Original Poster

Google, I've been with you since the 90s. At least read this.

  • As of 2 or 3 days ago, we're down another 10k a day. 
  • We're not a brand or corporation, we've helped people learn English for about 12 years (for free obviously).
  • We followed all the 'vibes' you set out before us, we never engaged in Black Hat / spam / or nonsense, we hardly even played the SEO game.
  • We can't (like our 10 million dollar VC funded competition) remove all our adverts (They ofc will extract that money back when we're all gone - more monopolies) - It's just about enough to get by on, decreasing every day.
  • We've support other sites, even our competition with real links, real references.
  • You are killing us off, our content is solid and written by quite a few of the world's (most generous) experts. 
You are carving out a very different internet than the one you were given 15 years ago. 

When you joined, and we supported you (don't be evil) the internet was a place for independents, small businesses, and new comers. Not a brand rich mecca for the corporate and wealthy. You didn't create that, but you could at least give us the tools / intel to fight back. We can't even contact you, we've made you millions over the years and we don't even get an email address to ask you a question here and there.

Don't be evil?

This is a turning point for the internet, the last of the big independents are dying off. All our old competition is gone, we're almost the last one left. It's sad, because they're replaced by shiney sites "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Vacuous, multi million dollar facades - just waiting to monopolise the free internet with their 24/7 brands of greed.

Get back to me, please.

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Hitchhiker, you've got a pretty darn good looking and well-featured site. I don't believe you will have to worry much about long-term overall traffic with 71,366 likes on FB and being in such popular niche as learning English. But as far as Google traffic is concerned, I would think that one of the major issues happened in November 2012 when Google had decided to demote a lot of forums. Why they did THAT - this would be an interesting answer if we can get it from from John Mu or anyone familiar with Google strategies.

I don't see how you can get a constructive response to a question worded as an accusation (though I do feel your pain) but if the issues you are having can be split onto smaller, more manageable pieces, some people with knowledge may respond and may give you clues.

I would suggest splitting this into two questions:

#1 Can someone comment on a nature of the update that happened around Nov. 16 - Nov 17th 2012 when lots of forums (and other types of sites featuring large proportion on UGC) got demoted?

#2 what can a site that naturally has little diversity in anchor text do to avoid getting caught up in successive iterations of Penguin? Plenty of your links are either "Learn English" or "English Forums". I don't know about"Learn English" - this one could have been specifically targeted by you and therefore backfired. But "English Forums" is how I would naturally link to your site (if I cared to format an HTML link properly)

Perhaps you can think of some other, simpler questions, that Google's employees and fellow webmasters can actually respond to?
you are obviously capable of using nofollow tags (see internal pages being linked in the footer) yet you intentionally choose to NOT nofollow tag the forum link spam and paid ads.

speaking of paid ads, have you heard about issues with ads above the fold?  It seems pages that exist solely to show ads are of questionable quality, and if the ad is shown above the fold then the webmaster is saying in pretty simple terms that the ad is more important than the content below.

Speaking of quality, how in hades is this page relevant to a site trying to promote ESL ?


the proper and best anchor text for backlinks would be 


anything else that you suggested would be considered manipulative 
William Rock
William Rock
It looks like in your footer you have a ton of links to networked communities such as http://knink.com/ same design of the community.
William Rock
William Rock
Also you have a total of 9,819 Total Links with only 456 root domains... Hmmm
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Original Poster
Hi ecollier,

Sorry to hear that - this discussion mainly concerned large UGC sites with traffic >100k a day etc and the strange update around nov 19th 2012 that hit us all indiscriminately. Nothing much re: SEO was off, we were mainly 'pre-2010 guideliners' who had mostly avoided big SEO in favour of 'fair SERPS'.

Avoid SEO at all costs, make great content and simple, fast and clean sites - pray that Google doesn't screw up.
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