Google Panda 4.0 Update and Ways to Recover

[powerpress]In Episode 12 of the Niche Site Tools Podcast, I discuss the recent Google Panda 4.0 update and it’s effect on one of my niche sites.  I also discuss different ways you can check to see if you were affected and how you can do your best to avoid such penalties and/or try to recover from them.

Rankings Drop

The Google Panda 4.0 algorithm update hit around May 20th, 2014 and as a result, one of my niche sites went from ranking around spot 10 for “product name reviews” to spot 129, then to 104.  The phrase “product name review”, without the s, sits at spot 53.

So needless to say, I certainly took a substantial hit. Around the February time frame, I was ranking around spot 3 for “product name reviews”, so that was a very significant drop over the last 4-5 months.

I went from getting around 20-30 unique visitors a day down to between 1-5.

What is Google Panda?

What is Google Panda?  It is an algorithm update that mostly relates to content on your site.  Typically Google tries to weed out or lower rankings for sites with “thin” or “weak” content, that they don’t feel adds value to the customer.

It differs from Google Penguin, which has more to do with penalizing various backlinking strategies where folks have attempted to game the system.

Things that can hurt your site as far as Panda goes are:

  1. Duplicate content
  2. Having very few articles and not publishing on a regular basis
  3. Articles low on substance, with fewer than say 500 words
  4. Poor layout/flow
  5. Heavy on ads or affiliate links, especially above the fold

Ways to try and recover from a Panda penalty:

  1. Plug your URLs through to be sure you don’t have duplicate content
  2. Write more articles and publish more often
  3. Focus on creating epic content that you yourself would share with 800+ words per article
  4. Be sure to separate paragraphs, have enough white space, include images, etc.
  5. Do not over do it on Ads or affiliate links, especially towards the top of your site/articles

Matt Cutt’s video response to the question:

“What should a site owner do if they think they might be affected by a Panda update?”

Reference articles:

Did Google Panda 4.0 Go After Press Release Sites?

Panda 4.0, Payday Loan 2.0 & eBay’s Very Bad Day

Panda Update Tips – Posts From SearchEngineLand

3 thoughts on “Google Panda 4.0 Update and Ways to Recover”

  1. Chris,

    Great podcast episode, I like the new artwork too. I just checked my stats and did not get hit with this update. The only thing I realize is a “different page” which is not optimized for my main keyword is ranking. As a result, my rank for that keyword has taken a big hit.

    But I hope Google will make some changes to correct this soon. Check out this tool to see if you need to make further changes to your affiliate site. It shows you the duplicate content you have on your website. Enjoy your week.

    Marcus recently posted..Family Budget: How To Create YoursMy Profile

  2. Hey Marcus,

    Thanks for that link! Just yesterday I apparently hit the limit on the number of free queries I can do per month at, so that will come in handy.

    I did find 2-3 posts that had a high % of duplicate content, that I wasn’t trying to do any rankings for, but that may have affected other posts or the site overall. I will be working on cleaning all that up.


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