fred9989 - 11:26 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
One problem is that EMD and non EMD sites are treated differently (much stricter criteria for EMD sites) and the criteria are different in different market sectors.
However, it is overwhelmingly about the anchor text in external links and the internal linking. Possibly even more the former than the latter.
Areas you might consider looking at for a possible recovery as far as external linking is concerned include:
% of keywords in the anchor text - less than 25% (both overall and in each link);this implies wordy links. But of course, a large number of diverse, wordy links might be a factor working against you (too great a diversity of anchor text can harm you, maybe). Tricky.
10% - 25% of links as the www.domain.com and / or the name of the site (branding really does matter) - but one catch is, I believe, that for an EMD the domain name itself can count towards your keyword % in anchor text: this means using www.domain.com as anchor text can penalize you, not help you. Even more tricky.
Less than two backlinks from each inlinking site- not so sure about this as I have conflicting evidence but it looks like it can be a factor in some cases.
Having an EMD, a meta title and the anchor text as the same or similar words means you are (sometimes) history!I believe this is a trigger for the end of results penalty in conjunction with on page keyword density of over 2% (though that varies with sector too, in my experience). Tricky.
Recovery can take 6 months even if you get the changes right.
Rate of change of links is a factor too - too rapid change (acquisiton or reduction) = a penalty.
All in all recovery is not easy - but it can be done. You have to tread very, very lightly. I also believe another factor that makes this harder is that varying the anchor text is more difficult now because LSI is being applied to the words used in the anchor text. So, for example, stop, control, overcome, avoid and so on, might be treated as synonymous not different. Clearly if this is true then you might think you were varying your anchor text when the impact on Google's assessment of your anchor text word-diversity was zilch.