I am so close to giving up. I was penalised in December last year for 'inorganic links' pointing to my website. Ironically these were built by people who had approached me after my website was suffering from Google Panda (I know this was not really related to backlinks but at the time I was desperate). I have since backtracked and made a massive effort to have these links removed by contacting webmasters and the people who created the links. This involved trawling through old hard drives and accessing old emails on them.
So I have been making good progress with this and have been documenting everything I have been doing. I saw light at the end of the tunnel and believed that I would be able to have this manual penalty revoked. This work continues but it now seems that Google has amplified this 'penalty' with an algorithmic component that effectively targets the same things. My rankings in the UK have taken another nosedive as of this morning. I review products in a niche which I am a qualified expert in and I have so much positive feedback from users. Even with the manual penalty applied you could find the individual product review pages fairly easily - not any more. The users love them and they give them exactly the advice they need, but Google in its blind ignorance decides that review aggregator websites or reviews with a paragraph or two of text that anybody could write by looking at the product specifications deserves to rank better.
So I am left wondering whether having this manual penalty revoked will make a scrap of difference anyway if this algorithm sticks the way it is at the moment. Or maybe being under a manual penalty makes you an automatic target for the new algorithm components. Honestly it makes me wonder why I bother. I have really been giving the users what they want and have some great things planned to treat them but I am really depressed about what I am seeing at the moment.