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Are Some Sites Recovering From The Google Panda Update?

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Are Some Sites Recovering From The Google Panda Update?
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It would appear that some of the victims of Google’s Panda algorithm update are starting to see at least slight recoveries after using some elbow grease. A couple examples of sites that have gained some attention for upswings in traffic post-Panda, after getting hit hard by the update, are DaniWeb and One Way Furniture.

Have you seen any recovery in search traffic since Panda hit? Let us know.

DaniWeb Sees an Uptick in Traffic Post-Panda

DaniWeb is an IT discussion community site. It’s a place where people can go to discuss issues related to hardware, software, software development, web development, Internet marketing, etc. This is exactly the kind of site that can actually provide great value to a searcher. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had some kind of frustrating software issue only to find the solution after a Google search pointing me to a discussion forum with people openly discussing the pros, cons, and merits of a given solution or idea. The very fact that it is a discussion forum means it is a potentially great place for different angles and ideas to any given topic, with the ongoing possibility of added value. More information means you can make better informed decisions.

Sure, there is no guarantee that all of the information is good information, but that’s the beauty of discussion. There is often someone there to shoot down the bad. The point is, many searchers or search enthusiasts might take issue with a site like Daniweb being demoted in search because of an algorithm change that was designed to crack down on shallow and lesser-quality content.

The good news for DaniWeb, and anybody that finds it to be a helpful resource, is that since being hit by the update it is starting to bounce back. To what extent remains to be seen. Time will tell, but Dani Horowtiz, who runs the site, recently revealed a Google analytics graph showing an upswing:

Daniweb traffic Panda and Post-panda

“The graph indicates a slight dip towards the end of February when just the US was affected by Panda, and then a huge dip when Panda went global,” she says. “However, you can see that over the past couple of weeks, traffic has been on the upswing, increasing day after day. We’re not yet near where we were before Panda, but there definitely is hope that we will get back there soon.”

DaniWeb has recovered from Google Panda … Sorta http://bit.ly/liGYiT 3 days ago via twitterfeed · powered by @socialditto

She is careful to note, “Many algorithm changes have already gone into effect between when Panda first was rolled out and today. Therefore, I can’t say without a doubt that our upswing is directly related to us being un-Pandalized in Google’s eyes and not due to another algorithm change that was released. In fact, in all honestly, that’s probably what it is.”

Still, it should serve as a reminder that Panda isn’t everything. Google has over 200 ranking signals don’t forget.

One Way Furniture Slowly Climbs Back Up

If you’re a regular reader of WebProNews or have been following the Panda news, you may recall earlier this month when NPR ran a story about a furniture store called One Way Furniture that had been feeling the wrath of the Panda, mainly due to its use of un-original product descriptions, which the e-commerce site was drawing from manufacturer listings.

Internet Retailer Senior Editor Allison Enright spoke with One Way Furniture CEO Mitch Lieberman this week (hat tip to SEW), and he said that the site is slowly climbing back up in the search rankings. “It’s been extremely challenging, but exciting, too,” he is quoted as saying. “Even in a downturn like this, it is exciting to see the effects of what you are doing to get you back to where you were.”

How They Are Doing It

So great, these sites are evidently working their way back into Google’s good graces. How does that help you? Luckily, they’ve shared some information about the things they’ve been doing, which appear to have led to the new rise in traffic.

“In a nutshell, I’ve worked on removing duplicate content, making use of the canonical tag and better use of 301 redirects, and adding the noindex meta tag to SERP-like pages and tag clouds,” says Horowtiz. “I’ve also done a lot of work on page load times. Interestingly enough, I’ve discovered that the number of pages crawled per day has NOT decreased in tandem with Panda (surprisingly), but it HAS been directly affected by our page load times.”

Look at the correlation between DaniWeb’s pages crawled per day and time spent downloading a page:

Pages Crawled vs load time from daniweb

“I guess it also goes without saying that it’s also important to constantly build backlinks,” says Horowitz. “Like many other content sites out there, we are constantly scraped on a regular basis. A lot of other sites out there syndicate our RSS feeds. It is entirely possible/plausible that Google’s Panda algorithm [appropriately] hit all of the low quality sites that were just syndicating and linking back to us (with no unique content of their own), ultimately discrediting half of the sites in our backlink portfolio, killing our traffic indirectly. Therefore, it isn’t that we got flagged by Panda’s algorithm, but rather that we just need to work on building up more backlinks.”

According to Internet Retailer, Lieberman fired the the firm he was using to get inbound links before and hired a new one. He also hired some new copywriters to write original product descriptions aimed at being “friendly to search engines.” Enright writes:

“For example, a bar stool that previously used a manufacturer-supplied bullet list of details as its product description now has a five-sentence description that details how it can complement a bar set-up, links to bar accessories and sets the tone by mentioning alcoholic beverages, all of which makes it more SEO-friendly, Lieberman says. “We decided to change it all up,” he says. “What we’re seeing now is what is good for customers and what they see on the site is also good for Google.”

OneWayFurniture.com is also slimming down content that causes pages to load more slowly because this also affects how Google interprets the quality of a web page. “We’re focused on the basics, the structure of the site and on doing things that are not going to affect us negatively,” Lieberman says.

More Things You Can Do to Recover from Panda

In addition to the things dicussed by Horotwitz and Lieberman, there are plenty of other things to consider in your own SEO strategy that migjht just help you bounce back if you were negatively impacted by the Panda update.

First off, simply check up on your basic SEO practices. Just because you got hit by the Panda update doens’t mean there aren’t other totally unrelated things you could be doing much better. Remember – over 200 signals. They’re not all Panda related.

You should also keep up to date on future changes. Read Google’s webmaster blog and it’s new search blog. Follow Google’s search team on Twitter. Read the search blogs. Frequent the forums. Google makes changes every day. Stay in the loop. Something that has worked for years might suddenly stop working one day, and it might not get the kind of attention a major update like Panda gets.

Panda doesn’t like thin content, so bulk it up. Dr. Peter J. Meyers, President of User Effect, lays out seven types of “thin” content and discusses how to fatten them up here.

Some have simply been relying more heavily on professional SEO tools and services. SEOMoz Founder Rand Fishkin said in a recent interview with GeekWire, ““I can’t be sure about correlation-causation, but it seems like that’s [Panda] actually been a positive thing for us. The more Google talks about their ranking algorithm, how it changes how people have to keep up, the more people go and look for SEO information, and lots of times find us, which is a good thing.”

You may need to increase your SEO budget. Like search strategist Jason Acidre says on Blogging Google at Technorati, “This just shows how imperative it is to treat SEO as a long-term and ongoing business investment, seeing that Google’s search algorithm is constantly improving its capability to return high-quality websites to be displayed as results to their users worldwide. As the biggest search engine in the world is requiring more quality content and natural web popularity from each website who desires to be on the top of their search results, it would certainly require quality-driven campaigns and massive fixes on their websites, which of course will necessitate them to upsize their budgets to acquire help from topnotch SEO professionals.”

“Authority websites that were affected by this recent Google update are losing money by the day,” he adds. “They are in need of high quality service providers who can actually meet their needs, and in order to get the kind of quality that can be seen genuinely useful by both users and search engines, they’ll probably need to make a much expensive investment on content management and link development, as this campaign would require massive work and hours to really materialize.”

Set up alerts for SEO elements of your site, so you’re constantly up to speed on just what’s going on. Arpana Tiwari, the Sr. SEO Manager of Become Inc. has some interesting ideas about this.

We all know that Google loves local these days. Local content even appeared to benefit from the Panda update to some extent. If you have anything of value to offer in terms of local-based content, it might not be a bad idea to consider it. Obviously quality is still a major factor. The content must have value.

Then of course there’s Google’s own “guidance”. Don’t forget the 23 questions Google laid out as “questions that one could use to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article”.

The silver lining here for Panda victims is that there is hope of recovering search visibility from Google. Nobody said it is going to be easy, and for a lot of the victims, it’s going to be harder than others. Let’s not discount the fact that many of the victims were victimized for a reason. Google’s goal is to improve quality, and much of what was negatively impacted was indeed very lackluster in that department.

Serious businesses will continue to play by Google’s rules, because today, Google is still the top traffic source on the web. It’s simply a vital part of Internet marketing, and the Internet itself is a much more significant part of the marketing landscape than it has ever been before.

Impacted by Panda? What are some things you’ve done to aid your recovery? Share in the comments.

Are Some Sites Recovering From The Google Panda Update?
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  • http://www.askthetrainer.com Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS

    Google panda has ruined me. My site has dropped off the face of the web. This isn’t going to help pay the tens of thousands of dollars in college loans which I have taken out getting 2 degrees in the subject I have written my site about.

  • tom simms

    If I weren’t lucky enough to have been working hard on affiliate marketing over the last three years and was still relying on my once-fabulous ecommerce profit, I’d be ruined. On April 11 I started a 32% decline in traffic all due to Panda. I’d understand it if I lost my #1 ranking to higher-quality sites with better traffic but the results are now crap and my part-time competitors are eating my lunch. Totally unfair change that cost me a fortune.

  • http://www.homohominisacrares.net Jesus Sordo

    Yes, I do have a website: Revista Homo homini sacra res which went down at Panda’s Google update and recovered by the end of April.
    On the December 2010, this web site had the following stadistics:

    Alexa Rank, about 2,000,000
    Monthly visits: 30,000

    After the update, everything change:

    Alexa Rank, 19,000,000 (I wonder why?:-))
    Monthly visits: around 5,000

    What did I do? I just wrote 30 articles -original content- and did a bit of SEO. Now everything went back to normal even better due to new content.

    However, the question is: is creating new and original content enough to reach back the old rankings? or did Google went for a “rugh” update and now it showing little “mercy”?

    Perhaps, with this last update, as usual, Google cleaned up search results and now y re-organizing everything and some of the sites which where ruined, have another chance.

    Anyway it’s difficult to be accurate, this is just and opinion based on my experience.

  • Nancy

    I went from first listing to 6th.

    When I view the keywords from those who moved higher, they are NOT as related as mine are. It’s baffling because I have spent YEARS playing Google by it’s rules. Suddenly, sites that have not are ZOOMING ahead of mine. How can that be??

  • Nano

    Those sites will be crying again when the Grizzly Bear update comes next time. Google has gotten to be big and abusive. They need to be broken up. They shouldn’t be able to use analytics or any tracking info. from their sites to use against sites’ rankings. That should be illegal right there. I have no doubt Google will be broken into so many pieces one day, you’ll need a microscope to find them. Start calling for the government to break up Google! Enough of Google killing businesses with their violent algo. updates which only benefits them (Adsense/Adwords)! Product sites’ rankings should not be buried because they have a short description! Who replaces those product sites? Google Merchant products! That’s anti-competitive! Support insidegoogle.com

    • http://aalbc.com Troy Johnson

      I’ll all for this, but are you not afraid of incurring more of Google’s wrath.

  • STR82U

    I agree with Dani 100%. Our upswing has been seen evenly on all LIKE sites (same general niche) and has been building for about 3 weeks now. Satellite sites not so much; they keep the same trickle with anticipated increases on heavy traffic days.

  • http://www.ominousweather.com ken kinlock

    We have a lot of railroad history. Always adherd to the “content is what is about”. Guess they figured competing articles on “ehow” were all written by people who never even rode on a train.

  • http://www.phonesexhoneys.co.uk Phone sex service

    I really don’t see how panda has ruined some of the people who have passed comment unless they were doing something that was a little unethicial or cheating somewhat?!! The panda update really just shows that google has got smarter and you might as well get wise to it. It is not being unfair but instead sending out more weight to different areas so it is more likely to get better results and have less people trying to kid google.

  • Andy

    I have a site that dropped like 80%. I gave up with google’s f**king rules. I switched to porn sites that do not need google for traffic. I no longer care about google’s algorithms, stupid rules & stuff.

  • http://www.londonparistrain.co.uk/ London Paris

    I keep reading that after Panda, sites should get rid of duplicate content. But as far as I can see, G’s SERPS are still full of dupe content sites. Many with quite high rankings too.

  • http://www.rickgrossman.com D. Lukow

    Google Panda has done nothing to punish my competitors who load their sites with phoney links.

  • http://aalbc.com Troy Johnson

    My site has been adversely by Panda — it is almost as if a switch was thrown a few weeks ago. My site published a ton of unique content but we also publish content that is syndicated or provided by publishers to many websites. The most frustrating this is that many of the pages beating us on query results are simply not as good in terms of content and quality. It is diffcult to devine why those pages might turn up higher in a given query result — but the bottom line is that, at least in these cases the reutrned result are not as good.

    If I come across anything tha reverses this I’ll share it here.

  • http://www.onewayfurniture.com Mitch

    Please note that our site hhas NOT recovered in any way from the panda update. The story we gave was that we were making alot of changes. I’d be happy to hav an interview with someone to explain in greater detail. I dont want to provide false hope. The panda update has been very tough and traffic is still as bad as it has been.

  • Beamer

    Google’s Panda update works so well, that I get search results totally unrelated to what I am searching for. One of my clients is Las Vegas. Can’t remember the exact search query I used, but I ended up with Las Vegas hotels instead of his dental practice. It was a random search term I used containing variations of his keywords. Kind of a mix and match, if you will.

    Link building doesn’t turn me on at all and I don’t do it. All my clients have top rankings for their keywords and primary markets organically and on the maps without one ounce of link begging to get them there. They now have natural links to their sites that happened over time AFTER I got them on page one.

    I hear all over the place how you must build links to rank. If this is true, how is it that I am able to get a new domain indexed and ranked on the first page within 3-5 days without links coming to it? Somehow the word “relevancy” comes to mind.

  • http://www.Treadmill-ratings-reviews.com Fred Waters

    I had a reasonable drop in ranking with my site that had been consistent for years. The question is, do I go out and buy worthless links on blog sites and useless directories in order to compete? That appears to be what boosted other sites above me. Or do I wait and hope that Google sorts this out. From my perspective, it appears with the new update bogus links are worth more than quality content.

  • Zeth

    My site disappeared from search completely after many years following all Google rules. My income dropped from $300+/day profit to $9 if I ever sell a product now with traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Never used a blackhat trick, NEVER. Well guess what? That ends today. I’m more than convinced now that blackhat pays. A lot of sites using blatant blackhat methods are at the top of search results now. I’m about to start 50 sites with scraped content. I’m going to spam blogs as hell. I guess in the numbers are the gains. Google is turning whitehatters into black ones. Sick of Google.

  • http://www.VeteransToday.com John Allen

    We are a pure original content site with over 16,000 articles posted by over 100 columnists. We have over 20 new articles per day.

    And NO, no recovery!

    Traffic is way down since Panda and all the pain that follows loss in traffic.

    We have NO way to communicate with Google that we are aware of tell them to get us off the “whatever list” they have us on. If they are trying to stop spammers, great….by why ding us?

    It is very frustrating!

    John P. Allen
    General Manager
    Veterans Today Network

  • http://www.neonsignworld.com William Green

    This article is helpful in understanding what Panda is all about. From many of the posts to this article, it appears that some innocent people were negatively affected by this adjustment. In many ways however, it seems like common sense. Content from your article should link to similar and related material on your website. It is hard to understand why anyone would consider linking to unrelated material.

    I think the Panda adjustment is a positive thing in most ways. It increases the quality of articles and the content they link to. I commend e-zine articles and others for raising the quality bar. Thanks for the guidelines presented in this article.

  • http://www.dopdf.com/ Claudiu

    One of our sites dopdf.com was hit in the third (unofficial) panda update. This is the website of a popular freeware program, and it really makes no sense why this happened. All content was written by us as it describes the product. Of course that when others talk about the program they copy parts from our website, and it’s impossible to file a DMCA against all the websites that publish these. Until now google did a great job at recognizing original text, but after this update it can’t even recognize brand names in copied content (if the content is copied from our site and mentions our brand, dopdf, you’d think that a duplicate site where dopdf is mentioned would rank lower than the original site but it’s not so anymore).

  • http://www.ldii-sidoarjo.org ldii

    My site is getting better but the SERP’s getting worse. And now it disappears from some queries and not been recovered yet. Hence I lost more than 30% visits.

  • Ple

    Very very misleading. This furniture store has been telling everyone and getting LINKS to his site from NPR, WSJ and blogs like this one. Daniweb is far from recovered, she’s up maybe 5% after losing 60%. Google is suggesting to become a ‘brand,’ advertise on Adwords basically.

  • http://alltimebd.com AllTimeBD.com

    my site is goon for google panda timebd.com

  • http://www.paradesain.net/en meds

    I think, we don’t need a deep SEO knowledge for just get a good position on Google search page. If we can create good content website or enough money to adverte, or we manage an old and popular website.

    if we run a website with thousand of post, thousand of visitor a day, deep SEO knowledge is needed.

  • http://hostingpost.com Onona

    This was an excellent article. My site got hit pretty hard, drop 90% and still dropping… I still debating if i want to try something else altogether. Thanks

  • Alex

    Daniweb.com is not recovered, it is clearly seen by studying online stats.

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex

    My site also has not recovered. I de-indexed many pages which earned me the penalty in the first place, but no improvement in search.

    Google is killing many businesses, and destroying tens of thousands of people’s hard work.

    They got this panda thing totally screwed up, and are totally mum about it while people around the world lose their income and their businesses.

  • http://exerciseandfitnessequipment.com Wendy

    It’s unfortunate, but as long as Google is driving the bus, people who rely on online businesses for their income absolutely have to diversify and can never put all their eggs in one website or business model.