Andy_Langton - 9:02 am on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
As a starting point, I think we need a degree of caution in separating what has been a pretty intensive month of changes at Google. To my mind there is:
- The "unnatural link" devaluation [webmasterworld.com]
- Panda 3.5 (April 19th)
- Penguin [webmasterworld.com] (April 24th)
And of course, there are always other changes at Google happening at the same time.
One important aspect is to understand which update has affected you, and make sure that it is a "Penguin problem". The threads above contain various discussion of possible fixes.
Once you know which problem you have, the next step is to make a decision on whether you have an algorithmic issue (i.e. one you can fix by making changes), a manual one (i.e. someone has decided your site should be demoted) which will require a reconsideration request, or an algorithmic problem that can only be fixed by a reconsideration request.
In each case, I think a dispassionate look at the affected sites is a good starting point. If your goal is to get back Google traffic, it's important to try to look at the site from Google's point of view, although it can be tempting to feel "wronged" when Google makes changes that directly affect you. But let's keep this thread focused on possible solutions.