It’s been well over a year since Panda 2.0 rolled out and Google traffic to one of our sites, DisabilitySecrets.com, was halved. Admittedly, DisabilitySecrets was undeservedly getting a lot of love from The Google.
For a quick peak, take a look at the graph. Read on for more detail.
This is a site that we acquired in 2010 from a former Social Security Disability examiner. While it did have plenty of unique, useful content, it also had thousands of thin quality pages that contained a lot of boilerplate text, and many thousands of pages with very little unique content, all of which ranked fairly well.
After Panda rolled out, we realized we had a lot of work to do to get the site’s content up to Nolo standards.
The first thing we did was start cutting out the poor quality and duplicative content, in an effort to minimize the site footprint in Google’s index. This also reduced the number of pages that our editor and writers would need to tackle.
It took us about two months of organizing and redirecting before we could boil the content down to the meat and move it on to editorial.
After that, our own Beth Laurence went to work. She spent months researching, editing content, recruiting freelancers with the necessary experience, and organizing all the information into a new taxonomy. This process, which continues today, took about six months before nearly all of the content had been addressed. Most of it had to be rewritten completely, but some was salvaged with only minor edits.
The focus was twofold. Beth and her team were responsible for the content quality, as well as user engagement metrics. We wanted to reduce our bounce rate, improve visitor time on site, and make sure our visitors weren’t clicking back to other search results.
It took nearly a year of work from both the SEO team and editorial before we finally starting seeing the fruits of our labor. The first quarter of this year was the “bounce back”. As you can see in the graph below, Panda is quick to take away your traffic, and slow to give it back. At this point though, we are at higher traffic levels than ever, and continuing to grow.
The real benefit, though, is for our users. Panda forced us to dig in and really build a better site.