With an apparent Panda update underway, we decided to take a look at statistics for commonly cited victims of the original Panda update. Google have suggested the update will be 'softer' than previous ones. Could it bring the recovery that many are hoping for?

Choosing sites and data source

Our personal preference for a source of data on general visibility is Searchmetrics - who have a broad data set in addition to several years' worth of data.

Panda had a pretty wide-reaching effect and there are plenty of sites to choose from when looking for victims. Fortunately, the good folks of Screaming Frog posted a decent amount of data in their post Google Panda - how many actually recover. They also used Searchmetrics to compile their data. At that point, a meagre 7% of sites had fully recovered from Panda, and the average visibility loss was a depressing 69%.

Some of the sites in the original list are no longer online, and we have removed those from the data - leaving 88 sites.

The data

Note: feel free to copy and paste this data for your own analysis!

The quick summary

  • Just 7 sites currently have better visibility than before the original Panda. They are:
    • trustpilot.co.uk (up 269%)
    • money.co.uk (up 227%)
    • pcadvisor.co.uk (up 79%)
    • techradar.com (up 69%)
    • softonic.com (up 64%)
    • londontown.com (up 46%)
    • computerweekly.com (up 17%)
  • These are the same 7 sites who were seeing gains in January this year
  • 21 sites (24%) saw visibility increases following the most recent update (compared to January this year)
  • Compared to pre-Panda levels, the average visibility change across all sites is -71%
  • Compared to post-Panda levels, the average visibility change is 8%
  • The average visibility change from January is 24%

The quick conclusion

It may be premature to draw significant conclusions. However, the data suggests:

  • Most Panda-hit sites continued to see traffic decreases, above and beyond the original Panda hit
  • The recent update has on average restored traffic levels to those immediately following Panda
  • On average, those Panda affected sites are still down 70% on visibility from their pre-Panda days
  • Those few who solved their original Panda problems are going from strength to strength

So, it seems Google were somewhat accurate in their description of this as a 'softer' Panda. It means a degree of relief for those sites that have seen no recovery since the original Panda hit. But it's only a small relief, undoing the ongoing visibility drops those sites saw in the months following Panda.

Were you hit by the Panda update? Has Google softened the blow on your site following this update? Let us know in the comments!