I wrote recently about how this freelance writing blog and other websites of mine had been hit by Google Panda on the October 13 update. For those of you new to the concept, Google initiated a new algorithm early in 2011 to help improve its search results, primarily by reducing the amount of results from the so-called content mills that ranked high in searches. The result has been the virtual shut down of Demand Studios and severe cutbacks at BrightHub. Ironically, the all-comers publishing web platform HubPages has recovered from Panda quiet nicely.
The Panda algorithm has been updated and changed through out the year. During that time there was no discernable affect on this freelance writing site or any of my other sites. However, on October 13, this site and my personal finance blog at FinanceGourmet.com were both hammered. Traffic from Google dropped to a third of their previous levels.
Panda AdSense Recovery
I didn’t really "do" anything when my sites got hit by Panda. I use all of my websites as writing samples, so the quality stay relatively high. Of course, they are free web resources that I crank out quickly in my spare time, so they obviously are up to the same standards as my paid professional writing work, but they are definitely not spammy or "made for AdSense." In other words, there isn’t really a lot I could do other than guess at structural issues that Google might not like.
While AdSense income has never been a big component of my monthly earnings, I had gotten very used to the passive income it provided. The only saving grace for October was that my earnings pre-Panda were on track to be my best ever, so when the bottom fell out mid-month, the end of the month result was ball-park with an average month on the lower end.
As you can imagine, I have been very concerned about what this all adds up to for my November earnings. It seems like things are getting better, although nowhere near the levels they were before. Still, earnings have gone from 10 percent of former levels to closer to 50 percent, which is definitely moving the right direction. Hopefully, they keep moving in that direction.
The interesting thing is that traffic has not recovered as much. Instead, the click through percentage has increased. Where my click throughs across all sites use to hover at around 1.1 to 1.3 percent, they are now 1.8 to 2.0 percent, which is a significant improvement.
An update to readers who are curious where the whole Skimlinks trial stands: I had tried Skimlinks right before the Panda update lowered my traffic dramatically and worried that maybe there was a correlation. I turned off the Skimwords feature that it can’t add any new links to my pages. That means only whatever I link manually can be turned into an affiliate link which should ensure that my sites don’t count as having "too many" of those kind of links.
I don’t get huge traffic here, nor do I generate a lot of clicks for things, but so far, Skimlinks has reported just over 100 clicks and 12 cents of revenue. At that rate, I won’t bother keeping it on here for long, but I am re-trying it again now.