honestman - 8:18 pm on Oct 2, 2011 (gmt 0)
@netmeg and @Atomic.
I quite agree, and I guess failed to make sufficiently clear in my intro that I was speaking of one of many possible factors. I like to look top-down where possible as well. But when I notice a pattern wherein sites remain largely self-referential and are not penalized, while many sites which link out to provide services to their users are, I have to wonder we should reduce the amount of outgoing links. I know, of course, that there always has been the famous formula of outgoing versus ingoing link juice, but that never applied to us pre-Panda due to the quality of sites linking in to us, I believe.
This is important in our case, as we will totally change the way we present our information if outgoing links are considered a strong negative signal. There are always exceptions, but I am seeing many sites not even hyperlinking (including large new media sites) to the sites they reference.
And we are talking about links to quality related sites/subjects in every respect.
Some of the links are organically reciprocal (we do not seek link exchanges), but all are meant to enhance the "user experience" in the broadest sense.
No doubt there are up to 500 other things we are doing wrong according to Panda, but we are working on them in accordance with Google's guidelines incessantly without recovery, while Bing/Yahoo have remained consistent for quite some time -- though that could change as well, of course.
By the way, I have noticed the same issue with internal linking. It seems that many of the pages where we link to related internal content are not doing as well as they once did by far. Perhaps internal cross-linking is also frowned upon.