As a Panda sufferer I've been changing a lot of things on the site... tweaking it slowly and deliberately, hoping that we change enough to get back into the good graces of Google.... while overall improving the usability and design of the site... and usefulness of it for our customers.
A member here (who I'll not name because I don't have permission) checked out the site and within a matter of minutes determined that we probably have an over optimization issue... specifically on the home page.
The issues he described were:
1. Not enough text to support the home page (around 200 words...)
2. Overuse of the same links in the header/footer/body (going to the same category pages... looks spammy/repetitive)
3. Not enough fresh content... The content has been the same for years... no real updating on the home page.
4. links pointing to the home page... on the home page... obvious optimization "trick".
The proof of the home page being a problem was:
1. The home page isn't the highest ranked page on the site.
2. In Google WMT the home page isn't ranked under the top urls for Your site on the web > Keywords > top URLs
The theory is that perhaps the site is suffering from a loss of grace of the home page (the most important page on the site.) Once the home page is cleaned up and considered a valuable page on the site the rest of the pages will start to regain their prominence.
What we are doing now to improve the home page:
1. Removed links pointing to self.
2. Updated the content, improved the overall sound of the content
3. Introducing a blog section which will be updated constantly with up to date content.
4. Rotating product feed which updates with new fresh products every time the page is loaded... including snippets of content about the product.
1. Are there other sources to verify the strength of a single page... (PR went from 5 to 4 in the last update...)
2. Anything one would do to optimize a single page... versus an entire site...
3. Any collaboration on the theory that perhaps a single page (the home page) could take down an entire site 75% traffic loss...
Up till now I've been focusing on everything but the home page. I've been looking at the problem as the site as a whole... not even thinking that the problem could be right under my nose based on the most important page... the home page.