If you’ve been running a website for any length of time then you’re probably getting used to watching your search engine rankings fluctuate slightly, day in and day out.
But have you ever had your rankings fall off the grid after major Google update? Or even worse yet – had a web site penalized before?
Well I have!
And unfortunately it can happen to you too…
So I’m gonna share my experience with you in hopes it will help you avoid getting hit negatively by a Google Panda update and fix your site if you do.
Most recently I had two sites hit hard by a “minor” Google Panda Update, which was update 2.5.2 on October 13th, 2011.
And it’s a bit unfortunate because it’s already costing me an extra $1,000/mo or so.
I first noticed the significant drop in traffic on one of these top AdSense supported websites, and was quick to attribute it to one of the many testing changes I had been making over the last couple of weeks. However, after checking another AdSense supported site I immediately recognized the destruction of that site’s rankings too.
Luckily it hadn’t affected any of my other active websites though. Coincidentally, none of them are supported by Google AdSense either…
Which is actually one of the many benefits of running multiple websites – you have a much better chance at identifying “real” algorithm changes and ranking factors than you would if you were only working with a website or two.
Plus you’re business isn’t demolished when you’re hit by one of these updates either.
But getting back to what happened here, and since I was “lucky” enough to have two websites hit by the exact same update, it allowed me to compare the two sites and identify some existing patterns.
Potentially negative patterns that immediately stood out to me:
With a few other patterns I’m considering too. But I think one or some of these in combination is the primary culprit.
Although I’ll admit these sites would probably be considered lower-quality by most people at first glance, one of them has been “naturally” linked to quite often as great reference source, and both of them provide the most up-to-date, comprehensive information in their respective niches.
In addition to that, here are some other positive aspects:
What’s funny is the sites that are now showing up for the top queries aren’t nearly as relevant as the ones that used to, but are seemingly more authoritative and generally have less ads on them too.
Which I’m not sure how that necessarily improves user-experience, since they’ll now have to dig through several more search result to find the most current information on these topics, but I guess that’s for Google to figure out.
Although no one besides the folks at Google can be certain why this has happened, what I can do is share with you what steps I take to get these sites “back to normal”.
Yes, I’ve read the million other articles telling me what it could “possibly” be, but most of it’s just the same old stuff people have been saying after every update since the beginning of time. I couldn’t find many “real” examples of what someone did to revive their site after a Google Panda update, and I don’t want to just regurgitate the same old speculative information to you.
Rather, I want to share with you what “really” happened, “known” patterns, and “actual” improvements and / or changes made.
So here’s what I’ve done so far: I’ve gutted them of their AdSense code, even though Google keeps emailing me there is still room for more ad placements on my sites. Gave both of them a logo, and completely redesigned one of them – moving it from an UGLY static HTML website to a WordPress site with a much nicer customized theme.
Enough time hasn’t passed yet to know whether these changes will have any affect or not, but I will definitely post future updates regarding the progress of them so you can get a better idea of what I did and what you might want do if you ever have to deal with this issue too…
But what about you – have you been hit recently by one of the Google Panda updates? Were you able to get your site “healthy” again? What did you do?
Would love to hear your experience and thoughts.
Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE NOW by downloading our free eBook so you don’t miss helpful updates regarding this topic!