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Welcome To The World Of Content Farm-free Google


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20 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Martinez

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 10:53 PM

So Google just announced this evening that more than 11% of their queries now have new search results. This is, I believe, the much anticipated "Content Farm" update (although AJ Kohn called it the "Farmer Update" on Twitter).

I'm still trying to figure out how this might affect me and mine, so to speak. I have prided myself on creating what I feel is valuable, useful content for years. I hope Google agrees.

Nonetheless, I started to hear some rumblings earlier today and I Tweeted Matt Cutts about it. Whether he was responding to my Tweet, other Tweets, or it was all planned out in advance (most likely choice in my book), a few hours later Amit Singhal and Matt posted a joint announcement on the Google blog (see link above).

QUOTE
...in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it 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.


It will be interesting to see what Google likes and doesn't like in this brave new Content Farmless world.

Edited by Michael Martinez, 24 February 2011 - 11:00 PM.


#2 Rvllin

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 06:20 AM


QUOTE
I'm still trying to figure out how this might affect me and mine, so to speak. I have prided myself on creating what I feel is valuable, useful content for years. I hope Google agrees.


I've always tried to do similar and fortunately I've been able to work with some decent clients who write good content and obtain links naturally. The problem that I think alot of SEO's will have with this update isn't whether their websites will be seen as spammy but whether the links that they have obtained will be seen as spammy and thus lose ranking results.

#3 Jill

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:32 AM

Thanks for letting us know, Michael. I'm at my desk a bit late today and this is first I've heard of it. Can't wait to start checking out the results to see if they're truly better.

It can only be a good thing for me or any of my clients, that I'm sure of.

#4 shakin318

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:36 AM

Not sure if it's due to this or some of the work I've been doing, but my site moved up a full page on google between Wednesday and today...threatening to make an appearance on page 1!

Onward and upward...

#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:07 AM

Danny Sullivan did his usual thorough writeup at Search Engine Land but it looks like he's scratching his head as much as I am. And after my many pleas for a concise definition of what constitutes a "content farm" Danny has offered his working model, but I still think it's too broad (it's concise, but somewhat broad).

I'm not convinced the Farmer Update is going after content farms so much as it's going after other stuff. Google's idea of "quality" seems to differ radically from that of all the news media pundits who have been deliberately naming one company (whose Websites appear to be largely unaffected in the queries I normally use).


#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 06:56 PM

Well, after one day consensus seems to be forming that a certain site whose name starts with Ma- may have taken one of the biggest blows from the update, but another site whose name starts with Eh- seems to have benefitted from it.

According to one blogger's estimate, a number of article publishing Websites lost a fair chunk of search visibility. Unfortunately, though he said he was making the data available I was unable to download it (because of the service he was using).


The same blogger also suggested a few very well-known (consumer trusted) ecommerce sites seem to have done well.

Keep in mind, I am just summarizing other people's opinions. My opinion is still out. I see some good stuff and some bad stuff for sites I am associated with (either personally or professionally). But I think that is to be expected with an update this broad.

#7 Jill

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:50 AM

Here's an awesome analysis "The SISTRIX VisibilityIndex is an index value calculated from traffic on keywords, ranking and click-through rate on specific positions" which shows who the biggest losers were.

Google Farmer Update: Quest for Quality

It looks like those stinkin' article directories such as ezinearticles got hit hard appl.gif

That would be awesome if all of those are taken out as they are completely useless and just there as a way for SEO types to get their clients some links.

#8 scorpioilya81

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:36 PM

Jill

Do you think this spells the end of the secondary directories like superpages/yellowbook etc etc, that still rank for long tail searches in the service industries? i.e. plumber 90210? I still see merchant circle and a few of the other directories rank for these highly lucrative searches.

Also do you think that specialized local directories are next on the chopping block? i.e. bostoncitylinks, or losangeles.com, etc etc.

#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:54 AM

I wonder if those sites lost in the rankings or if they have been deprived of their ability to pass link anchor text and PageRank, too? Not that they were passing a whole lot of value with any one article, but people have continued to swear by these services. I haven't used them for years.

#10 Jill

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:33 AM

@scorpioilya81, at this point, I have no idea.

#11 Mikl

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

I noticed that Google said that this change will initially be rolled out in the US only. Can someone clarify what that means?

Does it mean that the change only affects sites that Google considers to be US-based? Or does it mean that the results will only be seen by people using Google's US search site (that is, Google.Com, as opposed to. say, google.co.uk and the like)? Or does it mean that the results will only be seen by searchers in the US? Or what?

Mike



#12 Jill

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:17 AM

It's currently only on Google.com, but I'm sure that won't last long.

#13 Mikl

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:39 AM

Thanks, Jill.


#14 Michael Martinez

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:49 PM

This fascinating article from Wired pretty much confirms many things I have been thinking (other people have also been thinking many of these things) regarding the Farmer Update.

It's interesting that they mention a Googler engineer surnamed Panda -- is that Navneet Panda, I wonder? He (?) has a background in machine learning and data mining.

After Caffeine rolled out, Google identified a new layer between all the stuff they were filtering and all the stuff they really wanted to include in their SERPs and sent out an army of quality raters with complex questionnaires to judge a selection of Websites. The scores were then used to devise a new classifier (computer program) to identify Websites that (in Google's estimation) should not be given much value in the index.

Kind of interesting to see that they are willing to openly diss one site that (in my opinion) offers a much superior reading and informational experience than the DM sites that survived the update.

#15 Jill

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 10:04 AM

That Wired article is a great read, you should all read it. Good discussion with Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal from Google.

In case you guys missed it, you may also be interested in my initial impression of some of the things that may have caused some sites to lose traffic:


Google Farmer Update: Some Farm Aid for the Afflicted





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