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What Google’s Crackdown on Content Farms Means for Bloggers

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Recently, Google announced major changes to their algorithm, which will mostly cut down on how often certain written content will appear in search results. This is being seen as a crackdown on content farms, notorious companies that fill their websites with as much content as possible aimed at pulling in search engine users. Most of the time, this content is low-quality or rewritten content optimized to beat out the same content found on original sites. These changes will affect nearly 12% of search queries, so its definitely not an insignificant change. As usual, Google didn’t go into tons of details about their search engine changes.

What does this mean to you as a blogger?

The hope is that it will only help you, as long as you’re dedicated to providing original, thoughtful content. Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, from Google, have explained that this algorithm change will reward people who have high-quality content, since they will no longer be beat out by people who are copying their work or providing low-quality content to scam the system. So that’s a good thing, right?

Yes, in theory.

But, I could see some problems with the changes as well. For example, if your website is new-orientated, you might see your search engine traffic drop a bit. Take this post, for instance. The news that Google is changing their algorithm certainly isn’t original – I read about it on multiple websites. I rewrote the story for you all (in case you haven’t read it yet), as well as interjected my own opinion and thoughts (i.e. what I’m doing now), but the story itself can be found other places. So, will my search engine rankings be hurt because of that?

If I’m doing a good job, and I think I am, I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I’m not just rehashing a story – I’m adding a lot of original content that isn’t found in other places. Google is pretty smart. I think their algorithm will likely take into account whether or not original content is added. But then, I do expect that some bloggers will have to change how they do things, at least a little, if they want to maintain search engine traffic. I also expect some mistakes to be made. No algorithm is perfect.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this content farm crackdown will affect bloggers and the web in general. As a freelance writer, I’ve worked for writing companies in the past (some even being accused of being content farms, though I stand behind the work I did as original and high-quality). I also have friends who work for such companies, and the writers forums are buzzing. Overall, I think that Google’s changes are going to be an extremely positive thing for bloggers, but I guess only time will tell.

What do you think of Google’s algorithm changes?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • Michelle Bruno

    As a frequent reader of blogs, I am thrilled about the Google news. I feel cheated when I search on a term because I really want good information and instead reach some drivel written by a third grader that is surrounded by ads. As a blogger who does not accept advertising on her blog, I am also thrilled because I put a lot of effort into each blog post and I’m hoping the shift will help me get more visibility for my content–the reason why I blog. In summary, I’m really happy that Google is keeping a watchful eye on folks trying to game the system. Content farms give blogs a bad name.

    Michelle Bruno

  • Naji

    I can understand where Google is coming from and I even sympathise with them. The problem is that I can see some genuine people getting affected and the people who Google is actually trying to weed out will proably find some workarounds.

    What I’m curious about is how this is going to work in practice with content being syndicated through Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms all the time. Even I have a share button on my blog. I suppose we are all going to have to wait and see.

  • Jhay

    Glad Google is cracking down on content farms though there’s still a grey area as to how their new algorithm really works as some bloggers are saying there could be a lot of “false-positives”.

    Either way, we bloggers once more have to adapt or perish. Better still, the world is much harder for content farms.

  • web design london

    I’m really happy that Google is keeping a watchful eye on folks trying to game the system.

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