Today I had a consulting call with a major company (over 100 million in revenue) whom had suffered a major Panda 4.1 hit back in September. They are still in the Panda Hell Land today….and they’re waiting for the next Panda Refresh….fingers crossed that they will “recover”.
I asked them about the changes they’ve made so far…and there were a few edits, but the biggest thing that they’ve done was to removed about 15% of their site….we talked for an hour and I sent them this follow up email (I edited to remove client name or things that would give away who the client is). Here’s my consulting follow up email with my rambling free flow:
It was great chatting with you and some of the XXXXX team today.
If you haven’t read this yet, you should:
On another note…my gut feeling is that XXXXXXX.com will not recover with just a 15% cut….I really hate to say this, but I think it’s time for a huge “come to Jesus” meeting at XXXXXX.com
The site fundamentally has to change. Some of these changes you guys have known needed to be done (all the near duplicate user intent pages)…but because of the scope of “fixing it”, everyone just said “eh, it’s too big of a job, and who wants to do huge changes and take risks with all the traffic and all the money you’re currently getting… ”
Well…. now’s THE time where you have to do something to send Major Different signals to Google as to what your site is…. not a 15% change…. how about more like a 75% change?
You need new navigation, maybe some new usability page layouts….dare I say a bit less ads?…probably not (I can hear the bosses saying)…can we move some down a little….these things matter! Google is looking highly at what is above the fold and how much ad content is above the fold…sorry, you want to get out, you’ve got to push some of those ads down the page. and maybe give up some of that ad space.
Look at my attachment called nonono.gif (No No No !)
[Image showing everything above the fold is ads on certain types of their pages]
See that kind of page…You can’t do that anymore…you’re just asking for a Google Panda slap and a Google Above the Fold Update slap.
… can we get rid of the big [pop up] that pops up [all the time on the site]…you’re killing my user experience…. that pop up thing is giving your site “bad bounces”….
Here’s my guess as to what is going to happen….
Let’s say the next Panda update is next week….nothing will happen for XXXXXX.com
Then you’re going to wait months for the next refresh (…so my guess for a panda refresh would be in 2 months…but I’m just guessing…then over the next 5 months (before the next Panda refresh) you’re going to have to do an YourCompany.com 2.0 website.
*or Google may do “continues updates” of panda, and you’ll still have to 1. fix the problem and 2. wait some time. In any case, if the problem isn’t fixed “enough” your wait could cost a lot in the time waiting after the fix.
Somehow, all the pages that serve the near or same user intent must be combined…let me repeat that.. Somehow, all the pages that service the near or same user intent must be combined ( via canonical, or rel=next, or putting all on same page, or deleting pages….or something to combine them)….and then stop creating any new pages that already serve a page that serves that “near” user intent.
Spend the next year, not focused an writing new pages of content, but on putting better content on existing pages.
Here’s an idea I just found that could make XXXXXX millions of more dollars, and will help you with better signals to get out of panda….
[deleted idea from my blog post. ..sorry, can’t show you]
That would provide better user experience, and more $
[removed another million dollar idea]….there, I just made xxxxx.com another few million with that idea too.
I’m sure this penalty is a big deal with everyone…and so now is the time for changes….I’d get ready to start doing some BIG changes….
Maybe I can come down some time for a day of consulting… I’d need $8k and travel expenses…but if I came down a few times to see what you’re doing, and consult your teams on things…it would be worth it.
I’m just totally afraid that if you don’t do something big, you’re going to have to sit out in penalty for another 6 months to a year longer….and how much would that cost?.
XXXXX, again, you’ve been very good to us in the past, and you’ve invested a lot in our company over the years… I know it’s not the best time for xxxxxxxx.com, but I’m here for you now with any questions or help or advice to help get you guys “back” in Google.
Sorry for the long email, I hope some of the info in the email helps you.. and sorry if this seems to be so blunt. I figure in these times you don’t want to hear sugar coated bullshit.
So, that’s me…would your advice differ from mine? What do you think?