Love them or hate them, content farms are a reality on today's web. Thanks to the strength of the search economy, savvy upstart publishers realized that there was money to be made mass-producing search engine-friendly content on the cheap.
But content farming's success may have been its downfall. As the SERPs filled up with articles of dubious value, search engines have fought back. Some went so far as to ban well-known content farms from their indexes.
Banning large, prominent sites is, for obvious reasons, a challenging proposition for Google. But it too has fought back hard against content farms using ts algorithm.
While the verdict is out as to whether it's changes are improving search quality on the world's largest search engine, it appears that some content farmers are adjusting their businesses.
2011 has been a busy year for Google. Faced with increasing criticism about the quality of its search results and the tactics publishers use in attempts to influence them, the world's most prominent and widely-used search engine has taken aggressive steps to crack down on paid links and content farms.
But Google's tweaks may go well beyond moves to reign in black and gray hat SEO tactics. In fact, it may be looking at core components of its algorithm altogether.
Note to unscrupulous merchants: all of that negative online buzz you've
been creating to boost your sites ranking on Google won't do you much
At least that's what Google is saying following the New York Times'
high-profile story about Mr. B, who just might be the web's most
unscrupulous merchant. His strategy: treat customers like crap,
encourage them to complain about him online and watch his site's
presence in the SERPs improve with every complaint.
John Straw is CEO of InfluenceFinder, which has launched a tool which enables search marketers to analyse backlink data and build a list of influential websites which are providing valuable links.
InfluenceFinder has been using Econsultancy as a test subject, and soft launched at SMX London recently.
We've been speaking to John about InfluenceFinder, recent changes to Google's algorithm, and why he thinks that SEO needs to become more like PR...
Get twenty different search marketers in a room
and you’ll often get twenty different opinions on a subject; but there is a growing consensus that some tweaks were made to the Google Algorithim in the
last few days of April to first few days of May.
This has become known as the Google May-Day Update.
When Google updates, SEOs around the world hold their breath. For websites that rely heavily on their Google SERPs for traffic, an algorithm change can sometimes mean the difference between profitability and the poorhouse.
Google's newest update, named Caffeine, is by all appearances more than just a regular update. Google describes it as a "next-generation architecture for Google's web search".
My post yesterday about Google's paid links smack down sparked quite a discussion and a bit of debate.
Good points were made all around on all sides of the debate.