I am trying to help a buddy of mine. He used to rank for a very competitive term, for about 5 years. He hired some seo/link builder and eventually lost his positioning. What I am seeing is that his homepage used to rank for this keyword and he was #2, now he is on page 3 and it's an internal page showing in the results, can't find his homepage anywhere for this term, though his homepage shows up for other competitive terms.
I am thinking there is some penalty between this specific keyword and the homepage. Would this be right?
Looking at webmaster tools, he has a ton of directory links pointing to the homepage with that specific text, 100's actually, but when I look at the link report that shows what the text of the links coming into the site are, this keyword is down at 84th...which doesn't seem right. Does that make sense?
Any ideas? He is in the Christmas industry, so would be great to help him out before then if possible!