Could Scrapers Damage Your Traffic After Panda?

After doing a bit of traffic analysis across my sites this week it has become evident that my ‘Google’ organic traffic is down around 40% on certain domains, luckily these domains aren’t relied upon financially but the results are a little worrying.

There are no obvious trends in terms of keywords, however I noticed some big differences when segmenting traffic by location, here is a screen shot from one of my sites showing Google traffic from the U.S;

panda traffic drop

Google traffic from the U.S. is down 50% compared to traffic levels in February!

If I had been scraping content on these sites or auto generating it in anyway I could understand such a dramatic drop in search traffic. The fact is the 100 + pages of content on the site were written by me and are 100% unique in terms of structure and tone of voice.

So on the face of it this site should not have been affected by the update, however there could be a reason for this….

I am not protective of the content on the site and there is zero social interaction on the domain i.e. nothing has been shared on any of the main social sites. I have no doubt that the content has been duplicated all around the web and scraped left, right and centre.

I am pretty convinced this is the panda update and if I am right it means any genuine content driven site, that publishes 100% unique content, could also be affected by this update. How does Google understand what the master copy of a piece of content is?

Food for thought I’d say.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

7 thoughts on “Could Scrapers Damage Your Traffic After Panda?

  1. This could definitely prove to be a problem… Do you have any tips for preventing sites from scraping content?

    Wish you Luck in getting your traffic back 🙂


  2. Hi Aaron,

    I am not overly worried about the traffic as the site wasn’t monetised, I don’t think anyone really knows how to tackle this moving forward but personally I would start by changing large amounts of content, just to give it a refresh, I would then maybe add some book mark links to give them a little extra juice and see how that works.

    A similar thing happened with the may day up date last year and the above seemed to help restore the issue.

  3. Well timed, Tim! I just got a Google alert showing that we were scraped by a couple of sites over the weekend. I think the scrapers are a link building agency – I’ve notified Google, their web hosts and also the clients that they’re using our content for.

    Is there anything else we can do?

  4. Hi Chris,

    No not much more you can do really, it is a pain and you just hope that Google can identify the master resource, unfortunately I think this is something they struggle with and could mean some innocent sites are affected.

  5. Hello,
    the Panda update has cut down the 90% traffic on four of my most popular sites in one night (24 March, I’m in Italy).

    Now my sites are being outranked by their echo-copies I had set up on Twitter and Facebook page.
    A search for my top-valued keywords is providing visitors with a bunch of non-relevant sites (oh I’m sure they are providing very fresh and original content, too bad it’s irrilevant).

    I feel now de-motivated in my web projects and I am starting to sell out all my domains.

    I think I will write an article on this and I am recommending my visitors to start using Yahoo and Bing, where my sites still rank in first page.

    I think Google could use more transparency (= a warning message would have been nice to have before or after this disaster) and that these changing affecting people’s lives should be better planned, communicated, tested, managed and -best of all- possibly avoided. But this is just my opinion of course.

  6. Hi Criss,

    I fully understand your frustration, even though Google did warn of Panda they haven’t effectively communicated the factors involved. This update seems to have hit those hard who were ranking for commercial or brand driven terms.

    A lot of tech blogs have been hit hard who previously ranked for handset terms and other commercial keywords.

    There are changes you can make to your site (accordingly to Google) that will help this, however I haven’t seen anyone effectively over come this yet, it’s still early days though.

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