Recently, there has been a lot of talk going on about the Google Panda and Penguin updates. Every time Matt Cut’s gives some cool or hot weather update of the SERPs, and my Twitter and Facebook news feed gets flooded with these news. The ones who gained traffic, don’t think much, but the ones who lost their current traffic starts getting nightmares of Panda and Penguin.
Recently, I also lost a huge percentage of my traffic after a Panda hit. I was very disappointed that, even after working so hard in maintaining quality content in our blog, how can Panda penalize us? I started researching a lot about the problem and I found that maximum of the blogs are giving tips on recovering from the Panda effect, but most of them miss to mention the biggest flaws with WordPress, that can even lead to big-time penalty.
If you are hosted in WordPress, you have great chances of getting penalized by the Panda.
After the Panda hit on my blog, I have talked with many bloggers who have got their blogs hosted in WordPress, and for many of them these problems never happened but for many these problems became very persistent.
Before going deep into this article, lets understand a few things.
What Google Panda Update Targets?
- Low-quality or thin content
- Duplicate content
- Poor spelling and grammar
- Broken Links
- Too many ads
Why Our Blog Didn’t Deserve to Be Hit by The Panda?
- We have never written a single low-quality content in our blog, not even accepted a single thin-article from guest author.
- We never republish same articles again and again in our blog, so no chances of duplicate content.
- I guess I am not that bad in English, to make too many spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- I have got Broken Links Checker plugin installed, which checks and removes broken links efficiently.
- I have not yet monetized our blog with advertisements. We don’t have even a single advertisement in our blog.
So, if I have not done any of these mistakes that Panda mainly targets, then why did I get penalized by it? Do I have any personal enmity with Google? This seems almost impossible. LOL.
So as, to understand what the actual problem was, I made a search “site:dapazze.com” in Google and checked my index. I was shocked to see about 2K links getting indexed in Google, but actually my blog doesn’t have more than 200 pages for sure. Then how can Google index so many links for my blog?
I tried to discover the links and found that, they were mainly, replytocom links, image attachments pages, tags, categories and author archives. These pages were not meant to be displayed in the SERPs in any way, but unfortunately they were everywhere.
The Thin Content Issue
WordPress Image Attachment Pages
While checking the index of my blog, I found that there are about 1K image attachment pages. Each and every single image I had uploaded got an image attachment page for free from WordPress. I really do not know what’s the use of it, other than creating low-quality content issues with Google.
These image attachment pages contained nothing except a single image and the title of it and nothing else. So, these were considered as extremely low-quality pages according to Google and unfortunately they were very large in number.
In a blog with less than 200 actual posts and pages, around 1K of low-quality pages, welcomes sure penalty from the Panda.
WordPress inspite of being such a popular CMS created all this mess on my blog. May be WordPress needs all these pages for some internal purposes, but atleast “noindex,nofollow” them, so that Google doesn’t index them. Even Google couldn’t recognize these pages to be generated by WordPress wrongly and not intentionally written by us.
I have discussed this problem in detail in a dedicated article focusing this topic only. Check it out.
Tags, Categories and Author Archive Pages
Almost the same thing is applicable to these pages. I found that hundreds of these tags and categories have been indexed by Google. I really do not understand how can these pages get indexed by Google, when I have clearly disallowed them from robots.txt.
Google disobeyed my blogs robots.txt file due to some reason and got all these pages indexed. Even if these get indexed in Google, the at least it should understand that these pages are tag, categories, author archive pages and Google should not at least penalize any site on the basis of these pages.
I also used All-In-SEO plugin to “noindex” all these unnecessary pages, but that also didn’t work in any way. I firmly recommend not to use this plugin in any way. It may be easy , but it lacks many important features that you must have. I use SEO by Yoast plugin instead.
All I had to do was manually remove each and every single URL using GWT URL Removal Tool for faster and cleaner results.
The solution to this problem is almost same as the previous one. Just go through the detailed article that I wrote on the previous problem.
The Duplicate Content Issue
An even worse thing happened with my blog is that about 1K replytocom links got indexed in Google. These replytocom pages contain the exact same parent post with just a single extra comment. Every time, someone comments in your blog, WordPress silently creates these replytocom pages.
I do not understand what’s the use of all these nonsense replytocom pages. These are nothing but completely duplicate pages of the parent post. What is the need of WordPress to generate all these pages and create duplicate content issues?
I had selected “Let Google Decide” under URL parameter’s in GWT, so at least Google should have decided not to index them as they are duplicate pages. But no, Google indexed each and every single replytocom page and got my blog penalized for duplicate content, whereas I didn’t actually create any duplicity issues.
I have also written a dedicated article focusing on this particular problem in more detail and also discussed all possible methods to solve it. Have a read at it:
From the Writer’s Desk
It took huge time for me to get things back into track once again. I had to manually remove hundreds of links one my one. Maximum of them got automatically removed as Google re-crawled my blog. I had to wait for a long time to get my traffic back partially. It still needs a lot of time and many other SEO efforts to get 100% traffic back.
If you have yet not become a victim of these problems, then you are lucky enough. Do take care of your blog so that these problems don’t get you penalized as well. And if have already been hurt by the Panda, then time to take the curative measures to get back things once again. Do share your views and experience in the comments section.