The story begins like this: "a guy subscribes for a $10-a-month software that builds him automated directory links, gets hit by Penguin, phones up his SEO-friend and begs for help"
So, I'm looking at my friend's site and 100% of his link profile is directory links. His traffic keeps dwindling with every Penguin refresh, but here's the funny bit, he still makes living out of his site because despite the horrible links, Google has taken no more than 30% of his pre-Penguin traffic.
I made two suggestions:
1. Write new content and product descriptions, build a new site and let the old one bring in the sales while you build up this new white-hat site;
2. Do it properly: remove/disavow and start acquiring natural links (my least favourite option in this case because 100% of his links are junk)
Both suggestions were declined because he hasn't got time/money and I haven't got any spare time to help him.
301-ing the Penguined site to a fresh site would only work for a few months before the penalty catches up with the new site.
So the only viable option would be to 302 the old into the new site? But wait, we can't do that because all of his traffic comes from Google. There is no referral or affiliate traffic whatsoever.
The moment we take the old site down, his rankings will disappear and so will his income.
Am I missing something? Is there another way out of this mess? What do you think?
P.S. You'd be surprised if you saw the highly competitive niche in which he maintains Top5 positions with what is one of the worst black-hat sites I've ever seen :/ And he's not one of those clever chaps frequenting the BHW forum. In fact, he only recently found out what the abbreviation "SEO" stand for :)