TheBigK - 5:48 am on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'll post a quick update -
1. We're down to ~16k errors being reported in GWT. 99% of these have already been fixed, but Google's taking its own sweet time to acknowledge that they are gone.
2. We've had a few drops in the error count reported daily. These drops appeared at random intervals. Nov 26: 3, Nov. 28: 4k and a big drop of about 9.5k a few days ago which got us down to 16k errors from initial 99k (in October).
3. Traffic & search queries are still down and so is the crawl rate. I've let Google decide how fast to crawl in GWT settings.
4. 'Time Spent Downloading' is still high, because Google crawls the error URLs and finds them as 'fixed' through 301 redirects. I'm expecting another big drop before we get our error count to acceptable levels (2k - 3k) or lesser. Our site has ~450k pages indexed, so I think that should be just ok.
5. Google began discovering the error counts on 26 August, and finally lowered our rankings on 4 Sept. During that period the error count went up from 2k to over 17k and then to 36k.
6. I'm still not sure if I should only wait expecting Google to restore our traffic or should continue looking for problems on the site. I'm continuing with creation of content on our website though, but still worried.
7. There seems to no clear answer to these broken links issue. Google and their 'top posters' say that it doesn't. But several webmaster confidently say that it does.
I'm continuing with a hope that once the error count goes below 2-3k, Google will start crawling our site more and restore our SERPs for most of the quality content we've on our site that used to rank high.