I've resisted getting any advice from the SEO community for a good couple of months, but now I feel it's worth a second opinion.
I'll give you the full story. December 2011 I saw a niche, looking for an online "salary calculator" tool (calculate tax, national insurance, allowances, student loans and so on - UK specifically). Being disappointed with the results Google gave me, I set about creating my own. I launched salary calc dot co dot uk.
I then launched apps for iOS/Android, embeddable widgets, etc, slowly building up the brand. Although I was struggling to get anywhere on the SERPs. I then changed my domain to my salary calculator co uk, and did some more minor link building efforts. Eventually, I got some fantastic results - being position 2 for the term "salary calculator". It sat there for a good three months, right up until that fateful day.
Sept 29 onwards saw traffic plummet 90%. This was a real blow, as just days before I'd embarked on a big link building campaign sourcing some great links (using press releases for an interesting research project I completed).
My real problem now is not that I don't rank for that particular key phrase any more, but I can't even rank for my brand name - and that is the killer. People simply just cannot find my website any more, even when they are specifically looking for it. Searching for "my salary calculator" or even "my salary calculator uk" (and that is a related search suggestion, so I'm guessing people are really trying to find the site).
It looks like I've been penalised, as the search results in front are just so irrelevant it's untrue. I've been thrown so far back in the SERPs I can barely find it myself. I submitted a reconsideration request, but received an email saying there had been no manual actions by the webspam team.
There has been no black hat work, and I can't really spot much in my link profile to suggest I've been negative SEO'd (although judging from the date this hit, I doubt that would be the issue as that is Penguin related).
So, Question 1: EMD or Panda? I find it hard to believe it's quality issue, but your opinion is valued. Blog content is generally updated once every 2-4 weeks, but it is of a good standard. I've opted for quality over quantity.
Question 2: Do you think it could be recovered? I've already waited two months, but I don't know how much longer I should wait before I should jump ship and go back to my original domain (although I'm now paranoid that even that could be affected by the EMD update). It's a great tool (the best IMO), a lot of development has gone into it and I'd really like not to lose the great links I worked hard to get.
Thanks for reading! P.S. If you do check out the site, ignore the redirects - I've just implemented Google Content Experiments over the past few days.