Google Panda Recovery: A Simple Guide to Recovering from Panda Penalty
Are you looking for a detailed guide on Google Panda recovery?
Have you noticed any traffic drop on your websites? It might be because you’re hit by an algorithm update from Google such as Panda. If you’re not taking any precautions while creating content, your website traffic keeps on dropping. In this detailed guide, I’ll share few amazing Google Panda recovery tips.
Table of Contents
- What’s Google Panda update?
- Google Panda Recovery Tips: How to recover from Google Panda Updates
- Fix similar content issues
- Fix poor grammar issues
- Increase your website’s dwell time, reduce bounce rates
- Increase click through rates from search
- Fix bad content on your websites
- Create “high quality content”
- Go social, diversify your traffic sources
- Use LSI keywords over short tail keywords
- Excessive ads can kill your SEO
- No more content farms
- Noindex your tags and categories
- FAQs About Google Panda Recovery In 2018
What’s Google Panda update?
Google Panda is an important update from Google that aimed at penalizing the sites with thin contents. And it’s also a blessing for sites that have high quality content.
Google Panda update was first released in 2011, it was introduced to strike out all the low quality sites with poor content from the search results.
In a nutshell, Google Panda update will penalize the sites with low quality content and rewards the sites with high quality content.
There are many websites that have been demolished after the recent Google panda update 4.0. If you are one among them, this detailed guide is for you to recovering from Google panda penalty.
Before going into the details, first know which Google update affected your website traffic. Here’s an interesting illustration of both panda and penguin updates.
The best way to find it out is to check the Google update dates. You can check them here, this is a detailed guide written by Moz blog.
Also, do a simple SEO audit on your sites by going into your Google Webmaster Tools >> Search Appearance >> HTML improvements, and you will see if there are any duplicate titles and meta descriptions are present in your websites.
Google Panda Recovery Tips: How to recover from Google Panda Updates
If you are hit by Google Panda, it’s not the end of the world. You can still get back your search rankings (in fact, you can improve your search traffic) if you implement few strategies on your blogs or websites.
If you search online for Google Panda recovery tips, you will come up with thousands of articles. But let me tell you one thing, most of these posts add no real value to the readers who really want to get back their site traffic after Google panda updates.
That’s the reason why I have carefully researched and sharing the tips to recovering from Google panda penalty. Let’s jump into the details.
Fix similar content issues
Quality wins over quantity. So instead of churning out 1000 blog posts which are of no absolute use, it’s better to create 100 blog posts which are of high quality, highly in-depth and informative.
Google’s John Mueller had this to say about the update and it’s connection to quality of your content.
“There’s no minimum length, and there’s no minimum number of articles a day that you have to post, nor even a minimum number of pages on a website. In most cases, quality is better than quantity. We give top priority to content that’s of high quality, unique, and compelling to users. Don’t fill your site with low-quality content, instead work on creating epic content that servers people, not search engines.”
So what can you understand from the above statement?
If you’ve content quality related issues, fix them as soon as possible to avoid Google panda penalty.
Having too many topics around the same topic can lead to Google panda penalty.
If your website lacks focus and covers multiple blog posts under the same topic, you might face penalty issues from Google Panda, so make sure to focus on providing a one stop guide, rather than focusing on creating multiple posts around the same topic.
Here’s what we do at Bloggers Passion to fix similar content issues
We club together all the similar content type posts. For example, there are 3 to 4 blog posts have been published on our blog that talks about the same topic “building a profitable blog” so we decided to club all the similar posts to make one MEGA post by targeting all the relevant keywords for those topics.
Here’s the content looks like (after clubbing).
As you can see the post became so massive and has all the information that one need to know about building a profitable blog in 2018 and beyond.
That way we’re helping people to find A to Z information around one topic and we’re also fixing similar content issues to prevent our site from getting penalized by any kind of algorithms which include Panda.
So you too can follow the same approach where you’ll have to find all the similar blog posts or pages which are published on your blog and try to club them all and make it a single post (which is often very detailed) and focus on adding few relevant keywords to get more search benefits.
Fix poor grammar issues
Make sure your content has no grammatical mistakes, typos, errors and so on because Google Panda algorithms also focus on your content quality (which includes how error-free your content is).
The best way to fix poor grammar issues on your site is to use a grammar checker tools like Grammarly. Grammarly is one of the most used and best grammar checker tools available on the Internet right now.
It comes with both free and premium plans where the free plan (which offers you a browser extension to find and correct your grammar issues on the go) whereas the premium version gives you sophisticated features like plagiarism checking and having more than 200+ different grammar correction and identification algorithms to fix poor grammar issues on your site.
Here are some of the things to check while using any grammar checker tools;
- Spelling mistakes and incorrectly used words
- Improperly used punctuation; correct use of semicolons, commas, colons, apostrophes and other marks
- Grammar correcting issues such as dangling modifiers, fragments etc
- Find any issues with possible plagiarism
That being said, you can visit Grammarly from here, create a free account with them and grab their free chrome extension to improve your writing quickly on the go.
Increase your website’s dwell time, reduce bounce rates
Dwell time on website is the amount of time spent reading a specific site content, on average.
Dwell time plays a key role in Google Panda recovery since time spend on a page is closely related to user experience with a website, you can be sure dwell time is somehow involved in improving your overall website search engine rankings.
Dwell time basically gives you an idea about “Are visitors actually reading my content?”
Both dwell time and your website bounce rates go hand in hand. That means, if your dwell time is high (the average time spent on your site by your visitors), your bounce rate will be low because people will also be looking for more information clicking relevant pages on your site.
Here are few things you can do to improve dwell time and decrease bounce rates quickly for Google Panda recovery.
- Use internal linking smartly by linking to highly relevant content within your blog posts. As a rule of thumb, use at least 4 to 5 links within a 2000 word blog post to increase dwell time and reduce bounce rates. Also show related posts in your sidebar (as we’re showing now) or at the end of your blog posts which also helps.
- Create detailed content. We usually write 2000+ word blog posts and we often notice that the users spend most of their time while they are reading a long piece of content.
- Make your content easy to digest. Most people don’t spend much time on reading a long and boring paragraph. So make sure to divide your paragraphs into 2 to 3 lines and also use bullet points, sub headings.
Here are few changes you can make on your site to instantly recover from Google Panda updates in the future:
- Understand the niche or industry which you are in (so you can create highly relevant content that’s useful for your target audience)
- Understand the targeted market and targeted audience (and know their wants and needs)
- Mainly create content for your website’s targeted audience, not for search engines
- Make sure your UI and UX must be easy to use, engaging and fast enough to load
- Stop focusing on keyword density or keyword stuffing such as repeating keywords and focus primarily on creating content for people
- Give extra thought to optimizing your title and meta description for your audience and also focus on including your primary keyword
Increase click through rates from search
The #1 way to increase your overall website ranks is to improve your overall click through rates. The best way to Google Panda recovery is to improve your content SEO optimization.
That being said, a generic title tag, poor meta description can literally affect your website from getting more clicks from search engines like Google.
So make sure to improve your click through rates from search.
Here’s how you can do it.
Install WordPress SEO by Yoast: It’s the #1 optimization plugin that helps you optimize your titles, meta description and helps you focus on optimizing your content for one primary keyword.
Here’s how it looks like;
Also make sure to write excellent, unique and click worthy headlines so you can improve overall clicks on your blog posts from search engines. Make sure to also put the main keyword within your title tag for better optimization. Don’t overdo it though by focusing on using two keywords within your title.
Also learn from your competitors. Whether you know it or not, if you get more clicks, even if you’re ranking at 5th position on Google, you can quickly jump to first result by attracting more clicks from search users.
So before writing on a topic, make sure to go through the top 10 search results to see how the headlines are crafted. Find out whether they are using how to’s, list posts or guides or videos to get into top 10 results so you can implement the same headline tactics to improve your overall click through rates.
Fix bad content on your websites
One of the major reasons your site is affected by Google panda updates is because you have thin content which is usually known as bad content.
These thin content often gets slashed by Google search engine crawlers, because they only want to show better contents to their users to give the best user experience. If you really want to get better search results, then you need to first sue your bad content.
Remember, Panda knows which is quality content and which is not.
How to find bad content on your sites?
One of the easiest ways to find and fix your bad content is to use your Google analytics. Know your traffic metrics to all the blog posts that you have published on your sites. The blog posts that have less SEO traffic are often the bad posts (in terms of Google eyes).
So here are few ways to fix the bad content to recover from Google panda updates quickly.
- Use unique headlines: Most people Google random post ideas and come up almost with the same headlines and use on their blogs to get better search results. Google updates slap you if you don’t have unique headlines for your blog posts or pages. Always make sure to have magnetic and unique headlines, and make sure to Google whether there are any headlines available that you want to cover.
- Delete or update your bad blog posts: I know, we all have some blog posts that don’t add any value to either search engines or readers. If you know any of them, try fixing them immediately. As Google panda updates its algorithms every now and then, you will get better rankings for the posts or pages that you make some improvements by adding more quality or deleting the bad posts from your sites.
- Give your old posts SEO boost by interlinking: Interlinking your blog posts can be crucial in getting better search results. I would strongly advise you not to use any automation interlinking plugins or tools to linking. They often almost links to the same posts, so make sure to manually add the posts and maintain relevancy.
- Fix your broken links: Broken links has nothing to do with Google Panda updates (Google Penguin updates are more concerned about bad links), but if you want to get fast recovery from Google panda updates, then find and fix all your broken or dead links on your websites. Because the links you add on your posts or pages definitely matter in terms of measuring your quality of the content. So focus on removing the bad links that are affecting your overall content. You can use the plugins like Broken link checker to find and fix your broken links on WordPress sites.
Create “high quality content”
If you are searching for proven ways to recover from Google Panda updates, make sure to focus on creating top notch content. Google always rewards the sites with high quality content. Here’s what top quality content means;
Content that is flawless: If you have blog posts or pages with grammatical mistakes or typos, your sites get affected by Google panda updates. The only solution to recover is to write flawless content or hire someone who writes better contents for you to grow your organic traffic.
Always make sure to double check your posts for any mistakes before hitting publish button. Google don’t want to show or give top search results to the content that is full of typos. At least hire an editor if you are not good at publishing flawless content to make sure you are not being hit by Google panda updates. Also focus on creating long form of content because it works best.
Content that is meant for readers not search engines: If you are not writing relevant content for your sites, Google panda updates will slap you. So it’s always better to focus on specific keywords than confusing Google crawlers about the relevancy of your contents.
For example, if you use the word Apple, there are so many chances that Google might consider that either as a fruit, brand or any name. If you don’t confuse Google by using the Apple word and filling your copy by a fruit name, brand or any name, you will definitely get penalized as Google can’t understand what you are really thinking to rank for. So focus on your targeted keywords and supplement them with relevant keywords to get better search rankings and never ever use irrelevant keywords.
Content that is original: Create content that is not shared anywhere else. Google updates like Panda and Penguin are giving more priority to the content filled sites that are uniquely written. If you are the one who is thinking to copy others headlines, description, sub heads or copy of the contents, you will definitely get penalized by Google Panda updates. And it’s hard to recover unless you remove these copied contents or and start producing really original content.
Stop too much indication of your posts: While it’s good to have your content indicated on different platforms to get more traffic, but it’s advisable if you stop indicating your contents on too many platforms. Make sure to syndicate your content on only those sites where you are mostly active, where you share your opinions with others and help others to grow their businesses.
Make sure your content is highly relevant: There’s only one effective way to recover from Google Panda updates and that is to write highly relevant topics on your blog. It’s not about posting anything under the sun on your blog to increase your website search traffic. Only publish contents that are highly relevant to your blog’s topic. If you are a beginner, instead of focusing on too any areas, focus on 2 to 3 topic ideas that are relevant to your blog audience. That way you will get more time to address the right people.
Social sharing is the key. Whether you agree it or not, Google updates give top priority to the social shares on your posts or pages. If your content gets lot of shares and comments, surely you will deserve better search rankings on Google.
So how to get more social shares on your blog posts to recover from Google updates like Panda and Penguin?
Here are few simple tips you can use.
- Use a social sharing button plugin and display at the top or left side on your blog posts. The plugins like Digg Digg, or Sharebar can do this for you.
- Use attractive images on your blog posts. Images often attract more people to share your blog posts. They especially go really viral on sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
- Also time your blog posts. Share them on social media sites at peak times. Find out when your readers or fans will be available online and promote your blog posts on the social media sites accordingly.
- Ask your readers or followers to share your posts on their social media accounts. Just by asking them, you can dramatically increase your social shares. If they really find your posts relevant and useful, they will definitely spread the word for you.
- Write compelling headlines on your blog posts or web pages to attract more social shares. Audience on social media sites like Facebook and twitter mostly look up for headlines, if they are really persuading, they will instantly click on your posts and they will share it with others if they find your posts useful. So make sure to write attention grabbing headlines to recover from Google Panda updates.
- Post your links on social media sites at right times to reach out to maximum people. Also start using others names while sharing stuff on social media. Make sure to include influential bloggers in your social sharing links if you mention them on your blog posts.
One more important thing to remember is to diversify your traffic sources. Why depend solely on Google to get traffic to your websites or blogs? Focus your time and energy also on the sites like social media and leverage your blog traffic using email lists etc. This way you won’t get much affected even when Google introduces new animal updates to drop your search engine rankings.
Use LSI keywords over short tail keywords
One of the top ways to recover from Google Panda penalties is to use LSI keywords, they give huge value to your blog posts.
Latent semantic indexing keywords (or LSI keywords) are simply known as related keywords or synonyms.
For example, if you are writing about WordPress SEO plugins, you can also use the relevant (LSI) keywords like, Best SEO plugins for WordPress, SEO WP plugins etc. on your blog posts to rank well in Google search results.
How do using LSI keywords help recovering from Google panda updates?
You are not using the same keywords again and again when using LSI keywords. It means you are not over optimizing your blog posts just to get better search results for your desired keywords. You are focusing more on giving better user experience by writing and including relevant and LSI keywords on your blog posts or pages.
This will be definitely seen as a positive sign by Google and helps you increase your search traffic for the keywords you are targeting for. Here’s how the LSI keywords look like (for example keyword: “fitness tips for men”)
How to find LSI keywords?
Best way of finding LSI keywords is to use Google auto suggestion tool. For example, when you type for SEO tips on Google, it will also show you synonyms for the same keywords at the end of the results.
You can use them as well on your blog posts to tell Google properly that you are writing really relevant content for the keywords you are ranking for on search engines.
How much % keywords should you use?
There’s no thumb rule actually. It’s better if you don’t go beyond 3% of keyword density for any keywords you are targeting for. Less than 1% keyword density is also not good as it may not give you any great results from the search engines.
So, it’s advisable to use the keyword density between 1 to 3% but make sure to use LSI keywords also along with your focused keywords. This way you will be able to rank well for several keywords from one piece of content.
Excessive ads can kill your SEO
Perform heatmap analysis with Ptengine to figure out what’s performing better and what isn’t. Likewise you would be able to eliminate the bad ones and keep the one performing best.
Did you know that the ads you use on your blogs will have huge impact on your search engine rankings?
It’s true that too many ads above fold is too bad for your SEO. So make sure your site layout is focused on giving better experience to your readers not advertisers.
Google may penalize your site for having too many advertisements on your blogs or websites. Use above the fold area to give maximum visibility to your contents, not ads.
Here’s what Google said on its Inside Search blog:
We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.
So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.
Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.
If your site is hit by Panda updates, remove your ads that are above the fold and recrawl your site with less ads. This will help you easily recover from upcoming Panda updates.
No more content farms
Google also started taking serious actions against content farms that were gaining top rankings with thin quality contents.
Basically content farms means, few companies hire a large number of freelance writers to start generating a lot of textual contents to satisfy algorithms. This is done just to increase their search engine rankings. Usually these type of contents are posted only by using keyword stuffing or rehashing the contents.
According to many reports, the new change on Google Panda against penalizing these content farms impacted over 12% of US results. That’s a lot, right?
So if you are using these content farms, stop using it right away to avoid penalties from Google Panda updates.
There are few pages that are not required to show on Google search results if you don’t want to get hit by any Google update like Penguin or Panda. These pages include your tags, category pages, image attachment pages etc.
The important thing here to remember is to only show those pages on Google that are of highly quality. Mostly tags and category pages don’t have any quality as they only show your excerpts or just tags, they don’t add any value to your search results. So it’s always better to noindex these tags and categories pages from WordPress to keep your blog safe from Google updates.
And also noindex unwanted pages like your newsletter subscription, download content or poor content pages from Google to make sure your site is full of great content pages.
Once open your Pages in WordPress (from dashboard), and check all the published pages you have. Find out that one’s that don’t add any value to the search engines, and then noindex one by one.
How can you noindex unwanted pages from WordPress?
One of the easiest ways to remove unwanted pages from Google search results is to use an awesome plugin called WordPress meta robots that makes your categories, tags, and archive noindex. And all the search results within your site, 404 and others to noindex, nofollow.
This is by far the most useful plugin to help you noindex unwanted links from Google search results.
So that’s it from my end. I hope the strategies are mentioned in this guide will help you recover from all the Google Panda updates. Make sure to work on all of them to get back your search rankings in the coming updates from Google Panda.
Google announced a Panda update (most likely a data refresh), saying that it could take months to fully roll out. The immediate impact was unclear, and there were no clear signs of a major algorithm update which affected few search engine results.
Google Panda 4.1 update
As of now Google Panda 4.1 update is still rolling in (from a week) and most gaming and lyrics related websites have been affected by this update. This update was first announced by Pierre Far on his Google plus profile on 26th September 2014. Many search engine related websites suggesting, Google Panda 4.1 awarded the sites that create news, content and download portals. And Google Panda 4.1 updated caused the damage to the sites that are related to games, lyrics and medical content.
Google Panda updates are frequently rolled out because of one major reason: to remove thin content from search results and give a better experience to Google users. If you’re not focusing on creating helpful content or just rehashing others content, you are not going to survive from Google Panda updates.
If you’ve a gaming, lyrics or medical related niche and hit by Google Panda 4.1 update, just make sure to follow the advice mentioned in this guide and you will be able to recover in the next Google Panda update.
Google Panda 4.0 update
Google released Panda update 4.0 on 21st May 2014. There are many sites that lose their organic traffic up to 60%. Even the giant eCommerce sites like eBay lost approx. 80% of their organic traffic after recent Panda update.
Google panda 4.0 update has affected 7% of queries. Previously whenever Google panda updates were rolling in, they used to affect 1 to 2% of search results. It means, this time almost 7% (that’s a whooping number!) have been removed from search results just in the name of thin or poor content. This is the reason why many sites lost their organic traffic immensely, and few sites with quality contents have increased their search traffic dramatically.
FAQs About Google Panda Recovery In 2018
Here are some of the most important questions you must know if you’re looking for Google panda recovery in 2018 and beyond.
#1. What are the best tips for overcoming a Panda penalty?
The #1 tip is to go to Google Analytics and check your website stats including your rankings, search traffic and so on. If you notice a HUGE or noticeable say 40 to 50% traffic drop in your website (in the last week or month), you’re mostly hit by any Google update.
Since majority of the traffic drops are due to Panda, you should focus on removing all the blog posts with thin content. You can either update such thin contents or use 301 redirects plugin to safely redirect them to few of your amazing posts. Then, keep on adding fresh and highly useful content for your audience. That’s the only way for Google Panda recovery.
#2. What is the difference between Google’s Panda and Penguin updates?
Panda measures the “quality of your content” of your website. If your content is highly informative and useful to your audience, you’ll get better rankings. If your website has thin content which is too generic, you’ll get penalized.
Penguin measures “quality of your backlinks”. If your website links are spammy or coming from poor low quality domains (or buying links from Fiverr), your site might be penalized.
#3. What black hat SEO techniques are penalized specifically by Google Panda?
Here are some of the black hat SEO techniques which you should avoid if you want to prevent getting your sites penalized by Google Panda updates.
- Duplicate content
- Content farms
- Keyword stuffing
- Over usage of H1 tags (you should use H1 tag only once in your posts or pages)
- Over optimization
- Having too descriptive title or meta description tags
- Scraped content
- Hidden content, link cloaking and so on
#4. How can I save my site from Penguin update?
Google launched the penguin update in April 2012 in order to improve the overall web experience by penalizing the sites that are doing black hat SEO practices such as spamming its search results by buying links or obtaining unlimited links through link networks designed primarily to boost search rankings.
To save your site from Penguin update, you need to focus on removing all the toxic and bad links from your site. The best tool for that is to use SEMrush and perform a site audit to find out if you have any toxic links. Then, you need to connect your SEMrush account with Google’s Disavow tool to upload all toxic links and get rid of them all at once.
Here’s the video on how to do it with SEMrush.
#5. How to know if my website is penalized by Google Panda update?
That’s a great question. To check if your site is hit by any Google algorithms, you can log on to the webmaster tools and choose “Manual Actions” in the “Search Traffic” so you’ll know how your website traffic is. If you see a huge traffic drop in your search rankings, your site is hit by Google updates such as Panda or Penguin.
You can also use tools like SEMrush or this one, enter your website name (for example: www.example.com), and hit the submit button. Once all calculations are completed, the results are displayed on the screen so you’ll know whether your site is penalized or not.
Final thoughts about Google Panda recovery in 2018
Recovering from Google Panda updates is not a big deal if you focus on giving top notch quality to your readers. Focus on your readers and Google Panda will take care of your search traffic.
Google panda updates are mainly targeted at penalizing the sites with thin contents and give best and high quality sites to the users from the search results. So focus on implementing the tips mentioned on this detailed guide on Google Panda recovery, you’ll see best results.
Let me know what you think? Have you been hit by Google panda? If yes, what did you do to recover from Panda updates? Please share your thoughts below.