HermanMunster - 8:04 am on May 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't know Joe. For every approach that seems obvious to one person there are plenty of exceptions that I have been reading about here over the last month.
I hadn't posted on my blog for over a year, resuming at the end of February. If anything Panda had helped increase my traffic in the interim, and I'm not a professional SEO so I didn't even know what Panda was since I had no reason to complain or investigate a rise.
In addition to posting new original content, throughout March I spent a lot of time making the changes you suggest: fixing broken links, 404's, duplicate title tags and meta descriptions. Not as a SEO strategy but because a blog that has been neglected for a year needs some cleanup. It wasn't until all that was done that I started to see problems, some minor issues even before the big updates later in April.
I have PPSD (Post Penguin Stress Disorder) so this could be paranoia, but I'm starting to think the Big G is deliberately confusing the SERPs because we're not supposed to be able to figure this out. What better way to make it more difficult to game the system in the future? They have never cared about collateral damage as long as their revenue continues to increase; and for every loser there is a winner who takes the top spot, so only a small percentage of people are ever complaining at the same time.