how would you recognize a full-blown bona fide Penguin recovery? What would it look like?
To be honest Di, I'm not sure but to see money pages allowed back to compete with the opposition would be a good start.
I know I'm carping here but what some folks seem to be calling a recovery is only a slight improvement from their post Penguin wipeout. A recovery is worth striving for, a slight improvement may not justify the expense involved.
In my niche Penguin destroyed a very specific part of the marketplace, namely the small and medium affiliate sites. Not only were whole sites affected, but specific money pages within a site were also surgically removed. A site might still have an unchanged rank for its overall topic, but the money pages were neutered. Same story with the EMD clean-out... money sites were hit, informative sites were not.
I can only believe what my eyes and common sense tell me, and IMO, Penguin seemed to be about clearing affiliates from the playing field. In so doing it has effectively gifted travel and tourism (just one sector) to its own Google Hotels and the big brands (authority sites apparently)
For Google to have created that outcome, and not seen the need to fix anything for 15-16 months, tells me that this is the new reality. Like most other site owners, I am going to try and salvage the years of work invested in my sites but in the pit of my stomach is the feeling that Penguined sites/pages are not coming back.
I'd dearly love to be proved wrong