Recovering from a Panda Slap!

After my last very long post about how google’s most recent Panda Update had affected me I have decided to add a few posts detailing the things I will be doing to recover from this latest update “commonly known as panda 2.5” I was not affected in any of the earlier iterations so my focus will be uniquely on the update that occurred on October 14th 2011.

So where to start? Lots of webmasters like myself experienced a 60-80% loss of traffic and income overnight on individual sites, what was weird is that lots of us that experienced this had never been affected by any google update ever before that was obviously apparent to us not panda, caffeine or any other update. What made this most recent iteration even weirder was that many of us experienced moving down from the #1 position on page one of google to the #3 position only to be replaced by what can only deem as thin sites.

My own personal efforts and observations are going to be derived from the things I know and can measure these are: The two sites  that I own and got affected, a few sites I own and did not get affected and the site that jumped up to #1 replacing my goldfish site. Today is a week after the fact and up to now no major roll back appears to have taken place, I have been monitoring a few keywords the main two and a few long tail terms the two main ones have not moved since the update, most of the long tail phrases I’m watching have gained a couple of places back in the last few days. “not that this is anything of consequence as in my own case the long tail terms lost pages not places” It may suggest that minor tweaking is going on but is far from conclusive and purely speculation on my part.

So what are my plans for recovering? to say they are twofold or threefold would be a total underestimation of what I feel needs to be done. I believe that google has finally arrived at a point were the days of doing one or two simple things to obtain a #1 ranking are gone and for this I’m happy as I consider myself to be in this for the long haul and someone who has not earn’t money from my sites by gaming the system.

The Plan
In its most basic form it would be to improve the quality of my sites using the information google has put out “things they like and dislike” and the observations that I can quantify from my own data. So the first thing went through my head was “no knee jerk reactions” Thanks Larry for teaching me this! It also ties in nicely with my own belief there are no more quick fixes, gone gone are those days….

So yesterday I continued along as if this update had never happened I added another page that was already in the pipe about goldfish bowls Did I do anything different to what I would have done Pre Panda? Sure I have read a lot in the last few days, and two of the things that have repeatedly been mentioned are Video, and to a lesser extent Meta & H1 tags. In the past my simple formula was if target phrase was X-X: page/file name = X-X title tag = X-X and H1 = X-X border line keyword stuffing. my gut tells me two things google has evolved to a point that they dont need three hard coded instances of a phrase to discern what a page is about, and if anything it may be frowned upon. So I thought hard and long, along with using all the tools available to us too, and focused on what some one coming to my site may be asking themselves? and less about trying to rank for a given phrase. Video yep it’s been a big point probably one of the largest! I have my own data which points to the fact that having a few videos on the site is a minor plus, notice I said minor I also have data that proves you dont have to have video to rank, again gone are the days when one or two variables could influence ranking’s in my opinion. So yes I added a video that was relevant to the page apart from that I did nothing more or less than normal.

Whilst I was in FTP mode I also decided to tweak the meta title and description tags on the home page, the reason for this is that monitoring my main term in google a couple of times a day the last week made me think about the fact that sitting there in #3 I could possibly increase my click thru from search if my title and description was more attractive and inviting than that of those above me.. I’m not sure what the affect will be and writing ad copy for the sake of a better term, is not something I have ever thought about doing or had to do. the facts are I’m still well above the fold in search and I need to maximize visitors.

Even though I got Slapped pretty hard I’m still exited about this update and see lots of good coming from it for myself. Just yesterday I started to look hard at the performance of my other main site that was affected this is a site I have not updated in 5 years a site that has the potential to be huge a site that I built with no knowledge had this update not happened I probably would not have looked at it for another 5 years!

Ok that’s it for now another short post has turned out quite long I never knew I could write so much so easily, check back often as I will documenting all that I do to my sites too recover from a Panda Slap!

2 thoughts on “Recovering from a Panda Slap!”

  1. Hey Neale,

    Came across your site from a comment you left on ours. I was skimming through some posts and I like your story…pretty interesting! Panda sucks, eh? I like your plan for recovery…will be interesting to see how it goes.

    I like your plan to blog for “accountability”…I think that’s pretty smart. We’re a part of a community that might interest you at DynamiteCircle. Check out Dan and the info on for more info…it’s approval only and there’s a minimal cost to it, but I think you’d find it infinitely useful. There are a few hundred of us online workers/travelers there…varying from quite large businesses to minimal/lifestyle businesses…think it might interest you.

    • Thanks Justin I spent quite along time on your site the other day your model is very interesting and makes 100% sense I just wish I had 1/10th of the drive you guys have 🙂 I have MBA bookmarked I’l go revisit it again..


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