neildt - 9:41 am on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
Can you please tell me:
(1) Were you using too many internal links with the anchor text being exact match phrases that the page linked to is trying to rank for? If you were, were all of these links in the site's body text? Combination of navigation links and body text links? Something else?
(2) If the internal links going to a page were not using the same anchor text, were they using similar anchor text?
(3) Did all of your internal links look similar? Common words in them. In this question, I mean the internal links going to different pages.
(1) Yes we had too many internal links pointing to the same page with the same anchor text. So we reduced the number of links pointing to those pages
(2) They were using the exact same anchor text e.g hotel name, of which we were trying to optimise for "hotel name" phrase
(3) The internal links were similar, because the pages were database driven with the same anchor text. So we've reduced the number of links and changed the anchor text.
We haven't recovered 100% from Penguin, however our hotel profile pages that before Penguin were ranking on page 1 for phrases like "hotel name" or "hotel name city name", dropped to beyond page 30+.
Once Penguin hit, we have slowly tried different changes. From my view point we were hit with the same match anchor text for internal links. Those same phrases like "hotel name" or "hotel name city name", rank on page 2/3/4 of Google and appear to be improving over time.
The only other change we made was before Penguin we did over 10,000 301 permanent redirects from a site we no longer wanted to run to the affected site.
However, after speaking many times with Google people like John Mueller etc they confirmed that the 301 redirect should not cause this Penguin problem.
To be sure, we reverted back the 301 redirects; as to rule this out too