How to Identify and Recover from Google Panda Penalty
Google’s Panda update may be a few years old, but that doesn’t mean everyone has figured it out. In fact, because there isn’t any hard data to go on, it can be hard to figure out whether or not you’ve been hit by Panda, and what you can do about it. This video teaches you how you can identify and recover from a potential Panda slap.
Hey, what’s up everybody. In this video I’m going to show you how to identify and recover from a Panda penalty. The Google Panda update targets sites that have a lot of duplicate or low-quality pages. Your first step is to identify whether or not your site actually got hit by Panda, or whether it was another penalty, or whether traffic just dropped off.
The way to do that is to head into your Google Analytics, and look at specifically Google traffic, because as you can see here, you know traffic ebbs and flows naturally over time, as you have paid campaigns, as you roll out content marketing efforts. You really just want to drill down and find just Google Organic search.
To do that, scroll down here, and under Search, click on Organic, and under Primary Dimension, click on Source, and then click on Google. Now, this will show you your Google traffic over time. Again, these ebbs and flows are normal, esepcially depending on your industry. Over the weekend traffic can drop upwards of 75 percent. If you see a massive sudden drop between one or two days, that could be a Panda penalty.
If you see that sudden traffic drop, the next thing you want to do is head into your Google Webmaster Tools account, and click on HTML Improvements. Once you are here, what you are trying to do is determine whether or not you have many duplicate pages on your site. It’s very common for e-commerce sites, or depending on what kind of content management system you use, it can automatically create duplicate content.
Under Title tag, if you see duplicate Title tags, and you see pages, let’s say hundreds, or maybe even thousands depending on your site, that probably means there is duplicate content on your site. If there is a duplicate Title tag, likely the content on those pages are also duplicate. Those would be pages you would want to delete, or NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW, using the Yoast SCO plug-in if the site’s on WordPress.
Let’s say you log in, and you see this, and maybe this isn’t the case. Like, here it’s ok to have a couple duplicate titles. I have two, so it’s no big deal, what’s your next step?
Well, your next step is to see how many pages are indexed on your site.
In general, to avoid Panda, or to recover from Panda, you want to run a nice lean site with not a lot of extra pages. It’s those extra pages that tend to be thin, or duplicate, that can get you in trouble. To check that, put SITE, colon, with no spaces, Your Domain Name, and see how many pages come up. You can see in the case of backlinko there’s only 42 pages.
Depending on your site, it’s okay to have thousands of pages. If you run a WordPress blog, or smaller site and you see that there’s thousands of pages, that could be a red flag that maybe some of those pages are low-quality, or thin, or duplicate. I’ll show you what I mean.
This is way back in the keyword competition session of this video series, we looked at this site. It has a lot of pages, as you can see. It has 14 million pages. That’s a huge red flag that there could be a problem. Obviously, if you actually look, there probably aren’t that many pages that are indexed. It’s just an estimate, but it’s a lot of pages. So if you see an absurdly high number like this, that’s usually a problem.
Once you’ve identified that maybe you have too many pages on your site, you need to find pages that are thin, or duplicate. For example on this page, this is a Bridgestone Tire page for this Ecopia EP 100. As you can see, this is actually pretty good for an e-commerce site content. They have a nice little unique product description that describes the product. They have some sizes, some specs, survey information about how good the tire is, reviews for the tire from actual customers, tests of this particular tire. In this case, this would be a page that you’d want to keep. This is a type of page that is good, because it has unique content that actually provides value. If you’re seeing pages like this, that’s not what we have to worry about. I’ll show you exactly what I mean, in terms of what you should worry about.
I went to this site, cararticle.net, that I randomly found, and let’s look at how many pages are indexed in this site. 1600. Now, if you’re an individual running a site, I find it’s very unlikely that you’re able to produce that many pages of quality content. It’s definitely possible, but it’s not likely. If you run a blog, or a small online presence for your brick and mortar business, and you have a blog on there, it’s not likely that you’re going to have 1600 pages that are user-friendly. Like I said, that’s the first thing you want to look at.
Sure enough, these are the pages that you really want to delete right away, or NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW. This is an archives area. This is a huge problem for Penguin pages that are archive pages, author pages, category pages. What that is, it’s kind of a double-whammy. With Panda, they really want to not show people thin pages. This is a very thin page. It’s only about 50 or 60 words of content. It’s also a duplicate content, because it’s pulling content from this article, Car Interior Cleaning Tips.
These are the first things you want to delete. Any sort of snippet pages like this should go, right away. Here’s another example of an archive page that you’d want to get rid of, okay? I think you get the idea. Any page that only has, let’s say, 20 or 30 words on it, you can just delete it or combine it with another page and make one big resource page. You don’t want a site with thousands of pages that have thin content. You want a smaller, tight site with a few pages of great content.
Finally, there is the issue of quality. It’s obviously very subjective, but Panda has somehow been able to flush out what is quality content and what’s not. While you’re doing your audit, and you’re getting rid of these obviously bad Panda, bad user experience pages like snippet pages, duplicate content pages, or thin pages, you should also try to figure out what pages aren’t really providing value to users, like this page right here: How to Keep Birds From Pooping on Your Car.
Now, no one is going to find value in this page. I mean, maybe, but it’s just ridiculous. These are the type of pages that you think, Okay, maybe a certain percentage of users would find this helpful, but a small amount. This is the type of page that Google is targeting that is just kind of a nonsense page. It doesn’t provide any value. It’s probably just to try to rank for this ridiculous, long-tailed keyword. That’s making up the majority of pages on your site. I recommend deleting them, improving them, or combining them into one massive, great resource.
That’s all there is to recovering from Panda. It does take a lot of time to audit an entire site and find these thin pages, or low-quality pages, but when you do that, you can usually bounce back within a month or so, when the next Panda refresh happens. Thanks for watching this video, and I’ll see you in the next one.