One of the difficult things to determine is whether or not your website was really hit by Google Panda, Penguin, or something else.
A lot of people don’t follow seo related topics that closely, nor do they check and analyze web traffic statistics on a regular basis like some people do. I am guilty of that myself sometimes. I guess I just forget, or have other things I would rather be doing.
If you do check your stats on a regular basis and you happen to notice a sudden or unusual drop in visitors or pageviews that’s always a good time to see if seo sites light up with talk about an update. Of course it could just be a fluke or slower than normal day, a result of a regular algorithm change, or something else for that matter.
Even if there has been a new Panda or Penguin update I find that it can be difficult at times to determine whether or not I was affected or not, and if so was it positive, negative, or just slightly in one direction or the other.
I used to use Fruition, which is free. You need to have Google Analytics on your website, and allow it access to your account to determine how an update affects your site. You end up with a percentage along with green, yellow, or red circles. Green being positive, and red being negative.
A while back they decided that they don’t want to show free account holders the last three months of data and statistics so I rarely use it anymore. I am actually considering revoking access because I don’t like the idea of sharing my Google Analytics data with them if they want to hide the last three months of data from me. It’s definitely not worth paying to see.
Recently I happened to find a nice alternative that is totally free, and in my opinion much better than Fruition anyway. You do have to grant it access to your Google Analytics as well. However, it is one login/session. Once you log out you are no longer sharing anything with them. If you want to use the tool again you have to grant access again.
It is called the Panguin Tool by Barracuda Digital, which I assume the spelling is based on a combination of (Pan)da/Pen(guin).
To use it:
Login to your Google Analytics account.
Click on the Log-in to Analytics button.
Confirm/accept/grant access to your account.
Select the Analytics/website that you want to use it with.
When you are done simply log out.
Here is a screen shot from their website:
This is a really nice and easy to use tool to help you determine if you were hit by an update, and it includes Panda, Penguin, Structural, Local, and other. You can leave them all on or simply flip one or a combination off.
Look how nice that is! Each line represents an update. For instance a red line indicates a Panda update. If your traffic/visitors drop and it doesn’t go back up shortly after a red line you were probably hit by Panda.
On top of that you can choose specific date ranges by the week or day, and it includes landing page variance, and keyword variance, which are also downloadable in csv format. All completely free!
There may be other free tools out there that will help you determine if your website was affected by Google Panda, Penguin, or other update, but I haven’t found one that is both free and decent.
So if you have been trying to determine whether or not your website was affected by an update be sure to check it out sometime.