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Confirmation: The Google Algorithm Change Was Not for Content Farms

Could a Blekko-like Anti-Spam Feature Be Coming to Google?

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When Google’s Matt Cutts recently posted on his personal blog about an algorithm update, many people took that to mean that this was geared at cracking down on content farms, as the phrase "content farms" had made an appearance in another post on the Google blog before that. 

I wrote a post called "Is This Google Algorithm Change About Content Farms or Not?" making the case for why it didn’t seem like the new change actually was for content farms. Things were complicated by Demand Media (the poster child for content farms) CEO Richard Rosenblatt saying that Google was not talking about his company when it was talking about content farms, so the fact that Demand’s content didn’t seem to be affected didn’t really prove anything in any concrete way. Google’s silence in response to direct questions about it didn’t help either. 

Matt Cutts Talks About Google's Lastest Web Spam EffortsWell, that silence was apparently lifted. Barry Schwartz, writing for Search Engine Land says they talked to Cutts (presumably at the Farsight search event discussed yesterday). "After we spoke with Matt Cutts today, we learned that the new algorithm that went live last week is related to blocking low quality content scraper sites and not content farms."

Ok, can we put this matter to bed now? As it stands right now, Google has yet to take action on content farms in any significant way, as far as we can tell. But that doesn’t mean it’s not coming. 

Words from Cutts at the event indicate the company will go after content farms in an algorithmic way, rather than any manual action. Yesterday Blekko announced that it had banned 20 content farm-type sites from its search results. Demand Media content was not immune there, and it could be making the company nervous. Cutts expressed praise for Blekko, and Bing’s Harry Shum even said they’re looking at Blekko and others when it comes to how search quality is being handled, though he said they and the industry as a whole is really looking at Google as the leader in how they handle it. 

Blekko has a mechanism that lets users mark any search results as spam. I don’t know how much stock to put into it (as a rumor is a rumor), but  Danny Sullivan tweeted: "rumor: google to call new button next to results you want to remove ‘DisLike’".

Confirmation: The Google Algorithm Change Was Not for Content Farms
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  • http://www.buildersinteriors.com Laminate Flooring Redmond

    Great info, getting rid of some of these spam may help the search results in sorting out the results. Keep us informed.

  • Guest

    As a power internet user, I believe “content farm” doesn’t equate to bad quality or unusable content. Most of the people who end up complaining about content farm are writers who believe they are in danger by these so called content farms. Facts are that if content farms are able to produce content which users can find useful, there is no real reason for google to remove them as a whole.

    Let’s look at another attack; I read few comments on other sites saying that ehow (demand property) doesn’t have too many pages/visit which is a bad thing. Maybe user got what they wanted and didn’t need to visit other pages? I have clicked on ehow links in past to find good % of articles to be informative. Sure they don’t have the same quality as a in depth how-to’s but it had enough for user like me to be satisfied.

    Now, let’s talk about a lot of these posts about content farm and google’s algo. Almost all of the writers are repeating each other and are not providing anything useful. Maybe google algo should block stupidity and repetition of useless information. Only reason why i bothered commenting on this post is because i actually find it little more useful than 5-7 articles i read about google algo changes.

  • Guest

    I hate those websites which put search results as full URIs so Google indexes them. That’s just bad practice and evil. In order to “not be evil”, Google should remove evil results from it’s web pages.

    Google should also buy WOT and remove “red” and “red-orange” web sites from it’s results. (or another such site)

  • Guest

    why wont i click “dislike” for my competitor’s websites?

  • Jason

    Google’s algorithm certainly wasn’t very well tested. I have articles that I have written for the past 3 years that were not SEO optimized at all as the value was in the content. I wasn’t even trying to sell anything. Over the past week and a bit, my traffic has been reduced by 99.9%. This monopoly has lasted far too long…

  • http://hscripts.com Geeths

    My website dropped from the 70% of its traffic, which is a five year old website. Almost many keywords where removed from the index which has been listed in the first position for the search terms. I am confused why Google penalized my website for nothing, when the quality of the content remains the same.

  • http://www.barplan.com Guest

    I run a 10+ year old website that sell architectural plans. All our content is 100% original, but in the past few years, we have fallen prey to scrapers and plagiarizers. This new update has had a serious impact on our site, while scraper and copycat sites thrive. In the past year, Google’s “quality” updates have been more like poorly tossed hand grenades that take out everything in close proximity, yet seem to keep missing the mark.

  • Guest

    “Content Farm” describes low quality garbage written by amateurs.

    How “useful” is an article about cancer when it was written by someone who lists in his bio that he enjoys writing about rodeos? How “useful” is an article about mortgages written by someone whose specialty is “crafts?”

    I can’t tell you the amount of erroneous information I’ve seen in content farm articles. I can tell you that each and every one of the erroneous articles was written by someone who knows nothing about the topic. I don’t know about you, but I don’t call that type of “information” useful. Sometimes it is even dangerous.

    Why does a medical article written by someone whose specialty is “makeup and hair care,” with no medical background, rate higher than one written by a physician?

    Come on Google, give us the authoritative sites up front and let the content farms fall to the back.

  • Steve Australia

    Content farms as well as most Blogs, only revenue stream is selling advertisements and most use Google AdSense, so the real reason for spamming would have to be Google as they have created a monster that drive sites to spamming and duplicate content of no real value, Google endorse spamming as they rank in favor of sites that use their AdSense.

    If you want to gain in the SERPS just place Google AdSense (NonSence) and your Googles favorite little BITCH.

    Sites with something real to sell other then AdSense (NonSence) get page10.

    A lot of people jumping off the Google ship and are using other engines. Googles response to their crappy algorithm that ranks their own AdSense (NonSence) is to pretend they are taking out the cane, they are not fixing the spam problem they have created, as this is all about money for them and not quality search.

    As long as the Variable $Money is part of Googles algorithm Google will continue to spam the Google search results

    Googles not so secret algorithm

    $Money”== “AdSense”;
    “$Google”==”$Money”;

    All they have to do is Band any AdSense (NonSence) sites and Google would be the Google I grew to love and not hate, like so many other people do.

    In conclusion the core of most spamming is Google them self’s.

  • http://www.prashantmamtora.com/ Prashant

    From another site on this topic i found many content sites like mahalo and ezine are going to have bad effect of this change. Is it still worth putting links on these sites?

    Prashant
    http://www.indieswebs.com/

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