Google Algorithm Update Helps (Not Hurts) eHow

Chris CrumBusiness

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Google's recent algorithm update aimed at content farms appears to have affected Demand Media significantly, but not in the way you might have thought. According to a study from Sistrix - the Visibility Index - Demand's eHow has actually gained rankings, while many of the company's competitors dropped. 

"Well, there is no sign that Google tried to downrank ehow.com. Ehow.com even gained SISTRIX value (from 270 to 310) and Keywords (from 317,320 to 324,021) during the algorithm-change," says Sistrix's Johannes Beus.

"Quite a statement from Google regarding the quality of Demand Medias’ content, isn’t it?" adds Beus.

Here's the list of top losers, according to the firm:

# Domain Change SISTRIX (before) SISTRIX (after) # KWs (before) # KWs (after)
1 wisegeek.com -77% 121,58 28,22 74.024 21.940
2 ezinearticles.com -90% 65,08 6,65 184.508 54.277
3 suite101.com -94% 54,04 3,28 178.373 36.904
4 hubpages.com -87% 55,16 7,40 152.998 50.178
5 buzzle.com -85% 43,25 6,55 86.472 24.423
6 associatedcontent.com -93% 38,29 2,57 216.429 53.512
7 freedownloadscenter.com -90% 30,26 3,01 42.486 7.992
8 essortment.com -91% 25,73 2,32 27.501 7.459
9 fixya.com -80% 28,78 5,83 62.034 36.167
10 americantowns.com -91% 24,88 2,18 26.000 9.799
11 lovetoknow.com -83% 25,75 4,28 49.544 17.833
12 articlesbase.com -94% 19,96 1,16 82.274 31.365
13 howtodothings.com -84% 21,20 3,39 33.222 7.601
14 mahalo.com -84% 20,49 3,23 33.875 9.740
15 business.com -93% 17,24 1,13 21.556 4.813
16 doityourself.com -77% 20,89 4,90 23.256 6.870
17 merchantcircle.com -85% 18,43 2,67 93.347 34.681
18 thefind.com -83% 18,95 3,27 74.506 45.495
19 findarticles.com -90% 16,98 1,74 64.810 20.189
20 faqs.org -91% 16,52 1,46 33.648 11.142
21 tradekey.com -89% 16,83 1,79 37.364 16.268
22 answerbag.com -91% 12,93 1,11 67.314 26.054
23 trails.com -87% 12,05 1,62 38.346 8.511
24 examiner.com -79% 10,54 2,19 70.781 31.272
25 allbusiness.com -88% 8,86 1,08 16.457 6.034
 

One particularly noteworthy aspect of this is that Associated Content is among the losers. This is run by Yahoo, one of Google's main competitors in search and advertising (which is of course combined with Micosoft's now).

In fact, Associated Content was the top loser in terms of most keyword rankings lost, according to Sistrix data. Associated Content is followed by Suite101, EzineArticles, HubPages, Buzzle, MerchantCircle, Wisegeek, ArticleBase, FindArticles, AnswerBag, and Examiner in that department. Danny Sullivan has the full list

This list is pretty interesting. It even includes PRNewswire and Technorati, as well as AnswerBag, Trails and LiveStrong - 3 Demand Media properties.

On Quora, SEO consultant Jeffrey Russo, said, "I pulled in data for a set of 35 queries that were dominated by article directories in the weeks leading up to and immediately following the announcement of the update. While what I have isn't a large enough sample size to draw any hard conclusions from, it generally mirrors what Sistrix found... Substantial drops for some well-known article directories like ezinearticles and Hubpages, and a general shuffling around of many smaller sites."

"One thing that surprised me was how well a few particular sites appear to have fared in this update," added Russo. "eHow, for instance, was a site I expected to see impacted negatively - but that wasn't the case. On the set of queries I tracked, eHow saw a substantial increase in many places. It's possible that this is simply because less authoritative directories that ranked above it were devalued; it's also worth noting that many of my queries included "how to" phrases, which are eHow's bread and butter. That being said, it's pretty clear that eHow wasn't hit by this particular update. Wikihow also saw a substantial improvement on my set of keyphrases."

Among the top gainers since the algorithm change, according to SEOClarity (via Sullivan): Amazon, followed by eHow, NexTag, Wikipedia, Walmart, Target, Etsy, Yahoo Answers, and Sears. 

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Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.