crappy Frontpage HTML into wordpress. (This may have initially hurt me more...but I'll never really know because I flipped it on May 9th into this new format.)

2. Removed any duplicate content. About 18 pages out of 554 pages.

3. Put a disallow on my forum. Really have no reason for doing this other than a gut instinct it was hurting my rankings.

4. Removed an entire 300 page article directory because I was worried it was nothing but duplicate content from submitters.

5. Removed a business directory that didn't get much traffic.

6. Added new content - a lot - averaging at least 2-3 posts a week now. Wasn't adding much of anything pre-Panda.

7. Changed site title and description.

8. Removed lots of ads.

9 Ongoing - I am going through the site page by page and trying to improve bounce rate and I'm full swing into social media - twittering and FB-ing every day. (Which is lame....but I feel social media is some kind of ranking gauge.)

All this has gained me about 10,000 more visitors over a 3 month period. Much of it was just over due crap I needed to do any way. Maybe that's the point of Panda....to get us to update and improve our sites that we had gotten complacent about?

I am still FAR from seeing the 140,000+ uniques per month I had pre-panda....I'm at about 61,000-62,000 right now.

Also....as a side note....I am not an SEO professional (obviously) - I come here to get help. But I thought if this can help anyone....I'd take the time to post it.

Wondering since this week is 3 months since the April 11th hit....if some sites improved (or went back to normal without doing anything) because a 3 month penalty was lifted? Maybe there are Panda 6 month and 12 month filters too?


4:11 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

At first look, it seems some of my Panda sites started to recover. But a closer analysis shows that nothing changed in my ranking for what I consider the primary keywords.

What did change, however, is I have gained position for long tails, especially a few important ones. So the traffic increase for those is offsetting my loss on short tails. Not 100%, but somewhere about 70%.

A positive side effect is that my traffic is now more qualified, and I am seeing an increase in earnings per visitor, or eCPM.

I think of it as a completly new ball game. I won't go crazy trying to regain those old short tail ranks. I will instead invest my time in growing the longer term strengths. They pay much better, a higher ROI on my time.

Of course, this goes out the window if the next iteration of Panda wipes out my long tail standings.


4:47 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am seeing the same thing Dibbern. What I am noticing is that my site is ranking considerably better on the foreign google servers which were wiped out by panda


4:51 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If possible pls post the date of pandalization.
Was it the first one, second...?
Do you guys see the SERPS as settled or are they changing?

11 April was when Panda hit the UK, and that's when we first felt it directly.

Since then, a drop to 75% natural traffic levels with no noticeable change (up or down) until now. Not getting excited yet, as what Google gives it can easily taketh away.


4:54 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

canuckseo, thanks.

I see something similar. Bounce rate increased dramatically after panda 1 to around 80% and it still continues to remain at 80%. A drop to 10% in your case seem to be helping your cause.

I will have to add that all my metrics went bonkers after panda. The dashboard reports a very low avg. time on site while the internal reports show better ones.The bounce rate jumped to 80%.

I am sure that in my case, a return to the pre-panda metrics will automatically bring in better traffic as I see a clear change in metrics between pre-panda and post-panda.


5:09 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

indyank, he also says that his bounce was 25% when got hit. Don't know the niche but a 25% bounce rate seems very low to me.


5:11 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

walkman, I am seeing something similar.My bounce rate was around 40% pre-panda and it doubled to 80% post panda.

I am seeing a similar thing with avg. time on site but in this case the inner reports are reporting almost the pre-panda metric while the dashboard shows a very poor 00.00.33 secs.


5:18 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

interestingly, on july 4 my bounce rate was shown as 40% and avg. time on site as 00.02.47 secs. That was the only day when metrics looked better but it went back to the post panda levels the next day, resulting in a V shaped graph for these metrics.


5:19 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thread illustrates the problem we have whenever we try to discuss Panda recoveries.

First, 70% of the thread is taken up by people talking about how or why they think they HAVE NOT recovered.

20% is people claiming to recover who post no details.

10% is people who have recovered, and post some details, but leave out key items like how long their recovery has lasted, on what date they were pandalized, and so on on.

@conroy His post above is a perfect example of why this is important. Awhile back he posted that he recovered, and we all put him in the "ok here's an example of someone who recovered box"... but his recovery didn't last and it turns out it wasn't a real recovery, just a momentary spike.

Stuff like that makes it VERY hard to sort out what's going on with these recoveries, let alone determine what people are actually doing.

Combine that with the fact that a lot of people who have recovered didn't do ANYTHING at all... and it's easy to see why there's so much useless confusion and static around this subject.


5:24 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

shatner, people with small or medium sized sites will sometimes see themselves going to pre-panda levels and then drop after 2-3 weeks.

since they are reporting the recoveries in almost real time, you cannot expect them to know what will happen in future.

If you would ask me, a panda recovery for a site with 20K+ visitors a day will be significant and if i am not wrong, i haven't come across any such reports.


5:26 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

This seems to be a real good thread to me as at least people are reporting what they did and what they see. Thanks to everyone.


5:41 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@Shatner - I can provide you with dates - they are pretty consistent among my sites.

Around last week of Feb we saw a spike in traffic - corresponding to Panda 1 rollout - up until then we had seen consistent regular growth in traffic for weeks previous. Then mid Mar we saw a second spike which, from my research, corresponds to panda 2 depending on who you listen to.

in the second week of april we got hit by panda 2.1 which dropped us below pre-panda 1 levels. this is also when our bounce rate skyrocketed form 25 to 80%

We did see a bump up in mid June - when panda 2.2 came out and on sites without the new descriptions the bump only lasted a few days then settled back down, while sites with new descriptions took a bigger upward bump and continued (and still do) to move up. This is also when our bounce rate dropped to 10%


5:43 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

@indyrank I'm not blaming anyone for that, definitely not. I'm just saying this is why it's so hard to sort out what's really going on.

Here's a list of things I think we need to know about each Panda recovery in order to really gain any useful info from it:

1. When were you first Pandalized?
2. How heavy was your Pandalization? What percentage of Google search traffic did you lose?
3. How big is your site?
4. How long have you been recovered so far?
5. What percentage of your Google search traffic have you recovered?
6. What kinds of changes did you make (if any)


5:49 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

One other thing to say - this is for our US sites - the trends I'm reporting - on Canadian sites, the dates are similar but the trend is different. Our traffic remained consistent right until panda 2.1 in mid april, then we lost about 20% - it has remained flat since then but we haven't made significant changes in terms of links or new descriptions. I did recently update 3 canadian sites and they are showing early signs of recovery.

in terms of bounce rate this is where it gets interesting - at the beginning of feb, the bounce rate on canadian sites jumped from 25% to 60% and stayed there to mid may when it jumped again to 80%. Mid June it dropped to 10% and is still there.


5:50 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)


Sorry if I'm being dense here... but are you saying you've recovered or not? I'm confused. LOL.


6:02 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The value of these discussions is to sort out the false positives that look like recovery, but might be only short term blips. It is a component of the learning process.


6:05 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

@canuckseo This is EXACTLY the scenario for my site....EXACTLY.

And I'd like to add....that in my niche - what IS ranking for the two very big keyword phrases for me that I lost from Panda - is some very outdated websites and sites with TONS of ads including more than one adsense unit per page. Also - the same owner has TWO sites ranking in the top five for these keyword phrases. He's interlinking, same server....crap ads everywhere. So what gives? What do I take from this? Add more ads? interlink sites I own? I did the opposite because I thought I was making my site better and following the rules.

I will add, like @indyank....my bounce rate has skyrocketed as well. Like to a weirdo high level. 50%-75% on many pages. Pre-panda (April 11th) it was not like this.

I think my traffic gain is like @dibbern2 - just more traffic from other keywords....and the Panda hit stuff hasn't seen any improvement by all that I have done. At least nothing significant.

But at this point.....
You have people that have done nothing and recovered. People that have done tons and not recovered. People that have done a little and not recovered/recovered. People that weren't hit at all that should have been. People that were hit that should have never been hit. Blah blah blah.

So yes....I know we're trying to figure out the recipe for recovery here - but are you saying that unless we've FOR SURE recovered significantly from Panda than I guess we should just shut up, lurk and wait for some holy grail of answers? I just want to make sure I shut up appropriately. LOL
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