Google Bitch Slaps The Content Farms

On 24 February 2011, Google announced a major algorithmic change to its search engine. Although subtle in nature and perhaps even unnoticeable to most users, it is believed to be able to dramatically improve the quality of Google’s search results. Not that it is entirely able to get rid of stuff like web spam but at least, we can see progressive updates and changes from Google in tackling web spam.

Even though Google was not upfront in its official announcement on its blog, I believe that this move by Google actually targets to penalize websites which are operating as content farms. Content farms are low quality websites which attempt to game or manipulate search engine results and attract search traffic by piling up (mostly) useless content, usually by producing large amounts of low-quality text or by scraping and copying them from websites with original content.

What Google did say is that the algorithm update on its search “will provide better rankings for high-quality sites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.” In fact, this change noticeably impacts 11.8% of Google’s queries.

It is also worth noting that this update does not rely on the feedback that Google has been receiving from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension which Google has launched a week ago. However, there is strong positive correlation between the sites that are blocked by the Chrome plugin and sites that are penalized under the new search algorithm update. This goes to prove that the update has been pretty much successful in its task to tackle web spam in particular.

To further put this algorithm update to the test, I did a study on Demand Media, a website which has long been tagged with a notorious “Content Farm” over its website. Demand Media has been at the heart of lotsa discussions on whether it is a content marketer or a content farm. You can take a look at the discussion on my previous guest post. I have passed my judgment on this website so do not try to convince me further. Anyway for this study, I checked the search engine rankings for those keyword phrases that Demand Media has been ranking consistently high previously.

My findings.

Some content did go up and some content went down the Google search results.

My verdict.

I think it is way too early to tell. The update was just implemented a few days ago. A fairer assessment can only be made after observing their rankings and traffic a month or two from now. Or even a year later. Give time for the system to settle. Possibly, Google might just roll out more updates to further improve on its search system.

No doubt, the popularity of Google search is still unparalleled to none but Google has been plagued by black hat SEO practices and content farms for a while now, with all the complaints from users gradually accumulating over time. If Google manages to put an end to content farms or at least significantly reduce their influence in search results, it will be an important step in regaining the trust of its users.

Are you satisfied with Google’s Update? Tell us what you think.

As CEO of Affiliate Home Business, Jack Harold is an experienced Internet marketer and has helped thousands of his students to apply Internet marketing strategies to succeed online. If you will like to know how to make money online, you can grab a free copy of his exclusive “The Rags To Riches Blueprint” at his website, Affiliate Home Business.