Google Panda updates are probably the biggest talk of the town among webmasters and bloggers. A huge number of websites have been already affected by Panda updates by Google during 2011 that targets websites that Google considers as content farms.
By the way, Google Panda updates are nothing but a series of algorithmic tweaks (one among several 100s) that Google rolls out every three-four weeks in several major and minor versions. Some of these updates target only US websites where as other updates are rather global and the motive here is to improve search results quality by promoting the right content and punishing the bad ones.
Google Panda update date & history
The following are the dates on which major Panda tweaks were rolled out (I shall try to update the information below with every Google Panda update dates):
Feb 24, 2011 : Ver 1.0
Apr 11, 2011 : Ver 2.0
May 10, 2011: Ver 2.1
Jun 16, 2011: Ver 2.2
Jul 23, 2011: Ver 2.3
Aug 12, 2011: Ver 2.4
Sep 28, 2011: Ver 2.5
Oct 13, 2011: Ver 2.5.2
Oct 20, 2011: Ver 2.5.3
Nov 18, 2011: Ver 3.1
Jan 15, 2012: Ver 3.2
Feb 26, 2012: Ver 3.3
Mar 23, 2012: Ver 3.4
Apr 19, 2012: Ver 3.5
Apr 27, 2012: Ver 3.6
Jun 08, 2012: Ver 3.7
Jun 25, 2012: Ver 3.8
Jul 24, 2012: Ver 3.9
Aug 20, 2012: Ver 3.9.1
(Note: The date in ‘Red’ (and below that) was updated after this post was first published)
As I ust mentioned, some of these updates affected only US sites and English language searches alone where as others were broader global updates. At the moment, Panda version 2.5.2 has been rolled out as of mid October 2011.
How to check if your Site is affected by Google Panda?
It is very simple. Check your Google Analytics or other site traffic tracking data and verify if there’s huge drop of organic traffic (traffic from search engines) on any of the above dates. If so, you can be sure that your website is a Panda victim.
However, you have to cross check if the recovery has taken place during any subsequent update as well. This is because of the fact that Google lifts the penalty on any site that has been mis-judged as a content farm (or bad content provider), during its next update. Essentially, if you have been slapped by Google, you have three weeks or so to correct yourself, if at all possible, and reorganize content.
Also, please note that, unlike most other search algorithm updates that target individual pages, Google Panda affects the organic traffic of your whole site.
Google Panda Recovery of your Site
Okay, I am fed up of echoing the masters’ (of blogging and content writing) theory that ‘Unique Content is King!’. Writing unique content involves all those aspects such as staying away from scraping, removing repetitive content and creating pages with reasonable amount of text etc. Other than that the following seems to be the steps towards recovery of your website or blog from the clutches of the Google Panda.
- If you have any page that cannot be expanded to a few hundred words long quality article, consider adding noindex to such pages to tell Google that you don’t wish to put them as a candidate for search indexing
- Since Panda affects the whole domain or subdomain, if you have any poor categories or poor content, you may move it to a separate sub-domain. For example, if you write a lot about news items or republished content, you may consider moving that part to another sub-domain such as technews.mytechblog.com so that just incase of a Panda attack, only that part of your content is affected
- Focus on deep linking rather than building links to the home page alone
- Promote social sharing of your content and make it easier for your readers to share your content using various social sharing widgets and icons
- Reduce bounce rate by providing users with more related content to navigate to, provide suitable call for action links. Remember, Panda focuses a lot on the user’s behavior after hitting your content
Now, if you are still NOT recovering out of the Panda attack after all those measures, it could be even a mistake by Google or your site content is probably uncorrectable or inappropriate. If you believe that it is a genuine mistake, you may contact Google Webmaster Tools support for a reconsideration.
Good luck for taming Google Panda!