Whitey - 1:59 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: Whitey at 2:52 am (utc) on May 4, 2013]
As a software engineer I'll tell you why I don't think it's easy to recover from Penguin or some of the other stuff they're now doing. I think they flag your domain when they run they're Penguin software and once you're flagged, that's it, you can't squirm and try to get out of it without manual assistance.
@incrediBILL- I strongly support that plausibility of sites being flagged and put into some categorised penalty "bins". I think Ralph_Slate falls into the category of low priority "brand" on a threshold.
But @fathom - you say that Ralph_Slate was not Penguined. I'm 20/80 - more on the side of Penguin because of the dates.
As my sport went into hibernation for the summer, the impressions dropped even lower, down to around 100,000 to 150,000 per day. Traffic was down by almost 50% from the prior year, though part of this was because the top league of the sport that my site focuses on was on the verge of cancelling their season.
Then, on October 13, bam! The impressions skyrocketed to 450,000. It can be argued that October is the time of the year when my traffic normally picks up, but the increase was too sharp for this to be that kind of increase. It was clearly a recovery.
So when he tidied up his site, and the sports season returned, his direct entry traffic [ and presumably his brand term traffic ], which is a high proportion of visits, picked him up above the "Penguin penalty" threshold.
My primary theory on why I recovered is that my site had a non-typical backlink profile which falsely tripped Penguin, and that on October 13 Google rolled out a fix that corrected their error. My secondary theory (which I hope is not true) is that there is a traffic threshold level for Google's penalties, and that from April to October, due to the seasonality of my sport, my traffic dropped below the threshold and lost its ability to overcome a penaltywhich might still be lurking out there.
@Ralph_Slate - it would be good to hear any further thoughts on that theory. You appear to be an authority in your niche / kind of. Do you pick up a lot of traffic related to your brand name / reputation keywords?
Brands : [webmasterworld.com...]
I'd like to know how much brand played into this, which I sense is a key success element in combination with your other work.
[edited by: Whitey at 2:52 am (utc) on May 4, 2013]