Panda fightback stage 2

Time for an update. Back in April, when Panda hit non-US English language sites our traffic fell around 86% – hard to give an exact figure as we were just having our best months ever. Over the next few months we saw a very small recovery followed by another drop and then we hit August, traditionally our worst month and, true to form, traffic started declining again.

Our traffic has always fluctuated, that is the nature of tickets/listings websites … it depends on what’s happening, a celeb appearing here, a new concert there, a new tour announced – all these things change our world naturally, spotting underlying trends is therefore pretty tricky.

During all that time we were not idle of course, as you may have read in our other posts. We are now a lot cleaner as far as SEO and robots are concerned, this may be somewhat more confusing for users but that’s the price they have to pay I’m afraid – no point in having the best organised site in the world if no one finds it because Google doesn’t rate it.

I have continued to take part on Google Webmaster Forum, am now a Level 2 (not very impressive really) and have received my first “Best Answer” – an answer based on things I have learned here. The Post.

Basically we have been making sure that we find and fix problems such as

  • Unnecessary secondary domains that will appear as duplicates (remove and 301 them)
  • Possible url mismatches that can give the same content (rel=canonical them)
  • Really lightweight pages (noindex them)
  • Content duplication (move content, combine content or rel=canonical)
  • External links to our site from toxic neighbours (ask them to remove links, confess to Google as part of a reconsideration request)
  • Poor meta descriptions that will fail to get users to click-through

We are still looking at things such as a large scale url re-write project to fix some url issues – meantime we have created our own url shortener to help in the management of archive links

Its a slow process but it seems to be working … there’s a long way to go till we get back to previous traffic and conversion levels but we seem to be moving in the right direction …

The other big change, however is that we try now to not get excited about traffic gains, nor depressed at traffic loses …. traffic has a habit of coming and going organically anyway and changes we make could take weeks to have an effect on our position … no need to overact!