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Do sites hit by Panda continue to drop or can they level out?

     
11:41 pm on Oct 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just wondering, if you have a site that's been hit with a Panda release and you do nothing with it, is it inevitable that it will just get progressively worse (lose rankings) with each release?

Or can you just get hit once and then remain at the level you were hit with and stay with the same rankings?
10:59 am on Oct 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sites hit by Panda tend to keep slipping in rankings due to some ripple effects. Here are two possible ripples.

#1 - When you see your site hit by Panda you will likely start making changes to the site. Some of these changes might actually be bad for your site. I know a person that reacted to Panda by noindexing over 90% of his site without separating good pages from bad pages and that led to a bigger drop in traffic/rankings.

#2 - Once you fall off the first page of search results this can lead to a big drop in visibility for your company. If you have not done other promotion or outreach you will no longer be easy to find by journalist and bloggers who are looking to link to relevant resources. This can lead to a loss in potential backlinks which over the long term will hurt your rankings.

#3 Bonus - Remember Panda is just one part of a huge algo with many moving parts. If Google changes how they value non-Panda pieces (like Penguin) that can lead to ranking changes. If you do nothing to your site you are likely to get hit by these other updates.


Bottom Line - It is generally not a smart idea to do nothing for any site Panda & Non-Panda. If you stand still, you allow your competition to advance ahead of you. I always seek to improve my site & profits :)
11:20 am on Oct 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For what it's worth my site got tanked by panda 1.0 and hit again by the early pandas. For the last 18 months or so I did nothing to it and it stayed steady, no hits and no increases. Still pays some bills. So I don't think panda is necessarily a slow trip to total oblivion.
11:43 am on Oct 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For the last 18 months or so I did nothing to it and it stayed steady, no hits and no increases.

The question is whether your site would improve if you continued to work on it, not because of Panda penalty but just working on it and improving it regardless. I think this is what goodroi meant.

I also always tinker with trying to make things better, im most cases focusing on visitors and conversions.
3:20 pm on Oct 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For some websites it might not make sense from a profitability point of view to ever repair them. It might be more profitable to walk away and start a fresh site with no legacy problems.

For example let's say you have a website that was built overnight and was intentionally low quality. You just made it for some quick adsense profits. In that type of scenario be happy you grabbed the easy money when it was available and be smart enough to not waste resources that could be better used elsewhere. As long as you make enough money to cover the hosting & domain registration you might as well just let the site live on till they refresh Panda with tighter standards or another update hits it *assuming the website isn't impacting the profitability for other sites in your network.
4:18 am on Oct 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have a site that suffered a Panda 2.0 hit that it didn't get out from under for years.

There were very extended periods of time (months) with very little traffic change. (In my case I was making changes with the site, trying to find a solution.)

I didn't necessarily feel it got pounded with each new version of Panda. With some but not all refreshes there were some ups and downs.

I think godroi makes a good point. Once you loose your prominence in the SERP's, mentions about you and linking to you dries up. The long-term outlook from there on isn't good.
6:59 am on Oct 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have four sites. All hit by Panda. I actively worked hard on one site, and he has made a recovery, but is still not up to 2012 levels. The other three sites I've not touched. I will probably close them once their domain name expires.

One site has actually picked up. It went from around 800 visitors a day to 100, but since the latest update is now sitting on around 250 a day.

Another site dropped last September and has picked up very slightly since April.

The last site dropped around May 2013 and hasn't picked up at all.

Again, I've done nothing to any of these three sites. Too defeated to bother. I just focus on my main site now.
9:23 pm on Oct 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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from personal experience, I haven't found a bottom yet...each week is less than the last.
9:08 am on Oct 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Typically your site will drop on each refresh and will eventually bounce around when it bottoms out. The good news is if you fix your site you can reverse the site just as quickly.

I would not advise doing nothing in hope of a recovery. If I ever have an issue with Panda I make immediate content and structure amendments and then wait patiently... good luck.
6:24 am on Oct 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Well I somehow I believe you are in the same boat of the traffic, as far as I noticed with panda and penguin once you're effected, you are in the google sandox you can see the traffic changes for a week or so, and later its back to the same traffic levels.
6:46 am on Oct 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No matter what people say here. No matter if your site did not get hit this time round. You will get hit eventually to the point where there is no point of running your own websites anymore.

I have read that to get ranked well these days, an article should have 1000 or more words, not 500 as I believed it to be.

Unless you are writing your own content, your pages will eventually all be considered as thin content pages.

At this point I am almost convinced that this is a battle none of us will ever win. Only companies with budget to spend on creating content will be able to survive Panda hits.

Google is fighting spammy pages, but in the process destroying good websites.

I have websites where people create content, but to make them write 500 or 1000 words is not possible, no one will do it.

The only solution is to group several pages in to one big page, but then again it does not make sense for some types of websites, and/or costs too much money to redesign an established website.

Too bad.
9:04 am on Oct 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have read that to get ranked well these days, an article should have 1000 or more words, not 500 as I believed it to be.

borishar - Nothing is written in stone. Each niche is different, so you're being gauged against your competition... and 500 really well-editing words of a well-constructed essay could do better than 1,000 words of meandering fluff.

Grouping pages into one big page may or may not make sense. The one big page needs to develop naturally within itself and to cohere internally, and that's easier said than done.

I'd push for longer, but you don't want to bore people either. Also, there's a distinction between in-depth articles, as distinct from functional pages that need to move your users through the site. Not all pages should be the same length. They need healthy variation, depending upon what their purpose is.

Here's one of our classic in-depth article discussions, from about a year ago, which would be helpful to read if you haven't seen it...

In-Depth Articles - Only for Brands and Google ? Or for Everyone?
Aug 2013
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4599873.htm [webmasterworld.com]
1:40 am on Oct 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I aim for 1,000 words where possible, but some topics just don't warrant that many words. I have gone through older articles and compared how many visitors they had in 2012 (my best year) to now, and those that have dropped more than 20% get an edit to try and improve the quality, and increase the amount of words/information. I do genuinely believe they are better for it, and not just longer articles.

Having said that, the site that always outranks me for everything usually has shorter and much less detailed articles than me. But they are a brand. That is what I think Google likes now. Brands over content.
2:46 am on Oct 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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the site that always outranks me for everything usually has shorter and much less detailed articles than me. But they are a brand. That is what I think Google likes now. Brands over content.


For our topics, Google seems to be doing the opposite lately. We often outrank generalist name-brand sites. In some cases, the megasites' pages have slipped below the fold, leaving the top results to specialist sites.

For what it's worth, a lot of our in-depth content is divided into multiple pages (each focused on a subtopic), and we've been using rel="prev" and rel="next" to help Google and other search engines understand that the pages are part of a larger entity. That might be something to try if, like us, you use multiple static pages for your in-depth articles.
7:55 am on Oct 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think for what I'm writing about, it would be quite hard to put on individual pages.

One of my bugbears (and I'm not referring to what you're suggesting EditorialGuy), is articles spread over multiple pages. Today I was researching something and the article had 12 pages. So I scrolled to page 2 and it was literally two lines. I am not going to keep swiping (was on my phone) to get to the next page. It seems to be happening more and more. Sure, break it up into a couple of pages, but 12, each with one or two sentences. I left the site.