brandmaker - 7:53 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'm in a somewhat similar situation. Maybe I should open a new thread for this, but it might be interesting for you, apauto(?).
The case for me is that this is a problem for a whole section of my site. I had the problem for 3 months and thought I managed to fix it (when I got the rankings back for about three weeks), but last night it suddenly appeared again. When it hits, it hits over night and I lose 95% percent of traffic on the affected section.
I first thought it was a penalty, but now I see that I might have confused Google somehow:
The important 'money pages' looks like this:
example.com/widget/blue/ ("widget section")
I also have a blog on the same domain which often looks like this:
example.com/blog/celebrate-easter-with-some-blue-widgets/ ("blog entries")
The blog entries always links to the widget section, but I have syndicated relevant blog entries on the widget section as well and are linking back to the blog entries. Often around four snippets containing 30% of the full blog entry per widget page, so four links to the blog entries from the widget section. Could that be the problem?
The widget section has a lot more authority than the blog entries.
The blog entries received the normal traffic amount the same period. It wasn't affected.
Normally the widget section ranks in the top 3 for most relevant searches, but now I have to click "Show more results from Example.com" to see many of these pages even when searching sitename+widgets. The blog entries seems to be prioritized by Google.
I've just decided to remove the syndication of blog entries on the widget section, de-optimizing URL's, titles and content on many of the blog entries, deleting some blog entries, and move content from the blog entries to the widget section. And 301 redirect some blog entries to the widget section. Lets see how that goes.
It's a white-hat site with a pretty nice link profile. Most pages have way more authority and trust than my competitors. Internal links have good variation. I have more and better content than all my competitors (and many of them are doing some really bad things...).