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DaniWeb forum’s Recovery Attempts From The Impact of Google’s Panda Update

Google’s Panda update has changed the lives for many. There are people and websites still trying to recover from the losses Panda update has done to them, in terms of ranking and in term on traffic and revenues. But still there is hope for the people, who have been hit hard by Panda update. This news story contains the strategy DaniWeb an IT discussion forum has adopted to counter the effects of Google’s Panda update.

DaniWeb’s earlier enjoyed US traffic of about 90,000 visitors per day alone, which came down to about 40,000 per day after the update. This is enough to send an IT company into “complete panic mode”.

“I just went into crazy programmer SEO mode, just removing duplicate content and things like that,” Dani Horowitz says. She thinks duplicate content may have been a big factor, but it is duplicate content and its relationship to backlinks, specifically.

“We syndicate our RSS feeds, and there are a lot of websites out there that syndicate our content, duplicate our feeds legitimately…they just take our RSS feeds and they syndicate that,” she explains, citing that many of these sites were linking back to DaniWeb.

“My hypothesis right now is that Google Panda figured out all these sites are really content farms – are really just syndicators, and we just lost half our backlinks,” she says. “So I think it might not necessarily be that Google is penalizing us for being a content farm, but that Google is penalizing all the content farms that are syndicating our content, effectively diminishing the value of half of our backlinks.”

What DaniWeb Has Done to Aid Recovery

First of all Horowitz entirely redid the site’s URL structure. The actual URL of every single page has been changed, she says. She got the tag clouds removed, which were at the bottom of every single page, saying that Google does not like these because they look like keyword stuffing. “What I went and did was made my tag clouds actually populate via javascript in such a way that it actually improves page load time for the end user because they’re no cache, except Google can’t actually spider the actual tag cloud pages, because I added them to the robots.txt file.”

Google takes page speed into consideration as a ranking factor, so certainly removing the items, which take time to load actually could only help. In fact, Horowitz recently showed the correlation of pages Google was indexing with the improvements in page load time.

Horowitz says she added a robots.txt to all search results pages, because Google also does not like actually having search-like pages in its index. Google wants to be the search engine itself, and point to the content and does not promote other search results.

She made heavy use of no-follow and no-index tags. “Basically what I did was I took hundreds of thousands of pages out of Google’s index from our domain, but hopefully the advantage being beneficial to the end users. Horowitz no-indexed forum posts with no replies, hoping that Google will re-crawl, and start indexing them after they do get replies. She is doing this as an experiment. Finally, she made the Facebook and re-tweet buttons more prominent. Clearly, Google is going more and more toward social media as an indication of relevancy, so this is also a good practice.

“Before Panda, we were ranking number one for some really great articles that were very relevant,” she says. “Post Panda all of our number one rankings for all of these great articles went down, but we started ranking for some really weird stuff.”

Though, it was explained that DaniWeb has not experienced a full recovery since the uptick in traffic began. “We’re still nowhere near where we were before,” she says. “We’re still down nearly 50% but literally we just stopped the bleeding, and there has been a very small improvement week after week the past three or four weeks, but if nothing else, it’s not going down anymore…”

As far as her strategies are concerned, she is still looking at other things that can be done, and concentrating on building backlinks; trying to create great linkbait.

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