My Recovery from Google Panda

I am a little hesitant to write this post but since I am making the news on Seroundtable I figured I will at least mention this on my own blog :).

A few weeks ago Google’s Matt Cutts announced softer Panda update which will release some sites that have signals of quality but fall into gray area… I don’t know what I did to fall into gray area but apparently this was case with one of my sites.

I posted this image from Google Webmaster Tools in Webmaster World forums and it eventually made to Seroundtable:

My Recovery from Google PandaMy Recovery from Google Panda

After a couple of days it actually became even more pretty:

My Recovery from Google Panda

Unfortunately while impressions rose even more, clicks settled and don’t rise anymore.

Here is how my Google Analytics (Google traffic only) look:

My Recovery from Google Panda

The last day is Friday, so it’s typically lower than Monday through Thursday, so I expect traffic to rise back on Monday.

If you are curious you can read my Panda story here.

In short, I was hit for the first time on June 29 2012, four days after official Panda announcement and lost more than 50 percent of my traffic. Then I was hit on May 9 2013 by Phantom update and lost another 50 percent of the remainder. What happened now is that while my rankings look like pre-2012, i. e. I seem to rank for everything I used to rank in the past my actual traffic is more like pre-May 9, which is still only 50 percent of what it used to be. It feels like old positions simply don’t bring as much traffic anymore.

And here is my favorite shot:

My Recovery from Google Panda

Google traffic only.

You can see I had some good days before June 29 2012. You can see how my traffic was slashed in half overnight and stayed that way for about a year. Then another hit came on May 9 2012. I freak out and remove Google Analytics altogether to prevent myself from watching stats, hence one day drop to 0. I don’t last though and re-install Analytics next day :). You can see my latest recovery at the end, however it still feels like peanuts comparing to beginning of 2012.

What did I do? Hard to tell. I always believed there was nothing wrong with my site, hence whatever I did wasn’t an attempt to fix my site. Having said that, there were tons of changes to the site. I know this doesn’t help, but I won’t mislead you with speculations.

UPDATE: One month later and it dawned on me that the recovery is nearly 100 percent. The traffic climbed even further and then there were some pages I removed and put into separate site. That site became immediately successful and if I combine traffic for both sites I am very close to what it was before, perhaps 100-200 uniques less (per day) but really close.

5 Replies to “My Recovery from Google Panda”

  1. Hi Elena,

    I’m finally in the process of migrating my SBI site over to Hostgator, which should be completed within the next few days now.

    The 2nd. part of this project is to redo it as a dynamic site through a suitable CMS according to my present needs and future site growth. Together with Ruby on Rails, I’m also contemplating WordPress as an option, however, not sure it could accommodate all the necessary requirements.

    Since you know WordPress, kindly ask you for your opinion and advice on this.

    What I have:

    An 800 pages bilingual (static HTML) site that can be independently navigated in two languages for now (possibly to add more languages later) which requires 2 different menus, headers, etc. Naturally, need to keep that and provide room for expansion.

    Have recently completed a redesign project with a graphic designer, accomplished using responsive design in mind so the site would look OK in small screens as well (and saving me the trouble to also build and maintain a mobile site).

    What I need:

    The ability to make partial (according to language) changes, as well as global changes with the click of a button. That includes to change page styles and right hand columns, headers and footers, top central dropdown menus, to add new implementations such as directory, forum, etc.

    There is more to it, but I guess you get the idea.

    Do you perceive WordPress as a suitable CMS to accomplish all that?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Daniel,

      I love WordPress and think it’s suitable for almost any site. I never dealt with bilingual sites but I know WordPress has plugins for this, so you might want to take a look at that: I am not sure that these plugins can give you ability to make partial one-language-only changes, so you need to really study them and perhaps to test them on a test-site.

      If I were to start from scratch I would probably have two installations of WordPress for each language like for main site, then for French for example. “fr” would be a separate directory under my domain in its own folder with its own installation, almost like an independent site under same domain. In this case you wouldn’t need plugins, but I guess you have to keep your URLs same as in SBI, so it’s probably not convenient for you.

      As for forums and responsive design it’s all available and rather a norm in WordPress. Hope this helps a little 🙂


  2. Elena, do you have any idea why you were hit by the Phantom Update? I, too, was hit with that update. I believe that I was hit because the Googlebot was taking significantly longer to download pages from my website during Mon-Wed than over the weekends, as revealed in my Google Webmaster account under Crawl stats, so I am thinking that Google has implemented a policy to throttle traffic to websites that can’t handle the load, sort of like load balancing the Internet. Do you think this speculative reason may have applied to your site?

    1. Hi Bill,

      to be honest I have no idea why I was hit both times and did nothing to recover. It was quite disheartening to say the least. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. It looks like you were hit with a Panda update which would mean your onsite SEO sucks. You should consider that, along with the bounce rate and other onsite factors.

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