Last week, the biggest search engine on the internet at the moment announced a change to the algorithm it uses to rank articles when responding to search criteria. The change was meant to help to weed out duplicate and low ranking articles on content websites, sometimes referred to as ‘content farms’. The idea is that more relevant content will be brought to the top of a search listing which should help to reward more useful articles and blogs.
This caused speculation as to which of the content websites are being targeted in this way. Suite101 and Hubpages, which are both revenue-share models, are two websites which have seen some of their articles fall from grace, although whether this is due to the implementation of the algorithm, who can tell? On the other hand, Ehow articles seem to have benefitted from the changes.
Demand Media owns Ehow and is considered by some commentators to be a content farm although it pays for articles upfront. The company has responded that it is not being singled out for this treatment and that of the articles it has, some are benefitting while others are suffering. The company suggests that it will pay more heed to what consumers want in the future.
In the early days of internet marketing, web marketers threw up websites with a little content and a lot of adverts. These websites were of little informational value; they were unashamedly there to encourage visitors to click on the ads and no more. Now consumers demand more of their websites: they use the internet regularly for information and expect the results returned by their searches to be of good quality and useful. The search engine could argue that it is responding to consumer demand and trying to crack down on low quality websites.
I think that this will even out in time. The results will show an initial dip and the companies affected will have to take steps to protect their page rankings and ensure that the content that they produce is of a good enough quality to count as useful information. However, Google has a symbiotic relationship with these websites. They use its adverts as part of their revenue share model and to destroy them completely would not be in the search engine’s best interests. It is therefore probably more likely to be a warning shot to the companies to encourage the production of well-written information rather than lazy, badly constructed content. This can only improve the internet for everyone concerned.
For more reading, check out this article.
- Who got knocked in Google’s algorithm update? (tech.fortune.cnn.com)
- Google Search Algorithm Update Against Content Farms and Low Quality Website (shoutmeloud.com)