It's funny how things can change with Google and the Panda update. DaniWeb has been a prime example of this. At first, the IT discussion forum was hit by the update, but was able to make a 110% recovery. Then last week, DaniWeb was hit once again, which founder Dani Horowitz let us know about in an email. DaniWeb lost over half of its traffic overnight.
Today, we received another email from Dani with much better news. "The Google saga continues. We have just recovered. Google Analytics is very delayed, but it is already reporting that we have received as much traffic today as we received all day yesterday, and it is not even 2 pm yet," she tells us. "Clearly Google admitted they screwed up with us."
The timing of this is quite interesting. We posted an article this morning about how Dani's team discovered that DaniWeb's "time on site" stats decreased by 75% at 1PM on August 11, and held steady at the reduced number, as what she said is the result of "Google Analytics rolling out their new session management feature."
"There have been MANY reports across the web of the bounce rate and time on site being inaccurate every since August 11th, especially when multiple 301 redirects are involved (which we use heavily)," she said at the time. "As a result, we have been hit by Panda. Or so I gather."
In the latest email, Horowitz points us to a recent Q&A with Google's Matt Cutts.
With that (before the recovery), Dani wrote:
For those who don't want to watch the full 45 minutes, fast forward directly to 18:30 in the video. It's essentially Matt Cutts answering a question of when the next versions of Panda are going to run. His response was that, "We've made many, many changes over the last few months, even within Panda, trying to iterate, find new signals. You see a site like DaniWeb complain and then we find signals and say, okay, here's a way we can differentiate between this site and the sites that might be a little bit lower quality."
This video was recorded on September 22nd, after our recovery and before we were hit again. So I don't know what to take from that. It can be one of two things:
(1) Matt and the rest of the Google webspam team not only know about my situation, but realize we were penalized unintentionally. They have been working towards making Panda not hurt us, and it was a mistake that we were hit again, and that will be soon fixed.
(2) Matt and the rest of the Google webspam team are aware of our situation, and think we should have been penalized. I misunderstood Matt's quote and he meant that DaniWeb is a complainer and IS one of the low quality sites they will continue to work on filtering out of the SERPs.
Then came the recovery, so it seems like number one is more likely. We've reached out to Google for confirmation that a tweak has been made on Panda. We'll see what kind of response we get on that. This is fairly reminiscent of when CultofMac was hit by Panda and recovered shortly thereafter.
Let's refer back to a quote from a Wired interview with Google's Amit Singhal, who said, "Any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm — and that does happen once in a while even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate — we make a note of it and go back the next day to work harder to bring it closer to 100 percent…That’s exactly what we are going to do, and our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is."
As you know, Google makes "roughly 500" yearly algorithm adjustments.