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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂