Google Burns Down Content Farmers

Content is King… you’ve heard it stated over and over again.  Well, this month Google has decided to show us once again exactly what that means.

Algorithm Update #1 – The Scraper

The first of two algorithm updates has been quietly dubbed the “Scraper” algorithm and is intended to block low quality content scraper sites from showing up in the Google index. Immediately after it released some webmasters complained that their traffic had dropped as much as 40-60%. These same webmasters also claim to have in depth content, and point out that the real content farms and scraper sites have either maintained or risen in ranks.  Good news for some, bad for others.

Google Wants to Level the Playing Field Again – Get Rid of Those Sites that House or Generate Poor Content.

Google’s Matt Cutts stated that the algorithm is very targeted and only 2% of queries were changed in some way and only 0.5% of the results would change enough that anyone would notice. He also stated that the algorithm is designed to elevate those sites which created the original content over those sites who republish it.

Algorithm Update #2 – The Farmer

Later in the month Google released its second algorithm update dubbed the “Farmer” update that is believed to specifically target content farms. Google has stated that this update impacts 11.8% of queries which is pretty significant compared to most updates in the algorithm.

The dust is still settling, however – this may leave you wondering how exactly Google is defining a content farm. In the past this has been a very loosely used term with no clear definition. However, thanks to this update we can see by example who Google feels has made the cut and who has taken a big ranking hit and been labeled a “farmer”.

Again, there is nothing wrong with these sites in general – but the auto-generated content abuse has taken it’s toll and quite frankly, this “BURN” was way overdue, IMO.  Here is the list so far:

EzineArticles (all article directories for that matter)
The Other Guys:
Wikis (wikipedia, Google Knol)
Instructrables & Ehow (both are VERY surprising but were not touched)
Yahoo Answers (very surprising here) (comparison shopping)
If your site was hit by either one of these updates you should consider “changing your ways”… you can do it!  Create original high quality content and replace any auto generated content and you’ll insulate “your house” from any future “burnings”.