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    Panda 3.9 impact


    Hello,

    I am seeing a decline in my site's SERP that started after July 24th panda 3.9 release. What I’m seeing is a couple of couple of words that dramatically lost rankings and others that lost some rankings (by some rankings I mean: from number 3 to 8, from number 5 to 12, from number 3 to 13, etc.).

    I still have quite a few words that rank in the first page (including top 3 for a few). I have seen a few positive movements of 1 or 2 rankings for just a few words, but again, the overall trend looks pretty bad right now with words quickly dropping.

    Up until Panda 3.9 I have experienced positive movement consistently for over 6 month. As part of my SEO techniques I did use directory submitting and social bookmarking but I do not think I over did this plus I try to submit only to good directories.

    My question is:
    1. What am I doing wrong…?
    2. How can I know for sure if I am being penalized by google?
    3. What can I do to fix this and start crawling up again?
    4. How much time does it take to fix damages if I was indeed hit by Panda? I mean, is it just like optimizing again or will it take more time due to the fact that it is a Panda issue.

    Thanks for any help or advice.
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  3. Traffic drop sleuth. :)
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    There are a number of things you have written here that don't fit with Panda.

    -Panda tends to be a sitewide penalty, not a keyword specific one.
    -Panda really isn't about backlink quality - that's Penguin. Rather, Panda is about thin content, duplicate content and site quality.

    Do you have a warning in your webmaster tools? If so, then I would start looking at backlinks.

    Is the drop dramatic? If not, I'd wait it out before doing anything. And I'd consider other things that could cause variations such as seasonal differences, hosting issues, malware issues, etc.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : Damn.... next time I have a problem with my site, I'll ask Dr.Marie.
    • jamespayne agrees : Good breakdown!
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    There are a number of things you have written here that don't fit with Panda.

    -Panda tends to be a sitewide penalty, not a keyword specific one.
    -Panda really isn't about backlink quality - that's Penguin. Rather, Panda is about thin content, duplicate content and site quality.

    Do you have a warning in your webmaster tools? If so, then I would start looking at backlinks.

    Is the drop dramatic? If not, I'd wait it out before doing anything. And I'd consider other things that could cause variations such as seasonal differences, hosting issues, malware issues, etc.

    All the sites I have looked at that got hit by panda are "topic related".
    Which if your blog, news site, or eccomerce site is typically niche , the whole site can go down.

    For eccomerce or news sites that have say 10 sections. The low quality sections are filtered category wide. Top level & long tail will not rank.
    If a category has 20 products, and they are all "cookie cut" manufacturer descriptions. The category page, nor the product pages will rank.
    If the 20 products are re-written, with the focus on uniqueness, the top level & long tail will rank again.



    "The threshold of the Panda effect isn’t based on a single page. Multiple pages need to misbehave and then all similar pages drop in ranking.
    Similar is, however, a strange concept. Similar is definitely domain based. The exact same spam on another domain could still rank. It seems partly based on internal navigation structure and similarities in page templates.
    Even quality pages in sections with low quality content are affected in the same way. Home pages were only affected when the entire site was of an extremely low quality."
    http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2122234/Panda-DNA-Algorithm-Tests-on-the-Google-Panda-Update

    Comments on this post

    • DarrenHaye agrees
    .
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    There are a number of things you have written here that don't fit with Panda.

    -Panda tends to be a sitewide penalty, not a keyword specific one.
    -Panda really isn't about backlink quality - that's Penguin. Rather, Panda is about thin content, duplicate content and site quality.

    Do you have a warning in your webmaster tools? If so, then I would start looking at backlinks.

    Is the drop dramatic? If not, I'd wait it out before doing anything. And I'd consider other things that could cause variations such as seasonal differences, hosting issues, malware issues, etc.
    Thanks Dr. Marie for the response. Indeed when Penguin was released back in April I became much more sensitive to my backlink quality as it targets that issue. I do, however, have much more older backlinks that may not be that high quality – nothing super bad or spam but just lower quality. Your comment about a penalty being sitewide and not keyword specific is good to here since this is not the case here (at the moment…)
    Regarding how dramatic it is – the answer is mixed. Here are some examples:
    From 6 to 11
    From 8 to 14
    From 10 to 16
    From 10 to 27
    But then I also have a couple than went from 8 to 120 and from 15 to 170. So even if in some eyes this may not be dramatic, still its defiantly a trend hitting most (but not all) of the keywords
    I do not have any warning message in my webmaster tool. However, in the HTML improvement section I do see some duplicate meta description and duplicate title tags. On that same section I see a “We didn't detect any issues with non-indexable content on your site.” Message which leads me to believe that overall my content is OK.
    I will take care of these issues but still, can this be the reason?
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    It's really a tough call. I'm guessing that it's not directly a Panda or Penguin issue for you. I say "directly" because it's possible that some of your backlink sources are penalized. If you had backlinks from sites that themselves were hit by Penguin or Panda, then that is going to affect your ranking. Similarly, if you had any links that were part of a blog network then they could have been devalued. As a result, you're not necessarily seeing a penalty but rather a decline because you lost some link juice.

    The drops that you mentioned don't seem severe to me and could be normal fluctuation. (I know it is upsetting to see a decline rather than an incline), but the sites that I have seen be penalized often dropped out of existence.

    The other issue here is that there is only so much we can determine here in a forum. There are really an awful lot of factors that can contribute to a decline in SERPS.

    Hopefully some of the experts here will chime in. You're welcome to give us a link to your site which could get you more information. It's best to do it as a shortened link so that it doesn't appear in searches for your site name. And because you're new you may have to post it as something like, "bit (dot) ly (slash) abcd"
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    And I'd consider other things that could cause variations such as seasonal differences, hosting issues, malware issues, etc.
    Even though I quote Dr.Marie above - this is to the OP - Dr.Marie knows this stuff.

    Depending on how competitive your niche is and indeed how powerful any individual links are there are so many factors that could result in the drop (other than being hit by a change in algorithm).

    One that comes to mind is simply losing a good link (you don't even have to lose it - the site it's on could have been 'temporarily uncrawlable' for a reasonably short period - if 'temporarily uncrawlable' was the case it would come back again).

    If the link or links (incidentally you could have 200 links and only one of them making any significant impact) used a similar anchor text to the 'big drops' pages that could explain things - as 'juice' would then also flow on, internally, to your other pages - helping them rank somewhat, but less significantly - hence a less significant drop.

    Also, how new were the pages/the pages that dropped significantly? There is an initial 'boost' that new content can get while Google works out how to rank it properly (rather than new stuff never getting a chance to be seen and linked to etc.)

    'Dates' can help identify the problem - but equally it could be a coincidence.

    ***EDIT***

    It must have taken me at least 31 minutes to write that!! - as Marie has written some similar stuff above before I posted!

    Comments on this post

    • Dr.Marie agrees : Good point about the age of the pages as well.
    Last edited by Belfast; Aug 3rd, 2012 at 09:40 AM.
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    Thanks all for your messages!

    Dr. Marie and Belfast, your comments are encouraging and hopefully this is not a direct issue with the site and google but rather some indirect impact from directories pointing to the site that were downgraded. and if indeed this is the case I should probably just keep on working on it and things will improve.

    Belfast, regarding you comment on age – the site is pretty old and has a decent google PR. I haven't made any significant changes or new page additions.
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    Originally Posted by sefmal
    Dr. Marie and Belfast, your comments are encouraging and hopefully this is not a direct issue with the site and google but rather some indirect impact from directories pointing to the site that were downgraded. and if indeed this is the case I should probably just keep on working on it and things will improve.
    Work smart.

    Do your homework - both in terms of what happened, and in terms of what to do that will help.

    You mention "directories" - this rings alarm bells - mostly in terms of wasting time - but increasingly in terms of nullifying (or worse) your 'better' work.

    Read LOADS from here (especially) and then ask questions where you're not clear - it's not overly difficult to cause yourself problems with Google when trying things to grow your site.

    I would rather (productivity-wise) spend 40 hours here and 5 doing SEO than spend 45 hrs doing SEO.

    Comments on this post

    • DarrenHaye agrees : this.
    • Faith agrees : Good point :)
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    Originally Posted by sefmal
    Dr. Marie and Belfast, your comments are encouraging and hopefully this is not a direct issue with the site and google but rather some indirect impact from directories pointing to the site that were downgraded.
    I've read google is deindexing a lot of free directories.

    Originally Posted by Belfast
    I would rather (productivity-wise) spend 40 hours here and 5 doing SEO than spend 45 hrs doing SEO.
    That is spot on, much better to spend 5 hours doing something well then 45 at best wasting your time and at worst shooting yourself in the foot.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees
    I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill

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