Robert_Charlton - 6:47 am on Jul 6, 2012 (gmt 0)
I have 4/24/2012 noted as the Penguin launch date, so the 25th is in the range. For Panda, I've noted the April dates as 4/19/12 and 4/27/12. We do seem to be talking about Penguin.
I redirected 10-15 pages this way...
Please clarify this, as I can read it several ways.
Simplest way to put it would be (on the pages where you used 301s to consolidate) how many source pages did you redirect to how many target pages? It would also help to know what was your largest number of source page redirects to a single target page, and what the average number of redirects to a target page was. I just want to get a sense of what was going on.
In the other thread, you express lack of awareness of inbound links, btw, yet there's no point in redirecting pages that don't have external inbounds. What checking did you do on backlinks for these pages you redirected? Even though the bad ones may have been naturally come by and thus not your responsibility, it may appear to Google that you laid claim to them when you redirected them.
I just know that my *intent* was certainly not to spam or "aggressively SEO"...
I understand what you're saying, and I'm not arguing. Understand, though, why I picked up on "single awesome pages" as perhaps descriptive of a motivating force behind what you were doing, even though you're clearly also aware not to overdo things and to maintain relevance.
The rate at which many diverse changes happened could have also been a factor. Normally, this would only be a consideration when you also change domain names. Any chance there were too many traditional signals of optimization, done in the name of clarification for the user? I'm trying to get you in a self-critical mode, as I don't think it's useful to expend energy blaming Google for the problem.
In many cases, I tell clients who feel they can be cryptic that Google is only a machine and that it needs help. In your case, Google may have noticed too much perfection... too many factors brought into alignment... which I think is your theory. ;)
It may also be that some of the factors inadvertently involved redirection of iffy links. If so, it doesn't matter what your actual intent was. What matters is what it looked like to Google.