Google take on the content farms with new update

image of a farmerYesterday ( Feb 23rd 2011) Google announced a major algorithmic change.  Although they haven’t given this one an official name many in the SEO space have nicknamed it “Farmer” (more of that later).   Google  admit the change will have a significant affect on the search results we see, impacting almost 12% of their US queries.  So, why the change?

In the company blog post Matt Cutts writes “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.”  In our analysis this looks very much like they’ve declared war on the content farms.

Content farms produce articles based on keywords that are highly trafficked.  They respond to the changes in search behaviour and churn the stuff out.  Generally, it’s badly written filler guff that’s only there to grab the attention of the search engines and offers no real or tangible value to the readers.   In other words it’s spammy as hell!

This has been a long time coming, some insiders report that Google engineers have been working on this update for over 18 months.  With a initial roll-out to the US announced we’re hoping that this will eventually roll out to the rest of the world.

Cutts adds, “we’re very excited about this new ranking improvement because we believe it’s a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results.”

So, lessons to take from this?  Invest in the content at your site, get your staff blogging, find an advocate and give them a voice.  Think about how you’re going to deliver useful, vibrant and search friendly content that’s a true resource for your customers and will serve you well in the future.

Using a content farm might seem like a convenient and cheap alternative but remember when we used to say that about buying links back in the day?

If you’d like to talk to us at The Levels about putting together a content strategy and delivering  training your staff to write effectively for search then just give us a shout at

To read the blog post in full go to


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