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I wish I had immediately cut my losses and started a new site
Matt Cutts: The bottom line is, try to resolve what you can
If youíve cleaned and still donít recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site. [searchengineland.com...]
But you need to give the Penguin algo time, and to the best of my knowledge there has only been one update, and no substantiated recoveries.
Likewise, I'm very sceptical about any widespread recoveries involving Panda.
The key takeaway to me is that sites that have unique content and/or have optimized heavily to compete, and offer no significant user value, in Google's eyes, are going to find it hard to find a sustainable place on Google's SERP's, regardless of what they might do.
Brand signals are the endorsement that Google has always seemed to use, to excuse those elements, that others have got hit by. Without doubt, many big brands that i see use "over optimization tactics" and content that is really not sensational at all. So clearly, the algorithmn has prejudiced business' that have a sustainable business brand presence on the web.
To compliment this, Google uses it's "assets" to dilute the presense of organic listings anyway.
Somewhere i read about an overheard conversation by an SEO that Amit Singhal commented in a "Plex Cafe" where he was heard to explain that there is no longer any capacity for SEO's to use "manipulation" on any scale. Someone might help me find that reference and post it here.
Folks i know have spent $100k's with content, usability , high value SEO's consultancy and the sites, as a service product in themselves, and user metric results have been impressive - yes I've seen improvements in excess of 30%. Yet to no avail with translation to traffic from the SERP's.
It seems to me that Penguin and Panda, was a catch all "combo" to eliminate the small players except in high user value niches on site wide specialists.
It may not have been a stated commercial intention, but that what i think happened.
I think Google's message is clear - participation in the organic listings is now limited.
To answer the question, why spend money without certainty? Wouldn't you be better off doing something that pays the bills, if you can?
[edited by: Whitey at 7:45 am (utc) on Sep 11, 2012]
they have loads of guaranteed fixes to Panda and Penguin over there - those guys have certainly cracked it. :)