Google Panda Penalty Signs & Effects

When your Project is hit by Google Panda…
This post will address the following questions:

  • What Google Panda Pessimization Penalty does?
  • How much traffic can you lose?
  • What does Google Panda Penalty look like?
  • What needs to be done to recover?
  • How fast does Google Panda recovery take?
  • Why weren’t You informed by Google of the Penalty arrival?
  • Website X Recovery

What Google Panda Penalty Does?

Google Panda scores your content and boosts your site up or drags it down in Search Engine Ranking Positions. In some cases you may even find pages of your site entirely out of index. A Panda Penalty can easily stop your project from growing or even put it out of business. For businesses that reply on content of their webpages – it is critical to be prepared for Panda.

Real Life Panda Example from SEO Practice:

Here is a real example form our practice of a 15 000 pages e-commerce web project being penalized by Google Panda Update (we will call it “website X” for confidentiality reasons).You may have a question why didn’t WillBeCoded’s SEO Team fix this project in the first place? Here is why:

Project X was advised to be optimized as it did not have a well thought-through structure (SEO friendly architecture). Yet, our Client never let us touch the architecture of website X as that project was growing by 200% – 250% on yearly basis through 2013, 2014 and till mid of 2015.

How much traffic can you lose?

In July 2015 website X was hit by Panda. By September 2015 it was evident that the site had lost 40% of it’s organic Google traffic. Considering that sites content has grown by 4 000 new webpage – compared to the previous year – losing over 40% of organic traffic was a clear sign of Google Panda Pessimization Penalty! 40% traffic loss = no more 200% growth or steady project maturity downfall. That was our final call to action and a solid ground to advocate the major website architecture redesign / optimization.
What does Google Panda Penalty look like?

Google Panda Penalty Chart Singularity

Here is the same chart compared to the previous year stats (2015 vs 2014)

Google Panda Pessimization Penalty

What needs to be done to recover?

  • Get rid of useless pages
  • Get rid of duplicate content
  • Keep important pages one click away from your main page
  • Revise your content
  • Do not inner link to a product page through an empty and useless page

In other words you need to hire a SEO expert to draw a plan and apply the needed changes. In some cases we have even changed the domain name to facilitate the fast recovery times.

How fast does Google Panda recovery take?

Formula is simple: the bigger the website – the longer it takes. It takes time for Google to re crawl the whole site and the bigger the site the longer it takes. A 15 000 pages site will take anywhere from 1 to 2 months to recover assuming that critical issues have been addressed.

Projects with 100 000+ web pages could take up to half a year to recover. A great option for 100K+ projects is change of the domain – this will ensure almost instant traffic recovery. This is a fairly safe practice although potentially a very uncomfortable for the business owner. Yet, it can be as simple as changing “.com” to “.org”.
Great news is that Panda recovery takes a lot less time than Penguin Recovery (at present – 2015).

Why weren’t You informed by Google of the Penalty arrival?

It is very important for Google to update their index faster, real time thus informing you of a potential problem is not really their job. It is rather your job to maintain your webpages and site’s info structure in best shape possible in order to be useful, helpful, high quality and on the point for the end user!

As the matter of the fact Google is doing 0 to notify you about a potential Panda issue. You will have to find that out the hard way. We think that it would be very helpful for Google Webmaster Tools Console to alert Webmasters of a “hard case” Panda penalty (hard case = that would affect over 35% of organic traffic).

Website X Recovery

To be continued…

April 6, 2016:

We had to wait for 2 months with no luck and in January (time was a factor for our client) we have permanently moved the domain to (switching domains has always been beneficial in such and alike practices for us). Traffic recovered within 2-3 weeks and surpassed the pre Panda traffic by 70% just from Google alone:

Google Panda Recovery Chart

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