Posted 5 February, 2013 by in SEO

Google Panda – How Many Actually Recover?

The original Google Panda algorithm was introduced on the 23rd of February 2011 on to reduce the visibility of ‘low quality’ sites with content identified to be a poor user experience, thin and often partially duplicated in nature. The Google Panda algorithm was then pushed out to all English language users on the 11th of April, which of course included Google UK.

google panda

Marcus Tober, founder of Search Metrics covered the full list of Panda losers (that link will be followed when they clean up the followed comment spam on the page :P) from the update over on their blog on the 14th of April. If you haven’t heard of Search Metrics, it’s a fantastic tool for gauging organic visibility of a site and landscape.

Example of a well known site hit by Panda with the now standard way of viewing it via Search Metrics –


As we are not far from two years down the line after the original release, we wanted to run an updated analysis of the losers to see how many have actually recovered and to what extent on average in reality. You can find our analysis below in the embedded Google docs spread sheet –

A few things to note, before we dig into the data –

  • The original Search Metrics analysis used their old OPI score to measure visibility. After speaking directly with them, we had to update the original metrics from their post (both pre and post Panda) to their current SEO visibility metric, so we are obviously comparing like for like.
  • The column headings in bold are those that we have added as part of our analysis.
  • I am not convinced or were hit by Google Panda.
  • is the only website we couldn’t get current SEO visibility data for (as it’s dead).

So What Does The Analysis Above Tell Us?

  • Just 7 sites out of the 98 have experienced 100% recovery (or more) which represents just 7.14%. If you remove and completely, this would be 6 out of 96 (6.25%).
  • 12 sites out of 98 analysed have recovered 70% of their original visibility (or more) which represents just 12.24%. If you remove and completely, this would be 10 out of 96 (10.42%).
  • 82 sites out of 98 analysed have under half of their original visibility (or less) which represents a massive 83.67%. If you remove and completely, this would be 82 out of 96 (85.42%).
  • On average sites are currently down by 69% of their original pre-panda visibility. This means on average sites have experienced a 31% recovery of their original pre-Panda visibility.
  • Sites have on average increased visibility by 10% from when they were hit by Panda to today.

Please take the data above with a pinch of salt, but the analysis does highlight just how difficult it has been and still is for websites to experience recovery from Google Panda. In many cases, Google questioned the fundamental business model of a website or at the very least, made most think again about what USP and value they provide to users (that Google hasn’t decided to offer themselves of course…).