randle - 6:48 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)
All great thoughts, but when Google tells me "No Manual Penalty" yet I'm penalized, that makes zero sense.
"No Manual Penalty", means you have been penalized, it just wasn't of the extremely rare kind.
Your case may be unique but most under this scenario when they file the re-inclusion request ask, "was my site penalized?". Theres only two grammatically correct, and accurate responses to that question, "Yes" or "No".
If you get something like this:
"We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team."
It means you did not get a "manual" penalty, but thats not what most ask, and if thats not what you asked then the answer is not a complete and truthful one.
If your response goes on further to say;
"Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users."
Now that its been established that you have not received a manual penalty comes the part where they try to explain how something changed in the middle of the night that caused a page that for 13 years was deemed by the Google algorithm to be the 3rd most relevant result to suddenly now be the 950th most relevant result.
some fluctuation in ranking can happen
A drop of 947 places is not a fluctuation, its the result of a change in the algorithm that specifies that sites with this, or these characteristics, are to be placed as far back in the results as possible, and yet still appear.
Anyone, who doesn't think thats a "penalty" probably saw some merit in Bill Clintons thoughts on the definition of the word "is".
The road forward?
diversifying internal anchor text repetition made the difference.
If the site is an EMD, "anchor text" - internally, externally, and every other way - most often (not always which is the real beauty of these things) is the cancer.