How to Recover From Google Panda Penalty

Google Panda update is just around the corner and bloggers, marketers and businesses are scrambling to get their sites fixed. Some claim that if you were penalized in the past over a Panda update, then this refresh will help you get out of the penalty. It’s been almost a year since the update and marketers are hoping that the penalty to their sites are lifted and they are back on track to make money online.

If you haven’t heard of Google Panda updates here is a quick and short definition.

Google Panda is a filter that prevents low quality sites and/or pages from ranking well in the search engine results page. The filter’s threshold is influenced by Google Quality Raters. Quality Raters answer questions such as “would I trust this site with my credit card?” so that Google can distinguish the difference between high and low quality sites. ~ Wikipedia

You can also educate yourself about various other definitions related to the field of Internet Marketing.

The first thing you want to do is to know if you have been hit by Panda. Moz maintains a Google Algorithm Change History where you can read about the algorithm updates that have been released and also some details pertaining to location and impact.

Sites both large and small have been the victim of the Panda update and some businesses have even shut down because they are no longer able to make money online. To ensure that you recover from such panda penalty I’ve put together a list of precautions or corrective measures that you can take to avoid and recover from Google Panda update. This article is entirely based on my experience being affected by Google Panda penalty on one of my tech blogs. Please use your own discretion while making changes to your blog or website.

Remove Posts That Are Less Than 550 Words

The first and the most important thing blogs affected by the panda penalty need to do is to stop posting articles that are less than 550 words. Anything less than that are considered to be thin content and will get your blog penalized. Its not just about removing these articles but also stop writing articles that are short. Think of creative ideas to put together a post that is at the least 750 words. I say this because, this you can use as a mid way point even if Google tries to increase the post length tomorrow. Its better to be safe than sorry. Ask those impacted by the Google panda update.

Do not feel sad or worry that you are setting these articles as no follow or deleting them. There are alternative use for these articles so dont delete them completely just yet.

Repurpose Small Posts

One simple yet clever strategy I was able to put together is to take a few small articles and start changing the purpose of the article and making them longer posts. This way I do not have to delete the article or no follow it. The article URL remains the same the content is around 750 words and Google will now start to value the content.

But it cannot always be the case that you can repurpose small posts. Some posts are just short and cannot be expanded upon. Its in those cases that this alternate strategy works.

Identify Small Posts And Transform Them

At this point you are not able to repurpose the article or delete them. Its at this moment that you can take a few small posts and put them together to create a larger post. This will make the post longer and also serve as a useful resource. You can alternatively create a small pdf or eBooks that you can use to grow your list.

For example, If you have a few articles on the software Excel, you can put them together and call them tips for a particular activity. Or even write a few more small posts and put them to make the larger post.

Use Premium Design

Even though many might think this step is silly, let me tell you why its important for you to use a premium and clean design like StudioPress Themes (aff link) or Thrive Theme (aff link) or Thesis I like do on my blogs. I trust and use these top three theme frameworks as they serve my needs and requirements as a marketer.

If you are at a website and trust them with your credit card information then the site does not portray a spammy site. Even though there are many sites that are clean and yet choose to spam. The point here being that if you have a well coded and well designed theme apparently Google does give your site some value.

Reduce Advertisement

A website with too many advertisement is also a bad move, too many external links and nothing valuable is a good example of a poor content site. Quickly reduce the number of advertisements you put up on your blog. Instead increase the advertising value and keep your advertisement to a minimum and well arranged.

Its because of the improper use of the advertisements that banner blindness has grown and today become such a big challenge to keep the advertisement revenue growing.

Set Up Disclaimers And Privacy Policy

Disclaimers and Privacy Policy are required pages and tell google that you care about your readers and customers. Its important for blogs, businesses and anyone who is doing business online to have these pages. While they are created once and most readers never really get to reading it. its important that you set up these pages and have them displayed at least in the footer section of your website.

Avoid Spun Articles

Spun articles are a great way to say LOW QUALITY Content. If you are a blogger or a business who is using articles spinners to spin articles and have them used as marketing material its time you changed your content strategy strategy right away. Google does not like spun articles and does not pay any credit to bloggers who use such methods.

While its a good think to write well researched articles, its a bad thing to just use content from elsewhere just with different words. Even if this does not affect you right now, its most likely to impact you in the long run. Keep in mind, Google values quality content.

Remove Aggregated Content

Google loves original content. Many blogs and websites out there serve nothing more than an aggregator. Meaning, its a collection of articles from around the web. While aggregators work as a good tool or guide to create content curations, they create negative impact to both the aggregator and the sites submitting content to these sites. If I were you, I would stay far away from it.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is another way to identify a poor quality site. Duplicate content can be identified using different means. Duplicate content within your site, duplicate content across the web. Websites like copyscape serve as a great tool to help you identify if there is a huge chunk of your content is used across the web and keep your articles unique.

Here is a nice image I found on Neil Patel’s blog that talks about how search engines identifies duplicate content.

duplicate content


Reduce Bounce Rate

There is just one thing that keeps your bounce rate high and that is a bad site with poor content. I’ve written a detailed article on how to reduce your website bounce rate. Bounce rates are measured by the exits on your website. If a user visits your blog or website and quickly exits the page without navigating through the page, then that is registered as a bounce rate. In some cases the user navigates a few pages and then leaves. These are called exit pages. Keeping your bounce rate low means that users are staying longer on the blog which is a very good thing and will help you recover google panda penalty.

Low Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Low click through rates are also a good factor to penalize websites and blogs as the user does not find value. Low CTR means that users click your blog on search pages and exit them quickly. This tells Google that users are not finding value in your articles or products and Google will start to lower you search rankings. This can be quite a challenge for new blogs as the CTRs are always bound to be low till the site picks up and starts driving organic traffic.

Fix Issues Reported By Google Webmaster Tools

Another good step to take is to fix all the issues reported in the Google Webmaster tools. If you have not yet submitted your site to the webmaster tools, its imperative that you do it now. This way Google will let you know about various changes that are happening to your blog or website.

You can know what is wrong with your site. 404 pages, in correct redirects and keywords and backlinks count for a certain measure. This can serve as a good guide to clean up your blog and also improve the quality of your website.

Fix Outbound Links

Be careful who you link to – be it via comments or backlinks or trackbacks. These links when pointed to the wrong blog or a blog that has been impacted by Google Panda is most likely to affect you as well. When I was hit by Google Panda updatevI used a simple yet effective WordPress plugin called LinkPatrol. This helps you know all the external links in one place so that you can evaluate the links and remove them appropriately.

Remove Links To Penalized Websites

Another reason why you can be penalized is simply because you are linking to a blog that has been hit by Google Panda update. This is one of the main reasons I stopped commenting as I was generating hundreds of backlinks in the form of comments from various website and when they were hit, I was impacted as well. Be caution where you link to.

Identify Penalized Pages in Google Analytics

Another great way to know the sites being impacted by Google Panda is to go to Google Analytics and look at all the articles that used to rank and now are out of ranking. There is a good chance that these articles are impacted and time you paid a little bit more attention to the articles and fix them in whatever form necessary.

Add Unique Content

While fixing and avoiding bad content and links its important that you start to create unique content. The best way I belive you can do this is to take a unique perspective to any subject that you are writing about. Be careful not to misguide your readers, but at the same time let me know that its your perspective. Keep writing amazing articles on your blog and when the next panda update rolls out you can get out of the penalty.

Add Rich Media (Images & Video)

Remember in the early part of this article I spoke to you about repurposing articles and enriching articles. This is a great way you can do that. Add infographics, videos to your articles that only add value. Do not do it for the sake of doing it. Inforgraphics can get you a lot of social shares and engagement. Videos can help the reader stay longer on the site. You can understand how much of benefit this creates right.

That has brought me to the end of the Google Panda recovery guide. I hope you find value in this article and I hope you are able to grow both your traffic and also get out and stay out of the Google Panda Updates and penalties.

6 thoughts on “How to Recover From Google Panda Penalty”

  1. David Hartshorne

    Hi Editorial Staff,

    Thanks for sharing the tips and advice above.

    I was surprised to read “Remove Posts That Are Less Than 550 Words” – is this a figure that Google refers to somewhere? I know we need to write quality content, but I’ve never seen a number of words associated with that.

    – David

    1. Editorial Staff

      David, I do not recall where I read about this. But based on some analysis I think I’ve arrived at the number. For example, content scrapping is unacceptable in Google’s view. If you take a look at content scrapping sites they copy just about 250 – 300 words of your article and use on their sites. With that said, I believe to be a bit on the safe side, its better to write a slightly larger article than sitting on the border only to be penalised at a later point.

    2. I’d rather focus on unique content ratio instead of the post word count. I mean that you should have at least 80% of unique content on every page in comparison to the site-wide content (e.g. menu items, descriptions that you might have on many of your pages, etc.). Hubspot recommends writing at least 600 words, but I don’t think the word count can still be an issue – news websites write short content pieces all the time. I’d also recommend start adding fresh content as often as possible.

  2. Thanks for the good article, Broke! I’d one more item – make sure you are not a spammy network. Sometimes it is not all about one single site. One of my clients had four websites (two in other languages though) on the very same IP address. Of course there were almost all items mentioned in your article there were too. Okay, so you need to make sure you have not built a network that Google might think is spammy. Thank you!

  3. Speaking of đuplicate content, you best reread your About Page. There are a couple of duplicate sentences. Cut and paste gone wrong. Besides that, love your posts.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for that. I will take a look at my about page. There was a plugin I used that created some duplicate content. Might be some of it is still hanging around. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words.

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