When we are talking about Google Panda and Penguin updates that have turned webmaster world upside down - and will continue to do so in the future - there's always one question lingering in many - if not most - website owners' mind: When is it the time to push the 'Reset' button - forget your Panda/Penguin-hit website and start a new one?
Reading through various sources on the web, I can draw a conclusion that while most website owners want to work on the recovery of their websites, many are eventually giving up their hopes. They end up selling their websites cheap or simply neglect them altogether.
Giving up is not in my dictionary, but there are times that we need to consider our options - especially when resources (read: time and money) are limited. Indeed, recovering from Google Panda and/or Penguin updates is very much possible - there are some case studies to back the claim. However, it often takes much time - and in some cases - money to get your website to where it belongs in the Google SERPs.
If you are planning to fight till the end, do consider this: There is a chance for your website to recover in the next algorithm update, provided you are working on the right thing - improving the quality of your site to combat Panda updates, removing backlinks with excessive keyword usages to combat over-optimization penalties, and so on.
However, there's one thing you need to also consider: As we all know, Panda and Penguin updates are happening in series - some are data refreshes, but what we should be watch out for is the real algorithm update. If you think your website has recovered, be sure that you never let your guard down, as you might survive the latest Panda update but might not be the case in the next one.
This happens to one of my sites: My site is hit by both Panda and Penguin updates. It was Panda-proof for more than a year after the first Panda update, but not anymore. It was also hit by Penguin 1.0. I have worked on things, including improving the quality of the content, removing bad backlinks and so on. The site was recovering, but the latest Panda update let me down - My pages disappeared from the main keywords, while I am continuing to work on the best practices I read from reputable sources!
I can't possibly spend too much resources on something with no guarantee of success; there's a time when things have to end, eventually.
Perhaps it's time for me to push the 'Reset' button and start all over again?
Okay - while I'm definitely won't push that button, I will definitely build another site on the same niche from scratch. Regarding the old site, I will keep running it as before - it still a great site, with poor search engine rankings
So, here's to recap: Just a humble opinion, but I would like to recommend you forget that 'Reset' button for a while and focus on building a new site in the same niche of your most successful (but Penguin/Panda-hit) website - and start building it right away.
Alternatively, you could use the 301 redirection strategy, but to a certain extent it's somewhat risky to do so on a site that is not really dependent on search engine traffic (e.g. still getting considerable amount of referral traffic and direct link traffic.)
Google and the rest are evolving - we can't deny that fact; all we can do is to adapt. It's tempting at times to push the 'Reset' button and start afresh. But I don't think that solve many problems. Firstly, what if you really do the things frowned upon by Google and you'll do the same with the new site? The new one could end up just the same as the old one. Secondly, there's always a chance to recover; if you believe that you are doing whatever you can to play by the rule, then you need to be patience; perhaps in the next algo update your site will recover somehow?
So, how about you: Were you fed up and start all over again? Were you diligently work things out and eventually start seeing result? Please share your story by leaving a comment here!
Image by Greg McMullin / Flickr