diberry - 4:16 pm on Jul 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
I remember you saying that. I wasn't tracking the people who link to me, because I wasn't doing any SEO, so I can't be sure, but this may well apply to my site. (Though, the site that most often links to me quite naturally, within the text of pages, is doing better all the time.)
And if you're right - and it makes total sense to me - then a site can be affected badly by Penguin without actually having done anything spammy. A lot of my backlinks for this site, for example, are from little blogger or wordpress personal blogs, putting my site in the sidebar because they like it. If those got hugely devalued during Penguin, it might expect why the rankings just sort of fell out from under my whole site in general. (That's just one possibility, for illustration purposes.)
Another big source of traffic for that site - and not for my others - is Pinterest, and it's mostly all pointing to one page that I guess just really grabs Pinterest readers. I didn't write it for that purpose, but maybe Penguin thinks it's linkbait.
There are just SO many possibilities, I don't think it's worth trying to figure out the riddle. I'm devoting my time to improving the existing content, adding new content that I believe is truly unique, and reaching out through social media to find visitors and subscribers. If this creates the signals Google is looking for, then my rankings will improve. If not, I'll still be increasing traffic through other streams, and that's what a website needs.