Why Your Site Traffic Is Going Down... Google Panda Penalty

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  1. dilipchandra12 profile image67
    dilipchandra12posted 12 years ago

    Google panda is basically a major tweak in search engine algorithm. Its aim is to push the quality web-site up and lower down the ranking of low quality content. Unlike all previous update, Google panda is a domain level penalty. It means even if you have 5-10 low quality content in your site, your whole domain might get hurt because of this.

    I think removing or deleting low quality content hubs might help out in improving the overall hubs performance. I am on it now, deleting low quality hubs, lets see how far it will help.

    1. mary615 profile image82
      mary615posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I have some low scores that I'm thinking of deleting.  They are poems that will never do well.  My "evergreen" Hubs continue to do well.

      1. paradigmsearch profile image60
        paradigmsearchposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I'm thinking of deleting my 2 illustrious poems as well. It will hurt because I am quite fond of both of them.

      2. Greekgeek profile image78
        Greekgeekposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Don't sweat your Hubscore too much. Google doesn't care about Hubscore any more than it cares that I've got 20,000 points on some Lord of the Rings fan forum from ten years ago. Each of those is an in-house metric which doesn't help Google evaluate content across the whole web. Instead, it has its own method for evaluating quality, page by page and domain by domain, according to its own algorithm.

        All Google cares about is unique, topic-relevant content that isn't spun, spammy, or doing funny tricks to manipulate search engines.

        Poetry doesn't get search traffic, because it's usually not what people Google for. For example, someone Googling for "Corona Del Mar" is probably looking for tourist info, not a poem about a beach. But that doesn't mean Google thinks that poetry is low quality. It just isn't relevant for Google's needs.

        There is a difference between content that isn't effective for SEO and content that is so bad it incurs a penalty on all the other pages on a domain. Personally, I would not be too quick to delete original, well-written content that may get social traffic, even if it doesn't get search traffic.

        Instead, I just keep in mind Google's definition of webspam: any artificial content or practices that try to manipulate search engine rankings. It's time to get rid of articles that depend on link spamming, keyword density counting, paid links and content spinning (not that I expect you have any of those).

    2. Ms Dee profile image86
      Ms Deeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      dilipchandra12, what are you seeing as your low quality content hubs? Do you gauge this just by the amount of traffic? If you know of some parameters for what is low quality according to Google, I'd be interested. It may help me see what of mine are low quality. Thanks for your post!

      1. mary615 profile image82
        mary615posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Correct me someone if I'm wrong here, but I go by the Hub's score. My best performers have a high hub score, and my dumb poems have the lowest score.

        1. rmcrayne profile image89
          rmcrayneposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Interesting Mary.  Not the case at all for me.  I always have a shocking (to me) number of hubs that score in the 90s, yet get 0-3 views per 24 hours. 

          Sooooo...HubScore is certainly not a good rule of thumb.  It is a HubPages metric, and likely has no correlation with Google success.  If it did, no one would be stressing about the 'how to please Google' problem.

      2. Marisa Wright profile image86
        Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Google has discussed how they assess quality, it's here:
        http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ality.html

        Of course,interpreting it is easier said than done! 

        Maybe an example would help. My pointe shoe site was "Panda'd".  I had several blog posts in a series, each with just a video with only a line or two of explanation.   I combined them into two longer posts, changed the titles - and next Panda update, I was back in business.

        I think my original post structure failed on two questions.  One was:
        "Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?"

        I don't have a huge amount of ads on my site, but it's the ratio that matters.  With a very short post, the ratio of ads to content would've been high.  It would be the same for poems.  That's why combining several poems into one Hub, or adding a story about the poem, or more images/videos, should help.

        The other was:
        "Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?"

        because I had the same title for each post with something added (e.g. How to Fit Pointe Shoes #1 - the heel, How to fit Pointe Shoes #2 - the toe etc).    So make sure your Hubs all have unique titles, even if they're in a series.

        I would love to know what this sentence means:
        "Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?"

        I suspect it's the reason why some extreme high flyers here were so massacred by Panda.  Their Hubs were all on different subjects, all written to target high-paying keywords, which clearly displays a pattern suggesting exactly what this question is targeting. 

        Of course, everyone is guessing exactly what these questions mean!

        1. dilipchandra12 profile image67
          dilipchandra12posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Helpful link Marisa! Thanks for the same smile

  2. WryLilt profile image89
    WryLiltposted 12 years ago

    Dilipchandra12, I'm not sure about your idea behind starting this thread. The original Panda algorithm change happened in February 2011 and it's fairly well known how it works with the many updates since...

    1. dilipchandra12 profile image67
      dilipchandra12posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Google Panda update dates: Feb 24th 2011, April 11th-12th 2011, May 9th 2011, June 18th 2011, July 23rd 2011, September 28th 2011, October 9th 2011, October 13th 2011 and October 18-19 2011

      1. IzzyM profile image86
        IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        There's been a lot more that than, including one last week.

        Anyway, these are algo updates which may or may not impact a site, yet your heading refers to a Google penalty which is a different thing again.

        A penalty is when Google has picked your site out and downgraded it, in particular, because of some practise you may have carried out that they caught you out for.

        You fix the thing they didn't like and ask for a re-inclusion through your webmaster's tools, but the penalty can last a long time.

        I don't know of anyone here on HP hit with a penalty.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image86
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Sorry Izzy but he's right.  I agree a "Google penalty" is a different thing - but in practice, Panda does impose a "domain level penalty".

          The Panda algorithm assesses your site to see whether it contains any "low quality" URLs.  If it does, it then assigns your whole sub-domain a low score. 

          Google then takes that Panda score into account when ranking each individual URL.   I like Greekgeek's analogy - it's like a golf handicap, because it's added into the existing mix of factors (backlinks, SEO etc) to produce a different ranking for each URL.  But it seems that the Panda score is more important than any of the other factors.

          1. IzzyM profile image86
            IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Or I could just be in the sandbox, which is where I believe I am.

            We will know one or the other by the summer. The sandbox has never lasted more than 12 months, so if mine lasts longer, then we'll know.

            Meanwhile, I am site building elsewhere, including having new subdomains on HP that need built up.

            If by August my account is still in the same place, I will just redistribute all my current hubs between my new subdomains which will also have aged by then, a little.

            I wish I had moved them all a year ago, but there you are. I didn't, and am paying the price.

            With over 500 hubs, many of them high quality if I say so myself, it is hard to stand back and say which hubs could pull my whole domain down.

            I tried unpublishing the worst ones, and moving them elsewhere and nothing has changed.

            It is a full time job moving a hub, because there are so many copies out there that have to be chased down first, even before I unpublish. Guess that's why most of them are still here at this point in time.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image86
              Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              I wasn't applying it to your situation, I was just saying I thought the OP was correct that the effect of Panda can be a site-wide penalty, because it's a site-wide score.

              1. IzzyM profile image86
                IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                Oh right. Thing is, if HP had received a penalty they would have found it in webmasters tools. Using that terminology, penalty. Which we are never going to know about as we didn't have access to that information.

                Other than that, I think we may be in agreement, but am not 100% certain.

                The move to subdomains was believed to have been the factor that removed that penalty (which wasn't an actual penalty but an algorithm adjustment that adjusted us downwards), but both factors happened about 6 months after Panda was introduced, just to blur the waters.

                Many sites came out of the Panda effect at the same time without switching to subdomains.(and without making major changes).

                I wouldn't say we were back to normal. The winners and losers all seem to be the good hubbers here. I doubt if the bad hubbers ever made any money or got traffic anyway.

                No, correction, we had the yahoomail type accounts that continued to make money, we believe, but don't know for certain.

                We have way too many hubbers seeing huge swings in traffic, although hopefully that will settle down in time.

                Its just that I don't think I have any hubs that were that bad.

                From Greek Geek "Instead, I just keep in mind Google's definition of webspam: any artificial content or practices that try to manipulate search engine rankings. It's time to get rid of articles that depend on link spamming, keyword density counting, paid links and content spinning (not that I expect you have any of those)."

                I am not involved in any of those practices, so there is no reason to assume that my subdomain is being penalized in any way. I know all of my hubs aren't great, but they are not that bad!

                So that leaves the sandbox effect, and I still think its some weird effect of it that is accounting for the swings people are seeing now, and nothing to do with Google penalties or 'poor content' etc.

                We will just have to wait it out, unless some new info is given to us that is actually useful.

                1. Marisa Wright profile image86
                  Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  I think our only disagreement is that you're using the word "penalty" specifically to refer to the Google penalty that shows up in webmaster tools. 

                  The OP (and I) are using the word "penalty" in the general sense, to say that if you get a bad Panda score, that penalizes (or punishes) your whole site.

                  So you're right, HubPages didn't get an official Google penalty in that sense.  It got penalized/punished by Panda, because it got a low Panda score.  Moving to sub-domains solved that problem, because now we each get our own Panda score - just like individual Blogger blogs get their own Panda score.

                  I think that depends how you define those things and how Google defines them. I seem to recall you did a huge amount of submitting RSS feeds etc, which was recommended practice at the time but could be interpreted as artificial backlinking. And you also followed the MS advice in having your keywords in every heading, sub-heading, and several times in the text, which wasn't keyword stuffing then, but sends you over the recommended limit in a few Hubs.

                  Personally I think it's impossible to tell whether it's Panda or the sandbox, because the symptoms (IMO) sound absolutely identical.  The only clear difference is that the sandbox only hits new sites within a month or so of creation - which is why either is a possibility for you.


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