A new client of mine has a website that was devastated by Panda 4.0. Since the update the site’s traffic has decreased by over 60%, which has thrown my client into a panicked frenzy. The site itself allows users to upload pictures, in which each picture contains a unique URL. While ideally all of these picture pages as landing pages would generate traffic, even before the update, the main page and the category pages were responsible for the overwhelming majority of organic traffic. When using a site search I found a significant problem, that being that although the website contains approximately 25,000 pages, Google had over 60,000 in the index. Given that the picture pages likely fall under the heading of thin content (i.e., each picture page contained a random URL, no text description, pictures did not contain alt text, and only a handful of pages contained descriptive titles), I decided to de-index the entire site outside of the main and category pages. Remarkably, using these remove URL tool from Google Webmasters, the 60,000+ pages were de-indexed within hours. A difficult question to answer, but assuming that this was ultimately the problem, how long until the client’s traffic levels return to pre-Panda levels?
However, another potential issues exists that could be the true cause of the traffic decline. The client has been using a mobile direct from an advertising network. The redirect takes users away from the site to other websites in the advertising network. The mobile redirect generates a decent amount of revenue, but many of the mobile users that encounter the redirect ultimately do not get to the client’s site. What are your thoughts on these types of mobile redirects? Would they not be considered deceptive redirects and a violation of Google policies? Do these types of redirects fall under the Panda umbrella?
Note: There are no manual actions listed in the Webmaster tools.