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Google Panda Update: $25,000 Reward If You Can Get This Site Recovered

One Way Furniture Breaks Out the Checkbook to Get Its Rankings Back

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Google Panda Update: $25,000 Reward If You Can Get This Site Recovered
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If you’ve been following the Panda saga for a while, you may remember hearing the story about One Way Furniture, a furniture store that was victimized by the Panda update. It got a fair amount of media coverage, including by NPR and the Wall Street Journal. We mentioned them in our first coverage of the DaniWeb story.

“I was sort of a pioneer of selling furniture online,” CEO Mitch Lieberman tells WebProNews. “I first began in 1997 on eBay and we were the first ones selling brand new furniture on that platform. I took the seller name on eBay ‘Furniture’ and we still have that user name to date.”

While DaniWeb has been able to make a full recovery (and then some) from the Panda update, thanks to Google’s latest known tweak, One Way Furniture has not been so lucky. Lieberman tells us that he is offering a $25,000 reward to whoever can get the site to a “sustained, full Panda recovery.”

Perhaps he should talk to DaniWeb’s Dani Horowitz.

“Our site literally got crushed on Panda 1, and each Panda has gotten worse,” he says. “I’m at the point where I don’t have the answers and some of the best in the business have failed to guide us towards a recovery. With that in mind I thought a reward would be the way to go.  Since February 24th I’ve spent most of my time in Google Analytics.”

“I’ve spent millions over the years on AdWords,” he adds. “However, I’m not saying that with a sense of entitlement, because the fact is that Google has been great to us for many years. However, as a paying client I would hope to have some sort of history with the company to where they could guide us to what changes need to be made. We are completely in the dark here.  If you shop at a department store and have a bad experience with one department, are you really going to just shop in a different department in the same store? Google acts as if the SERPS depts., and ADWORDS have nothing to do with each other.”

“As a paying customer to Google I just ask for some respect,” says Lieberman. “A simple 10 minute phone call with a SERPS manager to offer us tips is all we would expect. The highlighted total is almost 3 million spent on Google Adwords since we started with them about 8 years ago. Last year we spent $442,159.69 with them.”

Lieberman expressed that he isn’t trying to be condescending to Google. “I understand they update their algorithms from time to time, I don’t have a problem with that,” he says. “I only have a problem with two things. A) Nuking us overnight without warning as they did. B) Failure to communicate with us what we need to change. I’ve been selling furniture online while Google was starting out their business in 1997!”

“I must state that the idea is for someone hands on to take on this project,” he says. “The goal is give our end user the best possible buying experience on our site. At the same time we want to see those changes get us out of this Panda Penalty. We have made a list of over 30 changes that we have done so far, and also have some other significant changes in the works. Mainly a complete redesign.”

This is what the site looks like currently:

One Way Furniture

Here are some things One Way Furniture has done so far, as it has tried to climb back into Google’s good graces (as explained by Lieberman):

  • Removed verbiage from manufacturers captions on every page. We typically use this area to give a history about the manufacturer we carry. (lowered ratio of similar content on every page)
  • Removed Global Index, Follow.
  • Removed all product descriptions from shopping portals and affiliate program.
  • Took out Mass Comment fields coded in the source across the site
  • Removed, Auto Meta Tag text from every product that was put in about 8 years ago.
  • Deleted most discontinued products (15,000 that built up over 10 years) that were previously left so customers can find a newer product. They are now 404 errors.
  • No Followed Twitter / Facebook Home page links.
  • Removed some links from footer.
  • Added DMCA monitoring of content
  • Reverted back to Old Cross Sell to get products out of google discussions, that seem to have been seen as a forum. A google employee confirmed in webmaster forums there was some issue.
  • Asked Power Reviews to remove dates from reviews.
  • Killed Sub Domain art.onewayfurniture.com which was a art site that approached us to sell art. Problem was they sold the same art across many other sites. We learned a lesson. Our sub domains are our property and we are on lockdown.
  • Removed site wide links from lowest price guarantee.
  • Content Writers rewriting descriptions. So far over 7,000 have been written. We expect to rewrite every last one.
  • Rewriting some sections descriptions. Many have stolen content (including affiliates so google doesn’t know what is unique anymore)
  • Changed Left NAV to HTML.  Create unique left nav on some section pages like twin beds, full beds, queen, beds, king beds, entertainment furniture, and office furniture section.
  • Follow, No index search.onewayfurniture.com
  • Increased page speed by changing from RTML to HTML menu.
  • Added Site wide Canonical tags
  • Fixed Java Script error and removed poor coding particularly on left nav.
  • no index, follow 15,000 pages (almost half the site).
  • Removed the repeating name in H1 just below the lowest price guarantee – May 18th
  • Created a supplemental section in TV Stands for non performers. – April 10 – May go site wide with this in the future. Kind of like a supplemental results for poor performers.
  • Started correcting bad characters that converted into question marks because of word format vs excel format. Hundreds of occurrences.
  • Took Out “repeat name” into caption” on section pages.  June 8th.
  • 301 redirect onewayoffice.com to our main site www.onewayfurniture.com
  • Going to 301 redirect www.cjhomeandoffice.com to onewayfurniture.com in the next few days. We want to focus on our main brand. We did not get this site to trick any engine. We did it because we acquired it from a competitor and it made sense at the time to populate it. 75% of the content on the site was rewritten, but the products were all the same. We now realize its useless to brand ourselves on two brands. We are regaining the focus now.
  • Bedroom-furniture-sets sorted low price to high price (July 12) testing to see if lower prices keep customers more engaged on the site. Previously we sorted by best sellers.
  • Removed site wide (online home furniture store footer link) – July 27
  • Deleted 5,500 discontinued products still remaining in database (july 28)
  • Took out “discount furniture store from logo alt tag)
  • Finishing up a major site redesign (about 2 weeks out). Focusing on bigger text on the left nav, removal of left nave on item pages, and removal of best sellers (right nav) on item pages. Blowing up pictures about twice the size. Shortening up columns from 5 wide to 3 wide on sections. Redesigned a better welcoming home page.
  • So how about that reward? Here’s the criteria One Way Furniture has set:

    A)  At least 85% of organic traffic recovered compared to last year same time.  We will consider it a recovery after 30 days of the data showing the traffic bump.

    B)      Google guidelines must be adhered to 100%.

    C)       Overall bounce rate has to decrease site wide by at least 15%.

    E)      Reward payment will start 90 days following the beginning of “recovery”.

    E)     The 25K will be broken up into 10 payments starting on the 91st day.

    F)      Payments will continue as long as traffic remains within the threshold. If traffic drops during another Panda update the payments will stop, but will continue once the traffic is again restored.

    G)      If they are successful and receive all $25,000 of the reward, at the end of the period we will throw in $2,500 worth of free furniture from any one of these departments: Bar Stools, Bedroom Sets, Dining Rooms, TV Stands, Office Furniture.

    H)     The person that gets us out of Panda will also be in consideration for a possible contract job moving forward. The contract job will not be for an SEO, It will be for a CUO. We think SEO needs to be permanently replaced with this new term “CUO” Consumer Usability Optimization.

    If you’re interested in seeking the $25,000 reward, you can contact the company at   pandahelp@onewayfurniture.com. Google Panda Update: $25,000 Reward If You Can Get This Site Recovered

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    • http://www.rickbucich.com Rick Bucich

      I see SO many things I’d change, I don’t know where to start. A redesign is in order, siloing content, adding schema.org or similar (reviews markup do not generate a rich snippet), better branding, evaluation/improvement of bounce rate…

      But none of the above is new or original.

      And, just because Daniweb improved traffic does not mean Panda recovery.

      • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

        That’s not the way she sees it. Interesting that the site spiked back up when Google made the latest Panda tweak.

    • MW

      I work in a company that is loosing $200,000+ due to traffic loss after Panda, with SEM spend of $300k/mo.

      Tell me where to put $25k for guaranteed recovery and you got it in minutes :)

      • Mike G

        Whats your URL?

        • MW

          Sorry not for public.

    • Mike G

      Wow, that site is a train wreck. But it’s not really worth my time for only $25k.

      But here are a few tips:

      1. Your titles are horrible and spammy. Redo them all. 70 characters maximum.
      2. Your descriptions are even worse. Again, redo them all. 150 characters maximum.
      3. Way, way, way, WAY too many links per page. Look at your competition (i.e. sites that are page one on Google for “furniture”). See anything in common? Hint: They all have very few links per page. Clean. None of that ridiculous crap in the footer on every page..
      4. Bonus tip.. is not how you write a canonical tag.

      Yikes, did you guys say you have had ‘professional’ SEOs work on this site?? That scares me… I hope you didn’t pay them much..

      Here is an example of your current titles and descriptions:
      Commercial Bar-Stools | Restaurant Bar Stools | Counter Stools

      Your pal,
      Mike

      • Mike G

        Here is an example of your current titles and descriptions:
        Commercial Bar-Stools | Restaurant Bar Stools | Counter Stools

        • Mike G

          One more try..

          “description” content=” Commercial Bar-Stools Shopping for wood restaurant furniture, swivel bar stools or counter stools? Commercial bar-stools are designed to handle excessive wear associated with restaurants, bars and other heavy use. Commercial bar stools and furniture need to pass strict codes for heavy consumer use. All of our commercial bar stools and counter stools are flame resistant, will endure heavy usage, and pass California Code 117-E. You can customize most of these barstools by choosing from our wide selection of fabrics, or sending in your own fabric. Many stools are available in both wood or upholstered seats. For Help with Commercial Bar…”><meta name="keywords" content="<b>Commercial Bar Stools</b> Restaurant bar stools counter stools pub table stool wood swivel commercial captains windsor bar stool walnut mates restaurant oak barstool upholstered natural commercial windsor commercial restaurant stools pine maple mahogany cafeteria backless swivel wooden school house counter stools stackable chairs folding chairs"

          • Mike G

            Jeebus… just noticed your spammed to the hilt keyword tags too. Yikes. Those need to go as well..

        • Loren

          Its unfortunate to see the bashing in these comments- I’ve sent you an email Mitch – I’m willing to speak with you over the phone to give you my two cents.

          I have zero interest in the $25,000 bounty…

          If I can give you some advice to even bump your traffic levels up 10% to 20% I’m sure you would be a happy camper – as would I knowing I could have helped save a few jobs.

          Take care, talk soon

          Loren

    • http://www.onewayfurniture.com mitch

      I appreciate all the comments, I really do. Even mike that calls the site a “train wreck” went on to give constructive advice. Keep in mind there is ALOT that is about to be changed from design elements, to left nav removed, bigger images, better coding etc. Just try to keep the advice constructive. Wether the site is great or not, it is a “train wreck” right now in the eyes of google. I really want to change that. Feel free to email me or leave advice. We are commited to do whatever it takes to make the site as good as it can be for the end user.

      Thanks
      Mitch

    • http://www.onewayfurniture.com mitch

      MW – If you work for a company losing 200K, spending 300K per month, I would advise you to get on the unemployment line. Sounds like your toast… Seriously. Every company is different. If I had the ability to spend 300K per month on marketing, I would offer a higher bounty. Give your “not named” company good advice. Stop the 300K per month spend and let it go to profit. Sounds like you work for a public company that is always pleased to blow investors money. My company is a family business. Wether or not you think our site sucks, we have been around selling for 14 years online. I’ll agree we are not SEO experts and we need improvements. Im up for the challenge.

      • MW

        This comment makes me think that you are completely disregarding the volume that my company might doing as well as ROI on the SEM spend, aside from it not being the only channel.

        Every company IS different and you painting things in broad strokes does not inspire too much confidence in your business prowess.

        Ability to stay in business for 14 years, while admirable, also does not necessarily mean that you can run and grow an organization. Not to sound condescending, but there is a reason why your business is still “a family business”.

        That said, company I work for is not public, profitable and despite Panda setback is on target to hit all projected numbers.

        Again, we are on same side here, having to struggle with changes by a 3rd party that impacted our businesses overnight, but I felt that your comment was slightly misguided.

        Oh and I never said that your site “sucks”.

        note: email address attached to this post is fake, but if anybody wants to correspond I would be happy to contact you if you give me yours.

        • MW

          Reading the comment over again, I wanted to make sure that you do not misunderstand. $200k loss is coming out of monthly revenue, which is not = $200k lost of our the $300k SEM spend.

          Also please understand that in no way am I talking down at you. Your company does respectable volume and I hope at some point you are able to revert organic traffic state.

    • Gino

      Chris,
      Collect some of the money they are willing to pay and we fix it in 2 weeks.
      This is an advance:
      Furniture 569 times
      Your Title is too long and may be cut short or not included in some search engines.
      You are using 117 characters when the maximum is only 100.
      And there are lots of mistakes waiting to be adjusted.
      By the way, it is beautiful website and it has a lot of future, it just needs someone to take the time and loves it.
      I do the job for $10,000

    • http://www.seopawnee.com/ Pawnee Walia

      Nice topic here :) Seems most of the points are explained here to improve the result. I believe is SEO is done in the correct way, then websites stays with its position, even if Google updates it algorithm in any form.

    • Webo

      I think this site http://www.onewayfurniture.com/ is working fine in google now. On some keywords it’ son first page.
      http://goo.gl/ifHMS

    • http://www.onewayfurniture.com Mitch

      MV, Thanks for your comments. I was only responding to your initial comments. And by the way, The email I gave pandahelp@onewayfurniture.com DOES work properly.

      Gino, Email me and we can discuss. I guarantee payment on a recovery. Key thing as i mentioned is to give our user a better experience. That goes hand and hand with Panda.

      Webo, I wish you were right. A few keywords on page 1 means very little. Our traffic is down 70% from where it was pre-panda. We have probably 65,000 keywords. A few on page one doesnt tell the story. I wish you were right.

      Again, anyone who wants to bash, thats fine. We are looking though for some help. That was the goal of this post. Jobs are at stake and we want to be the very nest online furniture company that we can be. Our service is 2nd to none in th furniture industry (well maybe Amazon service is grat also :)

    • Amir

      IMO this budget is too low for this project . An experienced and professional group should start working hard on this site to get it recovered . I think its better if they double up their budget .

    • http://www.realizzazionesitiwebancona.it Jef.P

      Perhaps it was not their site at all, and perhaps someone disliked the site at Google. It might be that the Algo isn’t the only thing which sets the results.

      Also if a company spending half a million on adsense then wants to give a seo expert just 25,000. Right there is a big mistake. Ranking is everything, spend the adsense budget on the seo expert guys. Want some coffee?

    • http://www.poetryinnature.com Rob

      If you read the Google help thread from Dani Web, she mentions blocking Google from viewing her entire Dropdown horizontal menu. You can see she does this if you turn off JavaScript and view her site. She also removes lots of content from her home page and her tag cloud.
      onewayfurniture has way too many internal links on every pages, Choose the left side menu or the horizontal menu, not both. Then if you must keep both, use robots.txt to block Google from viewing the horizontal dropdown.

    • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

      Well, that’s a formula for failure if ever I’ve seen one.

    • Joe Youngblood

      Mitch – are you planning on CRO testing these sudden design changes? the last thing you need right now is a hit to your conversion rate.

    • http://www.tulasi.co.in GAJENDRAN

      Hi one way furniture, as for as i analyzed your site content it seems that you have indexed pages of Google: 18,300, Yahoo: 39,306, Bing: 34,800, which is more less in number between google and other search engines it is clearly shows that we need to work on onsite seo, So i feel that you need to do the onsite optimization changes and implementations in coding content as well as site content for panda updates also, but i dont think that the prime cause for ranking down is panda alone, if you make the necessary seo implementation by applying onsite tactics it will get ranked Soon… dor further details contact me….

    • Johh Rashmi

      Hi,

      Everything had been working fine in Yahoo and Bing except Google.The main problem is which software you are using to build the website.

      RTML is not supported by Google after the Panda update in my point of view and after all SEO perspective all things are done very well in the website.

      If you want more suggestion shoot me a mail.

    • dd

      Hi,

      I won’t say anything about the site until i work on it. Nothing is impossible, i have made site’s rank even they didn’t had content on them, so your site is good enough to be ranked. We can work it out together.
      Mail me if interested.

      Thanks

    • Riddle Me This

      How do you determine which SEO is successful when you have multiple SEO’s working on the site at once? Sounds like a PR stunt with no real intentions of giving the reward out

      At least 85% of organic traffic recovered compared to last year same time. We will consider it a recovery after 30 days of the data showing the traffic bump.

      You are saying a traffic increase of 50%, 60%, 75% has ZERO $ value to you? Any other business would kill for that kind of traffic increase

    • Chris

      Mitch, I know this is old but I was just linked to it. How did those changes effect your site? I agree with other posters a performance award is not correct in this industry, You know how SEO works it is up and down. Not to mention you have to make sure only one person is working on it. The last thing you want is to piss multiple SEO’s off that think they are going to get some huge reward.

      I am interested in your results as I do e-commerce as well. I didn’t have any ill effects from any of the updates, but i have a lot fewer products than you do so its easier for me to hand do each page on my sites for completely correct on page SEO.

      Also all the “guidelines” posted here on how long titles should be and all that is complete and utter BS. You optimize pages based on the SERP not some silly standard.

      Mitch, Make sure you are hiring correct with your SEO and CUE(?) to make sure you are finding someone who actually knows what they are doing. It is typically hard to find because those folks are typically making more with their efforts than you can pay them, haha. Good luck, shoot me an email if you want to chat.

    • http://www.morepro.com/ Cory Howell

      I think this is hilarious… This guy made so many ill-advised changes that he’s probably sent his site back to 2005.

      Sure, he made some MUCH needed changes along the way, but there are some on the list that make me question his SEO sources.

      Based upon previous media coverage, etc. I’d say this is nothing more than linkbait at this point.

    • http://Upgradepromote.com Keith

      I have and SEO company and what you are asking a company to do is fix what is messed up and get the traffic results you used to have which can be done. Then you want to pay the reward in payments? To top if off 10 of them! So to do that you are asking an SEO company like Upgrade Promote to gamble on what changes Google makes in the future? I don’t know an SEO company on planet earth that would gamble on this! It’s a waste of time and time is much better spent on paying clients. Who in the right mind would even consider something like this? I think this sounds ludicrous.

      I will make this offer to you. Fly a spaceship to the moon on a budget of $25,000 dollars and I’ll pay you $25,000 after you to do it in 10 easy payments! But wait there’s more! lol That’s how unrealistic your offer sounds. Just being real.

    • http://Upgradepromote.com Keith

      I will even give you free advise on here as to what to do with your site.

      Start a new site and start over doing correct SEO. Don’t depend on Google as your main traffic source. Then take the url of the old site and do a redirect on it to keep your previous links and point them to the new website. That’s the easiest way to fix the problem you are having with Google.

    • http://www.registrycleanerfreeware.org Rajmeej Poudel

      i would like to go with Keith point. why no company started with new website and redirect with main website. and always donot depend on Google result. you can also get best traffic from SEM/(socail media). anyways best of luck.

      Best regards
      Rajmeej Poudel
      Registry Cleaner blogs team

    • http://www.bauhausfurnitureuk.com/ Star Design UK

      Google is a form of an incomplete sceintific experiment which keep changing all the time. secret is to be prepared and keep up with its everlasting changes.

    • http://www.thinkbigonline.com.au SamuelJ

      Any update on this?
      I want to see if all those crazy changes (at one time) helped or made it worse ;)

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