Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

Penguin and panda update followed by millions of gloomy faces have had been a long story. It all started on 4/19 (when Panda rolled out), then 4/24 (When Penguin stroke) and finally 4/27 (a Panda refresh). Take a lesson from it – Life never lets you settle at peace. Dealing with panic-stricken clients in this six months of time span was a real acid test for many webmasters. Unfortunately, even at this juncture, not all are aware of how all these mishaps happened to them, what the loopholes are and how to ensure a sustainable recovery.

These need a serious thought, if not now, then never.

Google Panda

If you think the ranking disaster has happened to only low quality sites having scrap content and illegitimate links you need a second opinion. Recent findings have proved that even some great websites with loads of high-quality content can cut a sorry figure. Rank drops and loss of traffic had been a routine results for them.  These are the companies who have been growing online reputation through good quality articles, blog posts, and whitepapers over the years.

Could you believe that an established site (domain leader in its industry) ranking for thousands of keywords perished out of the blue? Even backlink analysis report of these sites shows impressive link profiles that have been earned from relevant and powerful sites with years of efforts. This is simply not digestible.

So, what went wrong with these high-valued sites?  How will you respond to such issues and what are the remedies?

This is a critical case as compared to the usual Panda analysis of average quality sites we do. One has to thoroughly examine such situations case by case. SEO and search marketing specialists from  Webmarketing group can assist you in this. They are into organic search engine optimisation, PPC, Social media marketing and copywriting services.

google panda update effects

If you are wondering where to start from, here are a few steps you may follow.  

First, do some research works on the client website

This requires an extensive research with the content development team and key stakeholders. You can start analysing Google analytics and Google Webmaster tools data to identify the drop in visits and visiting duration. This will give you an overall idea about the website’s viewership, bouncing pattern and its recent fluctuations if any.

Second, compare rankings before and after panda update

This will indicate which contents are heavily affected and when they were published. You will get a clear idea if quality of the content is held responsible for the drop in traffic.

Third, interview the technical persons involved in content development.

This will help you understand the process the company followed during content generation. Dig a little deeper into it and you will reach to the conclusion.

Fourth, review the whole process and share the research findings

Address the problem to the content team and discuss the panda mechanism with key people.  The feedback from content developers will help you come to a conclusive decision.

Fifth, formulate the plan of action

This is the final step every webmaster will look forward to. Once the research report is ready with you it is time to revamp the content development process.

What could be the reasons of this typical Panda attack?

a. Lack of quality content:

The site in question has dropped off its quality of content.  If a high performing site with all its search engine power all of a sudden starts delivering low quality, thin content, there is high chance, the site will be penalised. Short contents linking out to other blogs or partner websites are of no worth to visitors. When such posts start ranking against competitive keywords (which they have no right to) , user engagement drops drastically. A lot of traffic landing to low quality posts will only lead to high bounce rate, low repeat visits and loss of credibility.

b. Complacency:

This is something almost all big brands go through once in a business life cycle. As they grow older and become established they suffer from a common syndrome called “Over-confidence”.  Instead of offering the same level of knowledge and thought leadership they start producing thinner contents that are of almost no value. A website with inherited search power and quality traffic cannot think of compromising on quality metrics, not even for a second.

A quick justification needed:

  • Do you believe a poor quality content is something you can call a thought leadership piece?
  • Does the blog post or article answer the reader’s questions in mind?
  • Is it worth enough to share through your personal Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn profile?
  • Are you as a Google searcher hooked to the content?

It is important for all these questions to be answered before your next post gets live.

Final course of action:

  • Call upon all content producers and discuss the posts and articles in question
  • Remove posts that are actually fillers and are of no practical use
  • Rewrite if the topic of the content is prospective
  • Remove partner links from thin contents
  • Write new posts that people are happy about reading or sharing
  • Once content is up to the mark of older posts it is time to increase Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn following.
  • Start fresh email marketing campaigns
  • Focus on quality older posts that were written before panda update. They can still receive good amount of search traffic on a regular basis.

Hopefully, following these steps will best address your problem.

Key lessons for webmasters and SEOs:

  • No website is Panda proof. Even years-old website having a huge brand popularity may be hammered. You are safe as long as you produce quality materials.
  • The revival period for a panda-affected site may be six months or more, even if you are doing everything right. Moving quick does not mean you get your positions back quickly.
  • If you know that you are feeding scraps to your loyal readers, stop doing it today. Have the courage to accept your mistakes and take immediate actions.
  • Rewrite or remove content no matter you feel less embarrassed doing that.
  • Take help of Google analytics tool and make your post-panda analysis once or twice in a week.
  • Don’t be complacent for the great old contents you developed once upon a time.  Every new day gives you a new challenge. You need to keep on pumping out good quality content on a regular basis.
  • Low quality and thin content can only lead to unsatisfied readers leading to high bounce rate. More traffic landing on your web pages does not mean there is a high user engagement.

 Conclusion:

Finally, Panda recovery is not a permanent way out. Algorithm update is not a one-time change. It appears and reappears whenever Google consider things out of order. Therefore, you cannot think of going off-track ever.  The ultimate goal is to deliver content with consistency and disallow complacency to sink you in. Keep on doing good work that you are known for.

If you know such high quality sites that have been hit by panda, please share your experience here. I would be interested to know the recovery steps you have followed or are planning to follow.