Everywhere you look in the search engine world these days, you come across webmasters panicking about the new algorithms that Google has instated. They have good reason to panic, but are they acting too soon?
Too many people are rushing to fix their websites when they don’t even know why Google penalized them because they don’t know who hurt them. Was it Panda? Or was it Penguin?
I came across an article today that illustrates quite how to know which algorithm was their downfall and which steps to take to recover from it.
What are the risks with not knowing?
Searchenginejournal.com differentiates the two perfectly, “Since Penguin and Panda target two different issues, it’s extremely important to know the exact algorithm update that hit your website. Panda targets low quality content, thin content, duplicate content, etc., while Penguin targets Webspam (and at this point it’s heavily targeting unnatural inbound links.)
So, don’t prune your links if you were hit by Panda, and don’t gut content if you were hit by Penguin. Know what hit you, and then act.”
Another thing to make the matters worse is you will only know if the changes you made helped or hurt is when Panda and Penguin are rolled out again.
Was it Panda or Penguin?
The first and simplest step to take to find out which algorithm hurt you is to check the dates. Launch Google analytics and dig down into Google Organic Reporting. Set the time frame from April 1st to May 15th (Reason for setting it to the 15th is the many rumors that traffic dropped on May 11th and 12th. Google denies any Panda or Penguin update but it seems pretty clear that somethign happend) Remember that Panda hit twice, April 19th and April 27th. Penguin hit once so far and that was on April 24th.
In this graph provided by Searchenginejournal.com you can clearly see the days that the algorithms took effect.
The second thing to do is compare the days they occurred to the same day in the past. Remember that most sites take a dip around weekends so don’t compare a Tuesday to a Friday or Saturday. Compare the weekend days to weekends in the past weeks and months.
In the organic search, type in “Keyword.” This will show you all the keywords that lead to your site on those days. Next, you will want to compare those specific days and keyword results to that of the past.
You will then be presented information about the keywords to your site, percentages and whether it was an increase or decrease.
Another option to find out which update hurt you
It would be very beneficial to use Google Webmaster Tool to help you determine which algorithm hurt you.
Within this program there are different analytics to view. You can export the data into a spread sheet to better understand what is going on. There are also filters to apply that will help you determine which black and white creature attacked you.
The updates happened so close to each other that for many both updates changed before they even noticed the decrease. So basically you just need to do everything you can to determine how you were hurt and by what. Once you know that, you are able to formulate a plan to begin your recovery.