Google Takes on Content Farms

Yesterday, Google announced that they have tweaked their search algorithm to “reduce rankings for low-quality sites” and increase visibility for search results “with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.” This recalibration will seemingly filter out the so-called content farm results delivered from sites that use writers and freelancers to produce extensive textual content for the sole purpose capturing the attention of search engines.

From Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, and Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer at Google:

Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.

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. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

The new algorithm should weed out results from sites considered to be content farms, such as Demand Media (who defend their work as a “content library”). Although Google didn’t explicitly state here that content farms were their target, back in January, the company clearly stated their anti-content farm agenda:

As “pure webspam” has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content.

The move could be a big win for copywriting services of original content, whose works will no longer be buried by content farm results.

What do you think about this development? How do you think Google’s new algorithm will affect freelancers and entreprenurial journalists? Let us know in the comments.

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