The traffic has been down for the second straight month, and you’ve failed to figure out what has caused the massive dip in site visits. You check your search performance and are stunned to find your site is nowhere to be seen. You’ve probably been hit by Google’s Panda penalty.
Google Panda Penalty
The Panda Penalty is so common it affects nearly every site to a small or great extent. That’s probably why Google has stopped calling it a ‘penalty.’ The new name for Panda Penalty is Quality Algorithm
, and it checks the quality of content on every website. If the algorithm finds that you have low quality or thin content on your website, Google will assign your site a lower Quality Score, which will sharply pull down your SEO ranking.
Symptoms Your Website is Hit by Panda
The worst thing about Panda Penalty is that it won’t show up in your Google Search Console under manual actions. The decline in traffic is gradual, and the extent of the damage can vary, making it even harder to detect if your site is a victim.
If you find one of the following trends, you’ve probably needed a Panda Recovery to restore your traffic and ranking.
- A sudden traffic decline that continues and eventually stabilizes
- All of your pages are affected, though you may be able to still rank for certain keywords, but on lower positions
- Each time Google updates its algorithm, your ranking drops further
Panda Traffic Decline Example (Source
Remember that Panda is a site-wide penalty and affects your rankings for all of your keywords. In the worst cases, it can cause a traffic-drop of 75% or more. If you look at your Analytics and find out that all of your keywords have dropped by a similar percentage, it’s a telling sign that your site is hit by Panda. Finally, you can use Google’s unofficial diagnostic questionnaire and checklist
to confirm before you go ahead with the recovery.
How to Recover from Panda Penalty
As said earlier, Panda is a quality algorithm and will affect your ranking if it determines that you have low-quality content on your pages. This, Google can find out by measuring what kind of an experience the users are having on your page. For instance, if most of your visitors are spending too little time on your pages or bouncing back right away, it signals Google that you have low-quality content. Hence, the only way to recover from Panda is to improve the quality, depth, and value of your content.
There are two ways of doing that. The shortcut way is to use Panda Breakthrough, a software that Google unofficially recommends. The tool rearranges the existing information on your website and presents them to the search spiders as well as your visitors in a way that they find more valuable and engaging. However, such a recovery cannot be called genuine, as you’re basically rearranging the same content. You still risk a loss in ranking each time Google rolls out a new Panda update.
The second and the right way to recover from Panda is to genuinely improve the quality of your content. Take the following steps.
- Write quality content that your visitors find valuable and engaging
- Match your content with your keywords and your visitors’ intent
- Use your keywords in the headlines, boldface text, and anchor text
- Remove low-quality content by improving, deleting or no indexing the pages that are receiving too little traffic and giving a bounce rate of more than 85%
- Make sure all your pages have 250+ words of text on them (You can do this by installing the Admin word count WordPress plugin)
- Make sure not to use duplicate or plagiarized content on your pages
- Use canonicalization to direct Google’s spiders to the right version of your page
- Consider using video, infographics, and other types of content to increase the page stay of your visitors
- Learn about SEO and keywords and make sure that your content is optimized for the right keywords
Panda is a nasty beast that can devastate websites by drying up their traffic. Your only protection lies in making sure that you don’t use copied, thin or low-quality content that your visitors and Google hate. Recovering from Panda Penalty will require you to revamp your old content and make it more valuable for your visitors. The recovery times can range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how fast you can act.