Panda, also known as the “Farmer” Update was originally released in February 2011 intended punish sites with low quality content or poor user experience. If you were affected by Panda, there is probably something wrong with your on-site SEO, not your backlinks.
Other Update Guides
Google Algorithm History | Panda | Penguin | Hummingbird | Webmaster Tools Warnings
Thin Sites or Thin Content
It’s still very possible to rank pages with little content, but this did affect small affiliate sites in some SERPs. It also affects sites that have lots of pages that contain very little original content.
Some major publishers were punished in the Panda updates. With Panda 4, Press Release sites saw lower visibility.
On-Site Over-Optimization or Keyword Stuffing
It used to be the case that you wanted your keyword in the title tag, description, h1, and content. Not anymore. Try using synonyms instead.
Sites with Duplicate Content
This is a big problem for e-commerce where titles and descriptions come from the manufacturer. You can solve this by adding custom content to each of your pages.
Sites with Near Identical Content Across Pages
Another problem with e-commerce sites where a manufacturer comes out with a new product but the description is similar.
Sites with High Bounce rates
Add Original Content
Add more original content to the pages. If you have a large site, start with the top 50-100 pages.
Reduce Duplicate Pages / Dupe Content Issues
Sometimes CMS systems create pages with duplicate content that shouldn’t be indexed, like tag pages.
Fix URL Based Dupe Content Issues
Fix www vs non-www, affiliate tracking, http vs https, pagination canonical issues etc by using meta robots noindex, cononical tags, rel=prev & rel=next etc.
No-Index Thin Content
Add no index tags to pages with thin content.
Rewrite Titles & Descriptions
Avoid over-optimization and keyword stuffing.
Panda Case Studies
The Holy Grail of Panda Recovery – A 1-Year Case Study (Search Engine Journal)
Great case study. Involves multiple tactics including page layout clean up, removal of irrelevant links, reduction of ads, rewriting of title, descriptions, urls and content on top 100 pages and more.
Panda 4.0 Recovery Case Study (Wired SEO)
Another great case study. Recovery involves reducing amount of indexed pages, noindexing thin pages, cleaning up 301 redirects, canonical urls, and 404s.
How I Recovered From Panda (BHW)
Case study including a website audit, removal of dupe content, no content, and thin content pages, reduction of keyword stuffing, meta tag rewrites, and more.