No One Has Fully Recovered From Google Panda

Jun 1, 2011 • 8:56 am | comments (39) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Panda: Fallen & Can't Get UpWebProNews posted a video interview named DaniWeb Speaks out on Recovering from Google Panda.

Truth is, her website, did not recover from the Google Panda update. She did discuss the changes she made, which she said stopped the decline in her traffic drop and maybe had a slight increase in Google traffic, but she is far from a recovery case on Panda.

In fact, I have yet to see any substantial proof of a site recovering from the Google Panda update. Anyone who has sent me data that has said they recovered it always turned out to be something else. I look at the numbers and the numbers show it was not Panda but rather other SEO issues. In our current poll, which I want you to take below, if you haven't yet, 70% plus have said they have not recovered.

Why have there been no recoveries? Maybe because of how Google is currently manually pushing out this algorithm. They do it in stages and the first update was in February, the second was in April and then the third was sooner but in May. I have not seen reports of a new iteration since the May 2.1 Panda update.

Let's be far, some have reported incremental returns, like after losing 50% of your Google traffic, an uptick from there of maybe 10% or so. Still way off from being a full recovery.

Anyway, take my poll and I'll publish the full results next week.

The big question to me is why have we not seen FULL recoveries in these updates? Do you think we will see one on the next update? There have to be false-positives in the update and we should see some full recoveries - don't you think?

Our ongoing coverage and stories on the Content Farmer/Panda update:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Jill Kocher

06/01/2011 01:49 pm

Perhaps it's time to consider whether there can be a recovery from Panda. The big G seems to prefer brands more and more. I've seen a fair number of SEO folks recommend that small guys become bigger brands ... as if that was an actionable SEO strategy? I agree it would help, but frankly if it was that easy the sites would have just done it already -- become a bigger brand. And while that would likely benefit their SEO, the burden of making it happen falls on other marketing channels -- SEM, PR, social media, online & offline advertising. Is the time over when the little guy who plays by the SEO white-hat rules can make his mark on the web using SEO as a lead marketing vehicle?

Ian Williams

06/01/2011 02:43 pm

That is by far the best stock photo I have seen on here, Barry. Reminscent of far too many Friday night sessions.

Barry Schwartz

06/01/2011 02:44 pm

Glad you liked it. Hoping someone would mention LifeCall.

Iron Key

06/01/2011 02:50 pm

I guess I am one of the few that benefited from the update, my traffic has tripled over the last month alone.

Wesley Dante Hann

06/01/2011 02:55 pm

I would like to think that the little guy can still make his mark on seach engine, without having to employ an SEO consultant. However it seems that as Google make these changes it affects the little guys more and more. I have seen Googles Panda affect a large amount of site, yet our traffic has soared in recent months since the release of Panda. So i am unable to comment on the effects, all the people I have done SEO for in SA are still rising in traffic in fact some by over 200% last month alone.

Michael Martinez

06/01/2011 04:12 pm

Actually, when I look at the Quantcast data for Dani's site, I DO see evidence of a recovery in traffic.  I'm not saying she has been re-evaluated by the Panda algorithm -- I'm just saying that she IS INDEED getting more traffic from the US  (according to Quantcast) than she was a few weeks ago. To check what I am saying, you cannot just look at the main report.  You MUST select "US" under "Chart Settings" and "Visits" under TRAFFIC to see that the site's May traffic went up after a significant decline in April. May traffic was still a fraction of pre-Panda levels. As for why we're not seeing full recoveries, I think there are two most likely explanations: EITHER people have not fixed whatever Panda objected to in the first place OR Google has not yet re-evaluated their sites.

James Kenny

06/01/2011 04:30 pm

I am sure that is how she felt, after a 50k visitor per month decline. I wonder how much revenue was actually lost....

Ben Pfeiffer

06/01/2011 05:38 pm

A couple reason's Dani's website is seeing a slight increase could be related to other SEO factors that are influencing her website... additional links gained, or the seasonality of her business, changes she made before Panda. I have yet to see any site fully recover from Panda completely. I doubt for many sites they will ever see a full recovery. The dampening effect Panda has had can't be undone in the short term.

Will Spencer

06/01/2011 05:41 pm

Jill: Very well stated!  Google has changed the playing field to make it impossible for us to win.  Every dollar a major brand spends on content creation and promotion will now return $1.20 and every dollar the rest of us spend on content and promotion will now return $.80.  Google sucked the money out of the "small business" side of the web and shoveled it into large corporate pockets. There really is nothing we can do about this.  Google sets the rules and doesn't care what we think.  They feel that it is _safer_ for them to put brands in the SERPs.  It makes less work for them, because they don't have to do as much monitoring of the SERPs when there are fewer organizations ranking. Google has effectively shrunk the web.  They have reduced diversity and increased blandness.  Aaron Wall calls this "Google's brand preference", I will term it "Google's bland preference." By doing this, Google is making itself irrelevant.  If I want to search at Sears, I can type in SEARS.COM.  I don't need Google for that.  I used Google to find sites that I didn't know about -- and Google is now nearly useless for that.


06/01/2011 06:36 pm

For the record, nobody said DaniWeb was fully recovered from Panda (which is discussed in the video), but the site is showing signs of recovery, and referrals have continued to tick updwards. - Chris Crum, WPN


06/01/2011 06:51 pm

Those hit on Feb 24th have not even made a small comeback. Look at the stats for DaniWeb on Quantcast, not even a tick. It's not that people haven't fixed, I know 3 that have gutted their sites and left only essential and good pages.


06/01/2011 06:55 pm

 True 100% Google wants to kill the small mom and pops because brands are safer and brands advertise on Google. Google has decided to take very last dollars from people. Nothing we can do at all, but at least don't buy the nonsene from Matt Cuts.

Rick Bucich

06/01/2011 08:46 pm

It does seem possible to increase traffic and yet not recover.  Recovery would imply any suppression is lifted but since we still see significant albeit lower traffic on a site I work on, it is not like the organic traffic dried up altogether, in fact we hold some positions. At a high level, it appears that since Panda, if we come head-to head with another site of relatively equal strength we will simply rank lower.   


06/01/2011 09:40 pm

Claiming 70% polled said they have not recoverd is a bit misleading IMO.  If you take out "Not Applicable" and "Other" you currently have 327 respondents that have not recovered (or only incremental returns) out of 342 that claim Panda even applies to them.  That would be around 96% of respondents impacted by Panda that have not fully recovered.  I agree with you assessment...I've haven't seen one solid example of a recovery (and I've been looking very hard).  I imagine if you analyzed the 4% that say they did fully recover you would indeed find it was something else all together...or a tiny traffic sample which would be irrelevant. My opinion - If Google had run a "Panda reversal algo" (for lack of a better name) we would have at least one solid example.  I think we have to take Matt at his word...and he claims this is not permanent.  "Fix the problem(s) and the algo will respond".  But I don't think they've given anyone a chance to recover yet.  Perhaps their treating this more like a manual penalty in the timing of things.  It wouldn't surprise me if they waited 60 to 90 days to run the reversal algo...not only to "teach a lesson" but probably more so to prevent webmasters from figuring out what is working and what is not.  Everyone is trying everything...and when they finally rerun the thing no one will know exactly what cused the recovery. Thoughts?

john reily

06/01/2011 10:44 pm

Here's  someone who recovered from panda and how they did it. .  But I can say that theres something more pulling sites down, hence a penalty where new backlinks don't count etc.  My observation- theres a heavy preference to wordpress sites hosted on apache, very high internal to external link ratios, bouncing off the first page too quickly whether for an ad or actual bounce, engadgement across all pages of a site rather than just a handful, clear navigation (comes from wordpress), proper robots blocking tags and search pages etc, facebook twitter don't count too much, external links with the same anchor text repeated. peace Check out for expired domains.

Barry Schwartz

06/01/2011 10:45 pm

That was not Panda.

john reily

06/01/2011 10:53 pm

It's panda one。 . Which I cruised through with alot of those identical problems on my sites. Oh yah and panda likes sites that utilize other's wordpress blogs to inject backlink spam, doesn't care if a site is detected by norton antivirus as carrying a virus and then physically blocks the url request, and doesn't care if you make porn sites and interlink them with "legitmate sites", doesn't care if the content is written by a native english speaker (only if it's spelled ok!), doesn't care about geographical location o and so much more. Sorry basically that the sites that the "site reviewers" make after penalizing good sites, at least the savvy ones.


06/01/2011 11:15 pm

Barry that's what Google said, doesn't mean it's true. Look at the date.


06/01/2011 11:17 pm

60-90 days have passed. Matt Cutts is now a spin doctor for Google, treat him as such. 

Barry Schwartz

06/01/2011 11:21 pm

Could be a hundreds reasons.


06/01/2011 11:28 pm

True, or it could be Google lying to cover up the fact that they play favorites. Penalized extremely popular tech sites are not good for their PR (not pagerank.)  CultOfMac was the same and soon after Google said no manual exceptions blah blah blah blah. 


06/02/2011 12:12 am

We got hit by the April 11th we're only 45 days (or so) out.  The very first roll out was February 23rd (I think) yeah, that would be more than 90 days???  Then again, the first release hit major (real) content farms and I'm not sure there's anything sites like Ezine can do to recover.  They would have to change theirentire business model. The April release hit smaller sites...and a lot of what I would call "innocent victim" sites.  I suspect the innocent sites got hit primarily due to what I would call false duplicate content.  I've seen everything from scraper sites that stole the victim's content (and Google thinks the scraper was the originator) to sites that just had massive URL / 301 issues (multiple URLs serving the same page).  In our case, we suspect there were several technical poblems with the way we were handling incorrect URL variations (or should I say not handling incorrect URL variations).  We were not redirecting or throwing a 404 and the page would still pull up with the incorrect URL.  We think this made it looks like we had MANY more pages than we actually have (many copies).  This has all been fixed, but no return of traffic? I have hard time believing NO ONE will recover.  People are trying everything...many sites are replacing the content on every page using Amit's blog post as the Scope of Work.  If/When Google runs a "reversal algo" we are certain to hear at least a few real recovery stories.  Personally, I won't say what we did hasn't worked until I hear from someone else that did recover.  In the mean time I'm assuming we've fixed the problem and we're just waiting for Matt to hit the magical Panda button???


06/02/2011 12:52 pm

If you ask a higher up on the google forum someone with a high level from google they say they have told me countless people have recovered from panda, I ask them for examples and they can never show me any. The people in google need to stop drinking the matt cutts koolaid and remember if it wasnt for us webmasters they search engine could not exist. They have burned so many people that follow their rules and now we are seeeing junk results in the search engine. Give it time, sh** will start to hit the fan soon, or more tweeks will come out.

Sameer Khan

06/02/2011 12:59 pm

This update will be a smaller when compared to previous update


06/02/2011 01:01 pm

I know there is an army of webmasters looking for a specifc recovery story.  Do you have any specific threads on Google's forum where Google employees are claiming some sites have recovered?  If so, post link(s) here...I'd be very interested in reading.  If one of the major SEO blogs could find a verfiable recovery story the post would be extremely popular...hint, wink, nod. BTW - I just saw the photo Barry used in this piece ("I've fallen and can't get up").  Hillarious!  On a more serious note though...I'm the old lady and I'm about to start laying off employees.

Casey Markee

06/02/2011 02:51 pm

I agree with your findings above Barry. In the three direct cases I've reviewed with Search Engine News current subscribers who "did" feel they recovered, it was clear the recovery was SLIGHT and related to other issues. I've found NO examples, as of today, of a site recovering anything close to pre-Panda traffic levels. I'm continuing to monitor it closely at my end.

Casey Markee

06/02/2011 02:54 pm

Agreed, Dani's action list was clearly the "right" way to go. But those same steps COULD and DO result in incremental increases in traffic and rankings even on sites not affected by Google Panda. So far, the most successful "recovery" from Panda that I've seen at my end was a site who managed to get within 85% of his previous, pre-Panda levels. But I'm convinced that recovery was mostly do to an improved content creation strategy at our end on their behalf.

Casey Markee

06/02/2011 02:58 pm

Nick, we put up a nice post on the Planet Ocean Facebook page in early March covering some specific Panda recovery strategies we still recommend. Check it out at this link:


06/02/2011 08:19 pm

It is good that websites who were identified by Google as copying content are not able to recover. if they recover, they will find out out some new way of copying again. Its good that Google is penalizing them.


06/02/2011 09:26 pm

Check out the graph midway through my article here: That is Panda recovery +1 that we personally witnessed... but cannot obviously talk too much about.


06/03/2011 04:50 pm

"I have hard time believing NO ONE will recover." Recover...when is the key dude. If you recover 1 years from now and you have 5 employees. I personally know 4 sites with less than 1000 pages that were hurt on Panda 1.


06/03/2011 06:18 pm

Soan, if you think your blog is good quality, I have news for you. Especially with those 500+ tags on the left side, so stop insulting others.


06/03/2011 11:57 pm

 Adam, is it me or traffic started to go down way before 2/24 on that site? Panda happened on 2/23 and looking at the graph you posted it started to go downhill big time the week before


06/04/2011 12:09 pm

No one has recovered because google hasnt received enough info to run panda again. Matt cutts has said this so expect to wait longer to see results, its only being manually turned on when google has enough data


06/07/2011 05:35 am

Panda rolled out before 2/24, as early as the week of 2/12.

Felipe Veiga

08/14/2011 09:56 am

Well, the results are kinda biased because mostly people who were damaged by Panda algorithm are looking for issues on google. Anyway, It feels at least better that people with quality sites, when checking commenters sites, were also damaged.  Let's just hope Google makes up and keep working on their awesome search engine, while we'll keep working on good content.


09/12/2011 06:32 pm

I agree. You are right I also search for Google Panda update problem. But When I read full story then I realize that it is the right way for Google and the content is going to be the most important thing for a blog.

Jon Wade

04/03/2012 05:15 pm

For what it's worth, I fully recovered. Just had to clean up the site really. It really is an algo penalty, fix the problems and you remove the penalty.

Reshav Singh

06/06/2012 04:12 pm

Hey, I recovered fully today i.e in 35 days with 150%. And the ranking is much better now.You can go through mine blog where I have shared mine experience -

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