How to recover your website from the Google Panda Update

  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Has your website been hit with the Panda update recently? A large number of websites have seen massive decreases in traffic, some with over a 60% loss in traffic. Since it hit there have been stories about numerous companies dependent on Google traffic that have been forced to layoff employees.

I have been following all of this for awhile now, especially since many properties that we run have been affected by the Google Panda update, for the most part Ozzu has escaped its wrath though. If you read the interview that Wired had with Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal you will find many possible clues to why certain sites were hit. One part that has seemed to stand out most was when Matt Cutts said:

Matt Cutts wrote:
There was an engineer who came up with a rigorous set of questions, everything from. “Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?” Questions along those lines.


With that said webmasters have been receiving mixed messages from Google, especially if you have been placing Google Adsense ads. When you login to Google Adsense, often times it will let you know that your ads are under performing and that you should place ads in spots where the Adsense Heat Map shows you can get the best performance. For reference I have included that heat map here:

Attachments:
adense-heat-map.jpg

The Google Adsense Heat Map



According to that graphic you can see that clearly you should be placing your ads to the top and to the left of your site, and ahead of the primary content. Basically they have recommended that the primary content should be pushed down a ways and that the ads should be displayed prominently to maximize the earnings.

So on one hand the Google Adsense team has been telling us to places ads prominently above the content and all around it, and the Google Search Team has indicated with the Panda update that if you have excessive ads your site may be penalized (this is relative, it feels like a penalty but really isn't, your ranking score is more likely just lower).

The interesting news is that its possible that the Google Adsense team and Google Search team may finally be on the same page as the Adsense team just released the Best practices for laying out your site and your ads. For reference I have included the graphics they are using to indicate site layouts that highlight content:

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site-layout-highlight-content.jpg

A site layout that highlights the content


Attachments:
site-layout-highlight-content-2.jpg

Another site layout that highlights the content



Then they also show a graphic that shows a site layout that pushes the content below the fold:

Attachments:
site-layout-content-below-fold.jpg

A site layout that pushes the content below the fold. Very likely the type of website that was punished by the Google Panda update.



Notice how this is much different than the recommendations they have shown via the first Google Heat map. On this new article they say:

Quote:
While our policies allow you to place 3 ad units, 3 link units, and 2 search boxes on each page of your site, placing the maximum number of ads on your page may make it look cluttered. If users can't find what they're looking for on your site, they may turn elsewhere for information.


The timing of this new article to me makes me think that one of the primary signals the Google Panda update is using is where your primary content is showing up. If your content is all below the fold you are very likely to have been someone hit by this update.

My suggestion to you is to make sure you have content showing up above the fold, and that you keep your ads limited. Put your users first and then compliment your site with a few ads making sure that you do not put too many above the fold.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Where would be considered "below the fold" on a website? I would think it would be the bottom of my monitor if my page is scrolled all the way up, but on the other hand I might think it's half-way down my page at any resolution.
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The fold is considered to be the last row of pixels on the bottom of the monitor without scrolling. Basically what you see when you first visit a webpage. I think the terminology actually came from newspapers. Typically before you buy a newspaper it would be folded in half, and everything important that would catch your eye would be above this fold. So the next point this brings up is people have different resolutions for their monitors so the fold could vary from person to person. I have no idea, but my best guess would Google would put what they consider the fold to encompass the majority of people's computers, so if 99% of people are on resolutions 1024x768 or higher, the fold could be at 768 pixels. Over time the fold probably increases. It is also possible they take the average user's resolution and use the height from that as the fold.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That makes sense to me. Given so many websites use Google Analytics these days, I suppose it could even be possible for Google to get a pretty big sample size of whether there was actually content on the screen when the page loaded, via Javascript.

It seems complicated at first, but really, they could traverse through nodes looking for text content, determine their x/y positions on the page, compare that to the window dimensions Javascript reports, and viola.
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The fact they developed the Chrome browser, they probably can generate and compute where things are by just crawling your website with their bots.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've had a feeling that Chrome was simply a byproduct of Google developing something that renders webpages to spot questionable stuff for awhile now.

I still think they would utilize the millions of computers with the ability to gather and compile data first though, then send the render bots to anything with an anomaly, before finally sending in a human.
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

with excess of 500k visits i only had 1 single ad on the right side of my site and that = a few 100 a week from Google but most of my traffic is US so Bing is my main puller which it took me a while to figure out why Google was not sending as much. For US based traffic Bing is the way to go so now Google really just comes down to the adsence now for my situation.

i may of had a slight drop 2 months ago but after that still breaking records every month.

Also google is a marketing company just like facebook, they are watching us and taking notes. :P
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

after checking google intel analysis there has been a 50% drop for me as well i have gone from 20k a day to 10k a day. so i am moving server adding more ads and lets hope they are more happy with me. if not i am switching to bing ads lol as they provide most of my traffic.
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just thinking this over today Google did add the 1+ button a few weeks ago which is about the time of the drop off so that mite be a clue to the bs google is doing that no one has a ranking yet with the community.
  • AutoTransport
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It actually helped my site.. don't know what exactly it was but I did notice a sudden increase to

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