Google Panda is one of the most talked SEO topics in 2011, and somehow Panda turns out to be good for search engines in terms of quality. But, for many it turns out to be a devil. Here I will be sharing some working tips to recover from Google Panda. Before we move ahead with panda recovery tips, I would like you to know Google Panda is a domain level penalty. What I mean is, if earlier you’ve had low quality content, it was your content that was penalized, but now if you have low quality content, your complete domain will be penalized. One of the simplest ways to get rid of Panda is by getting rid of low quality content. I will do a separate post for identifying low quality posts but here I will give you a brief idea which will help you get started with recovery process.
We all know that Google rolled out the Google Panda algo globally, and you might have noticed many bloggers talking about a traffic increase or significant traffic drop. We always talk about SEO optimization of blog posts and since the Google Panda algorithm it’s become mandatory to do proper SEO on site level and on content level. In this post I will be talking about how to recover from Google Panda effect, and what you can do to better optimize your blog for the Google search engine, so that your blog will be bullet-proof from future Google Panda updates in 2012-2013 and the coming years. Panda is just an algorithm iteration, and as Matt Cutt, mentioned, now sites will also get penalized for over SEO optimization. So, I would suggest avoiding any black hate SEO (If you are doing it), and focus more on quality content and increasing your site’s social media presence. In particular, Google+1 is going to be a holy grail for bloggers in the future.
Update: I have updated this article with new tips which I implemented on my websites and have seen good recovery over time. Here is a screenshot of the same.
Before I move ahead with Google Panda recovery tips, let me tell you something about ShoutMeLoud traffic. ShoutMeLoud was affected by the Google Panda algorithm and the traffic drop was around 60%. I have always taken care of SEO, but at the initial days of blogging, when I was new to blogging, most of my content was short and of low quality. We will look into a couple more factors which lead to Panda penalty for this site and other sites in my network. One thing in particular, Google Panda actually tought me about the importance of keywords, and why you need to have a target keyword in a post. Just for the info, in this process I recovered the traffic but as I mentioned, recovery was not 100%. Slowly it’s increasing, and by ranking for target keyword now I’m getting more targeted visitors.
As I mentioned above, Google Panda is a domain level penalty, so even a couple of bad content/posts can affect your overall blog ranking. The very first step you need to do is figure out thin content or content which doesn’t add much value. For example, in the initial days of my blogging, I usually wrote posts with 30-50 words with one image and a link. Something, which I can say doesn’t add much value to readers. I guess, this is the same dilemma with others too.
Often I found out I had such low quality content, I had a couple of choices, no-index them, delete them, or update them with detailed information to make it a quality content, so that it would be helpful and useful to readers.
Anyways, before you find out more about recovering from the Google panda algorithm change, first understand what kind of website Google Panda is going to affect.
- A website with low quality (Thin content)
- A website which works as content farm
- A website with useless pages indexed in Google (Same as content farm)
- A website with improper SEO structure
- Duplicate content
- Too many advertisements
- Poor grammar
- Slow site loading time
- SEO over optimization (Black hat SEO)
One easy way to find out if your site traffic drop is the result of Panda or something else, is by analyzing traffic drop dates and matching it with the Panda update dates here.
If you are not certain, about your site drop is due to Panda or something else, I suggest checking out this Panda updates infographic, where you can find out dates up to 2013.
Here are some of the factors, which I believe my site was penalized for:
- Low quality content: Too short, not well researched.
- Poor grammar (Still working on it) Sigh!
- Ad/content ratio
- Too many broken links (404 links)
- Less CTR from Search engines (Poor meta title, weak meta description)
There could be other factors, but these are something which needed instant attention. Most of the broken links and redirects were quickly fixed by the Broken link checker WordPress plugin.
Read: How to find broken links on a Website using Minzlyzer Cralwer
Now before we move ahead, here are some factors you should know about Google panda:
- It’s a domain level penalty.
- A few low quality posts can drop overall domain ranking.
- Google trust quality sites.
- Google Panda lowers down overall ranking of low quality sites.
- On-site SEO optimization becomes important.
- The quality of a post is taken as a prime factor for ranking.
- Niche based websites are better than generic sites.
- Social bookmarking and promotion works great. Specially Google+1 is especially important.
- No one has 100% recovered from Panda updates (updated: January, 2013)
So let me be honest. There is no way to get 100% of your traffic back, but by working on these recovery methods, you can improve your site and you can expect a traffic increase by the next update.
How to find out if the Google Panda algo affected your website?
This is the first thing which you should be doing as webmaster. The Google Panda algorithm was introduced in the U.S on March 25th of 2011, and globally on April 11th 2011. Now go to your analytics and see the graphs for the above mentioned date and compare it with last 10 days. If you see a significant drop or rise in traffic, that means your website is getting the hiccups of the Google Panda effect.
So if you are one of those who are seeing an increase in traffic, it’s time to take a break! Grab a coffee or have gala time with your friends. But if you are one of those who were affected by the Panda effect, I suggest reading this post seriously, as you need to work really hard to recover from Panda effect.
STEPS TO RECOVER FROM GOOGLE PANDA UPDATES:
Write quality content:
I’m sure you’re tired of being told “Write quality content and traffic will follow you”. When I say write quality content, it means write a complete post along with targeted keywords. Your post should be optimized for certain keywords and should not be just a random post. A quality post written without any targeted keywords is a useless post. You might get praise and lots of appreciation, but people won’t be able to find it from a search after time.
Google takes quality and length very seriously and there are certain things which you should keep in mind including the word count of your blog post. For example, a post like “How to recover from Google Panda” can be written in 5 simple steps, or could be written in detailed how-to guide like this. Now, we know which one a reader would prefer, but how about a search engine? When you write a detailed article, you cover more keywords and specially you add more information into your post. According to an SEO debunked study, articles with longer length ranks fairly well. I have even tested and verified this after I optimized many old blog posts.
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