How to Deal With Traffic Drops Post PANDA

Whenever Google changes its algorithm (known as the Google dance), some sites see a traffic drop, others see a traffic increase, and the majority see little or no difference. So how do you deal with traffic drops during this difficult time?

The “content-scraping” and “duplication-detecting” changes that Google made to its algorithm during December 2010-January 2011 affected many websites.

deal with traffic drops

What is Panda and how to deal with traffic drops post this effect?

The Panda algorithm penalizes “Content Farms” and all sites that depend largely upon regurgitated content of no value, either stolen or paraphrased by others, or simply material devoid of any real value.

This is how Google works in their own words, Panda tries to “find ‘high-quality’ sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.” There have been several updates of Panda since the initial release. Check periodically here to see whether there’s been another one of any significance…

Deal With Traffic Drops Post PANDA

If your in-depth audit of your content resulted in some fixes, or anything else that has improved the quality of your site, then click on the link below and submit a reconsideration request (but only do this if your traffic has dropped considerably, or if your site has never made it into Google’s index). Click on the link below to go to the request form…
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration

Before you submit your request, read Google’s webmaster guidelines. If you’re certain your site complies with all of them, send in your request.

Reconsideration requests will not have any impact if your current rankings are a result of an algorithm change (ex., the several Panda releases). But since there’s no way to be certain that your site was dropped due to an algo change such as Panda, submit your request, after cleaning up your site after doing your self-audit effectively to deal with traffic drops.

Link-Building Self-Audit

With the importance that Google puts on inbound links, it’s easy to become carried away with obtaining as many links as possible, even if they’re from questionable sources. This is one of the major area you need to look into to deal with traffic drops post the panda.

Focus your time on building valuable links from reputable sites, in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your site with Google. A few links from these sites will do more for your rankings than will dozens of links from low-quality or unrelated sites.

Keep It Real

Something that’s become very popular is building a blog or two and then adding your site to the blogroll. This has the effect of putting a link to your site on every post, every category page, every archive page, and every other page on the blog. A blog with 500 posts could have upwards of 600 links back to the site, just from the blogroll.

Resist the temptation. Remember, just as with content, you need to keep link-building real.

A link from the content of a post to a page on your site about the same content is fine, but don’t use blogrolls to bulk up your links. Google has already caught on to that tactic.

If you’ve already used this tactic to bulk up, Google has probably discounted the value of the links to your site. So there may not be much risk in removing your link from the blogroll. To compensate, write more blog posts, providing in-context and relevant links back to your site.

Diversify Your Links

Don’t have all of your links from one type of source. Have some from blogs, some from blog comments, I use my own  non spamming blog commenting software. Get some links from forum posts (forums about your niche are the best), some Yahoo! Answers, and others from the other sources you’ll find listed in the Link-Building Checklist…

Don’t Spin Articles

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of article sites on the Web. It’s tempting to post an article to as many as possible.

To avoid the duplicate content penalty from Google, many people “spin” the articles by changing the order of words or paragraphs, or by replacing a few of the words with synonyms, or by using article-submission software that slices-and-dices an article and then submits a dozen or more versions to hundreds of article sites.

These webmasters think that the slightly different versions of the article will somehow pass by Google’s eyes without being noticed, except, of course, for the link back to the site.

An inbound links program is an important part of your traffic-building efforts, as long as the links you obtain offer value to visitors. The links from having dozens of slightly different versions of an article floating around the Web won’t be of much value to anyone’s visitors.

Restrict article submissions to just the few best article sites (5 or so), and make every version fairly different from the others. For example…

Take one great article. Submit it to one of the best article sites. Re-work it and submit to another. Re-work it substantially. Repeat with another.

If you create, at most, 2 or 3 of these, with 2 or 3 variations, you’ll have 4-9 articles out there.

Make sure that each article is at least 400 words (EzineArticles.com now requires at least 400 words, and recommends 600-800).

Checking on Links

You can check Google Webmaster Tools for the number (and diversity) of inbound links to your site. If you find that most of your links are from one or two sites, you’ll need to spread your link-building efforts across a range of sites.

http://www.google.com/webmasters/

You can find your list of links by clicking on Your site on the web, then Links to your site in the left column. Under “Your most linked content” (on the right side of the page), click on More >>. Then click on the small plus + sign next to each file name. This will reveal where your links to each page are coming from.

If all the links are coming from the same type of link (ex., article marketing), then you need to work on more links from different sources. And if a page has no inbound links (links to TIER 2 and TIER 3 pages are called deep links), you need to work on finding at least one for every important page.

If the links are from a wide variety of sources, did you request them or add them yourself (in other words, is the link a result of your link-building efforts), or were they offered organically?

Organic links (those offered by webmasters without your asking for them) are the best links you can have. Google values them highly, and will give the page extra points for those links.

Organic links will accelerate as your site and its traffic grows. That is when you know your snowball has started in earnest. Until then, supplement by building out your inbound links program.
Try Market Samurai For Free!

Reduce Your Dependence on Google for only traffic source

If it wasn’t already clear to tens of thousands of webmasters around the globe after the Panda algo, a too-heavy dependence on Google traffic can hurt when the big guy decides he doesn’t like you as much (or not at all).

Of course, this has always been true. There has always been one engine that “ruled the roost” at any given moment in Web history. SBIers do especially well, and will continue to, due to the very nature of the process. But you still need to deal with traffic drops post the panda.

Still, diversification is always a good idea. Look for ways to lessen your dependence…

  • Start using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or use them more to develop a relationship with visitors. Use these sites to turn your visitors into fans who will then promote your site for you. Learn how to use them to your advantage in the Social Media Marketing. (maybe I’ll post another article later on this).
  • Build more inbound links from a wide range of quality, authority sites. Don’t rely on links from article directories, Squidoo lenses, Hubpages hubs or other sources with dubious reputations. Ask for links from leaders in your niche.

Summary

There are no shortcuts to creating quality, valuable content. And there are no shortcuts to building quality links to your site.

If you’ve taken any shortcuts, or even think you might have, then the content self-audit and/or the link-building self-audit is a must to ensure that your site doesn’t become a wallflower during the next Google dance.

Add value. Keep it real. Tape those two reminders to your computer monitor and you shouldn’t have to worry about ever becoming a wallflower.

I sincerely hope this article on how to deal with traffic drops post PANDA helps you :-)

About 

I am a software professional working for a major multinational IT company. I am passionate about SEO and own a webdesign and SEO software development company based at UK. A keen SEO researcher and software developer. I mentored and helped a lot of new internet aspirants on how to create a website that works!

Recently, I created a game changing, non-spamming, SEO Blog Commenting Software which is currently under soft launch.

61 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Solid tips and advises Saikat. By far, I think that “reducing” your dependance on Google is probably the best strategy to go for. Obviously, this does not mean that one should ignore the largest search engine in the world, but solely depending on traffic coming from them can seriously hurt your business if for some reason they decided that your site does not meet their quality guidelines. Kinda like “don’t put the eggs in one basket” really. Thumbs up!

    • Hi DiTesco,

      Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate your comment. Yes, we can’t ever ignore Google but as rightly written by you “don’t put your eggs in one basket”. I think this says all :-)

    • I agree that we should not be too dependent with Google. Like they always say whenever there is an update in Google, just stick to the basics: create quality links and have an ethical SEO strategy.

  2. The Panda update has really changed things around for many bloggers. Now it seems that every post your read is over 1000 words and very informative just like this article. I think it’s great, people won’t spin articles but instead take a few days to write high-quality posts.

    • Hi Marty,

      Thanks for the comment. No, it is not necessary to post content over 1000 words. What is important is to make sure that your content is useful to your visitors. When they say content it can be written or even say any useful video tutorial etc.

  3. The Panda update seems to be a popular topic over the past few months. I agree in that it is important to diversify the domains that links to your site.

    Just as important, the point that you make about not relying solely on Google for traffic is a solid one. While it is important to diversify the sites linking to your site, it is also important to diversify traffic sources as well. This is something that I have been trying to do for some time, but have yet had any real success.

  4. Its a great post on panda. Yes reconsideration can help but before reconsideration you must be sure that you have done all the changes and deleted low quality contents and so on.

    • Yes Eric,

      You are correct. That’s why site audit is so important post panda. All those junk contents and bad links need to be weeded out before submitting for site review.

  5. These days it’s tempting to buy link building software that promises 1000s of links however you never know the quality of them and it may result in lowering your rankings. Stick to building links related to your niche.

    • @Herman,

      It is better to get relevant, quality links than lots of unrelated links. I have some interesting case studies. Maybe sometime I’ll share or post another post on that.

  6. Link diversity is a huge factor… one that I think a lot of people got slammed over the head with. People tend to find something they think ‘works’ and then they go hog-wild with it (profile links, blog comments, Y! Answers, etc…) Link building can be a tedious task though (checking out your blog commenting ninja ;) ) Link Claw really helps with making sure your backlinks are actually working for you (I’m lovin’ it). But true, you can build all the links in the work and it won’t matter if you aren’t posting any decent content (spun content that you can’t even read and such)!

  7. Well written Veronica,

    Actually there are many loose thories going around without any real justification or basis. There’s a huge controversy with “do-follow” and “no-follow” link types.

    People who say that only do follwo links counts mostly speaks from their perception and not with any real proof.

    What do you think is a better option and link to get?
    a) Your niche relevant, high PR no follow link or
    b) An unrelated do follow links with 100s of other outbound links.

    I am sure you know the answer.

    BTW: I’ll have my WSO soon :-)

  8. Yeah… obviously A ;) Nofollow can help a lot if it’s from an authority site or something related to your niche. The follow thing is normally if you care about passing on ‘PR juice’ (if you want your page rank to be higher). Building all dofollow doesn’t look natural at all either . ***cool, if ya get a chance email me and tell me about it :) Also, is it part of CommentLuv about the 10 comments and 10 posts thing? I just noticed that – pretty cool.

  9. Hi Saikat,

    Some really cool advice, article spinned sites has seen huge drop in their rankings and then traffic of course. Inbound links from diverse sources make your link builiding process quite natural and Google likes natural link building.

    • Thanks Aanchal,

      Submission of spun articles to 1000s of directories only satisfy own self :-) and not the SEs. Even if those links do show up in any backlink extractor…the benefits of such has not been proved.

      Google is smarter guys. If backlink volumes would have been so important then the users of those tools like xrummer and scrapebox would have been on top of all searches :-)

  10. another Panda update is on its way.. this time its going to be weeding out poor quality profile links., this is what i suspect/speculate…

    • @ Jai,

      Yes, there is another “panda attack” and this time it will be for business website who are not updating their websites frequently.

      • Yes you are 100% correct, its happening right now… ive seen all my blogs high in SERPs only because of latest/fresh/unique content. This was not before… meaning the update as you told…

  11. Hi,

    From my point of view google launch very nice tool which is famous by the name of Google Panda we all know very well how it is work for google. So better thing is that we should follow these rules which all mentioned in this post which will be prove very helpful for us.

  12. Jym

    Just like Francisco I love the ‘eggs in multiple baskets’ advice here.

    Panda actually benefitted me – I wasn’t doing any of the things you mention (spinning etc) – and have always focused on producing unique content to the highest quality I can.

    Overall I like the changes Panda brought about.

    The ‘Caffeine update’ was about the infrastructure for faster indexing within Google itself. ‘Panda’ was all about pushing up the quality of results, and the other day the ‘Freshness Update’ is emphasizing recency as a key factor in rankings – at least for some kinds of content.

    Google is evolving. We need to focus on real quality and actually providing the solutions and entertainment that people want with our content, or we’ll be left out. Cutting the dependancy is a great idea too!

    • Hey Jym,

      Thanks for stopping by. Good to know that your sites had the positive panda effect :-) .

      Yes, I have also benefitted much after the panda. I htink the commeon reason we all know is “useful content”.

      Yeah…we do need to do the RIGHT things as well as diversify the traffic sources.

  13. Really interesting post. Small changes in Google can have a massive effect on a site’s traffic and one thing you do today to help your ranking can be detrimental tomorrow. As you say, the only real solution is to actually put the time into generating useful content, real backlinks, and rely on different sources. Then whatever Google does, you shouldn’t take a massive drop in hits.

  14. Building only grate content and links for sure it will be a plus in being not affected by Google Panda Updated. I always try to write articles with added value and build some links to them. Panda Update needs to be feared by the spammer and the ones that are not doing this natural.

    • Hi Bit,

      Your blog attracted me to look into your blog post. This is one of my favourite case study/research area. The importance of authority no follow links. You did a wonderful case study and I appreciate it.

      I am one of those lesser mortals who trust the big no follow backlinks to be real gold mines.

  15. Saikat,

    Link building the “right” way will definitely keep the Panda (and his future siblings) from tearing up your website. In my mind the essential points are originality (non spun) and getting links from decent sites.

    Blog commenting and guest posting are probably tops for quality links, but of course it helps to diversify.

    People need to not only think about what Google has done…but what they will do. It is clear that Google wants to highlight the customer experience. IF you build links while trying to make these links worthwhile to the readers, you can best stay ahead of any penalties for a long time.

    • Hey Steve,

      Thanks mate for the comment. What you wrote is absolutely the bottom line. Trust that content lovers like us are the winner at the end. There’s NO shortcut really :-)

  16. Excellent article. It’s time to take a realistic look at any site that has been hit by Panda and assess what changes need to be made. At a minimum, content has to be a lot better on many of the sites that have suffered traffic declines.

    • Hey Darren,

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, sir..you are correct, the expectation is not to deliver, but over deliver to the site visitors :-)

  17. Danny

    Good post. People need to protect themselves from the panda. But most people getting hit by the panda were filling the internet with bad/stolen content anyway, so it is good that they get forced to change their ways.

    I got hit by the panda as well, for having too many affiliate links. So I changed my affiliate links to nofollow and got back in Google.

    Btw. that backlink ninja software you are pushing, how can you say that it is not spamming and it is not black hat?
    Even if the comments are about the post or “good quality”, it is still automated and not a real human reading and giving their opinion, thus it is spam. Don’t you agree?

    • Saikat

      Hey Danny,

      Many thanks for stopping by for your comments. Good to know that you have recovered from the “panda”.

      Just a point about the ninja software I created. It is more to do with “content curation” the software automatically adds relevant sentences in addition to the content fetched. If this is a black hat is debatable. But content curation is not a blackhat and I have test cases to prove Google loves many a times. Don’t need to go further…check mashable.com this is created with the exact philosophy of content curation. But ranks top of Alexa. It is more like how you use the tool. Atomica energy can used used for good as well as for bad we all know right?

  18. You’ve done a great job explaining how to build links. It’s a little bit hard to figure out what methods work better than others. It’s a very time consuming process, but we know that google loves the natural way of building links.

  19. Awesome ideas on dealing with the traffic drops from Panda and the backlinks to your website. I’ll have to go back and try checking my Google webmaster account for the links to various pages within all websites as that is a great tip!

  20. driving traffic from social media is a good source but the traffic is not permanent. For example i use social media a lot to drive traffic to my post and it really helps but the next day it stops. The only thing is that when you work you get traffic (via social media)

    • Hey Fahad,

      Have you tried Yahoo answers? You’ll be surrpised how much targeted traffic it can send to your site if you have a credible answer. My post on this will be live on the commentluv blog on 20th Nov.

  21. Hi Saikat
    Excellent post! I did get hit by Panda on one of my websites and fought back and won…It was a crazy time but it involved both Onpage and off page SEO..

    After about three weeks my site started to return to glory and now it has grown and survives all new Panda updates now!!

    OMG it was a nightmare! But it is ok because I have been there and done that…I do not regret the experience. :)

  22. A great share Saikat ..

    Your tips on dealing with traffic drops post panda are really awesome… Hope this helps me out to regain the lost rankings of my blog

  23. Thanks for all this information. I really value the part about Panda and not spinning articles. I am a bit guilty of this even though I do a rewrite it still may not be enough. After your advice Im going to make sure I write 1oo fresh content. Thanks again.

  24. Great tips. For the past months, it affected my SERP, affected my traffic but I did use certain alternatives ways to check on the links and constantly tweak and also build fresh content for blog post and it has finally paid off.

    • Hi Mindy,

      Thank you. Blog Commenitng Ninja is a new software and just over a month now it has been soft launched. I am sure you will hear about this more and more :-)

  25. If there’s ever a dupe in your blog, is it a good idea to delete the post after PANDA? Some say it might help up the rank.

    • Hi Ling,

      Yes, you must do a site wide audit and remove those low value posts from your blog. Definitely it will help your site to gain back lost ground.

  26. So do you think a site wide link form a high PR blog in the same niche would not be worth anything? Also assuming that the blog only linked out to relevant sites.

    Most of the link sellers I see, sell links to sites about every type of subject matter you could think of. And there are usually some spammy keywords too.

  27. Genuine source and writing will always rank high in search engine. If you try to spin articles you will get dropped by ranking, as technology is moving fast, you can not use those old method of spinning articles. Grow up and do something genuine.

  28. Very nice tips Saikat.
    Reducing dependence is really a smart way. We should not only focus on organic visitors, Social Media traffic also useful.

    A Small tip from my side:

    If you want to rank higher at Search Engines (especially GOOGLE) then we should not do ans Search Engine Optimization. Just rely on visitors attraction. Write for readers, not Search Engine bots.

    By doing this, we would get best rankings in Search Engines too. #Self Experience

  29. Very Written post Saket,Really enjoyed and feel relived after this.

    Now i think my site can recover the worst panda effects i am sufffering from :(

    And yes,Original and quality content will be the least affected,but re-written articles that most of the Tech News blogs do will be greatly affected i guess.

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