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Panda - Could Pages That Still Rank Well Be Part of the Problem



11:23 am on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm working on the recovery for a few Pandalized sites. Some of these sites still rank very well (Top 3) for some terms.

Should I bother re-working those pages that still rank well?

Those pages seem to be of the better quality pages, in most cases.

Any input would be helpful.


4:55 pm on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm in the same position... and I've decided SO FAR, to not touch those pages (beyond normal tweaking). I've got a mind to create alternative pages for those pages eventually (there is about 400 of them)... and then 301 redirect them to the main page. But, for now those pages aren't getting much treatment.


6:33 pm on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

When Panda was first announced, Google made it pretty clear that even though a site might be demoted in general, certain pages that were measured as high quality could be exempt - and even bosted - on an otherwise demoted domain.

So I have assumed that when you see this phenomenon, it's wise not to "mess with success", and rather to take the continued traffic as a sign that those pages are seen as high quality. I use them as examples of what Panda likes, and no, I don't think the're part of the problem.


6:48 pm on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm convinced of this myself due to my 301'ing experiments. The two most popular pages on my worst Pandalized site showed little increase after I moved them. It was only after I reworded them from top to bottom that they made a significant recovery.

The reason they were still the top drawing pages on the Pandalized site was that they were the top drawing pages before Panda hit. They have the largest numbers of incoming organic links, and were #1 in Google for some significant two word phrases. This drew a huge amount of copyright infringements from black hats.

But I had no way to know Google was hating on them (and another hugely infringed paged that had been picked apart and blogged paragraph by paragraph in some cases) until I moved them to the Panda beloved site, where they didn't recover.

The way I see it, pre-Panda, Google saw those tens of thousands of infringements, made a notation that the content of these pages may not be original, but the overall status of those pages (one was PR=6, the others PR=5) and the site told Google that it must be the original.

Panda came along, looked at the same information, and decided that the site was featuring suspicious content and demoted the entire site. So the traffic to all of the pages fell by roughly equivalent amounts, and it was undetectable why.

Finally, when I 301'd the pages to a site Panda loves last month, Google still saw those "unoriginal" pages as an issue and in a ranking change that's happened at some point in the last 10 months, decides that unoriginal pages don't deserve much traffic despite their authority. So even with all the organic linking, they don't recover like the other pages.

I then reword them, and I mean I rewrote every sentence so that they say the same thing with different words and different expressions, and "poof", the traffic doubles the moment Google respiders them.

So I did something I swore I'd never do and started a serious rewrite effort on my lesser Pandalized site because at this point, I was just curious to see what would happen. Rewriting heavily infringed pages with similar pre-Panda traffic to the ones I talked about above, in a related subject area, had no noticeable effect.

The way I see it, the Panda penalty trumps everything else that goes on, and until/unless Panda reevaluates those sites, replacing the duplicate content has no effect. But when moving pages from a Pandalized site to a non-Pandalized site, the pages that Panda hated will stand out like sore thumbs.


9:11 am on Jan 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

> I then reword them, and I mean I rewrote every sentence so that they say the same thing with different words and different expressions, and "poof", the traffic doubles the moment Google respiders them.

How on earth do you still get ranking for words and phrases that no longer exist on your revised page?

I'm inclined to believe a full Panda recovery is a myth. I believe a site can recover, but the recovery requires changes, including noindexing/deleting pages and/or editing kept pages. The killed pages no longer get ranking for anything, obviously, and the edited pages get ranking only for words/phrases in them (with the exception of words/phrases in backlink anchor text). Only pages that were not edited get a full recovery, not an entire site. But even those pages still have to compete with the authority sites ("brands"), and its revised algo, which gives them more ranking power than pre-Panda.

I suspect you only get full ranking back for a page (i.e. every single word, phrase, and long-tail) if you start developing it, not editing it, i.e., leave what you had, and simply add new content below it that takes you over the minimum threshold for shallow/thin content and high enough user value (pictures, videos, links to other sites).

I get the impression since Panda the new approach to web design is doing it right the first time. I used to build pages on the fly. Do a little, upload. Revise, edit, build, etc. Now I do everything from top to bottom and side to side before uploading. The more solid it is the first time Google sees it, the greater the chances Google recognizes it is a quality page. Also, the more editing you do to a page, the more difficult it becomes for Google to recognize you as the original author, instead of a content thief. Make your pages fully ready before they go live: that's my advice for 2012. Plan ahead, take your time, and build them so you never have to touch them again. Measure twice. Cut once.

I believe Google treats most page changes as suspicious. (It's usually an attempt at optimization.) If the changes are many, Google will assume you didn't take the time to do the job right the first time . . . or put you to the back of the line behind people who already wrote pretty much the same thing . . . like a new page.


3:23 pm on Jan 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

How on earth do you still get ranking for words and phrases that no longer exist on your revised page?

I've never been a keyword writer, don't pay attention to them at all other than in the title. That's not to say that all the key words dissapear, you can't really avoid using "reactor core" on a page about nuclear power, but you can rewrite:

In 1987, Sue Jones was the first woman in the U.S. licensed to supervise loading new fuel rods into a reactor core.


Reloading reactor cores with fresh nuclear fuel was the sole province of men until Mrs. S. Jones was certified on 6/5/87.

Forgive the example, I don't know beans about the industry, but when you do know what you're talking about, you can always say the same thing differently. My focus in a rewrite is to deliver the same information to my readers, otherwise it would be misinformation. And over the course of a two or three thousand word page, my guess is that if you counted keywords before and after, they wouldn't differ all that much.

I don't know why you're suggesting full Panda recovery is a myth, I did some research and found around a better than 10% full recover rate from the February Panda, wouldn't have bothered to start experimenting with my sites otherwsie.

I have no idea what my pre and post Panda rankings are for particular key words and phrases, other than some super popular phrases that caught me eye. I do know that on my site that recovered fully from Panda on its own and then started getting over 3X as much Google traffic on the following update, the phrases as reported by Analytics had shifted in many cases, and the content hadn't been touched.

In any case, I started doing these experiments to find out what's going on. You can argue with my conclusions - I can argue with my conclusions as well, but there's an experimental basis, I'm not just reporting what I feel.


6:10 pm on Jan 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Potential Geek: I have a list of 2000 key terms from pre-panda going to pages that I have since deleted from the site... We are still ranking for the lions share of those key terms (in various places in the serps (many on the first page))... instead of ranking on the specifically SEO built pages... they are ranking on the main category pages... I'm sure you can find similar key terms on the HUGE category pages... though prior to building out these SEO pages they weren't ranking... and since deleting them, they remain ranking...


6:15 pm on Jan 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

What concerns me about rewrites is that your rewritten content can always be copied and duplicated again, prompting you to have to perform another rewrite. When will the rewriting process end then? What a terrible waste of time if we're simply rewording things that were scraped? Doesn't this mean that it is actually a bad thing to go viral with content, for fear that your material will be found all over the web?


7:57 pm on Jan 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

your rewritten content can always be copied and duplicated again

Yes, but remember, it never mattered pre-Panda. I think there's a good chance that the duplicate content part of Panda was a one-off, a reset for their approach that tagged a lot of sites they previously considered authoritative as possible copies. The small sites I'm familiar with that really believe offsite copying is what killed them all got hit in Panda 1.0. So rewrites might be a permanent fix. If it's not the case, it still gives me a head start that with DMCA Dashboard, should allow me to control the problem in the future for the pages that proved the most attractive to thieves.

What a terrible waste of time if we're simply rewording things that were scraped

I don't believe simple scraping causes problems, it's the full page thefts with minor changes and the mash-ups using paragraphs on the same subject from different sites with minor tweaks to try to appear original. I think of scrapers as sites that just take two sentences from lots of pages for a couple keywords and include NOFOLLOWED links, I doubt they hurt anything.

Doesn't this mean that it is actually a bad thing to go viral with content, for fear that your material will be found all over the web?

I had a viral experience a couple years ago that did turn out to be bad for my site. So many of the people who get excited about viral stuff link to the sites that make the "find", like Huffington Post or BoingBoing, rather than linking directly to the site that originated the content. After a page on my site that had dominated search for a very general term for six years went viral, it faded away over the next few months for that term, never came back, and lost quite a bit of taffic. So while going viral is great if you're on your way up, I think it hurts in the long run if you're already at the top.

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