Hope everyone is doing well.
I ran across a major problem recently, thousands, even hundred of thousands of spammy links have been pointing to my website (www.siteurl/i), these links were coming from spammy forums and such, foreign websites etc.
UNFORTUNATELY the /i/ directory on my website was being redirected to another page on my website which was being used, so these links obviously took affect. I made it so /i/ now reports as a 404 error.
What happens now? Do I need to wait for all of those pages to be re-indexed by Google, now those links display a 404?
If those pages are inactive, surely it will take weeks, or even months for those pages to be indexed, maybe even never?
My site has taken a big hit in rankings, for our primary keyword which we have optimised our meta titles and such around, we come up 4th, originally we were 2nd. We no longer appear for 30+ keywords which we were monitoring, I guess we got hit by Penguin but we have no manual action error.
All help would be greatly appreciated.