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Hit by Panda? What are you doing to tackle the problem?
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paul
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:02 am    Post subject: Hit by Panda? What are you doing to tackle the problem? Reply with quote

Some questions to anyone out there who thinks they've taken a hit from the Google Panda update...

What makes you think you've been hit? A sharp dip in traffic? Certain rankings no longer performing? Have you actually seen a positive effect, rather than a negative one, perhaps?

Also, if you've been hit, what are you doing to tackle the problem? Are you trying to build more unique content? Are you looking at other sources of traffic such as social media so all your eggs aren't in one basket, so to speak? Or something else?

Would be interested to hear from anyone on the subject...
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Kay
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of our sites was hit - massive drop in traffic and AsSense income coinciding with the time of the Panda update.

We did nothing specifically to battle Panda, but carried on with business as usual. It was a good quality site and not one of the type that Panda was supposedly intended to tackle (scrapers, low quality sites, etc).

I did attempt to put more effort into diversifying our revenue streams on our other sites so we weren't as highly dependent on AS as before. But I've not had much success with that.

Meanwhile, we're steadily climbing back to how things were pre-Panda. I'm sure I've read somewhere that G has been refining the Panda update because they didn't intend to hit good quality sites.

I don't know how worthwhile it is trying to guess what G is up to or what they'll do next.

Some of my friends said that they benefited because Panda wiped out a lot of dross above them in the SERPs.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you any theories as to why you got hit, Kay?

Do you think you've just been unlucky or do you think there's a reason (other than purely a mistake on G's part) as to why that site might rank less favourably?

We have a couple of sites which have been hit and we think it's because, in a few areas, they have substantial amounts of duplicate content, because the content comes from an affiliate feed. However, we have gradually attempted to re-write much of this content over the years and asked that G doesn't spider the non-re-written pages so I'm hoping they might enjoy better traffic again in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, we're hiring on quite a big scale (7 new freelancers recruited so far this week) to get tens of thousands of short descriptions re-written which, as you can imagine, is quite a task.

We're also looking to add more unique content by allowing reviews to be placed on our sites. Not something we've especially encouraged previously but we need to try to make our sites as unique as possible.

Finally, we're going to be adding some unique descriptions for individual cities, town and villages to hopefully add further useful content and unique editorial. All told... there's a lot of work to be done!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Paul

Why have you waited until 1st September to post this question?

I have it direct from Google - you do not get penalised for duplicate content although if you are using duplicate content it probably won't rank so well in search results.

Be very careful what you do to your sites as you could do more damage by tinkering than by leaving things as they are.

I have written loads of emails and posts about this subject so if you have any specific questions fire away. Even where I don't have an answer (which is in most cases) I may well have a theory and I will certainly have an opinion.

There is something very wrong with Google at the moment as you will see from a lot of the search results that come up. Google are not going to admit that there is a problem, and anyway that problem may be a deliberate policy to achieve something else which they are not saying anything about either.

If everything was OK in the Google house why would they ask for help fighting spam/scrapers? They never have before and isn't this what Panda was supposed to solve in the first place?

https://docs.google.com/a/google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGM4TXhIOFd3c1hZR2NHUDN1NmllU0E6MQ&ndplr=1

This request for help was Tweeted by Matt Cutts who is currently “hiking in the back country of Yosemite “.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Edit - this was a reply to Paul before I had seen David's posting.]

I just assumed it was because the G algo was flawed after Panda and they'd probably get around to fixing it. Things are sorting themselves out now but we lost serious money during that traffic/income dip.

I didn't really spend any time analysing the rankings because, as I always say, you can figure it out today and they'll maybe change it tomorrow.

One thing we did do, though, since you mentioned dupe content is that we took more notice of and action against content thieves - with some success.

Allowing reviews or not is an interesting dilemma - perhaps scope for a whole new thread there. Wink

Our site that got hit was 100% unique content (except for where people had nicked our stuff).

Some of our other sites use a bit of dupe content from time to time but it's all legal (as in we've paid for syndicated content) or it's the equivalent of a press release (where we've used a merchant's content). None of those sites got hit, or if they did we didn't notice it.

Good luck with all you new plans. Loads of work ahead, as you say.
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Last edited by Kay on Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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paul
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David

Nice to hear from you after so long. I mentioned the Matt Cutts request on here just the other day as it happens:

http://www.aardvarkbusiness.net/chat/viewtopic.php?t=25225

I'm not sure I see anything too suspicious in it, rather that they just trying to ensure they are adequately combatting blog scrapers. He says in his tweet "We need datapoints for testing" which suggests to me that the algo had already been tweaked but they were trying to iron out any areas where they perhaps hadn't caught everything.

Personally, I'd sooner see blog scrapers not rank at all, but having the blog that is the chief source rank first is at least a step in the right direction. I have been frustrated in the past when blog scrapers rank above me on articles that I have written, but I see that less and less now.

As for the duplicate content issue, I realise Google isn't necessarily putting 'Google penalties' on sites that have duplicate content (as there can be duplicate content for legitimate reasons), but just having those sites not rank as well is a penalty of a sort (just not a Google penalty per se). Re-writing some of our content, and adding more unique content, so that our pages are more useful and more unique is an exercise that I think we need to pursue, whether or not it's something that Google likes. It's just something that surely people will like, too.

Anyway, good to see you around... and I hope business is going strong for you. Please stick around if you're able... it would be good to see more of you. Plus we have Kay here who is into food and cooking, too. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="paul"]Have you any theories as to why you got hit, Kay?

I read from wordtracker that the reason why some quality sites got hit was because Panda algo sifts through sites that have thin contents. So if an article contains very little information with lots of Ads for that particular page, it will cause problem.

Also sites that have articles being re-used on other pages of the site (this must be what is called duplicate content) get slapped too
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's pretty much what I said earlier. The Google algo after Panda was flawed and I believe they'll fix it.

The site that got hit had 100% unique content - except where copyright thieves had stolen our work. We did quite a lot to get shot of the dupe stuff, and that consisted of going through the DMCA process for US sites, and threatening to sue the UK ones. AFAIK, the dupe content has been removed now - until the next thief appears.

The very odd thing is that we do have a few sites where we do use (legitimate) dupe content and they didn't get hit at all.

As for running a lot of AdSense ads on a page, I had a personal consultation by telephone from a G person and most of their advice was about placing the ads and adding, more, more, more, of them.

Make what sense of that as you can. I'm just telling you of our own experience.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

parker wrote:
...sifts through sites that have thin content...


Perhaps this is a key point. Regardless of whether it's ad heavy (which that quote goes on to mention), if your site just gives pages with an address for a place, or just an address and a short description, perhaps you'll fare less well when up against a site that has pages for places, but gives address, full and detailed description, comprehensive photo gallery, etc. Would kind of make sense, I suppose.

If we've been hampered at all because of this, I'm hoping that some of the work we're doing at the moment will help to address this.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving content from sub folders to subdomains managed to get around panda on my test sites after they got hit (they are test sites so are there to keep track of the algorightm, I have LOADS, that are each weighted in content or link building to a particular element.

Moving the folders to subdoms got them their rankings back immediately.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely that would only serve as a temporary fix?

If a web page has some dupe content in a folder, then moving it to a subdomain surely can't be a good long term solution - even if is a temporary fix - but would more likely be a Google oversight, do you not think?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul wrote:
Surely that would only serve as a temporary fix?

If a web page has some dupe content in a folder, then moving it to a subdomain surely can't be a good long term solution - even if is a temporary fix - but would more likely be a Google oversight, do you not think?


Yep, which is why I have not done anything beyond noting it. However it does go to prove that it is domain based rather than the content itself during algorithm. i.e. it is a content refresh rather than a live algo.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am just hoping that what we are doing right now is going to have the desired effect on Google in time for the peak travel booking period (Jan-Easter). I've hired around 40 freelancers to re-write existing affiliate (dupe) content that appears on our sites and they're gradually making their way through it all, collectively re-writing around 100-200 pages a day (they're mostly part time) so it's a gradual thing rather than all at once. Time will tell.

The frustrating thing is that G was told not to spider those pages anyway (because they were largely dupe content), but it seems to have ignored that instruction...
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

have you used relcannonical on them?

Didn't realise you had been hit, sorry to hear about that.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old Welsh Guy wrote:
have you used relcannonical on them?


Pass. I'll check with Trev.

Old Welsh Guy wrote:
Didn't realise you had been hit, sorry to hear about that.


A few years back, we got a really nasty Google penalty on one key site which knocked us for 6 a bit...



This has been nothing like as bad as that, but has still had a bit of an impact on traffic. Kind of frustrating when we seem to be being hit for pages that we've told Google not to spider, but I suppose it helps us focus on getting the sites better and better. We're slowly developing quite a good team of reasonable quality, low cost freelancers, who will hopefully help us to get back on track.
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