Yellow_Sun - 7:58 pm on Jun 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
In my opinion and from my experience, I don't recommend doing this whether you were hit by Panda or Penguin... again, just my point of view and I understand every situation is unique and different.
One of our sites got hit with Panda and traffic dropped 50%, but it's now up 50% from the original drop after changing several factors to the site which included basically removing all footer and sidebar internal links. What seems fishy with this example is the persons content appears to be unique/original and of high quality..... so how did they get hit by Panda?
One of our other sites also got hit by Penguin, traffic dropped 67% but is now up 100% from the initial drop which also included removing almost all the footer and sidebar links.
Again, for both situations several other adjustments were made to help the recovering process including: cleanup keyword stuffing in-content, adjust title and h tags, adjust internal linking and anchor text, make content more user friendly, and reorganize the backlink structure.
I can't say just taking out the footer and sidebar links is the sole reason for our road to recovery on these two high revenue generating sites, but I do believe it is helping. Also, if you follow/do research on the few elite/trusted SEO experts they are also saying to remove footer links from your site.
Again, I'm not saying what to do or what not to do but just sharing my experiences. I would be worried for this site in the near future having 145 sidebar/footer links to trigger the Penguin penalty, especially if the anchor texts are over-optimized for the keywords they are trying to rank for.
Just my two cents and I know this is a learning process for everyone and nobody has all the right answers. All we can do is try to help each other and I will update everyone as things continue to pan out. This is a process and I'm curious to see how things play out with all the new adjustments I have made and am making.