Hi, Could anyone tell me if this could be the cause? I have noticed that from the beginning of the year we have had a steady decline in backlinks especially after penguin update, we noticed a steady drop in rankings for our main keyword phrase which was for years in the top 3 position has now dropped to 10th position over the last few weeks. we have not received any notifications from google so I guess the drop is to loss of backlinks correct?
What are you using to track your backlink count? The fact that you are still on the front page signifies that an actual penalty is unlikely, especially if the steady drop in rankings correlates strongly to the steady drop in inbound links.
A few possibilities:
drop could simply be the result of a loss in authority due to natural link atrophy, and not obtaining new links to replace them.
you could just be seeing collateral damage from webmasters removing links because of a multiple contacts from penalized sites.
a competitor could be opportunistic regarding the recent Penguin issues and are requesting webmasters to remove links to your website.
a competitor could be asking webmasters to replace the links to your site with links to their site.
You might want to take a snapshot of your backlink profile and start tracking which links are coming down... if it appears that legitimate links are coming down, you might consider reaching out to the webmasters to ask why...
A big question to ask yourself, is what are you doing to continue to earn new links? Are you updating your site frequently with new content? Do you have consistent outreach efforts for brand marketing? If you are not doing those things, then it is possible that you are just stagnating.
actually we have had quite a few requests from webmasters to remove their links from their sites due to a lot of them being hit & notified by google after penguin. Out of curiosity I asked some of them why and they told me they were notified by google for unnatural linking etc... as well as lots of sites that were linking to me have shut down probably due to some penalties. I believe that alot of webmasters have panicked and started to remove links left & right even some of those links may be legit.