I've been following a Google Webmaster Help thread about a site that offers statistics on hockey related content and players. In fact, the site is from 1998 and is supposedly really respected in the industry.
The webmaster said April 24th, when the Penguin algorithm was released, his site tanked.
He is not sure why and is arguing that he has quality content on his site but it is in statistical form. There is little paragraphed article related content, instead, it is database related statistics.
He said, for his user, the content is exactly what they want. But to Google, Google seems to want more article related content. He doesn't like that fact.
Google's John Mueller basically agreed and said he probably needs more than just stats on the page. John said:
Thanks for posting all of these details. Looking at your site, I don't see any specific technical issues, or general issues with the links to your site. I can, however, imagine that our algorithms might have some trouble understanding the unique value of your website in comparison to other, similar sites (especially considering that the content is primarily aggregated statistics). My general recommendation would be to continue working on your website, making it the best site of its kind. There's no single change that you'd need to make, so I'd really look at your site overall and see where you could make improvements on a general level -- you mentioned that you might have some thin pages, perhaps that's a place to start (or at least, to try things out with A/B tests, etc).
It doesn't seem to me that this site is a typical Penguin victim but maybe lots of pages with lots of numbers triggered a Penguin related issue? I am not sure.
But those out there with stats related web pages, make sure you have more content than just numbers on the page.
This is kind of ironic being that Google is such a number centric company.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for stats head.