• CPC_Andrew

    Great post. Definitely worth sharing. Thanks

  • Brett Snyder

    Thanks Andrew!

  • Darren Shaw

    Working on a Panda issue for a client right now, and hot damn, you have just laid out a detailed plan of attack for me. Thank you! I love SEER. You guys are the brightest in the biz in my opinion.

  • Julian

    You think blocking with robots.txt is still a good way? Do you know some test cases with big pages?

  • Peter

    If you want to definitely block SE’s from any specific URL, by far the most effective method is .htaccess with a password (imho). If another site links to a robot.txt URL, Google will still find it because of that site’s external link. If anybody has a different idea, please share. Great article!

  • Brett Snyder

    @Darren Thanks for the flattering words, appreciate it!

    @Julian Robots.txt is definitely not a perfect solution, but it is an indicator to the engines that this content should not be included. The idea here is just to provide almost a “We’re working on it!” signal while the new content is created. As both you and Peter alluded too, Google can still find and index this content but at the same time we’re providing indicators that this content should not be included which should help stave off some of the Panda penalties.

    @Peter Haven’t actually used the htaccess w/ password for blocking pages…but if I’m understanding correctly that would still block users from accessing the page? My thoughts here were to still allow the pages to exist in the overall site structure (as users might use internal search or internal navigation to still reach these pages) while still buying some time to create new content. Liking the idea though, will work on drawing up some tests with it in the future!

    Thanks all!

  • nobody

    Very interesting what you say.

    My website was blocked on 28 September 2011 and hasn’t recovered yet. I am doing my best to improve and analyze the website that have been hit and the ones that haven’t been hit yet. My life was changed that day. I tried everything and did everything I knew, but since I learned a lot of things.

    First question, if you have the time to answer – do you think that websites that have been hit on 28 September could recover this year? I have examples of websites that were hit on 28 September and recoered a month after, so it must be possible.

    What if this Panda (September – October one) is more about users blocking the entire website when they don’t like a page. But how many of them actually do that? I don’t really know.

    What if I delete/noindex those pages that are blocked and then my website came back? Do you have any experience with this?

    More ideas about this Panda to share?


  • Peter


    Please correct me if I’m in error but I think you might be confusing the goal of the Panda algo and the discussion that follows regarding duplicate content.

    The overarching goal of Panda was to increase the end-user experience when using Google’s search engine. Nobody, including myself, likes to invest time and effort when conducting research and end up clicking on a spam site. Google has not yet monetized search, it’s still free. Google needs to deliver a top-shelf user experience so the searcher keeps coming back to Google. More Google users equates to more Ad Revenue for Google.

    How can Google weed out spammy sites? It would be impossible to click on each site one-by-one. Hence, the Panda algo. By far, one of the easiest forensic footprints left by a spammy site is Duplicate Content. The catch-22 is that some sites that are not SPAM also have duplicate content. Sadly, some really good sites got hit by Panda because the site was not properly optimized to eliminate duplicate content.

    If you follow the above guidelines your site should come back in short order. More importantly, do everything possible to keep your visitors returning. Give them a reason to come back to your site. Don’t just concentrate on SEO, the human element is by far the most important. Good solid unique interesting content will drive them back in hordes.

    Plus, it’s what Google wants lol…

    Good Luck!

  • Brett Snyder

    @nobody Unfortunately there’s no way to say with any real certainty when a site will come back. In the example here, it took over 6 months before we saw recovery, but to your point if you saw others come back then I’d certainly say its possible. The best thing you can do is identify the causes for the penalty and work to correct them.

    I’m not sure I understand the question about users blocking the website? When I wrote about blocking pages, it was to prevent the engines from indexing content that could be causing your penalty while you fix it. We did see this as something that was helpful in recovering from Panda, but honestly just blocking nthe pages may not be enough. I would suggest you block any duplicate pages but at the same time work to improve the content on those pages to be unique and provide a value-add.

    @Peter My apologies if the above was confusing! I agree completely that the bottom line here is improving the user experience and (as I mentioned in my comment above) to provide a value-add to the user. We all know that Google is a relevancy-based algorithm so they want to return pages that address the users needs (and to you point…that is not done with duplicate content!)

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  • Darko

    Great post for a beginner like me :)

  • Ryan

    My SEO philosophy is the same as my girl philosophy, quality over quantity.

  • Anthony Baker

    Good article. I got slapped hard by the Panda on April of 2011 and I have fully recovered as of April 19th, 2012. I already had unique quality content that was written for the visitor, not Google. However, my problem was the package. I had to repackage my content for Google.

    One year of hell. But in the end I am left with a much better website that is friends with Panda and Penguin :-) Hopefully this will help other that have gone through the same hell.

    This is what I did to recover: (All of it was necessary)

    1.) I condense 500 pages down to 70 content packed pages!

    2.) I don’t have a single page on my site with thin content.

    3.) I shaved off a whole bunch of advertising, no above the fold advertising. This has definitely costs me income from the site, but better to work on the traffic, then the income will slowly come back I hope.

    4.) I’ve used these tools extensively for every single page on my site and made every single page as fast as I possibly could. > (this one I used the most, very helpful data!)

    5.) I’ve cleaned up my old html and used css formatting for all my text and menus.

    6.) I added 404 nd 301 redirects. (THIS WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!)
    404 redirect sends a visitor to a custom “not found page” if they are trying to get to a page that does not exist the site any longer, this also helps Google quickly figure out which pages I have done away with. This was something I was lacking and was a major help! This was also extremely important because I have deleted so many pages. 100’s of deleted pages! I needed to make sure Google figured that out!

    301 redirect points everything to the non-www version of my domain.
    This was a huge fix as well. I did not even know this was an issue until much studying up on the subject.
    Most shared webhosting package keep both the www and non-www version of the domain live which produces duplicate content in the eyes of Google. Extremely important to get this fixed! You also want to 301 redirect and index.html page or whatever your homepage format is to redirect to just
    Again this was a problem with duplicate content for example:
    The 301 redirect cures this problem.

    7.) I optimized every single image on the site. (Still have more work to do on this)

    8.) I found all the websites/blogs I could find that copied my content and had them remove it. This took months of hard work!

    9.) I have created a Facebook and Google + page for the website and have been active on both, heavily active on the Facebook page.

    10.) Added just the right amount of social media activity on the site. Too much of this slows down you page load times.

    11.) Added no-index to many pages that I felt Google did not need to index.

    12.) I have also worked hard on de-optimizing content where I had over optimized in the past.