Dear Mr Cutts,
My site was severely ‘punished’ during last years Penguin updates. Now, before we go any further I want to make it clear I am not here to attack Google, or you. In fact, I love Google most of the time.
I couldn’t cope without Google Maps for example, or YouTube. But, I don’t trust your search results anymore due to what has happened to my website.
I am a Flight Attendant, not a web designer or anything similar. I am certainly no SEO expert that’s for sure but a few years ago I decided to start a website to help those with a fear of flying. I didn’t expect anyone to read it, but it grew and grew until I was getting over a thousand visitors every day. As a result I was getting loads of emails asking for help and I spent most of my time replying to them.
It made me so happy knowing I was helping others. Look at my site and you’ll see many comments from people the site has helped…
But, then came the Penguin update.. My site has all but dropped from the search results for ‘fear of flying’. Now, I’d completely understand if I’d been up to something dodgy (the update was – I believe – to prevent spammy results), but I’ve never done anything other than write content, help others, and submitted a couple articles to article directories.
I would also understand if the sites that were showing on the first page were better than mine. BUT, completely the opposite is true. At least 50% of your top 10 results are complete trash.
Two of them are newspaper articles from 3-4 years ago. One of them (which is as high as number 2 in your search results) is an article written by another flight attendant which is utterly useless and unhelpful. Even a reader has commented underneath the article saying how it has made her fear of flying WORSE!
How is this improving your customers experience. When people are searching for help, should they not be directed to a site that will help them?!
I am not giving up, I want to succeed. But, I need to understand how the hell my site can recover. How does the ‘little guy’ rank among the huge media companies that can post ONE article on a subject and have it ranked about 50 pages ahead of your site that is 100% devoted to the subject? I just want to understand so that I can improve the site and hope that one day Google will appreciate the work I have put in to making a helpful website for fearful flyers….
I don’t expect you to reply to this as I’m sure you are far too busy to care about me and my little website. Still, worth a try though.
My default search engine is now Bing as due to Google’s first page results for a subject I know a lot about, I can no longer trust your search results for any other subject.