Recovering from Google Panda: Why Quick Fixes Won’t Work

Panda may have gotten integrated into Google’s main updates for indexing, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hitting websites hard. As Google becomes better at detecting low-quality content and giving credit to high-quality ones, websites are seeing drastic drops to their rankings and losing business. What makes this frustrating for you as business owners is the fact that Google has stopped announcing when they are updating Panda since they integrated it into the main updates, which means you can be hit without warning. In order to recover and continue ranking through Panda updates, you will need a long-term solution from the best SEO services you can find.

Quick Fixes and the Gray Area of Panda

We often get this question from the business owners we talk to once we begin discussing our Panda recovery strategy: “Can we just change a few things and see how it goes from there?”

Quick fixes, like removing one or two elements of a page that make it low-quality, or simply tweaking some of your existing content a bit to make Google reconsider its quality, may work temporarily. However, this approach to “recovering” from Panda does more harm than good, because it leads to the “yo-yo effect.” Have a look at the example below:

A website hit by Panda and the “Phantom” update (which targeted low-quality content like Panda), which displays the “yo-yo effect”

A website hit by Panda and the “Phantom” update (which targeted low-quality content like Panda), which displays the “yo-yo effect”

You can see how in this example, the website was hit by Panda, and then recovered again, only to be hit again by the Phantom update, and then later (and with a more permanent decline), by the multi-week updates. With every dip in traffic and rankings, the website loses the opportunity to gain more goal conversions, and in turn, they lose potential business. This happens when you apply quick fixes – methods that put you on the Panda borderline.

Panda-Proofing Your Website for the Long Haul

Let’s go back to the question I mentioned earlier: “Can we just change a few things and see how it goes from there?” Whenever we are asked this question, we always say no and explain that long-term solutions are more practical and advisable. It saves us the effort of having to apply quick-fix solutions repeatedly, and saves you the time and money of repeatedly launching new band-aid strategies to get you into Panda’s gray area. In addition, making all the changes necessary for a long-term Panda fix means you don’t lose potential business periodically (when your rankings drop), allowing you to focus on business growth.

In order to effectively Panda-proof your website for the long haul, you’ll need to identify some of the most common problems that can lead to a Panda-related dip in your rankings:

    • Lack of original content / scraped content
    • Purely duplicated content
    • Low-quality affiliate content
    • Too much cross-linking
    • Thin content in your landing pages

You can also watch Matt Cutts’ Webmaster Help video below to get a general idea of what kind of content Panda targets:

Our step-by-step process for Panda-proofing your website includes the following:

1. Complete Website Audit
We will run a thorough website audit to determine what elements of your site need to be changed. This protects you not only from Panda, but from other algorithm updates Google has in store in the foreseeable future. We believe that in fixing all problems and improving the quality of your site overall, we help you avoid being hit by algorithm updates like Panda, which is why we take a holistic approach to our website audit process.

2. Integrated Online Marketing Strategizing / Planning
After finishing your website audit and making our recommendations, we will begin planning your online marketing strategy. It’s important that we do not only focus on SEO, but on all aspects of your online promotion. You have to remember that Panda isn’t just about SEO – it’s about the overall user experience. We will integrate your online presence and create a marketing plan that engages your audience and gives them the best user experience while receiving the information they need.

It is at this stage when we do things like:

    • Study your site structure and determine a more appropriate way of arranging your pages;
    • Select the keywords that we will be optimizing for on your site;
    • Determine if you need new pages / fresh copy / additional copy
    • Find pages that need to be canonicalized
    • Check for meta descriptions, tags, and other information that can help search engines identify your content properly

3. Prioritization and Implementation of On-Page Changes

Once we’ve created an integrated marketing strategy, it’s time to prioritize the changes that need to be made in order to help you recover from a Panda hit. It’s important to work fast at this stage, because Panda updates roll out with the main Google algorithm updates every month, and these Panda updates roll out over a span of ten days. This is the stage where we:

    • Change your site structure and create the new pages required based on keyword research
    • Remove doorway pages / replace doorway pages with content-rich pages
    • Fix canonicalization issues
    • Rewrite your existing pages / add new content to your existing pages to give your visitors rich, quality, updated content
    • Implement meta data, rich snippets, and tags to aid search engine crawlers in indexing your pages properly

4. Implementation of Your Integrated Online Marketing Strategy
It’s important not to stop after you’ve fixed your site and regained your rankings and traffic before Panda hit. Google will want to see you keep up the work you’ve been doing. We will build on the on-page improvements by adding fresh content regularly through your official blog, offering downloadable collateral, and making videos and other online seminars available through your website.

In addition, it’s important to build your presence across all channels available and make your content available to a wider audience. Everything will be promoted to your social media pages, forums, and guest blogs. Every month, we will analyze the campaign to find new opportunities to engage your audience and improve your website for optimized user experience. All these will tell Google that you are dedicated towards improving the overall quality of your site, and it will help you maintain your good standing when the next Panda update rolls out.

You get a new lease every month that Panda updates roll out with Google’s general algorithm updates. Create your Panda-proofing strategy now – talk to us to get your website audit and let’s get started.

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