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Anyone Else See A Big Change Yesterday?


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#1 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 03:00 AM

Lost a lot of Google referrals yesterday, 47% down on the main article, 36% down overall. Dropped from tops positions to pages 2 and 3 for UK and US.

Any known changes? Or just bad luck on my part?

#2 cre8pc

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 03:24 AM

I caught some brief news headline somewhere that Panda/Farmer just hit the UK.... :emo3:

#3 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 03:33 AM

:(

My assumptions on what are considered a farm were obviously wrong!

Has anyone managed to fix their site post Panda?

#4 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:18 AM

Yep http://googlewebmast...rithm-goes.html

#5 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:24 AM

Re-reading their guidelines.

What is sad is that I see in the SERPs for my main keywords sites that are very poor quality. I guess SEO is still alive and well as I know some of these people buy links to rank, as they have approached me to get them!

#6 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 07:23 AM

Welcome to Panda.

And now you understand what I've been saying.

And, no, don't get your hopes up for a recovery any time soon. Of course, you may end up being an exception, but from what I've seen from others, and experienced for myself, it's a long, long, way back, and in fact, I'm not even sure any longer that there is a way back. I'm just *this far* from completely giving up.

My experience says that the statements made by Google that getting rid of thin content, etc. will help are either flat-out lies, (or let's just say "misguided"), or perhaps there's a set time period before the sites will get reanalyzed after making changes. Or maybe, 99.999999% of the people trying to fix the issues have just not yet fixed the right ones. Unlikely, but hey, maybe. Good luck, man. You've joined a club you won't like.

#7 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 07:40 AM

Yeah, as I mentioned in the other thread, I was certainly not complacent and made a lot of changes while hoping for the best.

Interesting to know for sure that Google considers me UK though. Bulk of traffic always from the USA and I write for US readers (mostly, when I remember the spellings) but obviously Google knows I am an Englishman.

Time to really work on some other sites then. MH was doing really well, started advertising offline even, albeit early steps. Not that offline advertising seems at all useful!

Seems the the sites ranking above me often have much fewer pages. Speciliased. Maybe time to put some older domains to use, get some new sites up - small and high quality. Can that really work? Sounds rubbish to me!

#8 JVRudnick

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:22 AM

up here in google.ca land...no changes affected our client roster so far...still testing but I'm going to assume as we never ever used such 'farm' tactics, that our clients will be unaffected...

that said, yup, things change....but so far so good -- the rollout of the algo to all english-speaking google servers appears to be complete tho not affecting us...thanks goodness!

oh, read Vanessa's post over at SEL for her take on same too, eh!

:-)

Jim

#9 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:31 AM

Yeah, read the posts, but like dazzlindonna's findings, sometimes there is no clear reason why. I read their ideas, I read Google guidelines, and just find myself nodding, thinking yeah, done that!

I never used "farm tactics". I just wrote content, over a period of almost 5 years (started in June 2006), and now the finest articles have plummeted. Hmmm. Oh well.

Edited by jonbey, 12 April 2011 - 08:32 AM.


#10 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:33 AM

Jon, I'd like to throw out one other bit of advice. And this is one that is probably controversial, but so be it. Don't listen to anyone who is throwing around advice based on what they've read but not experienced. In other words, for the 98% of the articles and/or posts out there that tell you how to survive Panda, and the advice is the standard generic "write good quality content, follow Google's guidelines, yada, yada, yada", ignore them!

Not because all that isn't good advice, sure, of course it is.

But in most cases, they don't have a freaking clue what they are talking about when it comes to Panda.

I don't care how popular they are. I don't care how good a friend they might be. I don't care how many sites they seo that didn't get hit.

The fact is, they very likely have no idea what Panda is really doing, or how to really "survive it".

That's all I have to say 'bout that.

#11 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:37 AM

I'm with you there.

When I looked at the lists of sites that suffered in round 1 I saw some patterns, but then other sites that looked good were also hit.

I have been careful in the last 6 months to follow all the rules, and have always put my readers first. Most of what I do is answer their questions these days. Well, will have more time to do other things from now on I guess!

#12 iamlost

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 09:17 AM

Don't listen to anyone who is throwing around advice based on what they've read but not experienced.

While very very true advice one gi-normous problem is that I really have not heard from anyone slapped down by Panda who has recovered. I think that recovery examples are what we are all, as a community, waiting to discover.

While folks such as JVRudnick and myself appear to have 'survived' I can tell you that for every theory I've come up with 'why me OK and not you not' I've been also been able to find a great many exceptions.

And then add in this other 'searcher block' signal so soon and the waters went from murky to opaque.

Time to really work on some other sites then.

I would concur.
For two reasons: (1) you are not sure what to do or undo or not do with MH so just let it idle along. Let events thunder by and see what happens over rest of year. At the least you may learn how to get out of G's doghouse, at the best it may rise again on it's own. Many (not all, I know) sites have done so after all previous algo shocks.
(2) some diversity in offerings is generally good for business.

And a change in topic development might be energising for you as well.

The very bottom business line that we all must remember is that it is G's house, they have n-million choices for most search queries, just because they are liking us today does not make us bff's forever. Therefor as you develop these other sites consider diversifying traffic and revenue sources, if not immediately, certainly over time. Have a plan. Keep it current. Remember: the best revenge is to succeed.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's most successful websites. We will build those sites. Better than ever before. Better...richer...faster.
---apologies to the Six Million Dollar Man

#13 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 09:30 AM

Yeah. My main thoughts are - how to put all my knowledge to some use with reasonably quick results!

Things are really not looking good. Maybe by summer 2012 I will put my Health Sciences cert to use in a non-webby way, assuming I pass.....

#14 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 09:39 AM

Just had another idea ..... this is me clutching at straws again.

As time has passed, many of my outbound links are now redirected. All on same site, just many people over the last 5 years have updated their sites, and done a good job at having 301's in place. So never any 404's going on.

Just checking the Link Checker page, and there are a lot, e.g.

http://www.jic.ac.uk for some reason directs to http://www.jic.ac.uk...orate/index.htm (not a great example)

http://www.nhs.uk/Ch...es/default.aspx redirects to http://www.nhs.uk/ch...e-for-life.aspx (a better example)

So I am fixing the redirects. My thinking (fist full of straws - hey..... ) was that one "indication" of a site that has lots of adverts / affiliates could be one where there are many redirects going off before the final page is found. So, straws in hand, fixing those issues.

Also, noticed a "new" thing in Webmaster Tools today (I say new, maybe I just never saw it before) that is Soft 404s. So fixing some of them - assuming that a Soft 404 is a "low quality" page that should either be something else or a hard 404. Many were relics of the site restructure last year, e.g. /articles/page/2 (now hard 404 as the remains of the old CMS now deleted).

Will try to make the site as tidy as can be. If there is one thing these smaller, focused sites have as an advantage it is less bloat and minor errors from the past.

But once operation straw clutch is over I will start operation total panic.

#15 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:43 AM

"While very very true advice one gi-normous problem is that I really have not heard from anyone slapped down by Panda who has recovered."

Very, very true indeed. The difference in many cases, however, is that at least those that were slapped have had their noses mired in the details 24/7 since then, rather than merely reading a few "see, playing by the rules is a good thing" puff pieces and deciding that they were now qualified to repeat such puffery far and wide. The mired noses may not know the solutions, but they know the problems very, very intimately. That alone sheds a lot of light.

#16 cre8pc

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:37 AM

The fact is, they very likely have no idea what Panda is really doing, or how to really "survive it".


:nanacomputer:

DD's such a feisty woman warrior!

I don't get Panda. One of the sites I monitor buys high PR links that really have nothing to do with their own topic (against my advice) and they rocked right to the top spot for their top keyword after Panda.

Somewhere on our mother planet, a Google person is laughing their donkey off at us.
:popcorn:

#17 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:45 AM

Yeah, I know of at least 1 site that buys links that is doing better, and they are mostly boilerplate links, many even have "sponsored" above them, and all keyword targeted no-nofollow-ow.

Also, I understand the importance of putting the best content in the index, but when your own content appears below scrapers that is a sure sign that the system, although maybe pleasing many of the people, is also screwing over many others.

From today's observations I have determined that:

1. Keyword rich domain names work best
2. Limit content to 10-20 pages
3. Buy links from any old site
4. Write any old rubbish on the site, just check your spelling and check for duplicates.

Repeat process until you have 50 sites all bringing in the cash that your 1 good site used to bring in.

#18 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 01:15 PM

I would say the advice spectrum on Panda is spread between these two extremes:

1) Those who were hit who have tried a lot of stuff and seen no recovery
2) Those who were not hit, who have been publishing a lot of sites, and have no way of testing possible fixes

There is a third category of self-promotional schmucks who are feeding off the fear and envy that Panda has created but let me just focus on the two ends of the spectrum I identified.

The problem with picking out a Panda recovery solution is that *IF* that entails or comes on the heels of removing a LOT of pages from a site, then when the site turns around it won't recover its previous traffic -- because it has fewer pages to grab queries with.

Obviously in that scenario one can expect a site to grow out of the traffic loss with new content that meets whatever Panda's expectations are -- but the site has to really turn around first.

The problem with people like me pontificating about what to try is that -- not having been hit by Panda -- we're just guessing. But frankly, I waited a long time and reviewed a lot of discussions before making and sharing my guesses. My guesswork is no better than the information I've had to work with.

I think Donna's skepticism is well-justified. But at the end of the day anyone who has been affected by Panda has to try something.

Knowing you're wearing a blindfold and standing on the edge of a cliff, if you create a lifeline for your site then taking that step in any direction may not be so risky as it feels. If you can restore whatever changes you make, then make some changes and see what happens. You may step off the cliff and fall even farther. You may end up stepping sideways and really accomplishing nothing. Or you may step away from the cliff and resume your journey.

I firmly believe there is no one factor at work here. I think each affected site has been affected for reasons specific to that site.

I don't see any compelling reason to believe that the update is really about "content quality" -- it looks to me like it's just about compliance with Google Webmaster Guidelines.

I'll probably never be able to prove that.

Then again, the next time I launch a Website, I have a pretty well-proven method to follow in designing, populating, and promoting that site.

I think that counts for something.

Take that for what it's worth. I hope everyone who has a passion for their site and their chosen topic comes back from the precipice.

#19 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 03:26 PM

Take that for what it's worth. I hope everyone who has a passion for their site and their chosen topic comes back from the precipice.


Me too! It is just so frustrating. I was thinking about this on the way back from my kettlebell class this evening. It is like if you spend 5 years setting up a shoe shop (no idea why I picked shoes) in town, picked a good location with passing traffic, designed it, followed all the building, advertising, employment regulations (or at least tried your best to follow them and nobody reported to you that you may have failed somewhere along the line) and then just when you think everything is going well, the town council decide to close your street, without any consultation or warning.

When I had my "thin affiliate" issue that was frustrating, but at least we got to the bottom of it all (me using 302 redirects for adverts, instead of 301, creating "bridge pages"). But now there is no idea.

People keep saying useful things like "you should not have relied on Google". But if I had known that they were going to drastically change the algo in 2009 when I got made redundant, I would not have decided to try to run my hobby site as a business. Oh well.

I have made many changes today, will tackle every single issue in the Google Webmaster Tools to make sure that is clean as a whistle (still some duplicate description issues on similar tags / categories that I need to somehow sort out). Think I cleaned all my "soft 404's" today. Done a few other little things, no idea what will help.

At least my traffic is not totally gone, still rank for some terms, just not the good ones. Need to decide whether to spend time filing DMCAs on all the new sites I now see with my content or to just tidy up what I can and move on!

#20 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 05:52 PM

It seems to be a common complaint among sites that lost visibility that their content was scraped by other sites that are now ranking better. I'm curious: do you have any idea of how those sites ended up with your content? Do you publish full RSS feeds or something?

I know there are sites scraping my own content -- I occasionally run across them deep in the rankings. Since I don't publish full feeds I know they have to use robots to scrape my pages. That usually results in the links being left intact and I have to admit I have left most of the scrapers alone when I find they link back to me without using "rel='nofollow'".

#21 jonbey

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:05 PM

It varies, some people do just use the snippet from the rss I think, some seem to use the Feedburner one, others must do something else.

I found one site that was taking the Feedburner emails and auto publishing them on their own site. Many leave links to I get Pings in WP, then I block their IP so they cannot do it again.

The worse seem to be manual I think. One person even combined 2 of my articles. Their blog is gone now, as they happened to copy some istock photos too, so they got 2 complaints.....

#22 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 01:41 AM

There used to be a Feedburner link on SEO Theory. When I took ownership of the site and moved it to my own server, I got rid of the Feedburner code (it was not my account to use anyway).

So far as I can tell, there is no more Feedburner code on the site.

Recently, I discovered a site was scraping the blog through Feedburner. I've complained to Google but since I can't explain how they are scraping the site I'm not sure of whether I'm causing my own problem.

Feedburner is kind of braindead in that it won't let you investigate where the feeds come from. I don't really like Feedburner.

That said, I think once you've swum in the Feedburner pool you're probably on a very select list of spambots' radar. Whomever is exploiting that flaw in Google's services has found a nasty vulnerability.

Google needs to figure out what is going on and fix the problem ASAP because I'm sure that if they do nothing the method will prove itself and then whomever came up with this will start selling a tool. Maybe it's too late. Maybe there's already a tool and I just haven't found it.

#23 Dr.Marie

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:51 PM

Jon, I don't know if this will help or not...my situation may not be related to Panda at all, but perhaps this can give you some hope. My site is based in Canada (even though I'm a dot com) and earlier this week my traffic dropped by 30% and stayed down. I figured that I'd been slapped by the darn Panda.

Then, I noticed in my analytics a lot of people going to my urls with an appendage of &fb_xd_fragment. When I checked out these pages they were totally blank. For some reason my fb fan box on my page caused some people to see a blank page. I removed the fb fan boxes (the addthis plugin doesn't seem to be the problem) and my traffic has gone up to even higher than before.

One thing I did notice is that my GWT data showed that none of my keywords had dropped...this is what tipped me off to know that it wasn't Panda. If it was, then my keyword positions would have dropped as well.

Just thought I'd mention that in case it was happening to you.

#24 A.N.Onym

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 01:32 AM

Jon, one article that you've linked to, mentioned that a site recovered after fixing all the broken links with Xenu. That's what I'd do foremost. Then you might want to check the GWT suggestions, I'd imagine they show what affects the ranking (hopefully).

Then again, I haven't experienced the Panda update on my site, so, I guess, you can ignore me, as Donna suggested ;)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 14 April 2011 - 01:32 AM.


#25 jonbey

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 02:51 AM

Fixing links is an ongoing job with Broken Link Find (emails as soon as a broken link is found, checks every day).

Def. Panda, wish it was Facebook.

Traffic down 66%, revenue down more. My smoothly growing business has crashed.

Have made many changes, still working on the site. Also deleted over a thousand Wordpress tags that, basically every tag with less than 5 posts attached, then noindexed all the post and category sub pages.

Still hunting down old and weak content. Some blog posts date back to 2006 when I just wrote a few lines on a subject, when it was just a little bit of a fun hobby.

Also trawled through GWT (although the old information is a nightmare, errors recording 2007 still showing, even though it says updated this month) but think I have done all for now. Maybe the duplicated title tags need another review, but I think the de-indexing of all sub-pages should sort that out.

So, removed poor content, de-indexed sub-pages of tag/cat/home etc, fixed errors (including all the soft 404's in GWT), removed 2 adverts, lowered one adsense (now no adverts above the fold - I know some sites with ads are doing great, but thinking is that it could be a signal, and reducing as many signals as possible would be a good idea). Plus some more. Really hope this works.

My wife is job hunting today. I may be next!

#26 jonbey

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 05:11 AM

Update: I am now up to 6th October, 2006. Checking each post from the beginning for:

Length - does it look like it is of real value? If yes,
Logs - does anyone read it? If yes,
Duplication - is it unique?

Many being deleted, some being edited (putting new html skills to work, adding headers, lists, internal linking etc).

Very time consuming. Hopefully worth it.

So far, 24 posts deleted, 2 for more detailed review, 7 edited.

Edited by jonbey, 14 April 2011 - 06:08 AM.


#27 jonbey

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:27 AM

Now up to April 2008.

87 pages deleted
27 pages edited
1 head spinning

#28 sansonj72

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 04:24 PM

This topic has MR special ed over here way confused. LOL



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