I was hired to do SEO for a website that was penalized (the client didn't know it was penalized), so instead of turning the offer down, I decided to take a look into what's wrong. The on-page seemed to be fine, with no copied content anywhere, and no over optimization. So I assumed it was a penguin hit, because the client said he used an SEO company for this site in the past. After taking a look at the backlink profile on ahrefs, I saw that almost half of the backlinks were no-follow, and there were 2 sitewide links (each sitewide link covered 2k pages). Luckily, the sitewide links were just links that were stuck in the "Recent comments" sections of dead websites - So I just made a few comments on both sites, which pushed the links out of the "Recent comments" section. After taking care of the sitewide links, I put out press release (built a tier 2 to each release), and built ONLY do-follow .edu and .gov to raw URL of the home page + about half of the inner pages (there were a lot). At the same time, I installed wordpress to thewebsite.com/blog and fed it three 500-700 articles a week. I also built some good social bookmarks to each article (about 40 to each post). The amount of links you build depends on the number of backlinks pointed at the site already. The website was back up in the SERP, penalty free, in about 1 month. So to sum it all up: Removed 2 sitewide links. Press Release on high authority websites -> Tier 2 of web 2.0's and Social bookmarks. Do-Follow .Edu and .Gov using raw URL to home and inner pages -> Tier 2 of web 2.0's, Wikis, and Social bookmarks 3 500-700 word unique articles added per week - > High quality social bookmarks to each article. Sorry if this post looks sloppy, as I live in New York City, and we're going through a hurricane crisis at the moment, so I'm 'battening down the hatch'. These steps worked for me, and I'm hoping it will work for you!