deadsea - 8:53 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
In an attempt to answer Tedster's earlier questions:
This appears to be a page level penalty. I have three main templates on my site: homepage, templateA, and templateB. The home page still ranks for my brand and is getting just as much traffic for it. I did not lose site links. TemplateA has about 200 pages. Referrals that were ranking for this template went up since this algo launched. TemplateB has thousands of pages. Rankings tanked for pretty much all keywords that I can see that land on this template.
On Saturday I adjusted the ads on TemplateB. It used to have a 728x15 link bar below the header (above the content) and 336x280 large box to the left of the content. Now it just has a 300x250 medium box to the right of the content.
My site has not recovered one ounce of traffic, even with the drastic ad changes I made (CPM is half what it was). I was hoping to see traffic recover within a couple days as googlebot recrawled the pages. It doesn't look like any of my pages have recovered. Has anybody seen any sort of recovery based on ad layout canges yet, or is it too early to tell?
I also have a new theory about how Google is measuring content. It may be the ratio of content space to ad space that triggers it. Content can be text or images, but not white space or template items that are the same from page to page. If that is the case, I can see why my site might continue to be hit with only a single smaller ad, my content consists of a form that users can fill out. TemplateB may be content-free above the fold despite the fact that 80% of my visitors interact with the form.