Friday, March 11th, 2011 | SEO | No Comments
Google have written a new algorithm to combat content farms and to help eliminate these from the search engine results pages.
The aim of the update was to target sites with the following and stop them from ranking on the SERPs:
- Shallow content (not enough content to be useful)
- Poorly written content
- Content copied from other sites
- Content that’s not useful
The update has been met with mixed emotions as some legitimate sites have suffered lost rankings due to the update. Google have acknowledged this and are implementing an extra layer to the algorithm to accommodate for this.
However it is worth noting that although this update is targeting content quality there are other factors being taken into account when your site is assessed.
Bounce rate for instance, if visitors are not spending a decent amount of time on your site i.e. not enough time to read the articles and content it is an indication that the content is not compelling or useful.
Brand awareness and credibility also play a part in the bigger picture of whether your site will be targeted. Design and user experience need to be considered as well.
Some advice from Matthew Brown of AudienceWise (previously with the NY Times) given at the recent SMX West event was:
- Getting rid of poor quality pages entirely (redirect them if it makes sense, otherwise 404 them)
- Building out brand signals
- Working on promotion and engagement
The key advice to those who have lost rankings is to remember that it’s the quality of the content that’s at issue and this is not exclusively targeted to content farm sites.
At the moment the changes have only been rolled out in the US so the full scale of the impact still remains to be seen.
Google has finally taken a step towards weeding out content farms from search results. These sites have been a bain for many a user over the years and Google have announced an algorithmic change to help combat searchers frustration, affectionately named within the SEO community as the “Farmer Update”.
Officially, Google isn’t saying the algorithm change is targeting content farms. It is more targeted to those sites that scrape or automate content. This should reduce the chances that sites who use duplicated content from outranking the original source.
However this may indeed pose questions for those who use article sites to submit content as part of an offline strategy and whether this tactic will now be penalised.
In a recent article on SearchEngineLand by Danny Sullivan it appears that this should not be an issue as long as the content submitted is of course original and interesting and the sites themselves are of high page rank and relevance to the subject.
So far 12% of sites in U.S have seen drop in rankings, in particular article sites i.e. Hubpages.com, buzz article.
The long term effects of this Google algorithm change in other countries remains to be seen but for many SEO consultants now would be a good time to review your offsite strategies.
Best practice – ensure relevance to your subject and avoid spamming within your content. Make it interesting and compelling but be sure to watch this space as this could be a shake up of things to come from Google.