purplekitty - 10:06 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)
That's what I was doing on all my sites when one - just one of them - got Penguinized. Of course, most people here dismissed me as a lying spammer when I first said this, but I'm hoping the past year has convinced some that it IS possible to offend the algorithm without knowing precisely why.
Being accused of creating a spam link farm really threw me for a loop when I reached out for help (not here). And I was duly shamed! And therefore hesitant to seek help elsewhere. I have no doubt I'm not alone.
That said, when I look at my sites, I can see how an algorithm would see that based on what a link farm does. IMO, Penguin has had some serious unintended consequences for legitimate websites built for people, not engines, it its attempt to correct the link farm problem. I really have little doubt at this point that that is my issue.
And because the only thing that makes logical sense is that it's the Penguin algorithm itself causing the issue, only the next Penguin update can fix it once appropriate corrections are made. Not knowing what those are specifically has made fixing the issue a crap shoot, but the advice to add nofollow to my outbound links makes sense.
I can also look at other businesses in my industry that have separate websites for each discipline with cross-linking and when I check their rankings for bluewidgets, they aren't ranking either. Unfortunately for me, I don't have the big budgets they have to buy my Google traffic instead.
If the next Penguin update comes and goes and I still haven't regained my previous rankings, even a little bit, I will be a total loss of what to do next or what might be causing it. It's frustrating, but I'm focusing my energies elsewhere for the time being because there really is nothing else I can do other than what I'm doing - putting out new content that my users find valuable.