I have US/English site with news and photos. The site is 2,5 years old, and we've never had problems with Google. No, black hat or any link buying or spam activity, only posting the news.
On 4th June, rankings for most keywords in top 10 and top 20 disappeared, having a total loss of 2/3 traffic from Google. :(
Ranking for "domainname" is still there, as well as for some main keywords. Most of the keywords went to 11-30 positions.
If I searched Google with the latest news exact title before the penalty I would always rank first. But now, I'm nowhere near the first page, and the spam sites that use my RSS come on top positions. It's weird.
It looks to me like the folder where the news are placed is banned. All the urls within "/news" went to lower positions, but the "/comments" or "/photos" folders' urls of the same news are there. We have cca 4000 news.
What I've done so far:
- removed mega menu from the homepage
- removed any suspicious external links
- checked the site with Xenu's Link Sleuth
- cleaned up all WMT Content analysis Errors
- removed Duplicate title tags
- removed Duplicate meta descriptions
- removed the only 2 paid links I had (I removed them on the next day after the penalty)
I've done a reinclusion request a few days after the penalty and still no luck.
Does anyone have any idea how to get back previous rankings?