If your website has been unlucky enough to have been issued with a penalty the recovery of your website is based on the type of penalty and how hard you have been hit. To be honest here and that is what I always try to do, if your site has been issued with a penalty, then it was most likely deserved and there is some serious issues with your website and/or linking strategies which need to be addressed if you want any chance of ranking again.
You probably wont like what I say about your previous/current SEO techniques you used but to get a google penalty revoked some serious work is required and the first step is always to stop what you are doing, now and cease all search engine optimisation until the penalty is revoked and your reconsideration request has been processed so your website is available in the search results again.
To see if your website has a manual penalty applied, check the Google Webmaster Tools account for the domain name and then go to Search Traffic -> Manual Actions and if you have a penalty the explanation will be here. If there is no manual penalty applied, your website could still be under an algorithmic penalty and action still needs to be taken if it is affecting your website’s rankings due to unnatural anchor link text.
The two Google penalties that you are most likely to suffer from are ...
The Google Panda penalty is targeted at thin or low quality websites which does not deserve a high ranking position on Google's search index. If websites have a large amount of ads to page content ratio, duplicate content and is having ranking issues, then the issue may be Panda related.
The Penguin targets websites which flaunt the Google Webmaster Guidelines, which can be read [here]. These so called black hat techniques include link scheme, reciprocal linking and link wheels etc.
Recovering from a penalty is possible, but do not expect to be back ranking where you were before the penalty as your ranking would have been inflated due to the issues which accumulated in the penalty being given in the first place.
You also need to confess all your SEO sins to Google in the reconsideration request, don't leave anything out, say all the bad things you have done to artificially inflate your rankings in Google, come clean and be honest its the best and only approach to take as they will already know everything that you have done. Google will have access to every link, every keyword you target and every update you have made to your website from its Googlebot crawler.. you can not hide from the big G on the Internet so dont even try.
As the website owner yourself, you need to focus and see if it is worth spending the time and money to get your website recovered. It may well be that you have link spammed your website to death and a recovery is not possible due to the shear number of spammy backlinks you have built that need to be removed so the advice will be to delete the domain and start from scratch again, but these are extreme cases.
I am happy to take a look at your domain to see if my services can be of assistance to you, so please contact me here.