Did Comments Cause This Site To Get Hit By Google Panda 4.1?

Dec 31, 2014 • 8:58 am | comments (127) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

SER Google Panda LogoShortly after Google released the Google Panda 4.1 update, I asked if this site was hit by the almighty Panda algorithm. It clearly looked like it was and I believe it was hit by Panda. Nothing has changed since. Not to this site, not to the content, not to the Google rankings. That is until yesterday when I decided to not output the approved Disqus comments in pure HTML on the page.

Why did I remove the comments from the source code? Well, in a Google Hangout with John Mueller on Google+ yesterday, that is what John recommended. He said that maybe, he said he didn't look into the site specifically, that maybe, if there are a lot of low quality written comments compared to the quantity of content, than maybe that is bringing the site down?

Everyone knows the content in my stories here tend to be short, quick and to the point. Plus, many of the stories drive a tremendous amount of comments, often the comments have more words than the stories themselves. Which is why I love you guys. But Google is telling me, maybe your comments are not worthy?

I ask John about this point blank at 8 minutes and 37 seconds, referencing people giving me SEO advice on issues I have and what I should do about it. I replied to one the other day with a lot of tone and arrogance:

But really, how is this not true?

Watch John and I, as well as the SEOs in the hangout discuss it for almost 20 minutes:

Here are some stats to show you the decline, note the dot in the middle is Panda 4.1:

Overall traffic (thankfully, I get a lot of diverse traffic, so a Panda hit by Google isn't the end for this site):

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Google organic traffic:

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SearchMetrics makes it look much worse than it is:

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So let's see if pulling out the comments from the source code HTML helps improve the site to a point where it is no longer impacted negatively by Google's Panda algorithm.

If that is the case, I'd honestly be a bit sad.

I did leave Disqus pure JavaScript because, hey, your comments are awesome.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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