Jez123 - 8:27 am on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
Jez...how many links? What percentage of your profile was affected? How fast did you do this?
Do you think you were getting an algorithmic penalty or do you think you just lost a bunch of juice? Pre-link building, our site ranked very well for our money phrase...so in my case I'm not worried about the lack of juice from these link networks...I'm just worried about a algorithmic penalty.
I removed a sitewide link from a blog of mine that was about 250 pages and I removed about 20 - 30 links from various on topic sites that I own.
My main KW was at #3 before penguin and it dropped to #9 after then wavered between the bottom of page 1 and the top of page 2 for a week or so. I removed the links and it dropped to the bottom of page 2 and then continued to slide incrementally to the top of page 5 where it pretty much is now. I have added some links to replace the lost but they are having no effect at all so far.
I would be very surprised if the links I removed were artificially gaining me that much rank, so who knows? Perhaps I got further penalised for removing them I don't know. Maybe.
I personally would remove the links. If you don't, you are always going to worry that google will find them at a later date and you will be back where you started.
In one of my other SERPs which is a different niche (but same site), I went from #1 to about #7 where I have stayed.
In another where I don't think I have ever done any link building (the pages always ranked well just on the weight of the site I suppose) I am still #2 for singular kw but nowhere (literally) for the plural. It's just not possible for me to make any sense out of it at all.