Google's New Algorithm Forecloses on SEO Content Farms

February 25th, 2011
The holy grail of SEO is to achieve a first page ranking in Google search results. Google is famously tight-lipped about how their search algorithms work, but they encourage organizations to create relevant, high quality content to achieve the best SEO results. Until now, Google didn't make much distinction between high-quality and high-volume content. Content farms took the latter approach to game the system.
Content Farms are websites that feature an enormous amount of content on a wide range of subjects in order to get the attention of search engines like Google. The articles on these content farms contain just enough information to be relevant to your search query. Companies like Demand Media identify topics that have a high advertising potential and flood the internet with articles on those topics. They pay writers a few dollars per article-typically advice or how-to articles-and syndicate them across as many sites as possible. You've probably come across these sites before. You search for a particular topic and find a site on the first page of Google results that matches your query. At best, the site provides very little information about your area of interest. At worst, it provides a list of links to other equally worthless sites or advertising for related products and services. 
While there's nothing illegal about this practice, it blurs the line between ethical business and gaming the search engines. Starting today, Google has decided to do something about it. Beginning in the United States, and rolling out worldwide over the coming months, Google is implementing a new algorithm designed to eliminate "low quality" sites like content farms from their search results. 
From the official Google Blog: 

"Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our rankinga change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queriesand we wanted to let people know what's going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sitessites 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 sitessites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on."

As always, the best practice to improve your rankings in search engines is to produce relevant, high quality content. With the help of the new Google algorithms, it should be easier for people to find your website as Google begins to foreclose on the content farms. 
To learn more about SEO or to discuss how to improve the quality of your content, contact Kent Callison at 423-485-4709.