Mar 1, 2011
Google have recently changed their search algorithm, PageRank, which helps them to rank pages on the internet. Their search robots are sent out with specific criteria to search for and if you hit the right buttons you’ll get ranked highly. If you don’t, you’re toast.
This time they are targeting the content farm sites and sites without original content – that means sites which strip out your quality content and post it on their site so they have lots of content with no effort. They now have a content farm filter (crap catcher might be a better name!) which detects duplication of material.
(By the way, you might want to set up Google Alerts to track your name and main keywords as, when content farms strip images from your site, they often link back to the image on your server. That means that they use your bandwidth to serve the image to their readers. Not only do they steal your content but they also syphon the juice from your site).
It has always annoyed me that, for many search terms I use for my sites, my best keywords will bring up garbage sites at the top of the list. Not because they are worth reading but because they are fooling the search programme and getting ranked by cheating. Judy’s site about working from home has been particularly difficult to rank. The key word ‘work from home’ is very competitive. However she is now at page 3 on Google so some trash has been removed. There’s still some dross left behind though!
I am pleased to see Google doing something about it and many people have found that their content-rich blog is starting to get more visits and gain more visibility and credibility amongst the global surfing community.
So is this really a win-win-win situation?
A win for bloggers because their content will be seen by more poeple interested in what they are saying, a win for surfers because they are going to find funky stuff that was buried under a mound of steaming sites, and a win for Google in that its searches will become more relevant and people will use it more.
Unfortunately there is a downside as hundreds of legitimate sites have been tripped up by the new criteria, some losing half their traffic overnight. This Guardian article cites research done by Sistrix which shows that the British Medical Journal and Technorati are amongst 300 sites that have suffered due to the new search algorithm.
Cult of Mac are a hardworking team who write original content and aggregate news about Apple and Mac stuff. They have been hit by content farm filtering quite badly and have given examples of others in their post Cult of Mac Has Been Hit By Google’s War On Content Farms.
So Google have some tweaking to do to make it a win for some people. But at least they are attempting to reach their vision of serving legitimate, relevant and awesome content to the internet surfing community.