claaarky - 2:53 pm on Jun 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
What if Panda assumes pages that nobody visits (either by internal navigation or via non-Google related sources) are low quality because:-
1) they could be made just to generate traffic from search engines (spam),
2) just not useful enough to entice anyone to go there,
3) impossible to find due to poor navigation.
All three could be considered indicators of a poor quality site. If a large proportion of your site is like this, perhaps that's what pushes you into Panda territory. Increasing internal links might help your visitors find pages that weren't easily discovered before, lifting you out of Panda territory. Improving navigation methodically based on your stats might help you attack the problem with precision, rather than just slapping extra links everywhere.
Footer links are an option but these need to be used carefully. Years ago I overcame a severe penalty just by removing footer links. However, with hindsight I think it was the execution I got wrong not the fact that we had loads of links in the footer. I see many sites being upgraded to include vast footer links and, done properly, it does aid navigation. I think the judgement on whether you've done it properly lies in your visitor stats - if they use them you've done it right and Google won't mind.....otherwise it might be considered a bit spammy and you could risk a penalty.
Since Panda arrived lots of people have said "think about your users" but it's such a sweeping statement. I'm beginning to realise the answers are all in my Analytics account, it's just knowing what I'm looking for that's the problem. Maybe it's as simple as ensuring most of your pages can actually be found!