diberry - 12:51 am on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
I agree, Robert. My backlinks were mainly a mix of small blogs putting my site in their sidebars, a couple of bigger, more authoritative blogs linking to me very naturally in their page text, and social inbounds. I never thought the social inbounds counted as much for "links" because there's been debate about whether Google even considers them - but they do bring traffic, and at the end of the day, that's what I'm after from Google or anybody else.
That's why I've said my backlinks were weak, but not spammy. I know there's a lot of work to be done and I've been saying that all along. :) My only point with this thread is that it's erroneous to think being affected by Penguin means Google thinks you're spamming. I think either Penguin is broader than Google's "anti-SEO" statements indicate (they're not required to tell the whole truth), or there's collateral fallout as you suggested with devalued backlinks, or... something.
Most of my links actually were pretty old. While I do suspect Google might weigh the age of a link in its factors, I also think I haven't gotten many new links in the past year and THAT could be hurting me.
I doubt I'll ever know why I got the Penguin. What I do know is that since *I* know I wasn't spamming, it would be silly to try to "fix" something that might have been perceived as spamming. I just need to work on getting more loyal visitors, and hopefully at some point the algo will catch the right signals.