Q: My eCommerce website suffered from a huge traffic drop last week and I am assuming that it has been hit by the latest Panda update. How can I exactly find out the reason behind the organic traffic drop? What is the new Panda version targeting at? How can my website recover from the Panda penalty?
A: Google started rolling out the latest version of Panda update, which everybody is referring to as Panda 4.1 last week. It is expected to affect 3% to 5% of the search queries, depending upon the location.
If your website has seen a massive drop in organic traffic, there are high chances that it has been hit by the latest update. Let me explain you what the latest version of Panda is in detail.
What’s in for the Webmasters?
Google Panda 4.1 has been made to penalize the websites with poor and thin content. It is based on the feedback from users and webmasters that Google hs been able to identify a few more signals that will help Panda in finding out low content more precisely. So, we can assume that there are high chances for webmasters who were penalized earlier by Google Panda 4.0 to have improved rankings, provided they have followed the guidelines.
The New Websites
If the new websites there were not affected by the previous Panda update have low or thin content, they may get penalized by the new version.
Sites that may be affected most
Google Panda penalizes the websites that have low quality or copied content. The latest version is expected to impact the entertainment based websites that have more images and low-quality articles. Expect a Panda penalty if you have a:
- Gaming site
- Lyrics site
- Medical content site
SearchMetrics released a post-Panda 4.1 report disclosing:
- News, content, and download portals are the biggest winners
- medterms.com reported a loss of 40% SEO visibility and ehow.com also saw a massive hit
- office365.com, hubpages.com, and hallmark.com were amongst the biggest losers
- comdotgame.com, rd.com, hongkiat.com were the Google Panda 4.1 winners in the U.S.
One of the noticeable things is that smaller and medium high quality websites will get benefited from the latest Panda version.
There are three possible things that may happen to your website after the update:
- All your website pages are no longer found in search results
- Your website has slipped down in search results
- Your website is seeing a massive drop in organic traffic
If you have been hit by Panda 4.1, here are a few things to do:
Always focus on creating 100% unique and original content for the website. Any form of duplicity, be it onsite or offsite is not good for the website and Google is strict about penalizing duplicate content websites.
Focus on Quality Content
The content should be high quality, fresh, and engaging, delivering value to the readers. Readers staying on the website for long or sharing the content with others will contribute to better search engine rankings.
Topical Authority Content
Instead of being a generic all-inclusive site, I suggest that you establish yourself as a niche in the domain. Content based topical authority sites always get more online visibility.
Determine your Target Audience
Your content should serve a target audience. So, do not write anything or everything. Always focus on your domain and what the target audience is looking for.
Say No to Low Quality Content
Do away with thin or duplicate content & consolidate pages on the website. Also check for spelling and grammar paragraphs. Present the content with headings, sub-headings, relevant images, and lists.
Here are a few more things to do:
- Replace the existing content on the website with fresh content, as search engines do look for new things. If you run a blog, re-update the post and submit the links for indexing in the webmaster tool
- If you are writing 600+ words web content or blog post, ensure that at least 80% of the other content you write has 600+ words
- Do not practice keyword stuffing, else your website will attract Panda penalty in future as well
After you have made the changes in your eCommerce site, do not expect to see an improvement in ranking soon. Making changes and filing for reconsideration can only get the penalty removed, when Google runs the algorithm again.